My piece, “He Dreamed” was picked up this year for the Seattle Erotic Festival’s literary anthology. I always find it interesting what gets picked and what doesn’t. Selecting what to submit is always a trial for me. I’ve never been accused of being sensitive to ambient emotional responses. One must be blatant in their displeasure, grief, or happiness before it pierces. I’m more aware of the chill in the air than I am in a chill in a human’s response to my behavior, words, or choices. So you can guess how good I am at selecting pieces for an anonymous jury which has a rotating editorial board.
The advice always given to writers is to read what a publisher publishes… which makes sense if a publisher has a very specific “personality” in what they publish like Andrei Codrescu’s Exquisite Corpse which embraced rants of all types did, or McSweeny’s wry and informed humor does. But otherwise, I find myself quite challenged in being able to describe a particular “Editorial” preference.
I, myself, can’t say I have a preference. I still love “The Cremation of Sam McGee” as well as Yeats’ “Leda and the Swan,” but have never been able to make it more than a few lines of “Howl” before I begin to wish for fewer words in the English language, or less ink, or the absence of paper, or something which would have inhibited the man from pratting on and on and on. Give me Sexton’s “Live or Die” with its short lines and fricative language. Her anger strikes me as more alive than Kerouac’s “Boom”
But what do I know? Nothing. And then I read Neurda’s poem “I do not love you except because I love you” and think, “Ah-ha! Of course, I’d never be able to follow that. Of course, it would be picked up and published.” And yet, I, too, select others’ work and can give reasons why one was chosen but not another. In my case, it usually has to do with technical problems, but if I were given the task to select my own personal “Top 100” poems of All Time Over the Entirety of Human History, there would not be a theme. Yet, I do group my own works into themes which I then organize into my non-existent chapbooks under separate folders in a cloud drive.
But here is one of the pieces which was not selected. I’d have to read the anthology to see if I could find a theme to the selections. I just picked mine up last night, so I don’t really know. There’s no actual fucking going on in this piece, that could be a problem. Dunno… I walked in late to the reading, so missed my time to read aloud, but as I hate the way I read a poem, I don’t feel that was anyone’s loss. However, I do feel that about this piece, so I’ll share it.