Surprise!

My poem “Transit of Venus?” appeared earlier this year in the New Verse News. Editor James Penha has nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. Many thanks!

The Pushcart Prize is one of the best awards you can receive if you write for the literary small press in the United States. That is, generally under the radar of the bestseller lists, that is, where most US writers write, and many of them most excellently, as a labor of love.

“Just” being nominated makes me happy. A nice surprise!

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“For Both: Two Haiku” on the Conflict Between Israel and Gaza

Today the New Verse News published my “For Both: Two Haiku”.

While hoping that in both places the often overlooked movements for nonviolent resistance will take deeper hold, I feel pretty much dumbstruck over the escalating war between Israel and Gaza. Flashing nightmares about rockets and air raid sirens over my own much safer (despite the neighborhood gunfire) part of the world, listening to both Jewish and Arabic news sources, listening to the arguments of both Jewish and Palestinian friends.

Aside from prayers for everyone, these haiku are the only things of substance I have to offer right now.

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Flor Sol/Flower Sun of This Winter Solstice: A Call for Submissions

The poet Francisco X. Alarcón is calling upon writers from all over the world to submit haiku for a for a new Collective 2012 Winter Solstice Poem, in the form of haiga, or haiku accompanied by visual art. Francisco explains:

We all share the same dreams and aspirations of world peace, tolerance, and understanding with the whole humanity in balance with nature especially during the celebration of the new era (the Sixth Sun) in the Mesoamerican tradition that begins on the Winter Solstice (December 21, 2012) that in the Nahuatl calendar corresponds to the date “Four Flower” (Nahui Xochitl). In the Nahuatl tradition this new era is identified as the “Flower Sun” (Xochitonatiuh). We give thanks in advance to all who are willing to participate in making this human wonder something tangible and real.

Please learn more about this lovely project here. You can also read and see contributions from Francisco and many others, including Alma Luz Villanueva, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Gabriel Rosenstock, and yours truly.

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unFold This Fluorescent Notice

unFold is a literary magazine-via-Twitter and a project of the press Folded Word. unFold just reprinted–rebroadcast?–my poem “Fluorescent Notice Staplegunned All Over the Soap Opera Laundrette.”

During the 1990s, I published this poem in Pudding and the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin (yes, dis Chicahgo white et’nic went tuh some schmancy kahllidge). It won an award from the Seminary Coop Bookstore–da Sout’ Side’s own. Where my spouse read it on my behalf because I was out of town.

The poem occasioned laughter then, and it still does. Please tweet if you like it.

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What’s New, Two Haiku-and a Misspelling

The renowned poet Sonia Sanchez is curating the Peace is a Haiku Song project of the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program. If you like to write haiku, you may want to check this out and contribute.

I went to college in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. So for old time’s sake, I sent in a couple of haiku to the website. To find them, scroll down, click “See More,” scroll down till you reach the poems posted on September 14, 2012.

Unfortunately, I am identified as “Mary Kane Drerr” and the misspelling has yet to be corrected. While my three names are subject to many different entertaining errors of dislocation and transposition, this one is new. Which, incidentally, rhymes with “haiku.”

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I’m in the Current Issue of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry

My two short poems “Special Education” and “Umpteenth Puncture” appear in the September 2012 issue of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry.

Enjoy.

Enjoy? Yes.

The lives of us human beings with disabilities are not matters of unmitigated misery and suffering. Like anybody else’s.

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Every Day Opening Day

The International AIDS Conference concluded a few days ago in Washington, DC, amidst some surprising reports that researchers are figuring out how to–cure–the virus.

I have to admit, that as welcome as this news is, I am not getting my hopes up too much. I do not have HIV/AIDS myself, but do have plenty of other presently incurable ailments. For decades I have heard “a cure is 5 years away!!” for conditions way too biologically complex to abolished so quickly and simplistically.

Yet things have definitely improved since the beginning of the pandemic among gay men in 1980s San Francisco, a time, place, and culture David Weissman poignantly documents in “We Were Here.”

But hugely unresolved political questions of access and resource allocation persist. We have long known how to turn HIV/AIDS from a death sentence into a chronic disease. More and more infected people are getting the health care they need to accomplish this transformation. And millions of others still are dying preventable premature deaths because they aren’t. As my friend Cayce asks in this very context: “When will we learn that every life matters?”

I wonder how many have come back from the brink, and how many have fallen off–or been pushed off it– all too soon, since the time recounted in my poem “Opening Day.” It is about the arrival of the AIDS Quilt in Cape Town, South Africa, the launch for the 1999 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

I will let the poem speak for itself (which I generally prefer to do). With a prayer that every day be a day of opening towards all the living and the dead of this pandemic.

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