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Summer & Fall 2014: The Social Media Issue

July 3, 2014 – 10:18 am |

Dear Readers, Good news! The  Summer-Fall issue* is now available, and we’re excited to see it debut. We call this one The Social Media Issue. Yes, we’ve decided to devote an entire issue to exploring the ways and means …

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Afterwords, Blog »

Afterwords // Patricia Lockwood: The Hour of Bewilderment

November 6, 2014 – 11:33 am |

By Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey

On July 10, 2014, Patricia Lockwood read at Seattle’s Elliot Bay Book Company from her most recent book of poems, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. The room–a book-lined basement annex with a small raised stage and podium–was full. Over the next few months, editors Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey exchanged a series of emails, sharing their thoughts about the event. This conversation results from that exchange.

large_4119430571: Meme-Numbed

First impressions first: that reading was absolutely feral. The energy that Lockwood exuded seemed barely containable by the typical reading format. This was apparent from the get-go, when the woman introducing Tricia struggled to stay composed or even objective. She was effusive, probably to a fault. But between that anterior energy and the tone of Lockwood’s poems (and that voice!—those are hard poems to read aloud, I think, and she did herself a service), it’s hard to believe we were all seated, quiet and well-mannered, in the basement of Elliott Bay Bookstore, no?

I know we’ll have to discuss how Lockwood became a social media phenomenon, and there’ll be time for that. But for now, I’d like to stick to tone and atmosphere. See, the poem I keep returning to is “Revealing Nature Photographs.” That poem seems so symptomatic of her work at large—it’s dressed in a familiar vernacular turned on its head. Replete with vulgarities, idioms, puns, and a collage of explicit images, the poem does, in fact, reveal our nature.

Having known the poem previously, I spent less time listening to her read it, and more time tracking the responses of the audience. Man, was there a wide range! Some chuckled, some smiled through the whole poem, some winced, some just stared dumbly ahead, hardly sure of how to respond to the volatile and pornographic theater she was constructing.

I’m interested in knowing your response to the overall atmosphere of the reading, but I also want to know: do you think she laughs when she writes her poems? More importantly, how much do you think she wants us to laugh? How much of her poetry is aimed at infuriating, which is what Stevens suggests good poetry ought to be capable of…and how much is supposed to be taken as absurd humor? I don’t know…

EC: Let me just say right now that I love the word “feral” so much. I took this opportunity to look up the etymology of “feral” and the word snarled at me, as did Patricia Lockwood in the basement of Elliott Bay. At least that’s how it felt. She had such an air of fond- and faux-disdain for us—her audience. Even as, between poems, she drank mock-elegantly from a glass of water and, alternately, a glass of “bookstore wine,” Lockwood seemed grateful for the refreshments and the occasion but also fake-aggravated by the formality of it all. Or the absurdity of it all? Perhaps. “Wiiiiiiiiine,” she whined, during one of these strange displays of irony and thirst. Overall, I got the sense that Lockwood was being playful with the audience, though the tone of her play-bristliness was sometimes confusing to me, difficult to read: “You can snap,” she said, to someone poetry-snapping in the front row after her first poem, “but don’t clap, that is hysterical.” Read the full story »

The Subvocal Zoo: Episode 5 – Robert Hass

November 1, 2014 – 8:00 am |

Poetry Northwest‘s monthly podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets during the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Seattle. Each episode will feature lively …

Afterwords // Kay Ryan: All Your Flamingos

October 16, 2014 – 8:11 am | One Comment

By Jack Chelgren | Special Projects Intern
When Tree Swenson, the executive director of Hugo House, introduced Kay Ryan for a lecture on rhyme last week, she noted the delightful sense of “hidden treasure” lurking in …

In Memory of Carolyn Kizer

October 11, 2014 – 8:45 pm | One Comment

We learn this weekend the sad news that Carolyn Kizer, a founding editor of Poetry Northwest, has passed away.
She touched many lives as a poet, mentor and friend, and we’d like to share with you …

Scott Condon: Notes on Rae Armantrout’s Poem “Thrown”

September 30, 2014 – 8:00 am |

By Scott Condon | Contributing Writer

The title of Rae Armantrout’s poem “Thrown” immediately brings to mind philosopher Martin Heidegger’s notion that human life is thrown into the world. This concept plays a key role in …

Interview // Joanna Klink

September 28, 2014 – 11:57 pm |

By Diana Khoi Nguyen | Contributing Writer

Joanna Klink earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University. Her collections of poetry include They Are Sleeping (2000), Circadian (2007), and Raptus (2010). Her new book, Excerpts from a …

Seattle’s Favorite Poems – Thursday, 9/18, 7:30 pm

September 5, 2014 – 1:50 pm |

Seattle’s Favorite Poems with Robert Pinsky – Free Event!
THU, SEP 18, 2014, 7:30 PM Town Hall Seattle
Celebrate beloved poems with other local poetry lovers in this special event, which is free and open to the …

Margin Call – printer’s error in current issue

August 19, 2014 – 12:21 pm |

A Note to Readers & Subscribers:
We recently discovered, after mailing and distribution of the current issue (Volume 9, Number 1 – aka The Social Media Issue) that an uncertain number of copies contain a substantial printer’s …

The Triggering Town Review

August 19, 2014 – 9:14 am |

Please join us with Ed Skoog and friends for a certain-to-be-memorable two-evening run of poetry, music and performance!
Where, Now? The Hugo House Theater in Seattle.
When, You Ask? This weekend only. Friday August 22 and Saturday …

Interview // Cathy Park Hong

June 17, 2014 – 11:15 am |

By Diana Khoi Nguyen | Contributing Writer
Cathy Park Hong‘s first book, Translating Mo’um was published in 2002 by Hanging Loose Press. Her second collection, Dance Dance Revolution, was chosen for the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was published in …

Someone Dies One Day // Julie Larios on Russell Edson

June 9, 2014 – 1:23 pm |

by Julie Larios, Contributing Writer 
“Two cups in a cupboard. Someone looks in, I do not know which cup is which cup. Now someone looking in faints and falls to the floor. Someone on the floor …