An Invitation? Me? To the Ballroom?

This Wednesday, I will be reading my poetry at the estate where my artist residency studio is located. My studio is literally in the carriage house, however I will be reading in the ballroom. This will be quite a change. It’s a good thing I don’t own a ball gown or I might have been inclined to wear one.

Ball gown for a ball by Rachel Zoe on Karolina Kurkova

Karolina Kurkova sparkles like champagne in this ball gown designed by Rachel Zoe…like I said, good thing I don’t own one or else I would end up wearing it and scaring people away like a lighting bug!

The exhibit evening coordinators call what I’m doing “an ongoing reading of poetry throughout the night.” I better bring some water with me. I’ve never done this before, and I assume people will be strolling in and out perhaps even mid-poem, most likely preferring to meander through visual arts, rather than the invisible sounds I’ll be speaking. This is the biggest reading I’ve ever done in my career. I read at the University where I got my MFA once I finished my thesis which was pretty big, but this reading (in the ballroom) will be my first as a professional, all on my own. It’s exciting and unnerving at once. No longer can things like tardiness, messy hair or even a slight buzz to calm the nerves be excused and acceptable as they are for the rookie graduate student. Now, it’s all me. I’m not a duckling in a graduate program; I’m my own brand, my own entity. Any level of nuisance or pleasantness I emit can either eradicate or encourage future invitations to read. How I read, what I read, how “likeable” I am, determines my fate. There’s pressure building, but I hope the poems will speak for me, and I hope the energy of what once was an up and running ballroom will enliven me.An invitation to read poetry in the ballroom Which poems should I read? Well, I already know. That’s one easy element to this endeavor. I’m going to read the ones I know people like, ones I’ve read before. Wednesday evening won’t be a time to experiment or push “social issues” buttons. I’m pulling out my shiniest gems to show how much I’m really worth. (Well, maybe there will be room for one or two experimental pieces…) Reading poetry in the ballroom of the estate

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Poem Published!

Every single time I send out a poetry submission to a literary journal or magazine, I encounter a conflict of thoughts, “Why did I send that third poem?! It sucks!” or “Did I sound too cocky on my cover letter?” or “Did I not sound professional enough?” “Why did I even bother wasting time on this journal?! It’s way out of my league!”

Basically, it’s a mental show, and it can, has and probably will again drive me crazy. However, when I do get a poem accepted for publication it is like hitting a personal record during a race, and I think, “I did it!”

“Old Cutler Waterhole” by Nicole Hospital-Medina (aka productiveprofessor) is now up and ready to be read in Canyon Voices Literary Magazine. Simply look into the Poetry section. My poem is the third poem in the section. It is on page 59, surrounded by talented fellow writers’ works. I am deeply honored.

You can read the issue here, Canyon Voices Literary Magazine, Issue 10, Fall 2014.

Enjoy a preview of the issue below:

Check out new poem publication

What a great cover right?!

New poem published!

I’m in there; I swear! 😉 See my poem, Old Cutler Waterhole, in the POETRY section.

Click here to read poem (pg. 59) and entire issue. It’s a super pleasant online setup for reading. Even the turning of pages makes little paper sounds. It adds warmth to the read somehow.

Still, the Same Questions

I’m a jack of many trades. I’m a prism of personalities. An aficionado of all the challenges I’ve faced as as well as the ones coming. At my most primitive level, I am a survivor.

Though I carry the personal traits with pride (well, I’ll be honest, because being a survivor can also carry connotations of unsophistication, sometimes it makes me feel insecure), as a writer always hearing about “the writer’s voice,” I wonder and worry about the writer with “many voices.”

I’ve self published my piece, Tangled Up in Selves, on my two blogs, this one and Pink Curlers & Post Scripts, seeking answers and others’ thoughts without luck. The essay has now been published by Ezine, which I have convinced myself means it has some relevancy. So, I’m still hunting for some feedback on this concept of the writer with many voices.

You can view the article on Ezine. To view click here, EZINE.

Feedback is warmly welcome!!

