Have questions about the submission and editing process? Duotrope reached out to M. Wilder for some insight. Feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have.
Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
Light and dark coexists
If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A list of writing we love can be found at the bottom of our Submit page. We love Ocean Vuong, Kim Addonizio, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Andrea Gibson, Safia Elhillo, CA Conrad, and Richard Siken, among others. These poets create rooms out of their stanzas, holding beauty and pain in one hand.
What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
We strive to create space to amateur and untraditional poets, as well as the traditional, straddling the barrier between academia and street poetry. Life is not tied into complete, neat bows, and neither are our art; we want reality, to force light and darkness to coexist or at least sit beside each other in the same space. Show us what makes you both happy to be alive, and recognize the discomfort in being human. Stay true, be authentic.
What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
Get uncomfortably honest. Trust in your humanity and in our space to provide support and validation to both your simplest joys and strangest shames. We are a publication for very real people, if you are willing to get real and create spaces with your work for readers to step into.
Describe the ideal submission.
The ideal submission is a poem, piece of prose, or art piece that makes me want to do a little shimmy or inhale. These works surprise me, yet make the most sense. They create a new space to exist inside, and tint the way I think and see, even if for but a moment. Perhaps they give me butterflies, pushing me to be so in love with the world, or inspire my anger or discomfort. Regardless, these pieces change my posture.
What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
Personable emails will not make a difference to whether or not I accept the submission itself, but they do make me want to forge a relationship and support a creator. Willingness to participate and foster community matters, no matter what happens with the piece of writing.
How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you? Do you care about cover letters? If so, do lists of previous publication credits matter to you?
Cover letters are everything, as per my previous answer. If your work simply is not a suitable fit, your cover letter will not impact publication, but the willingness to participate in community allows space for dialogue or hope that you try again. Sometimes a kind and open cover letter does signal that I might be able to suggest edits or communicate more fully and clearly, human to human. Previous credits matters little to us. There are many, many brilliant writers who may just be starting their career, or simply have not been given the space to be featured, for many reasons. I want to create a space where all are welcome, no matter their identity, and giving priority to identities who may not experience privilege in taking up space. I want to create space to take up, no matter what spaces have been occupied in the past. I'd be more than happy to be the first title on your list of publication credits.
If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
Sometimes I can tell if a piece is a fit or work of art by the first line. It's happened. Sometimes I don't feel attached to a piece until the very last line... and that too is a powerful piece, to create such a surprise that a piece ripples backwards. I generally read a poem several times; an immediate reaction may be more internal than rooted in the poem. Cliche's are a big turn off; if I hit those speed bumps, I may suggest edits or reject the piece entirely. However, if I'm on the edge about a piece, I will always allow it to ruminate before making any rash decisions.
What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
If I am not entirely sold on a poem, I consider whether the space it creates is new or dense with senses. How does it sound? How does it look? What redeems it? What flaws may be healed over with edits. I rarely suggest edits for poems, but I absolutely love to do so. Working with a writer to explain how to strengthen their work (as a suggestion) feels like such a gift... a way I may be of service and honor someone's work and skills.
I also sometimes consider how pieces I'd like to publish work together; what narrative would be told if I publish these pieces side by side? While this does not always matter, I do think it is an added bonus, proof of a writer's thoughtfulness, to take individual pieces and create a structure, whether this is intentional or not.
What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
Poetry and work by women, POC, and queer folks receive priority. This is somewhat flawed, as one only knows the identity of a creator if it is stated clearly, and we do not want to force anyone to out themselves to us. We read, track everything in a spreadsheet, and reply ASAP. Issues come out when we feel we have enough content, which depends mostly on the time we are able to dedicate to reading submissions.
How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
Modern technologies can, ironically, increase the humanity and accessibility of a journal. Hello, we are people who recognize you as a human behind a screen, and want to foster your story. It's about community and support, rather than keeping our authority hidden and strong behind stiff paper. We want to be accessible.
How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
This varies completely. I rarely supply edits beyond the basics, unless asked for. We will proof read and copy edit once we transfer pieces to the site, and contributors receive a link before the issue is live, to make sure their piece looks happy and well.
