This is a collection of poems by writers presenting at the first Bridgewater International Poetry Festival held at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Virginia, January, 2013. Read More
Yes, it's that time of year again! And I'm glad my part in it is done. It's always a hard call. Read them and see for yourself. The unbound CONTENT Pushcart Prize 2012 nominees are:Apples to Oranges (from At Age Twenty by Maxwell Baumbach)it is saidthat when two thingscannot be compareda case of apples to oranges existsbut those things can be comparedthey are both fruitsand like humansthey have skinand humans like treescan be cut downand trees like flowerscan bend in the windand flowers like hummingbirdscan astonish with their beautyand the hummingbird singsthe way all the earth doesin harmonious unisonPainting Czeslawa Kwoka (from Painting Czeslawa Kwoka by Theresa Senato Edwards)IIn Brasse’s black and white photos,you are a young girl with a round facedropped into a flat, grey world,26947 sewn on a striped wardrobe,naked beneath these numbers.What does color bring to you?In color you move through our minds.In color you are a movie star: Mia Farrow—slightly protruding upper lip, swollen bottomforms a dense shadow to your chin.In color you are a young womanbleeding from within: pale skinfilters red to pink. This is thegirl you are at Auschwitz, Czeslawa.You are not a criminal.IIYour full color portraitforces our reaction—your hair is the warmestfall in a dead winter, amberbackground sparks the short, mattedbristles: adolescent questionsquickly extinguished when a scarf addstexture, diagonal patterns, anotherlook of a 14-year-old prisoner.In color you transform: we cantouch your swollen mouth, feel thevoice beneath the left side of your face,where greys mix with pinks,a rash of illness.The contrast holds us.IIIIn a soft color profile,above and slightly rightof 26947, we see a tearfrom your right eye spilling down,just underneath skin transparent,thin from a bleak setting.We follow the contour of yoursmeared mouth, slightly opened,trace from lower lip to thebottom of your chin:this part of pinkish-grey fleshappears as number 7.This is not intentional.IVIn color we feel theblacks of uniformity,harsh marks of sufferingblacken the scratchedshadows below your nostrils.The black slit above yourgrey lower lip sucks usempty—your eyes, blackoval platters reflectingSS soldiers and worsewithin deep, grey carvings.Black is blacker in color.VPainted close-up: a brightyellow backdrop brightensthe scarf’s pattern, your hairhidden in black and whitebecomes strands of sunlight,movement on still life.Yellows warm your cheeks,your forehead clear of dirt,yellows remove the dark patchfrom the tip of your nose we seein each of Brasse’s photographs.Yellows plunge orange,settle on the center left of your chest.You can breathe them in.XVII (from A Strange Frenzy by Dom Gabrielli)Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.They’re in each other all along.—RumiXVII.i am the one in the serieswhom in you staysfinding the path to the chests in your souli am the one who came lastwho picked the fruit without handsand drank the juice with my hearti am the luck which i refused to loseall the anger and the pain has sense for youfor my silencefor all the empty bottles of poor winewhich sojourned but could not stayThe Feast of St. Catherine (from Saltian by Alice Shapiro)In our vacant lot the carnivalburst into town each Junelike a Verdi opera.Pink gossamer to eatmud-stomped grass beneath our feeta shrill Italian songemanating over children’s jeersthe aim to win, to beat old carnys’sleights against all odds.And the gambler’s vice begins.Day fades, lanterns light, a crowd wanderscircling tent-booths lined with wooden ducksdead to barrels aimed to kill.And the gun for sport dawns.We spin around on giant teacupsdizzy from the ridetake note of a faint, free mindAnd reach for sweet, indulgent wine.At dusk, painted horses gallop on everlasting turnshelp us grab the golden ringand if our sense is strong enoughA holy promise sings.Hurricane Season (from The Pomegranate Papers by Cassie Premo Steele)Facing southeast, I wait for the hurricane,feel the purple wind on my cheeks,know that nothing will be the same.I have ridden the air on an eastern rug,woven with blood and memory,and the colors still cling to my skin.I am not afraid of the seasons,not the mountains or rivers or night.I am one desert pink flower in bloom.And when my summer is over,I will return to the earth with gratitude,lay my petals upon her damp breast,and know that nothing is ever the same.I have lived, bloomed, given birth,died, all in my own name, all in my name.No Place to Go (from Elegy by Raphaela Willington)April 18, 2001No Place to GoLost in the wildernessof my parents’ house,my illness,I inherit:the bounce of a branch of hemlock,your embraceIf you like these poems and you haven't bought any of these books yet, remember that every copy sold sends royalty money to the writers and artists whose work we now celebrate. Browse our bookshelf here.
