GS 8.2 Contribs! Upcoming Events!

GS 8.2 CONTRIBS

Debuting this summer, our 8.2 issue will feature work from the following talented folks:

UPCOMING EVENTS

GS is psyched to be tabling at the NOLA Poetry Fest, whose book fair runs from 10am-5pm on Friday 4/21 & Saturday 4/22. Hope to see you soon in New Orleans!

GS is also excited to announce that they’ll be hosting at reading at this year’s NYC Poetry Fest on Governor’s Island, which operates from July 29-30th. Our featured readers will be Emily Brandt, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, & Zoë Bodzas.

 

**Teen Nostalgia** (a playlist for Teen Sequins 2017)

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A few weeks ago, I started spamming the Gigantic Sequins masthead on Facebook with a question: what were your favorite songs when you were a teenager? I had the idea during last year’s Teen Sequins feature, to make a mixtape, maybe a playlist, of songs we love(d), that inspire(d) us. This year I asked, and the masthead delivered (link to Spotify playlist). I might have skipped class this morning to listen, but that can be our secret.

 

Here’s what the staff wrote about their picks (links to videos!)…

  1. “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. (Sophie Klahr, Teen Sequins co-editor): “I remember listening to this song on a tape, on repeat, probably around 8th grade.”
  2. “Circles” by Soul Coughing (Kimberly Ann Southwick, Editor in Chief): “released in 1998…these guys were KEY in my late teens; like, I LIVED off of Doughty lyrics all through my late high school & early college years. The link is to the official video for that song. I remember my best friend Kirsten and I walking around the halls at my high school after school was over singing this song.”
  3. “Awake” by Letters to Cleo (Kimberly Ann Southwick): “came out in 1995 but I got really into them like sophomore year of high school. (Regrettably I don’t think I ever saw them live? Living in South Jersey, I got to see a LOT of live music, most of my faves, because we’re so close to both Philly & NYC–& bands even played in Jersey on the way between the two cities or in big arena stadiums right outside of them. Anyway, sucks I never saw them.) I would write LTC lyrics all over everything (which I did with a lot of music) and use them as AIM away messages and such.”
  4. “#1 Crush” by Garbage (Meg Willing, Assistant Production Editor): “from the Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack (1996), 13. On tape, from my Walkman, track one, side one, staring up at bootlegged R+J posters (and postcards and cutouts), lovesick and cursing it.”
  5. “Barnacles” by Ugly Cassanova (Meg Willing): “from a mix CD from Travis, 17. Driving dirt roads in my maroon ’93 Subaru Loyale station wagon, aimless.”
  6. “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic” by Saves the Day (Zach Yontz, Fiction Editor): “from Through Being Cool (1999). I was 13 but probably really got into it around 15-16 (to this day!). You and I are like when fire and the ocean floor collide.”
  7. “A Red So Deep” by Cursive (Zach Yontz): “Was 14! Probably really got into it around 15-16 again. A concept album about divorce really fit my high school age mindset. I was also listening to a lot of Thursday at the time.”
  8. “Gold Lion” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (yours truly): “10 when this album came out…I preordered it from FYE next to Panera in the plaza where my mom grocery shopped. Must have talked her into giving me an advance on multiple allowances. It came with a poster.”
  9. “Nude as the News” by Cat Power (“”): “Wrote one long and awful draft of a YA book inspired by this song. Listened over and over while writing thousands of words, just anything. I refuse to open the document, but I still love this song.”
  10. “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey (“”): “Bought this album at FYE, too. Brought it home and put my ear to a faux-vintage CD player from Target. A neighbor my mom babysat was there, too. We turned the stereo loud then louder. When the drums came in, the speakers nearly blew. I was exhilarated, my neighbor terrified. This song is what most of the poems I wrote my sophomore year of college wanted to be.”
  11. “El Niagara en Bicicleta” by Juan Luis Gerra (Meg Willing): “16. Living in Bogotá, sneaking around the city with my best girls, dancing, dancing, dancing.”

 

My brilliant Teen Sequins co-editor, Sophie Klahr, ended up making her own playlist. Thank you, Sophie. Nostalgia forever. Teen Sequins forever! “Untouchable Face” is one of my favorite Ani Difranco songs.

Friends, please help us spread the word about Teen Sequins 2017! And maybe turn up the music.