However, providing edits is exciting, valuable, and such a gift. I will suggest edits to pieces I believe in, that I dearly want to thrive. I strive to brighten the writer's voice and intention, and always explain my reasoning to hopefully teach and create a dialogue. Everything is optional. This is a conversation, not a requirement.
Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?
Oh, we would if we could! Unfortunately, this costs quite a bit of money, and this is a labor of love that generates no income. I refuse, at this point, to charge for submissions, as this creates a huge barrier against access. If anyone wants to invest in the journal, let me know :)
Welcome to the quarantine. With all the fear and worry and frustration in your heart, take a moment to roll your shoulders back and down, soften your jaw, and acknowledge that what you are about to take on is good, kind, selfless, and necessary. You are doing a good thing.
While you’re here, we can all acknowledge that this is going to be a trying time for everyone, especially those with mental illnesses and those attempting to avoid relapse. You’re seen and cared for. If this does not include you, this is your reminder to continually maintain contact with your loved ones, not only to maintain your own sanity and peace, but also as an act of care and courage for others who may be struggling more deeply. We’re all in this together, and simply saying hello is an important and necessary act.
Included in this list are reminders and resources to hopefully help enable you to not only chase peace and stability, but also joy, productivity, purpose, and health. This is a bold statement to make, but I simply wanted to compile the wealth of resources communities and individuals have been creating. All illness and shittiness aside, I have been thankful for people’s willingness to come forward and create alternatives, rather than give in to depression and anxiety. Look at us go! Technology is rad.
Think: self care, conscious connection, nourish, create/express, spiritual practice, serve and support.
Reminder: there is little reason for you to do anything drastic such as bake incredible foods, learn new skills, perfect dusty skills, or create a novel. It’s okay if all you do is cope.
how do you feel?
Write it down. Get it out. Talk it through.
Setting a routine will. be. vital. for maintaining a sense of normality, purpose, and motivation. Routine allows for control. Schedule opportunities to move, go outside, get creative, and practice self care. Your routine does not have to revolve around productivity or work. Instead, take a moment to visualize the life you want to be leading, who you ideally want to be, how you wish to feel. Make a list of accessible activities, objects, and places that may contribute. Write it down. Here’s a lovely example. Here's another, Structuring Your Life with Depression. Also be mindful of your sleeping routine. Get out of bed. Stretch. A solid routine that includes small acts of scheduled self care can truly change your mental health. Figure it out. Implement. Breathe a lil easier. Support your chemical makeup. Be gentle with yourself.
what can you continue?
Take a moment to review your normal routine and decide what you may take with you on this journey. This can be as simple as the time you wake up or the coffee you get. Remember, so far take out and drive thru are still occurring, and businesses need your support. Hold onto your regular coffee schedule if you can.
eat and hydrate regularly
Eat full meals. Drink water. Drink tea and coffee as usual. This will impact your mood and physical well being. If you need to map these into a routine, do the thing.
If you are quarantining with housemates, remain responsible and aware of the energy you bring into a space. Do it for yourself. Do it for the health of your environment.
Think back to pre-quarantine and remember all the things you’d wished you had time for. You do not have to do any of these things… but now you can.
cleaning and nesting
Take an afternoon to deep clean your spaces, especially your bathroom and kitchen. Create an environment that promotes peace, starting with your cleaning supplies. Pop on a podcast and go. Open a window. Wipe up the floorboards. Keep up with the chores afterwards.
Especially if you don’t feel up for a physical space cleaning, take moments to delete photos, screenshots, and apps, unfollow folks, unsubscribe to email lists, etc.
Get the air circulating. This changes so much.
free webinars and workshops
Some free webinars and workshops I am currently aware of include...
Kristen Kalp leads breathwork sessions on Instagram at 7:30am PT on weekdays.
Scott the Painter’s Say Yes, a Liturgy of Not Giving Up on Yourself
Somatic Healing Space Practice Weekly Sessions
Goteamjames is posting daily newsletters featuring meditations called What Do I Do With My Hands? and Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter continues to be wonderful.
list favorite things
They still exist. Remember all you’re looking forward to.
Rachel McKibbons is posting writing prompts daily, as is The New York Times for high school students. Download Alexandra Elle's Restore PDF, a journaling template.
