Purchased: Bookshop.org in July 2020 for the Sealey Poetry Project
Recommended By: I don't remember. I know that I ordered it because of the title and cover.
Pages of poetry: 97
Recommended For: People looking for manuscript length poems. Readers who want a gimmick but expect the gimmick to delve beneath the surface and go in unexpected directions. Poets studying how visual blocking affects the way they read.
I don't know why I bought this . I don't know how I found it . The internet is too large a bookstore for casual cover browsing . My attention span sweats to oldies . The tracking is blurring my recall . Happy accident of editing . This book . My eyes. I'm not trying to lose poetic pounds . I'm weight training. Building up my bookshelf with new ideas . More modern stories . Living writers . Writers who move . to . unfamiliar rhythms . Don't care about the flowers . that remind you of your mother's . death . Don't want your inspirational . platitudes about the moon . Give me the racial implications . of a video based exercise form . A hundred pages about how the moon came . to earth . to devour your mother . and how this is like . late stage capitalism . Okay ?
1. What is nobody writing about? Including you? We all get used to falling into patterns: love poems, political rants, surrealist monologues. Cool. Cool. Cool. But what is a subject you've never encountered? It's tough to come up with, isn't it? Lose yourself fown a Wiki-Wormhole, or randomly click on suggested Youtube videos until you find something intriguing that you've never thought about for. See how many topics, and how many ideas you can get out of that one thing that falls out of your expertise. Now draw it into your expertise. You don't have to become the foremost academic scholar on the subject but learn enough on that very specific subject that you can craft multiple poems about things you care about. Let your old ideas and themes be the delicious crushed cookies accentuating the flavor of this new topic's vanilla ice cream.
2. When I was a kid, my mother took me with her when she worked out. Some gyms had arcades, some had small room in place of daycares where kids watched Godzilla movies while their parents lifted weights, and some didn't offer any entertainment, so there you were, six years old, watching your mom with some sort of giant rubber belt around her, supposedly being sanded thinner. What weird thing have you been forced to watch your parents or peers do that didn't in any way traumatize you, just made you wonder about the sanity or well-being of the person performing the action?
3. The way Ojeda-Sague weaves their own relation with race into an ongoing commentary about the history of jazzercise is seamless. And really the inspiration for the first prompt. But going slightly smaller scale, write something about your culture using something seemingly non-anologous. The usual rule applies here, if you're a Cis-White Dude, don't define yourself as a Cis-White Dude, write about your culture as a sports fan, a carpenter, a rubber duck collector. I've yet to hear a Cis-White Dude use their whiteness and/or straightness as a poetic focal point and not fall directly into Offensive And Yet Somehow Boring. Don't be that dude.
4. Going back to the first prompt. What's a good soundtrack or playlist for this topic. Is it eclectic? Is the whole subject alt-country or trap? Does it glide from industrial house music to ambient jazz? Why?
Just to see
I never knew where this book was taking me. From block stanza to block stanza, page to page, phrase to phrase, this book was an adventure. Because I initially read it as part of the Sealey Poetry Challenge (reading thirty-one poetry collections during the month of August), I didn't get enough time to sit with it. It was the first book I went back to reread when the challenge was over. And I've read it once again since then. There are books that have been on my shelves for years that I haven't finished reading once.
If you're too frightened to buy it, at least request it from your library.