Until next time,
Robby (Teen Sequins co-editor)

Blog post to a young poet, rejected from a program, who,for a day, wants to quit writing

Dear ________,

I was in graduate school the first time that I heard the term PoBiz, a clipped, half-cynical half-shruggingly sarcastic way of referring to the Poetry Business, which I had also never heard of. I gathered that the Poetry Business entailed marketing one’s self. Are you a female poet? A poet of color? A poet with a disability? With a disease? A queer poet? A religious minority poet? An eco-poet? Etcetera.…I had always written about the things that I felt made me different, the things that stung, because I was alone, lonely with those weights. I wrote about abortion not because I thought I was going to tap into some niche market, but because it weighed heavily on my heart. I wrote about alcoholism because it was the center of my life, not because I was a Bukowski devotee (though there’s nothing wrong with that). I wrote about god and faith not because I had an academic interest in religion and spirituality but because it felt at many points that my life depended on whether or not I was able to tap into a power greater than myself. I never really had any idea about marketing myself. It was true that I wrote mostly about what was hard in my life, but I also wrote about traveling and fish and movies.

Carl Phillips wrote a great essay awhile ago in which talked about being asked why he doesn’t say what color the people in his poems are.  And here is what I’m trying to say, in a roundabout way: The System, any program, any school, any magazine, is going to somewhat judge you through what makes the actual you unique and not wholly on the quality of your writing. It’s a double-edged sword, and a fluid one. Sometimes it can feel as if the system rewards the person, not the poem.

Here is what I’m trying to say: of course the rejection feels personal. It is personal. Some folks got into the program, and you didn’t. You said that you thought you shouldn’t take it personally, but you have every right to take it personally. We pour our hearts into something, toss the thing out into the world, and watch as nobody puts out their arms to catch our beloved pieces. We watch the gears of the PoBiz grinding along, rewarding writers who maybe we think our work is equal to or better than. We think both Why me?! and Why not me!?

But — the poem is also an artifact. It’s something that has been done, a past action. It’s a product of a different moment, a past self. I love the Buddhist saying of “Do your work, then step back.” It’s very simple, but I have thought about it for many years. Some days I am better at stepping back than other days.

If you feel like quitting writing sometimes, that’s ok. The place where a poem comes from is the place where the urge to paint comes from, the place where the urge to swim comes from. It’s something that wants to move. So, let yourself move around. Make a collage, sing a song, pick up an instrument you’ve never played before. Learn to bake bread. But don’t stop embracing the muscular impulse of your creativity. If writing feels daunting, that’s ok. But make something else. Even if it’s just a dance in your bedroom. And, go outside for awhile, without your phone. That helps. It usually helps everything.

I think the real thing to quit is the search for validation, which is insidious. I have to remind myself sometimes of the same thing. When sending out a poem, the thought should not be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem so that everyone knows my poem is good enough to be in XYZ publication… it should be: I hope that XYZ publication takes this poem because i really think it is beautiful / strange / insightful / cathartic / funny / etc. and I want to share it with people – I think it might be important for someone. Writing poetry is about the urge to share something, even just with yourself. It’s not about gold stars. There’s no endgame to poetry, as the PoBiz might have you believe. A bio full of laurels and fellowships means almost nothing. Right before my book came out, and I had to choose what my bio in the book would say, I decided that it would be very short. It lists where I was born, and where I live now, two journals where my poems have been published, and the fact that I do interdisciplinary work. What’s most important to me in my bio is the latter, the fact of interdisciplinary work, because I hope, someday, that a visual artist or dancer or painter will write to me and say they’d like to collaborate. It’s almost like a little Personals posting, an ISO. I chose to leave out my education and prizes and residencies not because I don’t value them, but because — that’s not really what I want to talk to people about.

So, don’t worry about being rejected from the residency. Let it be a Not this time instead of a No, never. If you keep writing, and I get the sense that you will always write, there will be dozens of opportunities you might reach for and dozens of times you may be rejected. You get to decide how, and how long, to hold each disappointment. You get to decide what to expect of your writing. Don’t worry about being too much of one thing, or not enough of another. Don’t worry if you don’t publish anything for awhile, or for a long while.There is no right path for a poet, and there millions, literally millions, of incredible poets and writers and literary journals you and I have never heard of. And what a joy! What an absolute joy, to know there are so many more writers we will meet, who will mean so much to us, and to know that the writers we are today might be vastly different than the writers we are in 10 years, in 20 years…There’s no finish line. In the end, there is only the work itself. Enjoy the moment of your work, and how it feels to read your poems aloud, and how those poems can nourish you. Let the rest fall away. Onwards.

