TWILIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL: This has been one of the most hectic weeks in recent memory, filled with highs and lows. On a high note, the Twilight Open Mic for Arts In the Park at Oakland Cemetery was a success! The porch of the bell tower was full and all the poets did great sets. Tania Rochelle did a great feature set with new work and selections from Karaoke Funeral and Mikuak did beautiful music for us. Rupert Fike read a "found poem," a letter from one of his ancestors written during the Civil War which he broke into lines. It was one of the highlights of the evening for me. Theresa Davis read a new poem that I think is one of her best yet. You can read it here. The evening ended after dark and it was beautiful to walk back through the cemetery with all the luminaries lighting the path. Arts In the Park has been a hit, so I'm sure we'll do this again in 2006.

Okay, here's a low note. On Tuesday, I got a phone call late in the afternoon from the apartment complex I'm moving into in Inman Park. The manager told me the apartment I had agreed to lease was now unavailable because the current tenant decided not to move. Since my move date is only a couple weeks away, I had a massive panic attack and rushed over to the complex to see what else was available. The only thing open was a first floor (which I don't like) that was totally different than the one I wanted and a tad smaller. The manager said I could move in temporarily and they would pay to move me to a different unit when one came open later in the summer. Sigh. The idea of doing that much moving makes me want to cry. The alternate apartment is nice and has one big bonus: there is no apartment on the bedroom side. That means my bedroom would be a quiet haven all the time, which would be a godsend after months of living next door to the pot-smoking, music-blaring drug dealer who lives next door to me now in the lofts. I slept on it, and decided to take it. There's hardwood floors and a great space for a den. I'll get over the first floor thing. Maybe.

The other thing going on this week has been the announcement that Georgia is looking for a new poet laureate. David Bottoms is being shown the door (he sounded slightly miffed in the AJC article about this, because apparently no one bothered to tell him officially) and applications were being taken for one week only. The application process is a small nightmare, but Cherryl Floyd-Miller got on the ball and nominated me! I'm nominating her! We probably don't have a snowball's chance in hell, but I hope this process will show the diversity of talent in Atlanta and Georgia. Three finalists will be selected and sent to Govenor Sonny Perdue's office for him to make the final call. Please, please, please, Sonny - don't pick some old, nearly dead, white man. While I don't expect to make it to the final three, there are so many young, talented poets who want to use the job of poet laureate to bring the art back to the community and youth. We don't need a poet laureate who is going to skip invitations and basically use the honorary title to further their own career. If I were poet laureate I would create a "poetry posse" comprised of all the great poets in this state and go to a different middle and high school once a month for readings and workshops. I'd host open mics all over the state and create an anthology for just Georgia poets. While becoming poet laureate looks good on any resume and might boost the chances of publication, it also needs to be a self-less act for the poet. They should be ready to give back.

Speaking of Sonny, he felt it necessary to sign a bill this week in Georgia that puts limits on abortions. Sonny is a Republican and Georgia is as red as a baboon's butt, so anything the conservatives can do to curtail a woman's right to choose will be pushed through. This compels women to wait 24 hours for an abortion and her doctor to read a script being thought up by the Christian right-wing zealots that guilt-trips the woman with information like how much her baby will be in pain while it's being aborted. I hope the ACLU is planning to challenge this bullshit. And I hope the Dems will keep fighting to block Dubya's judicial nominees and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hope all the members of the US Supreme Court will stay alive until Dubya is out of office in 2008. This means you Rehnquist. Take every ounce of chemo offered, beat the cancer and get yourself back to court, or at least phone it in from home. Hell, have a nurse phone it in. Just DON'T die on us and upset the precarious balance.

Creative Loafing published my latest response to Mary Grabar's column attacking the Java Monkey Slam and poets who read at open mics (scroll down for the previous posts on this), along with Kodac Harrison's letter. You can actually read these, and several others, in the online edition. I think Mary has been sufficiently taken to task and spanked on this issue. I hope she's at home working on new poems and not getting her conservative panties in a wad over what happens at open mics. And don't forget, Mary...the invitation to come out and actually read your work is still open.


jenny said…
good luck with the laureate thing! my vote's for you.
nolapoet said…
OK, I give--for some reason, can't turn up this AJC article. Date and page, please?
nolapoet said…
OK, I guess it was in O'Briant's Sunday thing:

Poet wanted: David Bottoms' position as poet laureate of Georgia apparently is near an end. Bottoms said he had heard a rumor that Gov. Sonny Perdue was looking for a replacement, but he had not seen a press release that was sent out recently by the Georgia Council for the Arts seeking nominations for the honorary job.

"It's been fun," says Bottoms of his five-year stint. "But they apparently think it's time to get somebody else. It's all up to the governor."

As poet laureate, Bottoms made numerous speeches, read poems at public gatherings and wrote a long poem to accompany photographs for the coffee-table book "Oglethorpe's Dream," published by the University of Georgia Press in 2001.

According to the Georgia Council for the Arts, the poet laureate position is open to any "recognized and published" poet who has been a resident of the state for five concurrent years and would be available to travel if chosen. Nominations can be made by any resident or nonprofit organization, but self-nominations will not be accepted.

Nominations must be postmarked no later than May 16 and should be mailed to: Poet Laureate Committee, Georgia Council for the Arts, 260 14th St., 4th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30318. A poet laureate review committee will forward three nominees to the governor for the final selection.

Anonymous said…
Rupert here - well if it's in Sonny Perdue's hands, God help us all - why even bother with input? Here's a guy who had a choice: To either exploit the rebel flag issue and win big as Gov - or leave it alone and have it be a close race. A Profile in Courage, Sonny ain't.
Collin said…
Yep, that's it, Robin. Poor form to let the poet laureate to hear of his dismissal by rumor, but there you are...
nolapoet said…
Wonder if the gubna has anyone in mind?...
Of course, Sonny has somebody in mind. Probably Mary Grabar! LOL.
Teamaster said…
Sorry about the apartmentus interruptus. I hope the alternative pad works out. I'm not a ground floor fan either. I've several reasons (most of them neurotic and paranoid). Curious: Why don't you dig ground-floor pads?

Also, I hope the poet distinction isn't next to impossible to get. Would be very cool.

Teamaster said…
I see that additional invitation for Mary, Collin. Good idea to keep extending that come hither hand.

Despite my ignorance of involved folks' personalities, etc., I've a hunch that a potentially cool colleagueship could rise from her acceptance and joint performance.

Plus, it would show a truly *diverse* participation in art in those parts.


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