Norma Cole: On Distraction

This essay was adapted from a talk given at Saint Mary’s College, 12 March 2014

“I was hesitant to take the case, having my mind already on another case.”
Norma Cole, “Mars
(Mars, Listening Chamber Press, 1994)

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Poetry: Brandon Shimoda


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Poetry: Linda Russo


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Poetry: Sasha Steensen

Aflame, it itself made

                        “redeemed from fire by fire”
                                                —T.S. Eliot

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Chicago Lit Scene: Matter

Review by Lina ramona Vitkauskas, Chicago Correspondent

What’s The Matter Here?

Why do you come to poetry readings?
Why are you here tonight?
Are you hoping poetry will save you from the self-help gurus?
Are you eyeballing the exits?
Are you lost?
Are you looking for the restroom?
Are you searching for a distraction from the “you” that “you’ve” become?
Are you entertained by language?
Are you going to hell in a Harley-Davidson basket of derivatives?
Are you bored with being boring?
Are you in over your genitals?
Are you looking for a community of likeminded individuals for when the apocalypse finally comes?
Are you insured against major life-changing poetry events?
What’s the point of witnessing the poet’s biography during a reading?
Do your ears ring with unsaid character development?
Do your eyes water with ineffable images?
Do your nostrils flex with the strong silence type?
Do your fat palms sweat touching implicit hips?
Does your mouth water on the cutting edge of applause?

Gene Tanta, “Why Do You Come to Poetry Readings”

10176021_10152405683043338_6250038128037080073_nOn an unusually warm spring evening for Chicago (April 12, 2014), poets attempted to answer the above questions—if not literally, then conceptually—with more poems of their own. Local poets gathered at MATILDA/Baby Atlas in the Lakeview neighborhood for the First Anniversary Reading of the online journal, Matter.

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