Monday, October 23, 2017
SNEAK PEAK at the 2018 Splendid Wake program,
Sunday, March 18, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Gelman Library, George Washington University
Master of Ceremonies: Henry Crawford
Henry Crawford is a poet and software engineer living and writing in the DC area. He is a co-director of the Cafe Muse poetry series and the author of American Software, his first collection of poetry. Visit HenryCrawfordPoetry.com to see a sampling of his work.
Kim Roberts: Speaker
Kim Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She edited the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010), and co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Her book of walking tours, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston, will be released this spring from the University of Virginia Press, covers the history of DC’s writers from the city’s founding to the beginnings of modernism. Ms. Roberts will speak about Jazz Age writers of DC, focusing on Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston. http://www.kimroberts.org.
A.B. Spellman: Speaker
A.B. Spellman is an author, poet, critic, and lecturer. He has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including Art Tatum: A Critical Biography (a chapbook), The Beautiful Days (poetry), and Four Jazz Lives (University of Michigan Press). His poetry collection, Things I Must Have Known, was published by Coffee House Press. Mr. Spellman has served on numerous arts panels including the Rockefeller Panel on Arts, Education and Americans; the Awards Panel of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); the Africa Diaspora Advisory Group, the Jazz Advisory Group, and the Advisory Group on the African-American Museum for the Smithsonian Institution. In recognition of Spellman’s commitment and service to jazz, the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005 named one of its prestigious Jazz Masters awards the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy. Mr. Spellman will share a few poems and speak about poetry & jazz in the work of performance poets during the Black Arts Movement.
Truth Thomas: Speaker
Truth Thomas is a singer-songwriter and poet born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Washington, DC. He is the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing and studied creative writing at Howard University under Dr. Tony Medina. Thomas earned his MFA in poetry at New England College. He is the Poetry Editor of Tidal Basin Review and Editor-in-Chief of The Skinny Poetry Journal. His collections include: Party of Black, A Day of Presence, Bottle of Life, My TV is Not the Boss of Me (a children's book, illustrated by Cory Thomas) and Speak Water, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. A former writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), his poems have appeared in over 100 publications, including The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni). Thomas has multiple Pushcart Prize nominations to his credit and is the creator of the "Skinny" (a fixed form of poetry that continues to blossom in international appeal). Mr. Thomas will discuss the power of poetic brevity, rules, and rich refrains of imagery that abide in the fixed-form framework of the Skinny. Visit http://truththomas.com/ and http://www.cherrycastlepublishing.com/
Maritza Rivera: Speaker
Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran who has lived in Rockville, MD since 1994. She founded the weekly Mariposa Poetry Series, which ran from September 1999 to October 2002 in College Park, MD and hosts the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA . Maritza is the author of About You, a collection of poetry “for women and the men they love”; A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq; Baker’s Dozen, a limited edition in the Brazilian Cordel tradition created for the 2013 Seeing Food art exhibit in Silver Spring, MD and Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems. Maritza is also a supporter of the Memorial Day Writers Project (MDWP); participated in the Warrior Poetry Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD; and served on the Board of Directors of Split This Rock. She was the recipient of a 2012 BID International Writing Fellowship in Bahia, Brazil, and FY 2016 grant recipient of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Maritza Rivera is also the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press. Ms. Rivera will speak about the invention of Blackjack Poetry
SAVE THE DATE—MARCH 18, 2017 2 p.m.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Proposal for A Splendid Wake Internship by Joanna Howard,
Coordinator July, 2017
A Splendid Wake is a volunteer-run organization committed to preserving and celebrating the history of poetry in the DC Metro area. Our wiki contains information about poets, publishers, groups and reading series from the past 120+ years. Our blog, A Splendid Wake Up, features literary-historical essays about the above topics. Additionally, ASW holds a yearly event where we celebrate our history with speakers who present (and perform) some aspect of this rich literary history. And, of course, we are active on Facebook and Twitter.
In order to carry out these many tasks, ASW would like to sponsor an intern from a graduate program to assist us. The intern must be from an area graduate school and enrolled in an MFA of Creative Writing, MA in Literature, or MA in Communications Technology.
The following tasks are included in a 3-credit load:
1. Research and write entries for the wiki.
2. Edit the wiki with revisions from poets.
3. Coordinate with the blog editor to upload blog posts to the wiki.
4. Work with the coordinator to coordinate ASW records
5. Work with the coordinator and committee to develop publicity for the yearly program
6. Attend the yearly program (in March) and support the event via taking photos and uploading them to the social media sites
7. Attend the committee meetings
Given the three kinds of MA programs, we don’t expect an intern to fulfill all of the tasks above: we will balance out the work according to the student’s discipline. Moreover, we would be happy to supervise students who are interested in one-hour internships, perhaps by writing a few articles for our wiki/blog, designing features for the blog, or developing publicity for the program, for example.
