Friday, November 18, 2011

Release: Emprise Review, Issue 22

Issue 22 of Emprise Review has just been released, including my poem, “Bottoming,” inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here’s the link:


The Poetry Editor of this established and superb journal is Tracy Youngblom. According to Duotrope Digest, only about 8% of submissions are accepted, which makes sense given the stellar and arresting work in Emprise. Youngblom finds poems that are pithy and succinct,and yet usually of pretty good length. They are lyrical and original pieces that bristle with intense meaning, the sort that salves and stings at many levels, often with a subtle undertone of ethos. In short, brilliant stuff with a purpose that transcends and yet co-opts good sound.

Youngblom made a suggestion on my poem which improved it greatly, though I’m still not sure it is worthy of Emprise. I sure am grateful to be included though! The poem was edited over a dozen times.

The Poetry Editor’s Introduction was fascinating for me to read, because it concerns feminism and I am teaching Women’s Studies this semester. Youngblom puzzles over the fact that all her contributors in this issue, inadvertently, are male, which seems ironic given her dedication to promoting women’s equality. However, she works it out, and shows that feminism is a flexible and accepting philosophy, one that continuously seeks to end oppression but does not adhere to a simple male-vs-female mathematics.

It is not easy to be a feminist in our global society today, and I admire Youngblom for launching a tough discussion about trying to be ethical once the Women’s Studies class is over, and the camaraderie of the classroom has yielded to the inevitable branches that take feminists on separate journeys. How do you sustain your imperative for justice? What strategies keep you energized when you are ‘out in the world’, away from others who agree with you, and faced with situations that don't allow simple choices?

Youngblom shows us it can be done and that the struggle to understand life’s confusing and complex contexts can spark some sagacious and absorbing prose.


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