Perie Longo: “A friend recently sent me a card of a woman jumping in the air at the sight of a mountain range, with the saying, ‘Life is too short to take seriously.’ I’m trying to laugh at myself a little more often, especially in unguarded moments, and trying, too, to capture those times in poetry.” (website)
Ron Riekki: “Working in the military and in prisons has been, not always, but at times, to be honest, one of the most brutally negative experiences imaginable. In the horrors of those memories, I try to realize that comedy is one of the main things that can get you through hell, whether it’s a twelve-hour shift or a four-year presidency. Think of the onomatopoeia of ‘trump!’ being similar to ‘splat!’—the country tripping and landing on its nose. Even the Donald has a face and hair that is so clownish that when he posts his potentially war-inducing tweets, it’s pure post-millennial Dr. Strangelove. If I remember correctly, Robert McKee calls the mix of horror and comedy ‘delicious.’ It was wonderful to receive an email from the Rattle editors saying the poem ‘Just plain cracked us up.’ I’ll close with this eloquent tweet posted by Donald J. Trump on May 3, 2013, at 9:35 a.m.: ‘Amazing how the haters & losers keep tweeting the name F**kface Von Clownstick like they are so original & like no one else is doing it …’ I was cracking up myself just now retyping that. Ahhh, comedy. Hail to the thief.” (twitter)
Dion O’Reilly: “There has been much in the news to cause anxiety this week: Trump’s assertion that his meeting with generals was the calm before a storm, the fires raging just a few hundred miles away from me in Sonoma and Mendocino County. Every alarming piece of news is part of a broader picture of a sea change– the eerie feeling we are being forced into a new and deadly normal.” (website)
George Ovitt: “Though I am today the most boring person in the world, way back in 1964, aged sixteen, I ran with a wild crowd of cut-purses, scalawags, and ne’er-do-wells. The leader of our gang was a reprehensible character who is now probably dead or in jail—or both. This summer I took some time off from writing boring poems to commemorate my shady past. The truth is, poetry, mine anyway, invites this kind of Walter Mitty daydream. Writing a poem, I give myself leave to remember, to revel in, what I’d never allow myself to think about otherwise.”
Taylor Mali: “In both of the books of poetry I published after Rebecca’s death I tried to include a few poems about her. But they were always so unlike the rest of the manuscript that they couldn’t stay in. I’ve known for a decade that all my poems about Rebecca would need to be published in a collection by themselves. The Whetting Stone is that collection.” (website)
Once my friend Rusty and I saw that movie, we couldn’t think of anything else. Sometimes we wanted to go to the moon in small space suits and surprise them. Other times we wanted to be Cat Women. The possibility of a new and feline gender made us queasy and excited. We fantasized about pouncing on our schoolyard tormentors and tearing their throats out with our claws and fangs. Then we would change back into boys with baseball gloves who were interested in Marilyn and Becky, pretty girls in our grade who wore fuzzy socks. But we weren’t just boys. We were Cat Women, too. We prowled on our way to school. We ate only fish sticks and drank only milk. We thought some day we would marry girls like Marilyn and Becky but never tell them that we, Rusty and I, dreamed the same dream every night: on the moon with our Cat Women friends: playing with a ball of yarn, grooming each other, watching for a rocket ship which we hoped would never come.
Ron Koertge: “I love movies and see about 50 a year. In theaters. DVDs and Netflix aren’t part of that 50. I see a lot that way, too. I’m always available for a poem, or at least that’s the idea. There’s a cool video rental place in South Pasadena called Videotheque. Big old place with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of DVDs. They also have a poster outside; it’s under glass like in an old-fashioned Orpheum or Rialto, and it changes every few weeks. One evening there was the poster for Cat Women. I could feel the warm breath of the muse, so I just stood there for a while. I thought about the poem a lot, stroked it in a way. Then pretty soon—presto: There it was.” (website)