Voltage Poetry 2.0 Launches Tomorrow!

17 02 2014


Tomorrow morning, at 11 a.m. (CST), the next round of contributions to Voltage Poetry launches!  I hope you’ll check it out–

(Teaser: for the first post of the new launch, David Mason reflects on the stunning turn in Cally Conan-Davies’s “Wompoo Fruit Dove”…)

As noted on Voltage Poetry’s “About” page, in “Lyricism of the Swerve,” Hank Lazer asks, “Is there a describable lyricism of swerving?  For those poems for which the swerve, the turn, the sudden change in direction are integral, can we begin to articulate a precise appreciation?”  Voltage Poetry continues to strive to undertake this important articulation and appreciation.

Co-edited by Kim Addonizio and yours truly, Voltage Poetry is an online anthology that collects essays written by some of today’s most exciting poets and critics about poems with great turns them.  Right now, the site features over 70 essays on some amazing poems.  As with the first round of publication, each week approximately three new essays will be posted.  As we currently have over 30 new contributors, the site’s conversation about the turn will continue to evolve for approximately the next three months or so.  However, submissions also are accepted (interested? click here for information)–so the conversation may continue.  In the months to come, I look forward to further reflecting on the turn here at the Structure & Surprise blog by examining ideas and questions raised in and by the essays on Voltage Poetry.  I hope others also may be inspired by Voltage Poetry and begin to think and write more about the poetic turn.

Voltage Poetry has been a collaborative effort from the start, and it remains so.  It has been a deep pleasure to get to work with Kim and all the site’s contributors–a group of truly amazing poets and critics.  Additionally, many poets whose poems are featured on the site offered gracious assistance when it came to attaining permission to reprint their poems.  And numerous permissions and publishing professionals continue to be generous and supportive of this project.

This round of publications in Voltage Poetry has benefited greatly from the dedicated work of its editorial assistant, Erica Kucharski.  Student assistants Colleen O’Connor, Nicole Pierce, Maggie Zeisset, Kristina Dehlin, Mike Dickinson, and Danielle Kamp have helped with proofreading.  Michael Gorman’s technical expertise has been invaluable.  My heartfelt thanks to all involved with this stage of the project…

I hope you, too, will get involved with Voltage Poetry–if you do: thank you!

Bob Bray’s “David Lee”

9 02 2014

david lee

he was my friend
and then he wasn’t
he got wild
I went to college
he loved a girl named ann
she loved him back sort of
he played the saxophone
he had a band

tenor        ramrods

ann went somewhere else
he got wilder
he broke a window
he stole a naked manikin
they put him in the asylum
he died there of something
and then he wasn’t
he was my friend

–Bob Bray


My colleague Bob Bray shared with me the above poem which he wrote in tribute to a high school friend, and I wanted to share it with the readers of this blog. I deeply admire this poem–its humanity and humility, and also its craft, its care. It is a gorgeous, understated elegy, an acknowledgement of both complexity and loss.