The first hour involved cocktails at the Housing Works Bookstore and Café in SoHo. Then there were readings by Colson Whitehead (“Sag Harbor”), Emily St. John Mandel (“The Singers Gun”) and poet Amy King, who runs a popular poetry group on Goodreads.
6. Amy King
Amy King has won a Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize and a WNBA from the Women’s National Book Association. Her poetry reflects her personal commitment to progressive activism and intersectionality.
“Be incomplete, be the visual, / be what turns the moon / into sunlight in a dress. / Twirl your way into existence. / Be the outline for us.” — from “Time Is a Dare.”
“I was running an art gallery in Phonecia and these women descended upon me and said, ‘You would make a great zombie,’” says Amy King, a Nassau Community College professor who lives just outside of Phoenicia.
King, 47, initially thought it was a joke, but was glad she took a chance in front of the bright lights and has done it a few times since.
“I thought the makeup would be annoying but the people were delightful,” she says, adding that most days it took less than an hour.
“The film had such a fun energy it spoiled me for the work I’ve done since,” King says, adding that Jarmusch and the cast were friendly and appreciative. “I remember seeing Bill Murray talking to some of the Hasidic people who live in Fleischmanns.”
Amy King’s breathtaking poetry reflects the same unwavering commitment she brings to her role at VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts: aesthetics rooted in ethics; community advocacy and intersection. King’s gift, which has earned admiration from John Ashbery among many others, seems to be about letting the lyric take hold of modern life’s messy vibrancy as it falls together seamlessly:
This is what it sounds like outside,
fat geese and guinea hens holding hands.
I am 31, which is very young for my age.
That is enough to realize I’m a pencil that has learned
how to draw the Internet. I explain squiggles
diagramming exactly how I feel and you are drawn to read
in ways you cannot yet. Slow goes the drag
of creation, how what’s within comes to be without,
which is the rhythmic erection of essence.
18. Amy King
Amy King @amyhappens
POETS ARE REALLY GOOD AT THE INTERNET King is the co-editor of esque magazine, serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and teaches English and creative writing at Nassau Community College in New York. Read “One Bird Behind One Bird” in Boston Review.
Award-winning writer Amy King will speak about poetry and memoirs at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, 2019 in the Visual Arts Gallery in Dearlove Hall as part of the SUNY Adirondack Writers Project.
Poetry has been a beloved and respected art form for centuries, and today’s poets are keeping the medium alive and well with their well-written works that explore everything from nature to pop culture to mental illness. The contemporary poets listed here use language to convey both thoughts and emotions to their readers.
Talented Contemporary Poets: Our 13 Picks
|8.||Matthea Harvey||Modern Life||Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form|
|9.||Amy King||I Want to Make You Safe||I’m the Man Who Loves You|
|10.||Meena Kandasamy||When I Hit You||Ms Militancy|
“I just read somewhere that one in three Americans did not read a book last year. I dedicate this book to them. And to those still reading. I challenge anyone to pick this anthology up and flip to any page and see if something doesn’t hit you somewhere deep. I ask, Did you think poetry was far removed from what you know? Did you think that poetry was meant for classrooms alone? Here is poetry that takes you into lives and homes and streets and places of businesses and minds and existences you thought were off limits to poetry. These poems speak history into the present. They speak being into the present. They speak the present into being.”
We all could stand to read more poetry. I say this as a poet who is immersed in poetry daily. You can never have too much of it–and personally, I don’t understand why more people don’t read poetry more. It’s short, which means you can digest a poem (the first time) on the subway, on a walk, while taking a break on work, etc. It’s all very momentary. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t go back to the poem later, and reread it with new eyes…
The New York Times
“Bob Dylan now has a chance to do something truly great for literature: reject the Nobel Prize for Literature,” the poet Amy King wrote on PEN America’s website after the organization asked writers and publishers to respond to the award. “Great literature is not easily consumed like pop songs that rhyme.”
17. I Want To Make You Safe, Amy King
“…a lack of hate to push death into.”
Walt Whitman made us feel safe, calling that “death is great as life,” imparting that if we ever need him, we can find him. Amy King’s love is just as wide, her breath more modern. In I Want to Make You Safe, her best book yet, King is both warm and tactically evasive. She goes from conversational to abstract to personal with impressive fluidity, creating absorbing tones and swells in the course of a poem. Her methods will sometimes remind you of great poets like Rae Armantrout or Ange Mlinko, but runnier; she might also remind you of John Ashbery, who blurbs here, claiming King is “emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living.” He is right, and ultimately, any comparison is reductive. King wavers between obscurity and candor, creating a dissonance that is completely unique, that derives from a singularly productive and skeptical mix of unconditional love and ferocious social conscience: “Nothing desired is property, / nothing given, given, we lie in glass sheds.” Her book is not a self-serving venture, but a collective surge towards “a lack of hate to push death into.”
