The EoE Countdown Continues with Jenn Givhan Tonight…
Today Monday April 1, 2013 East of Edith reading will have no April Fool’s shenanigans.
Rather, our feature Jenn Givhan’s poetry is the opposite of a prank. Recently she asked me to read through a grant application for her and offer a bit of advice. I was happy to do so. I was happy to do so because her poetry is strong AND she takes her job as a writer seriously.
ABOUT HER WRITING:
Jenn Givhan has a great ear and works hard at crafting a visceral and grounded poetics, particular and significant, each narrative flushing out the larger world of literature, including traditional forms and myth… plus I swear she one-ups the old Icarus myth and that’s not an easy one to top! It’s not even an easy one to allude to without just slicing the old ham, albeit in yet another pretty spiral cut or whatever… Her Icarus matters and has a NOW vision. Rigorous specificity is how I think of her work. An authentic, solid, and earned voice. The personal claim she stakes on any theme leaves us gasping, mulling, and pondering all kinds of questions:
1. If you are going to visit a friend or family member in the mental hospital, what artist and song would you like to hear on the playlist for the ward dance?
2. Could there possibly be a good literary use of nude pics I sent to my ex? Or since perhaps I didn’t get around to that yet, I wonder if I can repurpose those threats from the one history-referencing stalker I had?
3. Has the internalization of a mother calling a daughter “cochina, dirty girl” ever been rendered more beautifully than Jenn Givhan’s “I was too hot, too tight,/twisted lime tequila misstep/swatting deerfly & following trails/despite myself…”
4. And how on earth did she turn a mumuu’d woman and animal crackers into a prayer any reader can believe?
5. “Liminal” is a good word …
Jenn Givhan has a great ear and works hard at crafting a visceral and grounded poetics, particular and significant, each narrative flushing out the larger world of literature, including traditional forms and myth… I swear she even one-ups the old Icarus myth and that’s not an easy one to top! It’s not even an easy one to allude to without just slicing the old ham in yet another pretty spiral cut or whatever… Her Icarus matters and has a NOW vision.
AND AFTER ALL THE GOOD WRITING:
After all the typewritten sweat and blood, Jenn make a commitment to do the tremendously tedious but potentially rewarding and very important business of submitting work to journals and applying for grants and entering book competitions. Her publications list is impressive: Prairie Schooner, Contrary , The Fertile Source, Arsenic Lobster, decomP, As Us, Fickle Muses, Malpais Review , The Feminist Wire, Acentos Review, Rattle, Crab Creek Review and dozens and literally dozens more, both print and online, regional, national, border-crossing…
Part of why I wanted her to feature tonight is so that the community could come together and wish her a collective “Good luck!” on the current grant app, which she should be solidly in the running for… and simultaneously thank her for getting NM poetry out into the world of literary journals. I remember whole years working magazine returns when I would scrounge the contributor lists of journals, big name journals, who’s who journals, top notch prestigious lists of funding recipients and I could go through hundreds of names and find NO poets from New Mexico (except occasionally Gene Frumkin). East Coast, West Coast, no matter what “slant” a magazine on the bookstore rack had, we weren’t there. We should be there. We deserve to be there. We have to do our work to even be considered… Thankfully many NM writers are doing it with books and journal publications and more begin to join forces.
I appreciate that Jenn Givhan is doing “the work” and also doing “the work.”
Catch her tonight at East of Edith. 7 pm through the open garage doors at 3614 High STreet NE (east of edith, just north of candelaria). There’s also the usual open mic and Mitch Rayes hosts.
Return again next Monday and for eight and only eight more weeks of this open mic series before LPG shifts our attention towards other directions…
More on that soon….