Please join me in congratulating the writers.To see the vox poetica nominees, please click here.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONSIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy, unbound CONTENT is publishing an anthology (title TBD) celebrating the Jersey Shore. Read More
Sandy has left her mark on New Jersey, homeland of vox poetica and unbound CONTENT. With no power, intermittent connectivity, and assorted other complications, I've been forced to reduce operations here in Englewood. I'm told it could take 7-10 days to restore service, but I'm hoping to continue daily vox poetica updates at the very least with no additional interruptions. Be patient and keep a good thought! And send sunshine my way; typing is not easy when the temperature in the house dips into the low 50s … And please send some positive energy to my beloved torn-up state and all the people who've lost so much in the track of this behemoth storm. Thank you.–Annmarie Lockhart, editor
Hello everyone, I've been told that to be a great writer, you must live. I read in the newspaper one time that the reason there are so few "prodigies" in writing is because your writing cannot truly resonate until you have experienced the ups and downs of life, specifically, growing up. I'm not grown up completely–of that I'm sure. I am a 21-year-old college student who still enjoys playing Xbox too much for his own good and I like to throw back some drinks with my buddies on the weekends. I haven't entirely discovered the key to doing my own laundry without shrinking my clothes.
However, I am "growing." While I do want to be a great writer, I do not believe that one must be entirely "grown up" to be one,Grown up is a term I don't like. It is my belief that if you are not growing you are regressing. Self-improvement never ends. To see oneself as grown up is to limit oneself to the current state. I feel that to be a great writer one must live, continually grow, and write frequently along the way. That is what I have tried to do and I feel as if I've seen some dividends. My work has been featured in numerous publications, I've authored two chapbooks, and I was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize. However, I still have a long way to go. I can become better, and there are still a bunch of publications that I want to see my work placed in (I'm looking at YOU, Tin House!). But my writing won't just end up there because I get older; I need to put in the work.
In my honest opinion, the best example of my work to date is At Age Twenty, my forthcoming full-length collection from unbound CONTENT. I am proud of every word I wrote in that book. It provides a snapshot along the continuum of my growing process. Several months ago I went to Annmarie Lockhart asking if she had an interest in publishing a collection of my work. Obviously she needed to see it first. What came next was three of the best writing weeks of my life. I explored every life experience, brought myself down to the lowest depths I'd ever reached, considered the doubts and disbelief. I took myself to the highest of highs, the triumphs and victories. I wrote something not just for my friends and family, but for everyone. Something literally anyone my age could understand and relate to. Something older people could read and reflect back on their own experiences. This is how At Age Twenty was born.
I wrote a mission statement poem for the book titled "At Age Twenty." But the main title ideas I tossed around were Well, I Guess This Is Growing Up and the incredibly cheesy Constellations. When Annmarie read the manuscript she came up with the idea of using At Age Twenty as the title. I don't think a more fitting title could possibly exist.
Sending out my work and getting it published is cool. It's awesome that I have two books already available; I'm proud of both of them. But words can't describe how proud I am of this one. This is pure, unfiltered Maxwell Baumbach in book form
Thank you all for your support. Thank you Annmarie for publishing this. I hope that all of you will read this book when it's released. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster. One that I ride every day. Hop on
Oh, and never be all grown up.
Editor's note: At Age Twenty is forthcoming from unbound CONTENT. Look for more information SOON! In the meantime, read Maxwell Baumbach's work in various print and online journals (google him!) and here at this blog and vox poetica. He is the genuine article, the real deal. Don't believe me? See for yourself. –Annmarie Lockhart
The next anthology of images and poems from vox poetica's prompts page! Three different cycles of images and poems, gathered together in one book. Read More
The poems of Inspiration 2 Smile, but told in a whole new way! Listen to Nate's words, Mar's music, and some extemporaneous inspiration from the two of them in this audio book version of Nat Read MoreAWS.ECommerceService.ItemNotAccessible: This item is not accessible through the Product Advertising API.
The second anthology of Contributor Series poems. Read More
A collection of poems published at vox poetica as part of the first three Contributor Series: 9/11, Candy and Spirits, and Resolution and Resolve. Read More