Qarrtsiluni mutates the signature

If you haven’t been reading Qarrtsiluni’s latest edition, Mutating the Signature, you’re missing out on a revolution sweeping poetry on the web. Editors Dana Guthrie Martin and Nathan Moore have assembled an inspired group of poems, songs, visual art, video, and recordings, all created in collaboration. Each piece has multiple authors, and comes with process notes that reveal the inner workings of multiple minds.

Guthrie Martin is also the founding member of The Poetry Collaborative, where several poets, including Moore, work together to write, often revising in plain view. They’ve even been known to write their poems on places like twitter and facebook.

Dave Bonta, managing editor and co-founder of Qarrtsiluni, is a pioneer in sharing creative writing on the web. His journal is one of the few that publishes author recordings of most of the poems and short stories on the site. It comes as no surprise that he would be one of the first editors to publish an entire edition devoted entirely to collaborative works.

looking for poems and art

Jo and I are revving up for a new reading period for ouroboros. We are thrilled with the success of the first issue – over 2,500 readers to date, and hope for continued interest in the project. Head over to our submissions page to read the particulars of when, where, and how to send us your poems and artwork.

spiral by grzesiek

spiral by grzesiek

The lovely and talented Dana Guthrie Martin has published a poem I wrote for her project, Shore Tags. The website, a blending of science, literature, and art, publishes poems and and articles that touch on the plight of hermit crabs and how they are having a tough time finding new shells to live in as they grow bigger.

There are so many social and spiritual parallels between humans and the other animals that inhabit the planet with us, but the little hermit crab is an especially endearing creature that has elicited some wonderful poems by children and adults alike. Dana has gathered all kinds of ideas involving shells, poems, photographs, links, and lesson plans for teachers.

Of course, Shore Tags is only one of Dana’s many projects. The latest one involves poetry, Seattle, and brothels. I’m not sure, but feather boas might be a part of this too.

postal poetry's september contest

Here’s a link to another photo by Fernando Sousa, accompanied by my words. I called it, “rolling stones mouth,” after the eponymous magazine. Thanks to Dana and Dave, who, by publishing my postal poems, keep me motivated to do more writing.

There is an ongoing contest for October, this time featuring photos by Mikey G. Ottawa. Entries are due November 15. Be sure to read the submissions guidelines. One of the requirements is to write while wearing a feather boa.

We Feel It

The following prose poem is a free-write based on two inspirations: Dana’ Guthrie Martin’s echolalia post, and Michelle Obama’s campaign speech today in Ohio. I was listening to Michelle’s inspiring speech on CNN today while folding clothes. As she began a number of sentences with “we feel it when,” I thought of echolalia, and the conversation on Read Write Poem.

We Feel It

“It’s causing us to be in survival mode.”

From Michelle Obama’s campaign speech, Friday, October 24, 2008, as she referred to the global economy.

We feel it when we say goodbye to a son who is traveling far away, or when the line is disconnected while talking to a friend.

We feel it when a door won’t unlock, no matter how much we jiggle the knob, when our dreams turn to ash, when art turns to dust, when someone laughs at our efforts to reach into the airwaves to pluck a thread of inspiration from the ether. When we hear angels tapping their lotus petal feet on a distant island; when we hear the bellows of beasts in the dank basement of our soul.

We feel it when we deny ourselves the right to enter glowing orbs of goodness or empty cupboards of despair.

We feel it when we are told our time is past, we are creaking bones and gray hair with a one-way ticket to a walkabout leading to an incinerator.

We feel it when a man is unjustly accused, when lies do go on forever.

We feel it when the horizon’s flat line becomes the universe, supported on the backs of the emperor’s sycophants, who will forever love the new clothes.