All posts tagged: Jane Wong

Afterwords // Naming the Animals: Stephen Burt on The Nearly-Baroque in Contemporary Poetry

By Rich Smith Poetry Northwest Contributing Writer The talk was held in a conference room on the second floor of the Communications Building on the UW Campus. Weird room! (Good light, though. Lots of lamps.) Weird time! 6:00PM on a Friday, a fact that was not lost on Mr. Burt. However, he drew a good crowd—maybe 30 people, nearly all with notebooks on their laps. Burt speaks clearly, loudly, and with authority. He was a casual dresser, though, in a striped long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans, clear-framed glasses, Chuck Taylor’s with colorful laces, and sporting silver nail polish on modestly trimmed nails. I thought the fingernail polish was a nod to the theme of the talk, and I was admiring his commitment to the bit, but when I asked him about the polish later on in the evening he said he just liked to wear it. In short, I was ashamed. Especially three days later, after reading his beautiful essay about the newly released anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Anyway, the …

Afterwords // Last Year in Quotes! (We’re Glad We Took Notes.)

January 5 Jason Witmarsh, Writers on Writing Lecture Series “Occupy that critical part of your brain–the thing that says, ‘this is useless’–and give that part of your brain a crossword puzzle, while the other part writes.” (J.W. on: writing in form) January 6 Rebecca Albiani on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Frye “William Blake couldn’t stand falsity in anyone . . . and so he was a difficult companion.”  March 11 Barbara Courtney, Tiny House Reading Series, hosted by Emily Johnson “You will have to learn . . . how to dispense with teachers, even me.” April 14 Troy Jollimore, Seattle Arts & Lectures “Any really good poet has to be philosophical . . . if you pursue any field long enough you eventually end up doing philosophy.” April 16 Andrew Feld, Open Books “I don’t think there are that many people these days writing narrative-poems-in-heroic-couplets-that-are-visionary-quests. So, I sort of enjoy doing that.” April 22 Gregory Laynor, Tiny House Reading Series “I think I’m more of a worry doll than a poet . …

Jane Wong: “Aphoristic”

Congratulations to Jane Wong, winner of the second installment of Poetry Northwest‘s writing contest, The Pitch.  Of her winning poem, Jane writes: I was moved by Zach Savich’s final question in the prompt: “What makes timelessness count?” Time in “Aphoristic” became a matter of recovery, of going back habitually to what keeps us timeless.  Because, what more do we want than stability, than keeping time from moving away from us?  When I was growing up, my mother relied on aphorisms and “life lessons” for everything. But her sayings were never quite right. There were mistakes in language (she was learning English), in memory, in laziness even. Suddenly, the idiom changed from “beating a dead horse” to “kicking a horse dead under the table.” Or she would say things like: “If you can’t walk, swim. If you can’t swim, crawl. If you can’t crawl, take the bus. Always keep going.” Funny as these mistakes were, I was always struck by their consequences. In messing up or tinkering with aphorisms or “timeless” clichés, time in this poem ends …