Got people swaying like
Brown Grass. Mud sucking up
against our toes, horns blowing salt
Through our noses.
There’s a flower now.
Red like liquor in a brother’s heart,
Pushing through the joint
Like it’s about to break free.
But that can’t be your lipstick
Cause you wear no lipstick:
You’re a soul flame.
—from "Demoiselle," by Uche Ogbuji
I've had some pleasant rewards in the past week, wielding both purple pen, and red. I learned this afternoon that my poem, "Demoiselle" was published in the latest edition of Corium Magazine. A few notes later about some of the other work that appeared in the issue.I wrote the poem on 31 March 1996 in Dallas, briefly possessed at the time by the spirit of the Deep Ellum district. I always tell people visiting Dallas that they can go to The West End and Dealey Plaza during the day, to get their tourist camera allocation, but that they need to go to Deep Ellum at night for their dose of unadulterated soul.
It was also just over a week ago that I featured seven of my poems here on Copia.
The red pen event is hardly worthy of the name, considering the excellence and pedigree of its headliner. I was thrilled to present to the world "John," a new poem by Lewis Turco, and an interview of Mr. Turco by his altar ego (read the piece to ravel that pun) Wesli Court. In "John" Mr. Turco contemplates through the glasses (telescope and microscope) of a nephew the utterly grand and the utterly small. It includes a brilliant, poetic take on the standard model of physics. It also includes a meditation of the universe, rising to the following.
The paltry gods of Earthwere never meant to handle such immense
phantasmagoria as these, were
never meant to represent these Powers,
Thrones, Dominions, eidolons of the mind of man, these firefly mysteries.
The self-interview is a splendid mini-memoir tracing through the history of a too-often neglected branch of modern poetry, and it includes so much that inspires me as a poet and a student of poetry. In one telling passage he describes how, sending poems out to periodicals in the middle-to-late 1970’s, he was amazed that magazines began accepting rhyming and metered poems more readily than syllabic poems.
What was going on? I thought I knew. The worm was beginning to turn again, and there was a big pile of younger poets who had been using The Book of Forms for almost a decade, writing in the old forms, experimenting with the Bardic forms, publishing in the little magazines, and even beginning new periodicals that published what they were interested in.
I've read Mr. Turco's poetry and criticism since I've been a teenager, and it has been an honor to work with such a creative, perceptive and hard-working gentleman. I should also mention his Weblog, which is one of the best maintained and most interesting you'll find by a major contemporary poet.