Mix & Mash

I first embodied the label, “poet activist,” after my victory in a local haiku contest, The Miami Herald Haiku Challenge 2011. I won with a haiku that exposed Florida’s pill mill industry and its connection to Kentucky’s number one cause of death: prescription pain pill overdose. The overdoses are the result of Florida’s I-75, nicknamed “Oxy Express.” Noticeably, I write on what concerns me about this world; remaining loyal to myself, the collection of poetry I currently dwell on huddles closely around the issues I carry in my hands and heart (to see a sample poem, click on the link below). The poetry book not only aims to represent the complexities of the individual in society, but also, it aims to display the relevance of unique, personal and creative expression. Essentially, this project illuminates the following themes: the role of the individual in the context of society and culture, the servitude to gender roles, the exploitation of the body and the natural environment, and the diktat of popular culture.

In order for the collection to emit these themes, prioritizing the intimate and genuine self proves to be significant and indispensable. Indeed, the poetic brand, Confessionalism, might be seared into a description of my collection, but as writers like Sylvia Plath or David Trinidad bravely demonstrate, matters unique to the self unavoidably untangle into matters of the world. When utilizing the private self for literary crusades, civil truth leaks from the page. Honesty from the individual cultivates comprehension, empathy and social change. Harvey Milk proved this during the Gay Rights movement, when he encouraged exposing true identity for the purpose of progress and justice. At times, while writing, ironically, I exploit myself and my obsessions to affectingly illustrate common exploitations, such as the misuse of gender roles, the ravaging of the body (of both humans and animals) and our environment (resources and habitats) and the authority of pop culture and the media.

Personal experience, agenda and fixation function as tools of communication and campaign for the abovementioned topics. My schemas of justice and compassion ignite my creation. As a minority female, my perceptions of gender as burden might offer specific insight and legitimacy. This project intends to dissect as well as radiate the effect of assigning identity according to gender by honestly depicting human existence by way of memory and private contemplation. The exploitations of the environment and the body are portrayed through recollection, imagination and passion. My obsession with the current wrecking of ocean waters swimmingly aligns with and scaffolds the wrecking/utilization of the physical body. The corruption of the natural environment mirrors the corruption of the mortal self. Like gender roles assign identity, pop culture assigns identity and community via mass deliverance. Pop culture acts as a fountain of detail and context that cascades the concerns of the project. It catapults the issues of environmental and corporal misuse in my thesis with its widespread, iconic beacons. Pop is relatable and culturally confined, therefore it frameworks and authenticates contemporary human experience.

In order to express these precise issues brightly and profoundly, this pile of poetry defies the implication that poetry is simply literary. Though the interpretation of poetry remains seemingly cramped by the limitations of reading, I argue it is not. This poetry escapes the margins of language through innovation, imagination, connotation, connection and subversion. It also prospers from physical sensory image. Perhaps because of my involvement in ceramics and other modes of art, I prioritize texture, color and detail.

I argue that while my poetry may appear informal, it is actually quite formal. Unlike poetry that is manufactured by traditional form, my poetry is produced by organic evolution. At times, the work may appear disconnected or frayed. Inevitably though, just as varied materials or shapes create a sculpture, the odds and ends of these poems develop into large, vibrant concepts. They may appear in disarray, yet conceptually, they are organized like an organic body or a natural web.

A portion of the poems do follow traditional form, but the project bears new and experimental fruit worth pointing out. These do not fall under traditional poetic categories or labels, but they do have precise forms. Poetic techniques such as repetition, line break and negative space are specifically assigned duties like emphasis, rhythm and visual to perceptual instruction. Beats and placement of words or phrases trigger connections and reader transference. Words may be chiseled off, carved into a fragmented phrase for a pungent sensory effect. Or, a phrase might be repeated, then elongated and then repeated again for rhythm, tension or drama. Countable linguistic or imagistic patterns might entwine a piece. Also, structural habits, such as the use of the parenthetical as a detailed link, the ellipses as an ambiguous extender, or the rejection of grammar as a mode of expansion or controversy inexorably become reasonable and crucial. I am certain I create poems the same way I fashion a sculpture, organically but with obsessive exactitude.

A sample of a poem from this collection can be read in the link to the publication below.

Cross-genre poem, “entity of identity” by Nicole Hospital-Medina in the Acentos Review.