Poetry and literary websites that are new to me:

Please take time to read and then follow all submission guidelines. Some publications have demographic or geographic limitations. Some charge submission fees.

Blink Your Eyes and Shout Out by Sekou Sundiata. He is one of my favorites. I listen to his spoken-word/music collections Longstoryshort and The Blue Oneness of Dreams regularly.

This week I finished Among The Dog Eaters, by Adrian C. Louis.  The book was published in 1992. I am a little late getting to it, but a good read is a good read no matter when you locate it—Worth Full Price.

Louis captures the life of Native American life at Pine Ridge and pulls no punches. Excellent use of language to create dynamic images for the mind to consume whether the taste is sweet or bitter or a blend of the two.

Continuing the interview questions. #3.

          Does your university degree influence your writing of poetry and how?

My degrees are in Art (Drawing and Printmaking) and Computer Science.

The art degree shows up in every poem I write, because I believe I write like a painter.  I envision the poem first, see it plainly before the mind’s eye, almost like viewing a photograph. Sometimes I see only the first stanza and the picture evolves and I write what I see as if flipping through a photograph album.

Surrealism injects itself into my writing regularly. The way my brain functions and Surrealism go together.  I find poetry is very well suited for juxtaposition and dream-origins to express ideas and feelings and insights.  Or to struggle toward the meaning of the poem just as a dream struggles to send a message from the subconscious to the conscious.

René Magritte made one the great observations about art and life in his painting “La trahison des images” (The Treachery of Images) where his beautiful painting of a pipe has written underneath it “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe).  Imagine all the woman of the world who have heard the words “I love you” only to discover in the following days, weeks or months it was not love, but only the image of love painted on a behavior-canvas of a man.

Along with my favorite Magritte I love the visual work of Miro and Yves Tanguy.

My computer science degree is not so obvious on how it affected my poetry.  I started out as a computer programmer in the 1980s.  Back then inventory and accounting / spreadsheet programs were the cutting edge.  Yet, I wanted to combine my art skills and computer science skills for a better workday experience. I ended up working desktop publishing / pre-press / digital typesetting for small print shops. This lead in time to me producing small press poetry publications on my own. In 1995 I started Hodge Podge Poetry in Milwaukee, WI.  It was the small, saddle-stapled fold-over chapbook type of publication of the era before on-demand publishing brought perfect bound books and 4-color process cover printing into the hands of everyday creative people.

By producing a poetry publication my writing was influenced by reading 200 to 500 poems that were submitted each month for the quarterly publication.

My computer science degree made it easier to shift to a poetry website in the days when you had to write all of your own HTML to make it happen, back before custom style sheets, or WordPress. That web publication was Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry and it produced 48 issues in PDF format. Again, it was reading all of the submissions (500 to 2500 per month) that influenced my  poetry writing and appreciation.

By publishing poetry I developed email relationships with poets from most of the 50 states that lasted various amounts of time past the end of the publication. Sometimes we would arrange to meet at poetry festivals, where we enjoyed in-person camaraderie and the pleasure of our differing styles. My connection to Albuquerque poets formed in this manner, particularly with Robert Arthur Reeves, and landed me in Albuquerque at the end of my last intentionally homeless drive-about the U. S. A.

— Kenneth P. Gurney


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