Saturday, July 26, 2014

Behind The Poem: Comedy Issue of Barrelhouse edition

I'm proud to have a poem in the new Comedy Issue of Barrelhouse.
This volume begins with Editor Mike Ingram's clarification of Humor vs. Comedy
and includes interviews with Megan Amram and Maria Bramford, and work from Christopher Citro, Patricia Lockwood, Adrienne Celt, and many others.

A few things that jumped out when I first thumbed through randomly:

from John Mortara's "game over, man"

my love for you is the 1984 movie The Terminator

you will have no knowledge of my future love for you
until it arrives in your life
naked and muscular

from Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney's collaboration "Some Notes on Foolishness"

The verb "fool" can mean both to be a fool and to make a fool of. "You fool" is
surprisingly polysemous.

and this opening by Brian Warfield:

My poem is "Breaking Dawn Within A Dawn Haibun" and I can partially blame it on Charles Jensen.
A few years ago, Hayden's Ferry Review gave me a free pass to ASU's Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference. One of the first workshops was by Charles Jensen and here's a secret: I almost didn't go.
I have to confess that I saw Charles' promo author photo and it seemed so austere and like the kind of person who takes everything-including-himself way too seriously and it would be obvious that I was only there because of this free pass from HFR and really did not belong.

But his subject was The Prose Poem so I was curious and went anyway.
It only took me about 5 seconds to realize that my preconceived notions WERE COMPLETELY WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL. Charles was an energetic sweetheart with a gigantic sense of humor and enthusiasm that was as contagious as his smile. This is a more accurate depiction of Charles:
His session was entertaining and engaging and if I knew there were Professors like him, I probably would have gone to college, myself.
So the next day I made sure to take his other workshop on the Haibun. This Japanese form of a prose poem followed by a haiku dates back to Basho, but Charles was showing us contemporary examples by poets like Aimee Nezhukumatathil and pointing out that the form is so underused that it's possibilities are wide open.

I remembered something I once wrote for a big Poe Show performance and I wondered if re-working it into a haibun could help it translate from stage to page. I liked the idea of shoehorning pop culture obsessions into an ancient Japanese art form. I try to bring together high-brow and low-brow whenever I get the chance and I am grateful that Barrelhouse could appreciate my "Uni-brow Poetics."

Here is a video of that early first-draft performance from the 2010 Poe Show at MadCap Theatre:

You can buy this special Comedy Issue of Barrelhouse RIGHT OVER HERE.

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