Barrelhouse is presenting a free workshop course and read-in bookgroup. Enroll here.
Mo Willems is hosting Lunch Doodles daily, offering prompts and stories to adults and children alike.
Art Assignment (Sarah and John Green) will be streaming to talk and make art. Catch up with Sarah’s channel while you’re at it.
Carson Ellis is posting Quarantine Art Club Assignments daily. Kelly Baird has posted 31 prompts.
Contribute to Danny Allegretti and Elizabeth Vande Griend's collaborative zine, "Made Alone Together."
moving generates all the feel good chemicals in your brain. gets you into your body, grounded. stimulates blood flow. supports your immune system. let’s go.
dance dance dance
Put on that playlist and go. Alternatively: go for a walk or hike. play hide and seek. Chase a dog. Dance with a cat. Reach up and gentle twist your spine, lengthening on your inhale and deepening on your exhale. Here’s a free streamed meditation/ dance workshop, no experience necessary.
Oh Wonder is streaming a live song every night for 37 nights. Global Citizen is partnering with numerous artists to provide nightly concerts on Instagram, called Together, At Home. So far, Chris Martin, John Legend, and Charlie Puth have streamed.
Steve Croce leads Party with the People DJed dance parties on Instagram, 4:20pm PT weekdays.
Local yoga studios are streaming classes; do a google search and support your locals. Favorite Youtube channels include Yoga with Adriene, Boho Beautiful, Tara Stiles, KinoYoga.
This is what social media is good for: searching "home workout." You'll be overwhelmed. Whitney Simmoms’ instagram and youtube is a trove of workouts, including for at home. Natacha Oceane is posting no equipment / no noise equipment, ideal for those living in apartments or not wanting to jump around etc.
Chris Mangano is offering his home training plan for free for the rest of March. So is Katie Corio.
Crossfit Albuquerque is live streaming a workout each day.
apps and their trials
Elementa (yoga, meditation, dance, self care), Shreddy (home and gym workouts and recipe guides), and Playbook (gym and home workouts), all fantastic workout apps.
crack a spine
Stretch and then reach for a book. Don’t have one? Your local library most likely has an e-collection featuring ebooks, eaudiobooks, enewspapers, and emagazines. Scribd is offering their entire library for free. Need title recommendations? After checking out your library’s webpage, try Adrienne Maree Brown’s list, or Bookriot. Feel free to contact me or another public librarian you know :)
ask friends for movie and album recommendations
…. and actually experience them.
Perfect time to delve into a webcomic. Try a sweet high school gay romance or historical fiction about the life and love of a carpet merchant in 17th century Istanbul.
For an easy dip/introduction follow Kaveh Akbar on Twitter.
Try an online journal or chapbook series such as Ghost City Press'! Check Neutral Spaces for more.
When you’re sick of reading, dip into this thread or this incredible youtube channel, for the balm of human faces and voices reading to you. Costura Creative is holding three free online readings featuring Franny Choi, Sam Sax, Analicia Sotelo, and more.
facetime and phone calls
let’s do it.
join a massive groupchat… think your favorite band, librarians and museum workers, artistry, life’s library book club.
online support groups
Groups like AA have online versions. Please reach out to them.
Amazon is reprioritizing book orders. If you can afford it, please consider ordering books from your local indie bookstore, some of which do offer used options. If you’d like to reach out a little further, please consider Innisfree Poetry Bookstore, Books are Magic, Wiseblood, and Powell’s. For more, follow these links: How to support your local bookstore and find bookshops to support.
order takeout from local businesses, or buy giftcards
eat up, support others.
subscribe to a patreon, support gig professionals.
Support an artist and get art in return. Here’s an updated list of resources for gig workers.
support the unsupported
Consider giving to an emergency fund, such as this one for undocumented youth and families.
buy groceries, pick up meds
Please check up on older folks and those with chronic illnesses. How can you help them? Can you buy groceries? Pick up meds? Be of service.
request a mail ballot
You need to vote. Bernie's plan provides free healthcare, especially important in such a crisis. ACLU has a guide on voting by mail here.
Here's 450 Ivy league courses to take online for free.
Lisa Olivera's ten slide post of exercises to keep you grounded and peaceful while experiencing anxiety, depression, and other normal feelings.
