Posts Tagged: brian spears

Sasa-Stanisic

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Saša Stanišić

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Saša Stanišić about his novel Before the Feast, the challenge of writing a plural narrator, working with a translator, and book tours in Germany. ...more

Martin Seay

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Martin Seay

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Martin Seay about his debut novel The Mirror Thief, the Great Work of alchemy, researching optical prosthetics, and keeping plot lines straight in a 600-page novel. ...more

Sandra Meek

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Sandra Meek

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The Rumpus Poetry Book Club chats with Sandra Meek about her new collection An Ecology of Elsewhere, writing landscapes, and the power of syntactic density. ...more

On Refugees, and Refusing to Be Scared

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The news that governors are suddenly deciding that they don’t want to welcome Syrian refugees has really driven home to me just how cowardly much of this country is. We talk tough, mind you, but when we’re asked to really open ourselves up to something, we refuse.

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National Poetry Month Day 30: “Jubilate Patro” by Brian Spears

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Jubilate Patro

For I will consider my father Sam
For he praises God in his mumbles and circular stories
For his left arm is crooked to remind him of original sin
For half his brain was cut off from blood when he was a baby
For it rewired itself
For his right arm is mighty in exchange
For with it he did not spare the rod
For he was an elder until Alzheimer’s took away his memory
For he was an accountant until Alzheimer’s took away his memory
For he praised God in his mumbles and circular stories before Alzheimer’s took his memory and thus it is a part of his soul
For he is still a storyteller even though he gets lost in his stories sometimes
For with his right arm he taught me how to snap off a curveball
For with his left arm he taught me to drive a stick shift
For with his half-brain he taught me to praise God among strangers
For he never explained football to me, but made me learn it myself
For he is taller than me even with the curve in his spine that causes him pain
For I will never know another man greater than him
For his favorite animal was the porcupine, a creature of defense
For when I was a child and beaten by bullies he told me it was right to defend myself with a tree branch
For he taught me what a lie was by reading to me of Ananias and Sapphira
For I became a poet anyway
For I used that tree branch and knocked one boy silly
For he made me listen to Hank Williams even when I didn’t want to
For because of him I can still quote chapter and verse of the Gospels
For he can still dance
For when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he came to see me even though I had left the church and was an unrepentant sinner
For he taught me that there is no such thing as a fair fight
For when he accidentally bloodied my nose, he apologized in tears
For I still have his copy of Dick Clark’s 20 Years of Rock and Roll
For when Louis Jordan came on the stereo he would grab my mother and twirl her in the living room of our trailer so that the floors shook
For he made me hold a nail while he hit it with a hammer and so taught me trust
For I learned to drive a nail myself at 7
For he drove a dump truck with one good arm and so taught me that while I may be able to do all things, some times I should not
For he has more hair than I do
For when I told him that I had been excised from the church, he hung up on me to praise God in the only way he knew how
For he took me to see Chuck Berry when I was 15
For because of him I worked shit jobs and thus built character
For because of that I appreciated college when I finally went
For he knew there is glorious music in a car engine even if he didn’t always know how to coax it forth
For he taught me to always carry jumper cables
For he went to his father’s bedside when it was time for him to die
For he stayed a month and helped build the coffin
For he would not let the funeral be held in a Kingdom Hall in order to protect the body of the church
For he taught me there are things more important than family and sometimes I hate him for that
For his father is Jehovah and he has no son anymore

-Brian Spears

Author’s note: I wrote this poem about five years ago when my relationship with my father was strained.

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Praise For Dispatch From The Future

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This month’s Rumpus Book Club selection – Leigh Stein’s Dispatch from the Future – gets an outstanding review from Guernica Magazine:

“Stein’s poems are the very perfect product of a frenetic in-between culture where knowledge is currency but also poverty, and its artistic output is underscored by a perennial ennui—like the girl in high school who wears a black beret and talks about death all the time.”

Also, be sure to watch the trailer for, as well as The Rumpus’ own Brian Spears reading from, Stein’s book here.

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Poetic Lives Online: Links by Brian Spears

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We mourn the death of poet Leslie Scalapino. Our condolences to her family and friends, and to all who were moved by her work.

PEN American announced the release of Burmese poet Saw Wei, imprisoned for “inducing crime against public tranquility” for one of his poems.

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Poetic Lives Online: Links by Brian Spears

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Tara Betts found herself attacked by a particularly ignorant political blogger named Debbie Schlussel over her class at UrbanWordNYC. Betts’s response is elegant, measured, and powerful, everything the attack was not. Update: I have been told that Schlussel’s attack was directed at the idea of hip-hop pedagogy and the associated program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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