The Importance of Being Poetry from Rachel @ STL SPEX

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From Rachel of STL SPEX: My hometown (Seattle) is getting hit pretty hard by coronavirus and I’m struggling with the reality that the best thing I can do to help is stay away. I’m finding some comfort in watching the Seattle Aquarium streaming sea otter cam and in poetry, especially short form poems that suit my often-distracted state of mind and help me push the pause button–at least for a few moments.

I’m reading Black Mountain Poems, which I picked up at Chicago’s Seminary Co-op bookstore. Here are a few stanzas from the book:

Calm down

what happens

happens mostly

without you

– Josef Albers
Not an otter, but as close as I can get in person.

Speaking of poetry (and perhaps not calming down), I’m thinking of my two favorite (though “favorite” seems not a strong enough word…) poetry resources in Seattle and wishing them the best as they continue to operate online.

The always-amazing booksellers at Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle sent me a list of poetry recommendations for my friends (based on incredibly vague descriptions I sent them: “Likes abstract art and philosophy. Used to be in a punk band.”). Their list was so carefully considered and smart that it made me cry (and I am not much of a crier).

I got Eileen Myles for myself:

Same goes for Wave BooksCatherine of Wave (who I was honored to cross paths with during my MFA program) says that the best thing anyone can do to help Wave keep on keeping on is to buy books directly from their website.

I’m just about to start reading this new Don Mee Choi book from Wave.

Reading has always helped me feel that I am not alone.

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