Wondering what the virus feels like? Here’s one report. Wondering what to do next? We got a flow chart. Call your health professionals.
Remember, as nature seems to spring forth with new life, humans are not the disease. This is anti-Indigenous. Read more about ecofascism here and here.
looking for more?
Here's a spreadsheet.
Remember, all your feelings are valid. Whether you're shaking anxious or bored silly or happy to have some downtime, it's normal. You'll feel it all. While you may be physically alone, people are here for you, and need you just as you need them. Reach out. It's temporary.
This list will be kept updated.
i feel abrasive.
a small sunny wreckage.
pooh if pooh wore leather and fenty eyeliner too heavy and desperately needed a haircut.
crowded by softness, and i bet my hands are too rough to hold it.
why is it always dark out? missing the sunlight.
wired but restrained and unmoored. like hot water, soft and light, but a bit of a scald. i wish i'd both hush and open.
my hair is too long. makes my face soften out.
i've finished a lot of poems lately, and i've needed a lot of poems lately.
i have a craving for tender poems, some words that could teach me to both soften and straighten my shoulders back to face whatever darkness seems to hover. here's what's keeping me tender lately.
from Waves by Virginia Woolf
every day is a new day, a new opportunity to begin again. though the new year's is a construct, it's a deeply helpful construct, one to celebrate and lean into. we have created this list to deepen your moments of reset, whether this weekend in anticipation of a new year (and decade!) or in six months, when life feels stagnant. you got this.
o muchelleb’s youtube channel
m: the ultimate get-your-life-together channel, including 20 small changes for a happier 2020, and resetting for a new year.
o Rowena Tsai’s youtube channel
m: rowena’s videos routinely come up in our love lists, and for good, good reasons. watch for honest, but motivating, videos on productivity, habit-making, routines, and health.
o a reflection practice
m: resolutions can be a bit clunky for me. in this post, i discussed why this is, and included a (long) list of prompts to reflect on 2019, in order to answer the following questions about the next year: what do i want to take with me, what do i want to leave behind, and what do i want to generate? the questions include concepts like, what did i embrace this year? what did i let go of? when did i practice bravery? click through for the full list of prompts.
o the year compass
nadine: a printable booklet with questions and exercises that are fun and easy to answer.
o we’re not really strangers’ questions to ask yourself
m: because you’re worth knowing.
o two new year tarot spreads
m: tarot asks you to articulate what you already know or feel.
o looking ahead: setting intentions in notebooks
m: the second half of my reflections post linked above includes a list of prompts to consider goal and intention setting for the next year. these are actionable, yet freeing questions, such as what topics do i want to explore, what do i hope to achieve professionally/academically, and more. here's the important part: completing the sentence: “here, where do you want to be physically, mentally, spiritually, this time in december 2020?” brainstorm, then map it again in a notebook
o 8 steps to guide your 2020 goals
nadine: scroll down to part two of this much-too-long post, looking forward to 2020: 4 cardinal points. don’t forget to check out the videos linked!
o emotional planning 2020 worksheet
m: creative independent's worksheet to ponder your 2020 mental state. one of my favorites.
o 10 ways to be more conscious in a new decade
m: ”One decade is about to take its final bow + another is on the horizon. Something I'd always like to be able to say is that the decade past was full of personal growth...and the one to come offers so much more to discover + embrace. Time has taught me that choosing to be a lifelong learner is life-affirming. One year...one day at a time...we keep moving forward, and it can be helpful to have some direction.”
I'm an enneagram 4w5, wearing a 6 cape. An INFP. I am quite creative and philosophical and go with the flow, I love to learn and study, but I like structure. I like knowing perimeters, and resent boxes. Rules make me feel safe and capable... like I know how to work well and satisfy both myself and others.... if I agree with them.
The stereotypes go like this: one can be one or the other: The artist is a bohemian who is messy, irresponsible, eccentric, and defies all boxes society attempts to place around them. They're a rebel. And this is me. Those who like rules are probably tidy and strict and inflexible. This is not me, and I'd argue that if this is, you could use some therapy, as we all could. Stereotypes have grains of truth, but we know they aren't whole. I am actually both, a person who resents boxes but loves some perimeters. For example, I believe artists are some of the most rule following folks around, even if they feel free flowing. There's dedication, knowledge, and routine. You can be both. It's healthy.