Read a review here.
“Can literature influence social change? Can it reflect activism? Can a poem be a fulcrum for change?” asked moderator Amy King.
Lammy-nominated poet, Ana Božičević, (Stars of the Night Commute) talks with Lambda Literary about 5 Poets Who’ve Changed Her Life. Her list includes Edgar Allan Poe, Marina Tsvetaeva, Bhanu Kapil, Amy King and two contemporary Croatian poets.
The poet Amy King responded to an American PEN query whether Dylan deserved the prize by answering that “Bob Dylan now has a chance to do something truly great for literature: reject the Nobel prize for Literature.” Not that she supports Dylan’s arrogance, but rather because someone needs to tell the Nobel Committee that “much of the greatest literature requires depth of thought, nuance, and often shines a penetrating light on aspects of the world that are difficult to process, like genocide and survival, on lives lived through sacrifice, obscurity and facing phobias and isms that threaten and transform individuals, to name a very few. Moreover great literature often requires time spent communing with words on pages, a very solitary (and as of late, increasingly unpopular) thing.”
She’s right. The Nobel Prize is a reward for a lifetime’s striving to make sense of humankind, or to express reality in a unique way.
WBNA members made their way on June 6 to the awards ceremony at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, where the 2015 honor was given to poet Amy King. She worked on the “Poets for Living Waters” project after the BP oil spill and is one of the founders of VIDA Count, which tracks gender bias in publishing and reviewing. (VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, which VIDA Count is part of, is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of gender equality issues in literary culture.)
The hypocrisy is racial and gendered. In high school, we sat riveted by the jealous, money-grabbing, womanizing exploits of fellows in The Great Gatsby and via Hemingway’s skirt-chasing, bull-running, and hunter protagonists, but when a story primarily about poor black women trying to make their way rears its head, it becomes a target of “worthiness” and “offensiveness” meritorious discussions, seemingly permanently.
…Celie took me through violence hoisted on her and other women she knew and loved, she drew me into the depths of depression and confusion, she charged me with her own efforts away from self pity and towards confidence, she overtly carried me into the arms of a love that “dare not speak its name” without shame and with joy (a feat still treated cursorily or glossed over whereas Walker gave life to lesbian sex as well as deepening it with Celie’s pain: “She say, I love you, Miss Celie. And then she haul off and kiss me on the mouth. Us kiss and kiss till us can’t hardly kiss no more. Then us touch each other… Then I feels something real soft and wet on my breast, feel like one of my little lost babies mouth. Way after while, I act like a little lost baby too.”)…
The implication that women aren’t submitting work and getting published in sufficient numbers deserving of attention has become a joke at this point. It’s like saying, “We simply aren’t seeing worthwhile work written by women” as if we’re all still domestic goddesses incapable of putting pen to paper, when you don’t need to look far to locate an abundance of excellent writing by women.
After Yi-Fen Chou: A Forum
19 writers respond to Michael Derrick Hudson’s yellowface @ ASIAN AMERICAN WRITERS’ WORKSHOP
1. Amy King
Back in 2012, the U.S. Census revealed fewer than half the babies born are white. Jay Smooth (Ill Doctrine) humorously addresses white people concerned with losing a majority footing, which is surely coming, in “Don’t Freak Out About the White Babies.” Cue the anxiety.
1.) Increased visibility of racist acts has inspired outrage, lament and louder calls for justice on our national stage. Of course, justice demands misuses of power be challenged and held accountable.
Justice suggests power be redistributed evenly to prevent misuse; thus nepotistic networks begin to rail at remote or even imaginary threats to having the upper hand. So just as George Bush called for a costly, bloody war on the basis of ghost weapons of mass destruction, so are those who now fear exposure of and challenges to their positions beginning to point at imaginary threats and preemptively strike to maintain their right to power.
- Amy @ Poetry Foundation
- Amy @ Academy of American Poets
- Amy @ Twitter
- Amy @ Vimeo
- Amy @ Facebook
- Amy @ Flickr (Photos)
- Amy @ Goodreads
- Amy @ LinkedIn
- Amy @ PEN American Center
- Amy @ PennSound
- Amy @ Youtube
- Amy King @ SUNY NCC
- Amy L. King @IMBD
- By email – amyhappens @ gmail.com
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Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.