All posts tagged: Martha Silano

On Kizer: “Her Own Woman”

In recent weeks, we’ve been publishing tributes to Poetry Northwest founding editor, Carolyn Kizer.  We’ll post additional material throughout the spring: for additional features in the series, please visit here.  Here, we continue with a spirited admiration, by Martha Silano, of Kizer’s ability to express and measure the inadequacy of “man’s / Ingenious constructions.” — I was in my mid-20s, living in Portland, Oregon, and newly enrolled in my first poetry writing workshop at Portland State University. My teacher, the wonderfully avuncular Primus St. John, gently broke the news, with each poem I brought to class, that I wasn’t quite yet Sappho. I wasn’t titling my poems, claiming I was following in the footsteps of Emily Dickinson, but when Primus shook his head and laughed at this defense, I took his advice. In retrospect, it makes sense that I would be taking my cues from Dickinson. Having just spent four years at a prestigious liberal art college in the Midwest, I received my BA in English without being asked to read or analyze a single …

Martha Silano: “Ours”

With the Spring issue of Poetry Northwest soon on its way, we bring  you a taste of what’s to come.  In “Ours,” Martha Silano puts her eye to the lens of our own sphere.  She writes: I’m not the first person who’s longed to write a poem where Earth and its inhabitants are presented to a being who has no clue about us, and for years I thought about letting loose my inner Margaret Mead right here on my own home turf. My initial attempts to create anthropologist-like poems failed, perhaps because while they shared cool stuff about our “lil” planet, they didn’t add up to much. These failed attempts taught me that I needed to push beyond mere pond side/ highway median reportage. As I began “Ours,” I fell into conveying a more furtive stance which quickly became a shaping mechanism for the poem—I was amused and intrigued by our business-as-usual systems of greed, waste, and overconsumption . . . and war-making.  But more importantly, I was pissed. As I wrote this poem, I …