Sunday, October 16, 2011

Interim Magazine and Ecopoetics

The new issue of Interim Magazine, edited by Claudia Keelan, focuses on the conversation between poetry and the natural world; one of the exciting aspects of this gathering was the political action invitation by Jonathan Skinner, in which poets were invited to write something in light of the recent Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and visit with their congressional representative. 

This is Keelan's introductory note:

This special issue of Interim collects sui generis work to pose questions and positions relevant to the on going interactions of human beings and what we call the natural world. I am thankful to Chris Arigo, Matthew Cooperman and Jonathan Skinner for the innovative work found here, and I am indebted to the many writers and artists whose continued experiments in artistic expression further the dialogue and expand the possibilities of what is, precariously, our democracy. Here in these pages is a transfigured, yet communal space, countering the transfiguration of an oil rig planted in the ocean floor. You will find here, our legislators.

Many of the poets not only succeeded in engaging the political process, but wrote about their experience (see, for example, Brenda Hillman's piece).  Arielle Greenberg's letter to her representative, with its dual fonts, creates something like a reverb effect.   She ends her letter/poem:

And yes, this is a poem. When I was working on the homebirth legislation, I was instructed by wise, well-informed activists not to write letters like this when meeting with my representatives, not to stray from the party line or from the key points. It feels something of a radical act to write in the way I most want to write, to a person in your position, a position of legislative power. So that's what makes it a poem, to me.

On the heels of the "Poets for Living Waters" online collection, this anthology extends the conversation about what it might mean to bring poetry (and poets) to bear on our national (and, arguably, global) conversation about how we might change the deleterious dynamics between human beings and the rest of the ecosphere.

For what it's worth, here's my small contribution.  But the contributors, just for the Skinner-edited section are many, and I'm still picking my way through them (many friends, notables, and others I'd wish I knew better): Jen Hofer & Hillary Mushkin, CAConrad, Ian Demsky, Diane di Prima, Alison Pelegrin,
Jack Collom, Marcella Durand, Benjamin Friedlander, Laura Elrick, Heidi Lynn Staples, Cara Benson, Ann Fisher-Wirth & Gara Gillentine, Sheryl St. Germain, E.J. McAdams, Michael Leong, Christine Leclerc, Timothy Bradford, Evelyn Reilly, Arielle Greenberg, Jared Schickling, Laura Mullen, Sharon Mesmer, Philip Metres, Kristen Baumliér, Brenda Hillman, Rodrigo Toscano, Martha Serpas & Heidi Lynn Staples, Brett Evans & Frank Sherlock, Keaton Nguyen Smith, Abby Reyes, JenMarie Davis, Jennifer Scappettone, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Michael Rothenberg, Andrew Schelling, Jonathan Skinner, Cecilia Vicuña.  Much good work to read and consider.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Congratulations to all contributors. It's so important we keep a focus on the Gulf.

Readers might also like to know about the charity anthology "Oil and Water and Other Things That Don't Mix". It contains some terrific writing. All sales benefit two Gulf aid organizations. I'm proud to have a poem in it. The anthology is available through all booksellers.