In both cases, we are open to to developing a workable, rigorous experience.
The intern would be supervised by the coordinator, but would consult with committee members as needed. The coordinator would consult with the student’s professor of record at the end of the semester regarding the amount of and quality of work.
In return for their work, the intern will learn about the local poetry community as well as the practical skills of working in a literary organization, work that can be added to their resume. ASW will also run a featured interview with the intern on our blog.
We would like to begin working with interns during the Spring 2018 semester.
If you have any questions, please contact Joanna Howard, ASW coordinator, at Asplendidwake@gmail.com or Myra Sklarew at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 28, 2017
It starts with the scent of lavender as she
buttons clean pantaloons, laces up stays,
smooths her bodice and shakes out the frills,
ties the black ribbon about her neck.
Her costume smells, as they all do: mingled
sweat and makeup, the fabric itself,
splashed, perhaps, with the licorice twist of absinthe.
Then come powder and rouge, the small earrings,
a pink and white corsage already starting
to droop. Her props are placed on view: beer bottles,
champagne, a vase containing two pale roses,
cut glass bowl of oranges that may
or may not indicate a certain kind
of availability. Leaning on
the marble bar, she doesn’t look at you
(Why should she look at you? Can you give her
what she needs, or even cab fare home?):
posing, perhaps, or perhaps beyond posing,
her face bleak, artificially rosy amid
the moon-pale globes and crystals shimmering
in the ersatz heaven of the cabaret.
Perhaps a man inspects her in the glass,
perhaps he’s looking past; neither of them
seems to see the woman on the trapeze,
feet squeezed into ankle boots of lizard green.
Later, she observes his red-gold lashes,
watches his still-young face slacken in sleep,
breathes in his scent of cigars, cheap brandy,
scent that clings to her fingers like orange
oil as she works her nails beneath the skin,
methodically stripping the pith to find
whatever’s left of the fruit’s sweet flesh.
-- Katherine E. Young
“Bar at the Folies-Bergère” was commissioned by the Washington Shakespeare Theatre as part of its Poets are Present residency.
Katherine E. Young is the author of Day of the Border Guards, 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist, and two chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. Young is also the translator of Two Poems by Inna Kabysh; her translations of Russian and Russophone authors have won prizes in international competitions and been published widely in the U.S. and abroad; several have been made into short films. Young is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts translation fellow and currently serves as the inaugural Poet Laureate for Arlington, Virginia. http://katherine-young-poet.com/
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Which Girl Am I?
by JoAnne Growney
The girl who’s not forced to divide
into the good girl and the real one
is a lucky one. I was eleven
when I felt a crack begin.
took on two heads, two faces,
two cuts of hair. Mock feelings
serve as well as true ones,
I told myself — but buried parts
still surface like cicadas in their year.
Long division is difficult
and plagued with remainders.
A girl with two heads
is like a bird with one wing.
Note: This poem came out of a cooperative ekphrastic venture with Silver Spring sculptor, Mark Behme – he bravely lent me his sculpture "Split Tales” and, living with it, I discovered its connection to mathematics – and the poem. The poem was first published in “Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics” in 2014
Since childhood JoAnne Growney has loved poetry and found some time for enjoying it during lots of years of studying and teaching mathematics. Both her childhood and her teaching took place in Pennsylvania but in 2005 she relocated to Silver Spring, MD to be near family, especially her grandchildren. A lot of her poems, relate to mathematics. She also has a blog, “Intersections: Poetry with Mathematics” at https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Archaeologists in China have found the world’s
oldest playable musical instrument – a 9,000 year
old flute carved from the wing bone of a crane.
Los Angeles Times
Long before the Greeks measured to set
the frets on their lutes, dividing tight strings
by exactness of tones, long before that,
someone in China, probably a girl with time
and some need to walk alone near the sea,
lifted to lips the hollow wing bone of a crane
and blew through it, no thought of why,
mixing sky-air that lifts wings and sleeves
with the unseen source of life they call breath.
Imagine the whistles and arcing bird-cries
these people learned to make as they breathed
through bones with scaled apertures and lengths
and drilled little holes where fingers could find
the tunes beyond birdsong they began composing.
