Poet Profile: Bryan Borland

Bryan Borland

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Title of the last poem you wrote:  “Banned”

The title of the last poem you read:  “Perseid Meteor Shower” by Seth Pennington

Two poetry books everyone should buy:  Erebus by Jane Summer (Sibling Rivalry Press) and I Wore the Only Garden I’ve Ever Grown by Kathryn Leland (Headmistress Press)

A print poetry journal/mag you often read:  Foglifter

An online poetry journal/mag you often read:  Divedapper

A Denise Duhamel poem you enjoy:  “Buying Stock”

Poet Profile: Beth Gylys

Beth Gylys

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Title of the last poem you wrote:  “Run Aground”

The title of the last poem you read:  “The First Man” by Wendy Bishop

Two poetry books everyone should buy:  Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems, Rainer Rilke: New Poems

A print poetry journal/mag you often read:  Barrow Street

An online poetry journal/mag you often read: Rattle

A Denise Duhamel poem you enjoy: ALMOST ALL OF THEM—“Madonna and Me”

Poet Profile: C. Dale Young 

C. Dale Young

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Title of the last poem you wrote: “Portrait in Burnt Orange and Bitter Almonds”

Title of the last poem you read: “I Won’t Lie This Plague of Gratitude” by Kaveh Akbar

Two poetry books everyone should buy:  Holy Sonnets by John Donne and Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

A print poetry journal/mag you often read: The Kenyon Review

An online poetry journal/mag you often read: The Collagist

A Denise Duhamel poem you enjoy: “Buddhist Barbie”

Poet Profile: D. Gilson

D. Gilson

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Title of the last poem you wrote: “The Little Prince”

The title of the last poem you read: “First Light” by Chen Chen

Two poetry books everyone should buy: Morgan Parker’s There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Kaveh Akbar’s Portrait of the Alcoholic

A print poetry journal/mag you often read: Public Space

An online poetry journal/mag you often read: The Rumpus

A Denise Duhamel poem you enjoy: “Bikini Kill Villanelle

Poet Profile: Laure-Anne Bosselaar 

Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Title of the last poem you wrote: “It Wouldn’t Take Much”

Title of the last poem you read: “Do No Harm” by Frank X Gaspar

Two poetry books everyone should buy: Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly and I’ve Come This Far To Say Hello by Kurt Brown

A print poetry journal/mag you often read: Plume

An online poetry journal/mag you often read: The Cortland Review

A Denise Duhamel poem you enjoy: “The Widow”

Why I Write ~ Ben Kline

Why I Write – Ben Kline

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I write because of the farm, where my grandfather planted sweet corn and cut his hair based on the moon phases. Where Skunk Tail hurdled a double-wire electric fence and stomped a dog to death for being too close to her calf. The farm was abundant living and everyday death. Grandpa had seizures between the celery in the family garden and while driving the 75 Ford into the hay field. His son my father explained how to pop the truck into neutral and engage the e brake. Skunk Tail liked to have her neck scratched with a rake. The farmable plots snaked between the hills ripe with beauty that might one day be art, despite all the stray cats, drunks from the dry township next door, nosy relatives and shit needing shoveled.

I write because of 1990. The queerest year of “Vogue,” the summer I attended driver’s education three mornings a week at the junior high, and my first STI, for which I feigned ignorance of origin despite knowing exactly who, where and when. My older female second cousins who were nurses in cities looked at my exposed loins with quiet dismay and suppressed worry my mother did not detect. Molluscum contagiosum is no joke. Truckers are the loneliest lovers. Of the seven of us taking driver’s ed that June and July, I was the only one who remained childless by 1992 and the second of three receiving a penicillin shot.

I write because of sex, rich with taboo and risk. Sex with other boys saying no but whispering yes once we were alone in his dad’s Jeep. Sex with men without names at the rest stop by the dam. Sex fast and busy with appendages, parts and actions like asanas flowing through to a zone where the body blurs with the mind, when the sweat splashing near the finish is the holiest water a man can ever know. Because even a fuck can be artful, of value beyond itself. Before the internet sex seemed another dimension. I wanted to know what vibrated beside me unseen.

I write because of Catholicism, which taught me that contradiction, hyperbole and paradox make for the best threesomes and the best short stories. During Lent and Advent, my mother made us kneel around the living room and recite the Holy Rosary. My father would be snoring by the third mystery. My siblings would fidget. I wrote poems about butts in my head during the boring Hail Marys. I cranked my volume on the Gloria Patri, as if it were the chorus of a pop song.

I write because of every issue of Uncanny X-Men between issues 138 and 275. Chris Claremont created a universe, weaving myriad ideas and characters’ lives through and around an epic story that spoke to concepts of social justice and equality in a fun, engaging, soapy serial format long before anyone knew what it meant to clap back.

I write because of John David, my uncle who died of ARC in the summer of 1992, who mentored me on culture, clothes and divas, whose open queerness terrified and thrilled me. He encouraged my writing. His lovers, friends and he died too soon. I dream about what their lives might be.

I write because of Betty Fisher, my freshman year English teacher, who read my first short stories and poems, who said “Do this,” who provided stinging yet constructive feedback.

