‘Whale Sound’ hiatus

It’s been a terrific year at Whale Sound but it’s time to take a break. Going forward, we may occasionally solicit a poem for reading, but we will not be accepting submissions for the foreseeable future. Activity on this blog and on Facebook/Twitter activity will slow down as well.

A few highlights from the Whale Sound year:

- Whale Sound started up a year and one month ago in August 2010
– Published readings of poems by 212 poets
– Published 7 audio chapbooks in multiple formats – website, e-book, PDF and print – most of them free
– Coordinated and participated in 8 group readings
– Established Voice Alpha, a group blog focusing on the art of reading poetry aloud for an audience (I will continue to post here occasionally and hope my fellow contributors will do the same)
– Collaborated on two videopoem tryptich projects with film-maker Swoon – Night Vision and Propolis (the latter also with Kathy MacTavish)
– Established videpoetry channels on You Tube and Vimeo (videpoetry is an area that continues to fascinate us and we will continue to post at these channels)

Meanwhile, these are the 20 Whale Sound posts receiving the most listener clicks – check them out!

  1. If You Were A Bird‘ by Aditi Machado
  2. Infinity‘ by Tess Kincaid
  3. [a group of jellyfish is called a ‘smack.’ a group of lapwings is called a ‘deceit.’] by Chella Courington
  4. Something Brighter Than Pity‘ by Carolina Ebeid
  5. A Different Leaving‘ by Terresa Wellborn
  6. A Week Before You Die, You Are Singing’ by Erin Elizabeth Smith
  7. Sometimes I Still Dream About Their Pink Bodies‘ by Kelli Russell Agodon
  8. Lament‘ by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  9. The Trains‘ by Adele Kenny
  10. A Bigfoot Poem‘ by Dave Bonta
  11. Group reading: ‘The Slender Scent’ by James Robison
  12. Ode to Drunkenness and Other Criminal Activities‘ by Rebecca Loudon
  13. At Ruby’s Diner‘ by Sherry O’Keefe
  14. Sink or Float [quick fix witch]‘ by Juliet Cook
  15. How To Fall In Love‘ by Susan Elbe
  16. The Way Back‘ by Kathleen Kirk
  17. In Which Christina Imagines That Different Types Of Alcohol Are Men And She Is Seeing Them All‘ by Christina Olson
  18. For The Woman On The Boulevard‘ by Emma Trelles
  19. Group reading: ‘Acceptance is to her a phenomenon’ by Ann Bogle
  20. About a Fish‘ by Ana Božičević

Call for submissions or your poems are dying to be a videopoem triptych

Whale Sound, Cello Dreams and Swoon are looking for poems with which to create a videopoem triptych.

Do you have a group of three poems you’d like to have published as videopoems? They could be three of your own poems, a set of three separate-but-related poems by you and two other poets, or a set of three poems written collaboratively by two or more poets.

We are a trio of artists — Nic Sebastian, poet/reader; Kathy McTavish, musician; and Swoon, film-maker — who have come together to pioneer this novel method of poetry publication.

Flight, a videopoem based on a poem by Helen Vitoria, is an example of our collaboration.

To get a sense of how your videopoem triptych would look and sound after publication, visit Night Vision.

Send 3 to 5 poems in the body of an email to Nic at nic_sebastian at hotmail dot com or Swoon at swoonbildos at gmail dot com.

Update: Deadline is this weekend – Sunday September 4.

religious texts as love poetry?

I started off this NaPo intending to write 30 prayers and charms. The prayer bit sort of took over and as I wrote, I began thinking more and more about relations with the divine (however defined) and the imperatives and texture that go into those relations. I recently hit something of a wall with the prayer-writing and so have decided instead to read religious texts, with an emphasis on finding text that strikes me at the same time as poetry. (Read them with voice, I mean – which is not at all the same thing as reading them with one’s head.)

Starting with what is most familiar to me seemed like a good idea. I was raised a Christian in the Anglican tradition and, text-wise, just happen to be most familiar with (and fond of from a poetry perspective) the King James Version of the Bible. I noted in a blog post yesterday that one thing I did realize while thinking about writing prayers is how similar to a (dysfunctional, co-dependent..?) romantic relationship one’s relationship with the divine can be, which made starting with the KJV version of the Song of Songs an immediate no-brainer. I’ve posted the first half of the Song at Whale Sound today (just under 10 minutes worth of audio), and may or may not get to the other half. Partly because I also want to research and voice religious texts from other traditions that approach the divine in roughly similar fashion — ie essentially as love poetry, in whatever form.

I’d be grateful for any suggestions others may have for any texts, from any and all religious traditions.

bad blogger!

Poor Very Like A Whale is getting short shrift these days, with all my online poetry communications energy going into Whale Sound, Voice Alpha, Facebook and Twitter.

Some bits of frabjous from the last week or two that haven’t made it here yet:

Five poems up at Escape Into Life. I was thrilled with this publication — EIL is doing great things and not just with poetry. Recommend you get in and browse around. The artwork accompanying my poems by Ruud Van Empel was just stunning. I was particularly pleased to have the poem ‘Thirst & Decay’ selected. It was written many years ago in response to a KJV Bible verse prompt (Leviticus 25:35):

And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.

Really what I wanted to use was the phrase ‘a stranger and a sojourner’ but the second half ended up falling out, as often happens with spark quotations. And the whole, rather surprisingly (or maybe not), ended up being about dysfunction and co-dependence, a perennial Nic Sebastian theme. (More recently, my poem Yew, in this group at Eclectica, tells more or less the same story).

In other excellent news, Whale Sound was featured at the Best American Poetry Blog by Emma Trelles, a Whale Sound poet herself. One of the terrific side effects of being interviewed about what you do is that it forces you to actively think about what you do (as opposed to just doing it) and articulate those thoughts. I find it is the articulation of those thoughts that helps me discern the ‘next step’ for a project. So, with Whale Sound, the idea of audio chapbooks, the idea of group readings, the idea of Voice Alpha – all grew out of being questioned about the project and having to respond to those questions. In that vein, in addition to Emma, I must thank Dave Bonta and J.P. Dancing Bear for also taking the time to interview me about Whale Sound.

Lastly on the frabjous front: I have begun writing poetry again, after a long hiatus (intensified by starting up the Whale Sound and Voice Alpha projects). I think of them as post-Whale Sound poems, because they are different in genesis and (at least, I think) in style from pre-Whale Sound poems. Getting into the skin of someone else’s poem close enough to read it aloud for Whale Sound five days a week is inevitably going to change (has changed) my ‘poet-ness’ – how I hear, feel, apprehend and write poetry. So far, one new poem has been accepted by Anti- and three by Canopic Jar. Onward!