Wisdom from Writers: A Conversation with Erin Stalcup

This is really just an elaborate love letter. Which I guess is my definition of ars poetica. And naming it autobiographical … I mean, it isn’t. But it’s the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written, and I guess I want that label to reveal that.

I recently spoke with author Erin Stalcup about her newest novel, KEEN, performance, revolutions, gender, Tool, and more.You can read the full interview here at Heavy Feather Review.

I hope I’m not appropriating stories that aren’t mine. I am trying to imagine what it would be like to be someone other than myself. I’m always channeling the wisdom of my teacher and friend Robin Black who says no one can imagine her own life experiences that they haven’t had, but it’s worth it to try. I’m willing to be told I got it wrong.

Find out more about Erin Stalcup on erinstalcup.xyz. Erin’s book Keen (February 2022) is available from Gold Wake Press.

Anonymous Grocer 28/30: [Returned miraculously]

Hello friend!
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day.
 
Today, we solve for X and other lifelong mysteries and queries with the poet Oliver de la Paz. His book, The Boy in the Labyrinth, brilliantly and empathically uses the Theseus-Minotaur myth as a metaphor for the difficulties and joys of parenting neurodiverse children.  
Discover more about this poet here.
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 27/30: [Dash likely]

Hello friend!
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day.
 
On Day 27, we poetize ourselves with a wee bit and tender of Gertrude Stein: prose poet, modernist, expat, lover of Alice B. Toklas, coiner of “the lost generation.” Stein’s poetry reminds me of a mixed-up Rubix cube — that is, all the more beautiful when filled with vibrant wildness and unexpected patterns.
Discover more about this poet here.
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 25/30: [Gone, something of half and loving]

Hello friend!
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
On Day 25, meet Renee Gladman, a poet-artist who is the creator of “Prose Architectures“: looping inky blueprints of imagined cities, all from squinted symbols and squeezed sentences beyond legibility, beyond comprehension. She writes her plans and dreams for her building blocks of language in short poetic lines. She’s literally creating a world out of words! Today’s backwardness are a few lines of Gladman’s “plans” for her drawing, “Fig. 14” (published in POETRY Magazine, March 2022). 
 
Discover more about this poet here.
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you! 
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 24/30: [Last to it]

Hello friend! 
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
Day 24 has arrived, and here I am with another multimedia episode for you! If you’ve ever listened to track four, “Shadow Journal,” of Max Richter’s symphonic 2004 marvel, The Blue Notebooks, then you’ll likely be familiar with today’s poem. The poem sampled in the Richter piece is none other than “At Dawn” by the radical Polish poet and translator, Czesław Miłosz (a poet whose own whirlwinding history could be the basis for multiple marvelous albums). After you enjoy listening to Tilda Swinton’s velveteen voice recite the poem forwards, I hope you enjoy witnessing the sepulchral brick dust resurrect itself in reverse.
Discover more about this poet here
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 22/30: [Gloves. Silk her removes eventually]

Hello friend!
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
Today, I share with you two short poems from one of my most beloved collections of translated poetry. (It was so difficult to only pick two!) Chika Sagawa is often described as the “Japanese modernist poet you’ve never heard of” and oh my, every one of her poems is a blade-edged mollusk: little encapsulated swirl worlds of shocking beauty, sublime opalescent imagery, and exquisite bone-wracking horror. Translator Sawako Nakayasu’s collection of Chika’s poetry — ranging from poetry written from 1930-1935 — is a portal to return to again and again.
 
Discover more about this poet here
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 21/30: [Born was I]

Hello friend! 
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
April is also Arab American Heritage Month, and so today, we celebrate the poetry of Kazim Ali. Kazim’s most recent book is called The Voice of Sheila Chandra, and is inspired by and named after the British singer who was rendered almost completely voiceless in 2010 due to a rare syndrome. I am particularly drawn to writing that is in conversation with another artist, even across mediums; poetry like Kazim’s is a reminder that we are molecules in something more, something beyond vacuums; we converge and diverge and converge again, always creating (living) in the wake of others. 
Discover more about this poet here.
Watch Kazim and Sheila in conversation.
Listen to Sheila Chandra’s drone music for the rest of your day!
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 20/30: [Again. Beginning to end from story]

Hello friend! 
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
Today, we ring in Day 20 with the Diné poet-painter and painter-poet, Sherwin Bitsui. I once heard Sherwin begin a poetry reading with a rippling invocation of water — each sound, each word that arose from his throat was a bead on the lip of a faucet — oh, I will never forget such a sonic reverence for earthlife.
 
Discover more about this poet here
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 19/30: [Was I world? The taken.]

Hello friend! 
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
On this Day 19, enjoy the enchantment of Anne Carson, a poet, translator, Classicist, and perennial brainstainer whose book, Autobiography of Red, has become a forever bedside holy text for me. 
 
Discover more about this poet here
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam

Anonymous Grocer 18/30: [Outgrabe, raths mome]

Hello friend! 
 
Welcome back to Anonymous Grocer, a 30-day audio adventure in backwards poetry. Each day: a new poem, a new collection of words in unfamiliar and spiraling patterns, a new audio message to ease you into your day. 
 
Today is a backwards reading of the classic ‘nonsense’ poem by Lewis Carroll: “Jabberwocky” (1871), which was first included in Through the Looking-Glass, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Always for the love of weirdening things, I figured: why not add an extra dose of nonsensicalism to an already eccentric piece?
 
Discover more about this poet here
Do you have requests for poems or poets you’d like to see featured in future Anonymous Grocer episodes? I’d love to hear from you!
Peace and love,
Cam