I write because of Michael, Prince and Madonna. The only holy trinity I will ever need.

Why I Write – Julene Tripp Weaver

Why I Write – Julene Tripp Weaver

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Writing gives me a voice, and it is an avenue to bring my creative self into the world about issues that have personal meaning. In my life I’ve crossed many boundaries: sexual and racial, made the decision not to have children, or to get married. I’ve studied herbal medicine, hands on healing, and have practiced Continuum Movement since 1988; I’m a licensed therapist using a somatic approach.

The things I want to write about are difficult yet important: sex, abortion, sterilization, being bisexual in a long-term relationship with a man, being in an interracial relationship, my work through the AIDS epidemic, and being a survivor. Through my exploration and need to work, writing has gone underground various times in my life, but I experience a constant call to the page that I cannot ignore. I believe art (visual, written, sound) has great potential to impact us and promote change.

Ultimately, writing is my art. It meets my need to be aware, to express myself, and to be heard. It is a source for healing, a mechanism to promote social and personal awareness.

It is impossible to explore why I write without touching on my childhood. My mother was schizophrenic and while I was convinced she did not love me I was very closely bonded with my father. It was my father who insured words were in my life. He made certain I had a supply of magazines and children’s books—Nancy Drew and Heidi were my favorites.

When my father died a month before I turned twelve I found solace in words. I’ve always believed that reading saved my life; it gave me a way to escape from my mother and it helped to ease my grief after the loss of my father and being uprooted from the country to the city. From this time, writing became a strong internal drive; I started to write in journals.

 

My writing is strongly influenced by the feminist movement while it is rooted in a working class ethic. My father was from a farm family and served in the military (as did my uncle). From childhood I knew that life was much more than the work-a-day world and its obligations to daily tasks. I wanted to live the life of an artist, pay attention, find meaning, and explore my creativity. With this desire, I yearned to get a degree while I worked as a laboratory technician in my first fourteen-year career. I wanted to address issues I was becoming aware of in a creative way. Eventually, I was the first person in my family to graduate college.

In the 1970s, independent, living in New York City, I became aware of feminism and gay rights. I joined a poetry group, took a poetry class, became active in the Feminist Writers Guild; I was a representative at their national convention in Chicago where I gave my first reading. Inspired by the books and poets of the time: Gloria Steinem, Mary Daly, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Judy Grahn, Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rich, Sonia Sanchez, Pat Parker, etc., I went to marches, speak outs, readings, and had my consciousness raised about inequities in society and compulsory heterosexuality.

By the mid 70s I had my first relationship with a lesbian—my growing awareness became a powerful catalyst towards developing a desire to promote and effect change in the world.

Determined to fulfill my desire to write poetry, I returned to college full time as an undergraduate in 1982 at the City University of New York. Their program enabled me to study at Hunter and Brooklyn College, where I could study poetry with my chosen mentors: Audre Lorde and Joan Larkin; I was lucky to also find Louise DeSalvo. Immersed as a returning adult student I had a phenomenal experience of college and began my writing life in earnest.

Studying with Audre Lorde clarified important aspects of how I perceive poetry. After every poem was read, she asked, “What do you feel?” I accept her belief that poetry is written to make people feel. My study with her helped me dive deeper into my feelings to discover buried emotions and events. My long history keeping journals and using this material as seeds to generate poems is how I still work. My effort to capture and fully experience life, helps me remember and reconstruct, for me this is a healing process. I like to think that in the tradition of Lorde, my poetry makes people feel.

 

I view myself as an artist whose primary medium is writing. As an artist, I find the most compelling visual art to be that which contains/utilizes words or language. In my adult years, I’ve explored many art forms with a strong desire to create. I’ve experimented with drawing, painting, pottery, photography, collage, but writing is the most steady, compelling and persistent art in my life.

Also drawn to expressive movement, I took Emilie Conrad (founder of Continuum) and Rebecca Mark’s “Poetry in Motion” intensive in 1996, which combined movement with ‘hand-to-page’ exploration. Inspired by the cauldron of writing they created, I came home excited, and started running groups. I named my workshops, “Muse to Write,” and ran them for ten years. At that first Poetry in Motion intensive I started writing about my work in HIV, work that when crafted became part of my first published chapbook, Case Walking An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues.

Much of my writing stems from the devastating grief I experienced after my father’s death. I write to heal from this loss, which threw my life into trauma for decades. Tom Spanbauer has been referred to as a Wounded Heart writer, he writes to heal himself. He is one of the teachers/mentors I sought out.

Through this Spanbauer-inspired and trademarked Dangerous Writing, I’ve remembered moments from my past and reconstructed my life’s time line. Writing my many truths is a path to healing, as well as a process of profound integration and acceptance. This immersion led to my first full size poetry book—No Father Can Save Her. The processing of emotions and the recovery of memories about my life helps heal my soul. Writing also gives me a sense of hope that through my words my father will be remembered.

 

For each of us, our obsessions, loves, desires, needs, and fears, start early. We are born dependent and attached. Our early relationships form the strategies we use to survive. So too, my writing was seeded in these earliest days. Writing is the constant in my life; no matter what, I go to the page.