Monday, March 31, 2014

Acceptance: Blast Furnace Press


It is a tremendous thrill to have two of my poems (“Birch” and “Behavioral Drift”) accepted by Blast Furnace Press, run by its more-than-competent Editor, Rebecca Clever. This journal is, in itself, such a happy story. In 2010, I was lucky to find it setting up shop on the web. I knew right away BFP was going to be special (see my old blog entry!). Now, in 2014, Blast Furnace is a new member of CLMP, has almost 150,000 hits, and was recently put on a top ten list of internet poetry venues:

More important than all that, Ms. Clever emanates a scintillant positive energy. She is excited by and intensely involved in the sheer beauty of poetry as an art form; and she is charismatic in sharing her enthusiasm with contributors and interviewees.

Speaking of which, her latest interview, with Susanna Childress, is an absorbing, emotional read. Childress effervesces with appreciation for the craft. She speaks with a noble virtuosity, spending a great deal of time on Barbara Hamby, who helped her organize the poems for her book, Jagged with Love. This book won two major prizes (one selected by Billy Collins, US poet laureate). But I want to go back to Childress’ praise of Ms. Hamby, which is so well-written and so full of candid appreciation that it touched me. There was something salubrious in this lack-of-egoism, something I don’t see much in the world today. And, indeed, Ms. Hamby seems another person who selflessly gives, completing a wonderful circle of mutual care.

The truth is, no poet is great alone. Great poets have opened up to feedback, suggestion and alteration. This takes an open heart, and a two-way empathy in a critical yet sensitive dynamic. An astute observer can sometimes see a soul-level ‘voice’ trying to break free, even before the author. We are subconscious creatures, after all, largely controlled by forces below our surface appraisal.

There are important lessons in this for humanity. Humble interactions, enriched by deeply listening, can lead to exquisite expressions of release and truth.

Indeed, we tend to deny the truth in ourselves daily, as part of the requirements of quotidian life.

Having gone on about this, I understand now what I most want to say. All editors are, by their position, giving people, who spend a great deal of time with others’ poems; but there are some who immerse in working with others, striving to bring about mutually beneficial relationships. The goal is not self-aggrandizement, nor is the behavior affected or artificial. As someone like Ms. Clever helps others, listens to others, promotes others, her own trajectory tends to rise on its own. This is the kind of magical chemistry that bolsters the success of Blast Furnace Press. I’m not a person who is naturally inclined to giddiness, but when I think of BFP’s journey, I can’t help but feel a little elevation in my pulse.

You’ll find this editor open to reading your submissions no matter your standing or status, beginner through veteran. It’s a very special venue, a true standout, in the poetosphere.

Many hoots of approval to Ms. Clever!



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