Guest Blogging at Poetry Crush & Reading in Orient

The Valentine's Day issue of Poetry Crush went live yesterday, and in it the Hyacinth Girl Press authors share their favorite erotic poems. I was kind of shocked to see my selection kick things off, but pleased, too -- Herbert's the shit! (Very eloquent, I know.)

To be honest, I'd never really had a favorite erotic poem -- at least, I'd never called a poem one of my favorites because it was erotic, and I'm not sure many readers of poetry do, either. But this ended up being a fun exercise in memory and reading. I went back to my books -- opened up anthologies, searched my bookshelves for the authors and volumes I thought contained verse that might be termed "erotic" -- and eventually hit upon "Silk of a Soul" by Zbigniew Herbert.

I almost chose "Rapture" by Galway Kinnell. In the end I didn't for two reasons. One, I suspected that someone else might choose a Kinnell poem (wrongly, it turns out, but someone did choose Sharon Olds, who was another go-to on my list). Two, while I love Kinnell's poem, I found what Herbert suggests in "Silk of a Soul" more unusual, and something I wanted to write about.

It was a little freaky, though, writing something for someone else's blog. I haven't written any prose for publication, online or print, in a long time (with, of course, the exception of this blog). I wanted to do a good job on the part of the poem, on the part of J. Hope Stein, the curator/editor of Poetry Crush, and as a new representative of Hyacinth Girl Press. I think my introduction to Herbert's poem sounds . . . um, verbose . . . but (hopefully) not idiotic.

Hyacinth Girl Press is kind of awesome, and being one of their (forthcoming) authors is kinda awesome, too. The longer I become accustomed to thinking of myself as an HGP author, the more I feel like it's the right fit. Margaret Bashaar is so supportive and enthusiastic about the authors she's chosen to publish, and it's exciting to be a part of a project that's new and promising.

Over the weekend A.P. and I hauled our tails all the way to Long Island's Orient Point (the furthest point of the North Shore) for a reading in support of Poquatuck Hall. It was rather elegant and fun and, as A.P. said in the car on the way there, a good way to see how successful (or not) poems are when you read them out loud. Reading aloud is so important for poetry. I think it's important for ALL writing, really, but poetry especially. I think I'm going to make my students do that more often.

Anyway, here we are at the reading.

Not very exciting, I know, but how many action shots involving podiums can one get, really?

Oh, and I'd like to give a shout out to the student who drove all the way to Orient Point to see A.P. and I read. I was so pleased to see her -- it's so nice, so incredibly affirming, when one of your students is gracious enough to take an interest in what you do beyond the classroom. M.'s the shit!

Also, my friends K. & R. traveled out for the reading, too, and as they're not avid fans of poetry or the art that was being auctioned, I have to give them thanks for making the trek. My gracious husband A. has my gratitude too, of course, for staying at home with the doodles, one of whom had strep throat. (The other was just plain old ornery, but that's his three-year-old thang, man.)


Anonymous said…
Hi Sarah,

I read your contribution on poetrycrush and I reblogged it in my own words at my own blog
I write a blog about poetry and I live in the Netherlands. It was funny to see that the URL of your blog says
It was an interesting piece and i will come back to read more of your blogposts.

sincerely Wouter
sarah gutowski said…
Thanks, Wouter! It's so nice (and exciting!) to see a comment from someone in the Netherlands. I will check out your own blog in a short while. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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