Follow Harriet on Twitter
Goddess Booty Voodoo is What I Do
Thank you PATRICIA SMITH FOR YOUR LOVE, for having ears that swivel towards the decades, for giving MY POETRY CONTEST a proper hello. Yes it’s true, the contest page is blazing with age glitter, including a “headshot” of me not unlike Suzanne Somers’ poetry book cover from the 80′s, looking like I ate the truth and am now a little constipated by what I know.
And those submitting- those beautiful teen and 20 somethings– their hair fireworks stampeding the natural, their Gaga aesthetics, their various nubile lymphatic vessels pierced and their A-cups disowning the notion of negative space. Their ability to out do me in what I was born doing as an actress: The Portrait Strut. I applaud their dedication on multiple levels. And I know poetry can be off putting when you’re young and just learning the art of sharpening yourself into a unique weapon to bring to The Battle of Life, and the only poetry or poets you have been exposed to are the intellectual types that were part of the required syllabus and sound like strictly intellectual types, or the open mic your new beau dragged you to that either left you traumatized or napping. I also know these two examples are not always the case and are often cliches. I know there is the better of both sides, but that the Inbetween can be like finding the most potent gardenia flower in the Queen’s garden (or other metaphors about flowers, bees and pollination).
I hope this contest will destigmatize our world of poetry. Will make it feel less untouchable, more approachable. So many times I’ve been asked by this very demo how to get published, like I KNOW how to get published (I too have a Crucifixion-sized nail in the wall where all the rejection notes from publications have been stabbed onto), but I see their yearning to get closer to the literary world. Because I too yearn for it, like we all do, no matter what echelon we hail from. Poetry is the party we should all be dancing at- sweating our Beyonces off and grinding on each other’s openness. Fuck chaperons. Spike the punch. Punch the lights out. Get dark and dirty and REAL. I want books like Blood Dazzler in the baby pillow arms of every Buzznet babe.
They’re playing our song, Patricia (it’s a Prince song, of course). Let’s get on the dance floor and show these budding newsters how we drop it like it’s some metaphor about heat that gets us published in the Paris Review.