Naropa Writing, part 1

This is part one of a three-part essay composed at Naropa’s Summer Writing Program in 2016 by Avren Keating, OmniVerse staff writer.
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Poetry/Essay: Carmen Giménez Smith

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Adam Fagin: “Story I Cannot Tell”

This is a story I’ve told forever: My great-grandfather dies, leaving his wife, Celia, with three small children: Jake, Shimmy, and Sam.

He dies one year after my grandfather’s birth, it is 1919, leaving my great-grandmother to raise a family alone.

They live in Springfield, Massachusetts.

It is the Prohibition. The point is: they live through this untimely death.

At this point in the story, the United States government has banned the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. Celia, my great-grandmother, becomes a bootlegger.

This story is about survival: it’s about family, but it’s also about home.

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Sara Burant reviews Laura Sims’ Staying Alive

Staying Alive
Laura Sims
Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-937027-62-9

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Charles Theonia reviews Jamie Berrout’s Postcard Poems

098570da8a086001-098570da8a086002Postcard Poems
Jamie Berrout

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Elena Karina Byrne: “Voyeur Hour”

Looking and looking causes time to open.
—Mark Doty

I love his eyes. They are little larger than what he sees.
—Paul Valery

Our eyes have become voracious like mouths.
—Ann Hamilton

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Mary Cisper reviews Lisa Fishman’s 24 Pages and other poems

24 Pages and other poems
Lisa Fishman
Wave Books, 2015
ISBN: 9781940696102

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Elena Karina Byrne: “THE ORPHAN OF SILENCE (An Interrupted Essay)”

                        I just knew they had to be silent… the pain is not out in the room, the pain
                        in ourselves is invisible, inside ourselves.

                                                            –– Bill Viola

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Poiein: to make. No matter the numerous etymological routes, one arrives at to make. The emphasis is not on the maker. The maker: the poet, though active, is not the action. The making is the thing. The all-important thing: performing a range of possibility.

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Geoffrey G. O’Brien: Canceled Pastoral: Ashbery’s “The Instruction Manual” and Genre Responsibility

This essay was originally delivered as a talk at Saint Mary’s College, September 16, 2015.

The poet and critic Allen Grossman has said that poetry addresses itself to two fundamental problems or limits: death and the barrier of other people’s minds. What he doesn’t discuss in this formulation are the material conditions in which those problems present themselves and in which any poetry that tasks itself with confronting them is written. But such conditions—economic and social—obtain in any historical moment from antiquity to the corporatist present and not only affect a poem’s situation, they constitute a third limit: the poet’s constrained imagination of those other limits, death and people, and of poetry’s capacity to reach and traverse them. One crucial version of that third limit is time, which at all times is an economic commodity—the act of composition is a labor that requires time and thus freedom from other labor, either purchased with one’s own work or by virtue of the work of others, usually both. Poetry has several ways of forgetting the fact that it’s underwritten by labor, that there is endless occupation supporting its vocation, the easiest of which is, like Grossman’s account of the poetic task, simply not to mention it. A specific, reliable form of this unmentioning is called pastoral.

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