benjamin_aleshire Wept with a customer, clutching each other in the street while no one understood what was happening between us. She’s in love with a 62-year-old man, and even tho he’s so much older his muscles are tight from all the work he does and it turns her on. But at first he kept saying, Hey, I’m just using you. Like he was pushing her away. They fell in love anyway, and he finally told her the truth: leukemia, maybe a few years left—the doctors are helpless, there’s nothing for them to even cut out. So in a letter she joked with him that living too long is bad manners, anyway. Now I feel empty and full at the same time. But you can’t carry this around with you and be as lonely as I am; I had to exorcise it with a ritual of words to wash it away, and then a whiskey in Vesuvio that tasted like water or somehow, sand. I bought a white rose from the bum sucking his gums at the other end of the bar and didn’t even know why—gave it away to Tony across the street at Specs who looked at me all strange. City Lights again today, it’s not like I have a choice. #poetry #poem #poetforhire
Benjamin Aleshire: “I make my living by traveling around the world and writing poems for strangers on a manual typewriter in the street. I post on Instagram to let people know where I’ll be setting up, and also as a way of sharing some of the stories behind the poems in the caption, the reasons why strangers wanted what they wanted—which I see as an opportunity for flash-prose, and also a method of exorcising people’s stories, so I don’t have to walk around with their pain clanging around in my skull.” (web)
We’re bringing a new poet into your pocket every week with the Rattlecast. Part interview and part reading, with a prompt-based open mic, it’s a casual way to hangout with Rattle editor Timothy Green and all of our friends in poetry around the world. The Rattlecast livestreams—usually Mondays at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, though the schedule sometimes varies. Please go to our YouTube channel and click “Subscribe.” Every show is simulcast to Facebook and Twitter. An audio version is available on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, Amazon, and other podcasting apps—search for “Rattlecast” on your favorite.
Each Rattlecast begins with a Poets Respond Live segment, featuring poems about the news, and also features a writing prompt at the end of the show, and open lines for poems written for the last week’s prompt or anything else the audience would like to share. To participate, just send your poem to openmic [at] rattle [dot] com so it can be shown on-screen. If you can read it yourself, join in on Zoom during the last half of the show—a like will be provided in the chat windows on YouTube and Facebook.
Next Week’s Prompt (via Joan Kwon Glass): Victoria Chang radically changes the way in which we regard obituaries by writing an entire poetry collection using obits as form. Write an obituary for one of the following: a previous version of yourself, a friendship or romantic relationship, a body part, your adult child’s childhood, or for someone who has not died but that you’ve lost (read “One Year After My Dying Father and I Stop Speaking to Each Other Again” by Eugenia Leigh in Split This Rock for inspiration!)
(all times Eastern, unusual times bolded)
Monday, December 12th, 8pm: Elaine Sexton
Monday, December 19th, 8pm: Dion O’Reilly
Quincy R. Lehr is an American poet who was raised in Norman, Oklahoma, and presently lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in print and online venues in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, and the Czech Republic, including American Arts Quarterly, Cadenza, The Chimaera, and The Raintown Review. His first book of poetry, Across the Grid of Streets, was published by Seven Towers (Dublin) in 2008, and his second, Obscure Classics of English Progressive Rock, also by Seven Towers in 2011. His book-length poem Heimat is now available from Barefoot Muse Press. He is also the editor of The Raintown Review. His poem “War Song” appeared in issue #53 of Rattle.
Timothy Green has worked as editor of Rattle since 2004. His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Connecticut Review, The Florida Review, Mid-American Review, and Nimrod International Journal. Green has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award, and his first book, American Fractal (Red Hen Press, 2009), won the Phi Kappa Phi award from the University of Southern California. He is a contributing columnist for the (Riverside) Press Enterprise and co-founder of the Wrightwood Literary Festival. He lives in Wrightwood with his wife and two children.
Sunday, June 9th, 5 p.m.
Benjamin Aleshire, Alexis Rhone Fancher, & Pavana Reddy
Benjamin Aleshire is based in New Orleans and travels the world as a poet-for-hire, composing poems for strangers on a manual typewriter. His work has been featured in The Times UK, Iowa Review, Boston Review, El Mundo, London Magazine, and on television in the U.S., China, and Spain. The second edition of his artist-book of visual poems, Currency, was released in 2017. An excerpt of his novel, Poet for Hire: Kismet of a 21st Century Troubadour is forthcoming in LitHub. Ben serves as assistant poetry editor for the Green Mountains Review. His poem “Good Manners” appears in Rattle #64. For more information, visit his website.
Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies (2015), Enter Here (2017), and Junkie Wife (2018). Her chapbook, The Dead Kid Poems, debuted in May 2019. She is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Slipstream, Plume, Nashville Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Glass, and elsewhere. Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. Her poems appear in Rattle #41, #52, and #61. For more information, visit her website.
Maria Jastrzebska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and came to the U.K as a child. She was co-editor of Queer in Brighton (New Writing South 2014) and has translated the work of Polish poet Justyna Bargielska with The Great Plan B (Smokestack 2017). Her drama Dementia Diaries toured nationally in 2011. Her work is widely anthologized and features in the British Library project Between Two Worlds—Poetry and Translation. For the last six months she has been working on Snow Q, a collaborative project funded by Arts Council England: www.snowqproject.wordpress.com. The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue (Cinnamon Press/Liquorice Fish 2018) is her fourth and most recent collection. She lives in Brighton in the U.K. Her poem “Dear Mama” appeared in Rattle #59. For more information, visit her website.
Pavana Reddy is a Los Angeles-based poet and songwriter. She is most well-known for her first book of poetry, Rangoli, as well a song called “Remain the Sea” written for the critically acclaimed album Land of Gold by Anoushka Shankar. She is currently set to release her second book of poems, Where Do You Go Alone, and is already working on her third. She was interviewed for and has two poems in Rattle #64. For more information, visit her website.
The Summer 2019 issue features a tribute to Instagram Poets. Muchhasbeenwritten about Instagram poetry over the last several years, and we thought it was time to investigate for ourselves. We received both submissions and recommendations and read through thousands of Instagram accounts, choosing the best 18 poems we could find. Some of them are Insta-famous, with hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform, while others have as few as 20. As with all things, we’re interested in the quality of the poems and not the stature of the poets. The styles span the range, too, from visual poems to epigrams to more traditional poetry that just happens to fit well with the media. Learn more about the nexus of poetry and Instagram as Timothy Green talks to emerging star Pavana Reddy.
Meanwhile, the open section features two dozen eclectic poems, including the return of previously unpublished poet Marvin Artis, with a second round of his hidden gems.