How plaintive and lonely the wordless sounds
must have been – calling out thin, rising, then
drifting into and through the Bo leaves,
over rocks, like smoke in curtains and rafters,
vanished as softly as morning mist off the Yangtze,
like thoughts half-remembered. But the tunes lacked
grounding, sounds that tied light melodies down
to stone floor and soil and the warm flesh
of hands. Years later, long miles to the west,
high up and getting out of the wind,
chapped hands of shepherds and goatherds tugged
animal guts and dried them and learned to snap
their lengths of string to vibrate them
against flat wood, later hollowed out ,
to make the kind of sounds for love or despair
that Athenian throats would utter if only they could.
The sweaty pluck and thrum of finger and hand
hefted earth tones struggling upward, rising to meet
the vibrato of long breaths ringing out of
that hollow wing-bone, and the melding created
dialogue, Greek harmony, music, sympathy,
a transcending of selves, a republic.
Born and raised in Michigan (1927) and a longtime resident of the Washington, DC area, Rod Jellema is Professor Emeritus of English and former Director of Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. Since he began work as a poet in mid-career at age 40, five books have been published: Something Tugging the Line (1973), The Lost Faces (1978), The Eighth Day: New and Selected Poems (1985), A Slender Grace (2005), and his most recent book (which includes a CD), Incarnality: The Collected Poems (2010). He has also published two award-winning books of selections and translations from Frisian poetry: Country Fair (1985) and The Sound that Remains (1989). The father of three sons, married to the writer Michele Orwin, he is presently writing essays on the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry. Eleven of these essays have been recently published in three journals, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, and International Poetry Journal. He is at work on a book of such essays, Riding the Undercurrent.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
I have made an effort to make
poetic language resemble every
day speech. That is what I have
done. I am interested in
the supernatural, though I don't
like being scared. I am also
really focused on the emotions
and on nature. Those elements
are extremely important if
you are trying to write Romantic
poetry, as I am trying to do.
You do know, I hope, that
the world is just a construct,
that we exist only inside our
aging, inebriated minds.
It's pretty depressing and
unfortunate, especially the
way sex too becomes imaginary.
Here in Atlanta, Georgia, we
are busy killing bugs, snakes,
and turtles. We are drinking,
arguing, and singing the state
song, "I'm my own Grandpa."
Eventually we will go to sleep
and thy beauty will seep into
our dreams, and you will be
as naked as a star in a galaxy
floating in a glass of ice water.
from This Way Out (Hanging Loose Press, 2014)
Terence Winch is the author of eight poetry collections: The Known Universe [forthcoming, fall 2017], This Way Out, Lit from Below, Falling out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, Boy Drinkers, The Drift of Things, The Great Indoors [Columbia Book Award winner), and Irish Musicians/American Friends [American Book Award winner]. He has also written two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place: New World Irish Stories, which draws on his experiences as a founding member of the original Celtic Thunder, the acclaimed Irish band. His work is included in more than 40 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 5 editions of Best American Poetry, and has been featured on “The Writer’s Almanac” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Winch is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors.
Monday, July 24, 2017
by Toni Asante Lightfoot
And with great fear I inhabit the middle of the night
What wrecks of the mind await me, what drugs
to dull the senses
"The Acts of Youth"
Between real sleep and the waking spasm and
between what you are and what you with
the ignorant exuberance of youth thought a great
life would be, lay the between of hope and fear.
I am living a life i never knew possible to the "I"
of my youth to grow into. This body I inhabit
long ago betrayed me. By 22, it moved from the
smooth, taught, supple center to the broad middle
of a middle aged broad. I have had this body of
middle age twice as long as i had the
great body glowing like morning, enticing night
with dance, bourbon, and "yes". Yesteryear is what
years of tomorrow have become. Wrecks
of relationships make the shoreline of
my memories fascinating. Among the
lost ships I visit when i have time for my mind
to salvage from them the shiny bits that await
my wiser translation of the loud, scared me
is the big hulking ship holding dreams. What
do I do to quell their haunting? Drugs,
whiskey? No, I line them up, look them over to
remind myself: I am "here" because "there" looked dull.
Under the magnifying glass of age the
bright light of perspective tantalizes my senses.
Toni Asante Lightfoot is a native of Washington, DC, where she was president of the African American Writer's Guild. She moved to Chicago and was the director of writing programs at Young Chicago Authors. She currently consults on curriculum development that integrates the poetry with mathematical and scientific theory. Lightfoot is currently studying Chinese acupuncture and herbology.