29---> danny & brautigan

Name: Danny Caporaletti

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Current City: Richmond, Virginia

Occupation: Film Professor, Filmmaker, Writer, Camera Assistant, MFA in Fiction from University of New Orleans

 

What does poetry mean to you?

 

Compelling poetry distorts as much as it clarifies, and it expands the boundaries of language. A great poem, to me, explores a central idea or feeling by rendering a moment “still” with words, syntax, and structure.

 

Favorite Poet/Poem:

 

Richard Brautigan’s “I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone.” This is a bit of cheat, since most consider this a short story, but it reads like a prose poem to me, existing somewhere between poetry and flash fiction.

 

Why do you like this poet/poem?

 

The piece is one big nostalgic wormhole. The language is playful (I love the line “I think I was seven or eight or six”), and the tone is conversational, yet precise. Brautigan likens electricity with romance to explore the difficulty of describing love to another person. The lights turn on and off, the same way love can turn on and off.

 

Runner-Up Favorite Poem: Charles Bukowski’s “Young In New Orleans” because it’s hilarious and dark and true. Too true.

20---> erin & wright


Name: Erin Gendron
Hometown: Allegan, Michigan
Current City: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: Writer/educator
Age): post-modern


What does poetry mean to you?


Poetry is the connective tissue between experience and explanation. It is the stuff that holds the pieces together so that we can find and experience greater meaning.


Favorite Poet/Poem


I will always feel something when I read James Wright’s “A Blessing.”

Why do you like this poet/poem?



The smell of the air, the hum of the spring insects, the heat lifting from the horses; I experience all of these things, including the lightness in my chest that Wright alludes to at the end. This electric feeling that you get (if you’re very lucky) when you happen upon something that is truly good. Those moments can make you feel so alive and so filled with gratitude. As you can tell by my explanation, it’s a hard thing to describe, but somehow, Wright captures it perfectly.

15---> kelly & the three way tie

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Name: Kelly Jones 

Hometown: Raleigh, NC 

Current Cities: Raleigh, NC, and New Orleans, LA

Occupation: Bartender/Editor/Educator/Event Organizer/Writer

Age: 30


What does poetry mean to you?


Poetry, at its best, is the thing that everyone’s wanted to say but couldn’t figure out how to. Its calculated expression and unbridled thought; poems question the world and attack it from another angle. They make us think and feel and wonder and dream and hope and cry and smile and remember. Sometimes it means rhyme, meter, form, structure, etc., but I prefer to appreciate poems more for their content than their presentation.  As someone who writes poems, poetry also means creation, frustration, and revision. It means treasuring a thing that, when you boil it down, is just words and white space.


Favorite Poet/Poem:  

I don’t have a favorite poet, but I’ve got a three way tie going for favorite poem. Please, read them. I promise that you might like them.

Dream Song 4″ by John Berryman

For Saundra” by Nikki Giovanni

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” by Amiri Baraka  


Why do you like these poems?


“Dream Song 4” draws me in because of Mr. Bones and Henry’s conversation. The way they speak with each other and describe their world is captivating. And the way Berryman turns a phrase is so lovely and memorable.

“For Saundra” is hard and honest and questioning the world. It shows a smart woman who is tough and ready for revolution. When I first read that poem in middle or high school that was an unfamiliar character that I was excited to finally see.

“Preface…” is heart wrenching and I love it for that. It also does a damn good job of using an isolated line to make an impact.

10---> erik & enoch

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Name: Erik Wennermark

Hometown: suburban Washington D.C.

Current City: Hong Kong

Occupation: Teacher/Writer

Age: 37


What does poetry mean to you?


I am a bit of a neophyte when it comes to poetry; I’ve certainly read a fair bit, and I’ve often hung out with poets. I’ve even been in poetry workshops, but I’ve always been a prosaic dude at heart. Maybe that’s why the poems I tend to like are prose-y like Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel” or just weird exercises like Joe Wenderoth’s Letters to Wendy’s. In my current job though, I find myself reading poetry everyday – much of which is canon (Keats, Wordsworth, etc). This has happened at other times in my life (I went on a long Whitman tear) – and whenever I read poetry everyday I come to appreciate it so much more as it offers challenges and concerns I just don’t get from prose. It’s the rare paragraph, maybe Melville, that I can read ten times and find something new each time, but even what’s ultimately a pretty goofy poem, Keats’s “When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be,” for example, continually rewards careful reading. Some other poems I have enjoyed lately are Philip Larkin’s “The Building” and Anna Akhmatova’s “You Will Hear Thunder.” I’m also a sucker for reading odd fiction about poets (below), most Roberto Bolaño wrote.


Favorite Poet/Poem


Enoch Soames


Why do you like this poet/poem?


His absolute devotion to the craft come hell or high-water – in a most literal sense.