I am compelled to start posting again on a more regular basis, and compelled to start doing that today by a very exciting new release in which I am a humble participant. And it is this:
Local Ground(s)—Midwest Poetics: Selected Prose Verse Wisconsin 2009–2014, edited by Sarah Busse & Wendy Vardaman
Back in late 2012, I received an email message from Sarah and Wendy about an idea they had hatched, which piqued my interest immediately. Curious about the whole blogging thing, Sarah proposed an email exchange among several women poets here in Wisconsin who blog about writing - not blogging to promote their writing, but about writing itself, about writing poetry.
I was still feeling pretty much of a newbie in terms of poetry-writing, so I was excited, but also humbled, at the thought of being in an exchange of this kind with the likes of Sarah Busse, Jennifer Morales, Margaret Rozga, and Lisa Vihos.
Our weeks-long exchange took place in January 2013 and was published in Verse Wisconsin later that year. It was then edited by our fearless duo and appears in local ground(s) with the title (and I love it): "A Means to Open the World: A Conversation Around Blogging, Five Women in Three Acts."
But this is only one piece in a thick volume chock full of some of the best Wisconsin writers. The collection is a woven piece, writings placed in new contexts, providing a broad spectrum of voices, povs, lenses, through which to view the culture of our state. I have barely scratched the surface as I begin digging in to this wide-ranging anthology.
So, tune in tonight, and help spread the word!
From the Cowfeather Press book page:
For six years, Wendy Vardaman and Sarah Busse co-edited the hybrid poetry magazine Verse Wisconsin working on laptops out of local coffee shops and libraries. Over 13 print and 15 online issues, they published the work and words of writers from around the corner and around the globe. Including poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, verse drama, spoken word, visual poetry, and other poetic forms in print, image, audio, and video, they sought to build the audience for poetry and the community of poets, while working to define and re-define what community might mean. Over the years, the mission of Verse Wisconsin underwent significant shifts, as editorial emphasis moved from a simple publication model toward creating conversations, activisms, and transformational circles, seeking to invite diverse voices into these conversations, to define and to redefine what a poetics of the Midwest might be, and to point the way towards what such a Midwest poetics might become. This volume represents another iteration of an ongoing conversation, as the voices of Verse Wisconsin’s editors weave in and out with those of other poets, once again reframing the questions by selecting work from over the years and placing pieces in new context.
"We hope that the significance of Verse Wisconsin and this collection of essays will be clear, not just with respect to a Wisconsin-based audience, but to everyone engaged with locally- or regionally-driven arts. There is always something worthwhile to document nearby. Writers and artists are always doing just that. The sum total of what a group of writers/ artists do in a region defines the poetics/ aesthetics of that region. There are diverse writing/ arts in every location. Getting to know the totality of that production is a matter of research and is vital to a larger understanding of those poetic/ aesthetic principles." —from "Forewords & Backwards: Notes from the Cupcake Circus"