Love,
Sophie
( Teen Sequins Co-Editor )

Still Life with Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where GS contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.

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Carly Mayer | 6.1 Art Contributor 

Reading: Zappa: A Biography by Barry Miles | Currently on page: 105 | Favorite lines so far: “He sat there, powerless, seething with anger at the American ‘justice’ system and playing an imaginary guitar. He dreamed up power chords so loud and ugly that they’d tear the bars right out of the walls, so they could all escape to freedom” (87). | Book’s origin: A gift from a friend.

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meg willing | Art & Design Editor  

Reading: [INSERT] BOY by Danez Smith | Currently on page: 81 | Favorite lines so far: “& on the ninth day, God said Bitch, werk & Adam learned to duck walk, dip, pose, death drop, Eve became the fruit herself, stared lions in the eye & dared to bite // & on the tenth day, God wore a blood red sequin body suit, dropped it low, named it Sunset // & on the eleventh day God said guuuurrrrrl & trees leaned in for gossip, water went wild for the tea, & the airtight with shade // & on the twelfth day, Jesus wept at the mirror, mourning the day his sons would shame his sons for walking a daughter’s stride, for the way his children would learn to hate the kids” (from “GENESISSY”) | Book’s origin: YesYes Books.

SUBMISSION CALL FOR TEEN SEQUINS 2017: WRITERS AGES 13-19!

Drumroll please: here’s our submission call for TEEN SEQUINS 2017! 

We’re excited to announce that our annual feature is now not ONLY open to 14-19 year old writers, but to 13 year old writers as well ! We want to make sure that all the varieties of shining teen voices can and will be heard.

If you’re not already familiar with Teen Sequins, check out our story. We can’t wait to see what this year holds in store. Take a moment to read the featured poems from previous years, and join us however you can – whether you’re a student, a teacher, a parent, a pal, or all of the above, share this submission call with the teens in your life! Download our flyer and fling it from the rooftops!

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Got questions? Email us at teensequins@gmail.com !

 

Still Life With Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.

16009888_10158008221175587_361750258_oKamden Hilliard | 7.2 Poetry Contributor and current GS Reader 

Reading: IMAGINATIONS by Williams Carlos Williams | Currently on page: 181 | Favorite lines so far: “The brutal Lord of All will rip us from each other– leave the one to suffer here alone.” (55) | Book’s origin: The now, sadly deceased REVOLUTION BOOKS in Honolulu 😞

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meg willing | Assistant Production Editor / Designer  

Reading: Work by Bloodlight by Julia Bouwsma | Currently on page: 45 | Favorite lines so far: “how snow drops its fast blanket on this / woodlot night: black-bellied night: smell it: how want bends the mouth / so low you nearly kiss the ground.” | Book’s origin: A gift from the author.

GS 8.1: Available For Pre-Order!

…Not to mention: COVER REVEAL! Yessss! We love it. We can’t wait. The issue is due out in January 2017, which is closer than you think. Spread the good news, pre-order here! (If you live outside the USA, please pre-order here instead.)

In case you forgot, here are the contributors featured in our forthcoming issue:

ART: Yokim Snow (cover), Sarah Shields, and Miguel Angel Soto

COMICS: Jason Hart and Anna McGlynn

CNF: Benji Alvey, Jacob Little, and Bailey Pittenger

FICTION: María Isabel Alvarez, Andy Myers, Elizabeth Gibson, Kim Hagerich (5th annual Flash Fiction contest winner), and Saul Lemerond

POETRY: Zoë Bodzas, Kristi Carter, Brian Clifton, Emily Corwin, Dan Encarnacion, Dana Fang, p.e. garcia, Marlin M. Jenkins, Paige Lewis, Xandria Phillips (5th annual Poetry contest winner), Katie Prince, and Michael Martin Shea

BOOK REVIEW: Craig Chisholm reviews THE VOYAGER RECORD (Rose Metal Press, 2016) by Anthony Michael Morena