Perhaps the most asked question of artists just starting out, after "Where do you get ideas" is simply, "How?" Lucky for us, everyone works slightly differently, enabling us to seek out those we most closely resonate with, and most like to talk about it. The result is a healthy stack of books and lists about "rules" folks follow, and how they allow for creative freedom.
Corita Kent's Art Department Rules
If you don't know about Corita Kent, you should. Kent was a nun who made brilliant, bright, thoughtful, poetic, bold art. She played with shape, color, and typeset in a way that in part reflects advertising, and in part embodies poetry. She's glorious.
Following is her ruleset for the Immaculate Heart College Art Department:
Jack Kerouac's 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Writing and Life
Of all people, Kerouac lived out his writing, thus it makes sense that his list applies to both writing and life. I love that. That is how I want to go about things.
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Kanye's Studio Rules
Set aside whatever you think about Kanye to appreciate the signs he keeps taped up on his studio walls, as described by Rick Ross. I like the idea of creating a space separate from the rest of the world for creating, a place where I don't feel pressured to prove to anyone else that I am creating by speaking or posting about it.
NO HIPSTER HATS
ALL LAPTOPS ON MUTE
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP SOMETIMES
NO TWEETING PLEASE THANK YOU
NO NEGATIVE BLOG VIEWING
DON’T TELL ANYONE ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING WE’RE DOING!
NO RACKING FOCUS WHILE MUSIC IS BEING PLAYED OR MUSIC IS BEING MADE
TOTAL FOCUS ON THIS PROJECT IN ALL STUDIOS
NO ACOUSTIC GUITAR IN THE STUDIO
Austin Kleon's Rules of the Studio
The first artist I turned to for this post was Austin Kleon, patron saint of creativity and creative working. He created this set of rules for himself and his sons, who love to visit the studio. I also recommend his book Keep Going.
Ten Bullets by Tom Sachs
I love visual artist Sachs' emphasis on space.
1. SACRED SPACE: KEEP TOOL KIT AT THE READY SO WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES THERE IS NO DELAY, EXCUSE OR HINDERANCE BETWEEN YOU, YOUR THOUGHT, AND IT’S REALIZATION
8. RESET. AT THE END OF THE DAY: KNOLL YOUR WORKSPACE, SWEEP + EMPTY TRASH, PRE SET YOUR WORK STATION WITH SOMETHING PLEASURABLE TO COMPLETE. BEGIN YOUR DAY WITH A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT…
9. PROCRASTINATE. IF AT FIRST YOU DONT SUCCEED GIVE UP IMMEDIATELY, MOVE ON TO SOME OTHER TASK UNTIL THAT BECOMES UNBEARABLE, THEN MOVE ON AGAIN CIRCLING BACK AROUND TO THE FIRST PROBLEM. BY NOW, YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS WILL HAVE WORKED ON IT, SORT OF LIKE SLEEP, ONLY CHEAPER
How to Feel Miserable as an Artist by Keri Smith
Keri Smith's anti-rule list is practical as can be. We love Keri Smith in this house.
Seth Godin's Rules for Working in a Studio
Who better to turn to than a teacher and author? Gobin's list feels both simple and extensive.
Don’t hide your work
Ask for help
Tell the truth
Upgrade your tools
Don’t hide your mistakes
Add energy, don’t subtract it
If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it
Know the rules of your craft
Break the rules of your craft with intention
Make big promises
Let others run, ever faster
Learn something new
Criticize the work, not the artist
Power isn’t as important as productivity
Honor the schedule
You are not your work, embrace criticism
Sign your work
Obsess about appropriate quality, ignore perfection
A studio isn’t a factory. It’s when peers come together to do creative work, to amplify each other and to make change happen. That can happen in any organization, but it takes commitment.
Two Books of Lists
I get hungry for The Secret, yanno? The one sentence that will change my whole life. I search for it, and following are two books about this exact subject that I highly suggest. You will be inspired. But you will also find that there are no secrets... there is just persistence and listening to yourself and how you work best. You got this. Just trust how you feel and what you've learned. Experiment.
