“Words and Music: Three Stories” Wynn Cooper’s essay on the musical roots of poetry is as smooth and musical as the song born from one of his poems: “All I Want to do is Have Some Fun,” the choral, country-in-the-cityish Sheryl Crow boogie that served as a specific track on my personal playlist of the 90s is lifted—almost verbatim and with permission—from Cooper’s poem “Fun,” reprinted in the essay.
Cooper tells the story of Crow’s keyboard player and producer popping into “Cliff’s Books in Pasadena, where they found a used copy of [his] book. They liked the poems, thought they fit the raw feelings they were after in her songs, and bought the book. They took it back to Sheryl, and asked her to sing ‘Fun’ to the music” they had already started.
What a cool compliment for a poet to receive. And the type of serendipity that only leads full-grown heterosexual boy on joyful morning rides to the community college.
The Poets & Writers Writer’s Exchange this year will sponsor two writers from California—a poet and fiction writer—for a week of literary meetings and readings in New York. Only one lucky winner gets to make the trip down the aisle of states where agents and editors will wait like new washing machines and luxury cars. (Did I mention my clothes are all dirty and my windshield exploded last night?)
This year’s judge is Marilyn Chin, co-director of the Creative Writing MFA program at SDSU. This statement from Chin on Love seems like an elementary position every American poet today should begin from, a fundamental perspective—like a wormhole:
to assimilate into America means to annihilate one’s culture, language, religion, and to be usurped by a culture that is monolingual, monotheistic, and whose world view is tied to the vicissitudes of commerce.
The deadline for the California Writer’s Exchange is the end of August.
Finally, the 6th Annual Welcome to Boog City Poetry & Music Festival starts at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. From Thursday to Sunday, a steady plethora of poets will perform—51 in all, plus 13 musical acts, 7 short plays, panels and activism, oh my! The performers are too numerous to name without not mentioning everyone. Through readings or at the 9th Annual Small Press Fair, publishers, schools, and awards galore will be represented—along with the less bankrolled.
So check the line-up and attend if you can. The event runs for four days, like a little poetry Olympics while the actual Olympics is mangled unwatchably by NBC. And it all takes place under the light of the full moon—sounds trés pagan.