Issue Number Two
ed. Elizabeth Treadwell

Okay, I’ve been wanting to post about this but really, I still feel I haven’t had enough time to adequately describe the excellence of this project. My first reaction was Yes, oh Yes! Here’s a fabulous example of what one might accomplish in lieu of blogging. At just over 200 pages Treadwell offers up poetry and prose from Alice Notley, Leslie Scalapino, Mary Burger, Nada Gordon and other poets whom I don’t know (Steffi Drewes for example); essays on Notley & Scalapino, Cather, Deloria & Stein, and Aime Cesaire & Bei Dao (the latter being completely new to me); and essays on poetics from Alicia Cohen and Tonya Foster… There is also a generous review section with smart shortish readings of new books by Carol Mirakove, Joanna Fuhrman, Arielle Greenberg, Bernadette Meyer, Juliana Spahr, Norma Cole and others. As well there’s an editor’s forum of engaging and unexpected discussions (An exchange between Elaine Miles and Jennifer Firestone about Andy Goldsworthy (Hello, yes, is this guy the King of precious, or what?)) some of which I’ve taken up in other forms here on Lemon Hound…I’m so excited.

This is a fine journal with strong unpredictable selections all around, very multi-faceted (did I mention the interview with Yedda Morrison and E. Treadwell?), and what I want to say to everyone who reads this is SUBSCRIBE. Yes, do that old fashioned thing involving a check book and envelope: SUBSCRIBE. This is just what we need, and headed in an interesting direction if you ask me. Refreshing.

I had an email in my inbox a while back about trying to resuscitate the Women’s Review of Books, and while I want to support all things women-related, I was disheartened by the lack of change in vision. I mean if there is little support for a project so that it ultimately shuts down, and then you reinvent it, why not reinvent? Why not try to think about where women’s writing might be going, and try to look at where we’ve been and are with a wider perspective and sharp eye? Which is what we find in Traffic

Can there be an online companion to this?? That’s the only thing would make it better.

buy nothing day and making meaning

Today is Buy Nothing Day, an annual event and so far I think not one that has made any major mark on our society. Adbusters is amazing. But in a sense it is preaching to the converted. Particularly since those of us who are even aware of it are usually folks who are already fairly conscious of things such as environmental footprints and “real costs” of things.

I’ve been thinking of other ways to use the time I would normally use blogging, I’m convinced that there are more effective ways of being at the moment. Particularly as it seems that while I sit here typing (even now), whole species are becoming extinct and with the same zeal that folks have wiped out much of the old growth trees and stripped resources and polluted water bodies and soil and air in North America, the entire globe is being developed at a rate that makes my head spin…how to take all of this in??

Meanwhile our world becomes smaller under the guise of being more global…we come to our screens in the morning but what are we looking at? Most often it seems to me we are looking at ourselves. And poetry? Well, as much as I believe in poetry and will obviously always engage in it, I worry about an art form that seems to have completely accepted the idea that it is only talking to itself.

This poet wants to talk to non-poets as well as poets. This poet wants to hear good news about the human race. This poet wants to see some hopeful signs for the planet. I’m concerned about gender and power and poetry yes, but like so many other things, water, global warming, I generally feel hopeless about it. Meanwhile there are people who are putting their foot down, who are really seeing what the implications are of us allowing the privatization of our water sources, the dislocation of local in terms of water, and what that will mean even five years down the road…. Who would have expected this stance from a Christian organization?

One of the most inspiring people I’ve ever heard of is a man whose name I don’t remember. He’s a man who, when forced to retire from his work due to a head injury began walking daily in Toronto’s Don Valley. After a few days he began picking up garbage. Then he began to bring bags with him because he found so much. Then he began recording what he found. Then he began looking further into the land around him and began discovering bigger things, shopping carts, televisions, etc., which he diligently hauled out and recorded. Then he began to talk about it, then he began to get attention, then more people became involved and ten years later the Don was suddenly showing signs of revitalization… I love that story because it’s a great reminder that dailiness adds up. That “heroes” are usually the most common people doing common things. That there are signs of hope. Real, not virtual. Real.

And I suppose in the face of this a daily blog is harmless enough. But I want more than harmless. I want to shift things. I want to shift. What would I have after ten years of blogging?