Ways of Being: Advice for Artists by Artists, edited by James Cahill
How do you be an artist? Is art a 'career', or a vocation? Do you need a studio or a dealer, and how do you find one? Are artists too competitive? How do they come up with ideas, and what is the point of the private view? Does financial success—or the lack of it—change an artist? What are the advantages of getting older?
Based upon advice from a huge roster of artists, dealers and curators; and encompassing every stage of an artist's life—from early works, to debut shows and mid and late-career—this book answers all the key questions that every artist has at some point asked themselves.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work edited by Mason Currey
161 inspired—and inspiring—minds,... novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks.
Here's the thing...
Rules are made to change. Rules are made to develop. Rules are made to give you more freedom and ability. Study others' rules. Be open to the prospect that each project may require a new set of rules. Figure out how your body, mind, and soul work best under different conditions. Map them out. Make your own list of rules... or guidelines, if you will. We're always interested to hear what you think, so feel free to send your list our way.
Go in peace,
There is nothing more humiliating to me than my own desires. Nothing that makes me hate myself more than being burdensome and less than self-sufficient...I had arrived in my thirties believing that to need things from others made you weak. I think this is true for lots of people but I think it is especially true for women. When men desire things they are “passionate.” When they feel they have not received something they need they are “deprived,” or even “emasculated,” and given permission for all sorts of behavior. But when a woman needs she is needy. She is meant to contain within her own self everything necessary to be happy.
To paraphrase, the crane wife stays up all night to pluck out her feathers, to hide that she is a bird, a creature both capable of flight and requiring care. "To keep becoming a woman is so much self erasing work. She never sleeps. She plucks out all her feathers, one by one."
I know I am not the only one to whisper, "Ope," embarrassed for being so recognized. So what do we do with this vulnerability, with this deep want? I see two paths for myself: first to unsurface the origin stories for this sense of shame and responsibility, the stories we collectively share, and the ones that are my own, and to learn to thirst, to learn to articulate desires. First of all though, we gotta realize that this is okay... Contentedness is a means to appreciate, but does not discount desire and drive. That desire is taboo, in the truest sense of the word:
For example, I wrote earlier about Polynesida, and how the word "taboo" comes from "tupua" (or "tapu"), which means menstruation, but the most common translation of "tapu" is actually "sacred."
So there it is. Yeah, we know desire, and expressing desire, can feel taboo- silly and wrong and shameful and unnecessary and too much- but we gotta remember that the word also means sacred. Want is not evil. It can be sacred. Desire can show us a path to who we want to be. Desire can drive us to pleasure and love and gratitude. But how do I get there? It is all unlearning and learning again. Where am I ashamed? Why? Where can I steep myself in materials that give me space to want and articulate such desires?
I am not asking you to delve into manifestation... only to acclimate yourself to who you are, and where you want to go. You usually aren't a danger to yourself. Hear what you want. Dig into it.
Without further ado, following is a list for learning to desire, and to speak.
Resources for Desire
Go in peace x
I've been feeling a bit more alive lately, and I can't tell you exactly why, but I can tell you about small wonders recently:
> The nights and mornings are suddenly much cooler,
> and the owl has returned to their perch outside my window, hooting.
> The Owl and Bone August tarot challenge has stoked both my honesty and vulnerability. I am learning that it is okay to want things... passion = direction!
> The dad happily telling his son how awesome the library is. He just said, "All of this is just stuff and things until you realize how important it all is. So dig in. The library is so awesome." My librarian heart exploded!
> Steve. Harrington.
> This dog made me cry tears.
> The Turkish brew coffee using hot sand. The world is magical.
>And the reason I'm here... poems and poems and poems! Words keep stumbling into my way lately, and snagging my breath. Following are some quite short, but so saturated poems for your every day grief, astonishment, and political disenchantment. Take a sip. Enjoy.
Have a lovely weekend. Stay hydrated and connect with the earth somehow.
If you drag your feet leaving the world of Stranger Things, allow me to cure your ST hangover. Whatever your favorite part of Stranger Things, there's a book here for you. Do you crave something creepy? Nostalgic? Girls fighting monsters? Youth solving mysteries? Here's your next binge list.
Hello, happy July!
I was inspired by Rhiannon McGavin this afternoon to tackle my poetry shelf gone ary, to the tune of Aimee Nezhukumatathil vs. the Garden, on the VS podcast. I loved it. Hearing Aimee's voice made me love her poetry more and more. Such sweetness and generosity flows from this podcast. If you like poetry or words at all, I highly suggest it.
As for my shelf, here's the deal. I work at a library and enjoy minimalism, and thus rarely buy books. However, I do buy 3 types of books: poetry, comics, and books from author events, and I try to write about the occasion on a post it note to keep in the book, as I love getting poetry, zines, or comics on vacation or an occasion. I quite love documenting this, because it equips me to remember stealing a book from the English Department when I turned in my last final ever, and decided I was owed at least one nice thing for free, or a coworker slipping a perfect book into my life midmeeting, or curling up on the floor of a bookstore across the country, overwhelmed with words. I love that. Anyhoo, the poetry section was shelved normally, and there was absolutely no room for any more. And we know I will continue to buy books. That, and the mountainous stack in front of it has been stressing me out.
Inspired further by Rhiannon, I flipped the stack, kept it in alphabetical order, and further sorted what I have and haven't read fully (the stack obscuring some comics are either too long to fit, a few of my issues of Poetry, and just a bit of my to-read stack... oh I have so many, piled all over. Just wait till you see the shelf dedicated to books about poetry. And anthologies. I have yet to tackle my bedside table too. Sigh.) I kept a jar of Los Angeles shells, origami flowers, and vintage typewriter ribbon cases out, but this time, they're not squashed behind a stack of books!
I love seeing people's bookshelves, as well as their book wishlists. What are some books you still just have to buy, and why? My list is based on poetry or fiction that I just have to underline. I'm looking forward to foraging Powell's for On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Brute by Emily Skaja, Soft Sciene by Franny Choi, and Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts.
I'd love to see your shel(f/ves), and to buy list. What has you smitten lately?
Enjoy the summer time,
It's no secret or surprise that canon is white, cis, and male, so I'm not even going to delve into this topic. All I'm going to say is that the canon does not have to be this way, because history has not been white, cis, and male, and if you'd like to sink into the diverse, magnificent world through books, it's wonderfully possible, especially armed with the resources below!
Perhaps the most difficult part will be locating the following books, but I suggest requesting your library or local indie book store to purchase such books and writers, and using used bookstores, whether online or in person. Indiebound is also good, if you do not have access to such shops.
feminizing the canon
The Second Shelf, a book shop and magazine, is an invaluable resource for not only rare or collectible books by women, but also discovering that women have been publishing high quality, notable work for a very, very long time. Not only this, but The Second Shelf is a woman owned business, so the purchase of a magazine helps both you and the lit world. While you wait on your magazine, peek into the Second Shelf Instagram.
The Paris Review also has a brilliant series profiling underread women authors, called Feminize Your Canon. It makes my heart flutter.
It's important for me to note that these resources are careful to be intersectional.
creating trans canon
Not all canon to embrace is historic. There are some voices that (as we know it) are only just being equipped to be heard and reached.
RL Goldberg has written a great list for The Paris Review called Toward Creating a Trans Literary Canon.
expanding the canon
Enough of all this all-white canons. I recommend avoiding lists written by white folks, as our view of culture is vastly misrepresentative of reality. This is the whole problem.
The Well Read Black Girl is an absolutely amazing resource for books by people of color, from people of color.
Books by Native Americans is one of the most difficult tasks for me, but this list is a good start.
queering the canon
Move beyond Oscar Wilde with these titles and articles on and for queer theory and canon via Brown University, or this article via Advocate.
This is the most brief, incomplete guide one could possibly make, and I am okay with this. I so encourage you to do more research and collect lists as you read, you expand your view of the literary world, and thus people.
An okay place to start is the list ALA has compiled of book, print, and media awards.
You'll notice the lists contain backlist books, but it's important to remember that we are actively creating a new canon for generations beyond us. The books published today matter, and it matters that we read them. Be loud about the books you love. Tell us- and your friends, your coworkers, the social media void- about what you're reading.
the sprout club
a small collective dedicated to personal, creative, and communal growths.