Anonymous Grocer 17/30: [Apart falling still is body]

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. 
 
This Sunday, we celebrate Day 17 with the ever wise and ethereal Ocean Vuong, whose latest poetry collection, Time is a Mother, was recently released on April 5th. 
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 16/30: [Things of family, the in place]

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’s episode gives space to the soul and spirit of Mary Oliver‘s “Wild Geese,” a poem that is sage, balm, bandage, courage, hug, friend — all at once. If there’s a poem out there that could save lives, this one is probably it. 
 
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 15/30: [Looked I. Stopped 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. 
 
Can you believe it? We’re already halfway through Poetry Month! I hope you’re enjoying our time together! Today, I present you with the research scientist-poet, Angelo Mao, whose poetry dissects the ethics of mouse labs, mythologizes the human/mouse divide, and interrogates these funded relationships of hierarchy, violence, guilt, and embodied metaphors.
 
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 14/30: [treees / manie so gathred]

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’s poem is an excerpt from Jos Charles’ book of poetic reckoning, feeldfeeld is modern poetry unlike anything I’ve read recently, as much about the sound of words as it is about spelling and the mechanics of written language, all those fraught and confounding glyphs that make up our lives and our perceptions. feeld is queer and linguistic and investigative and difficult in ways that invoke self-inquiries of readers themselves. What does it mean to hold a word in a palm or the mouth? To slash a line? How does it feel to manipulate a strand of words and create a language that is yours, yours for a time?
 
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 13/30: [Them & They as to referred be]

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, lucky number 13, we celebrate with a poem from the inimitable Terrance Hayes‘ series of “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin.”
 
Discover more about this poet here.
Need a quick cheat sheet on the ingredients of a sonnet? I’ve got you! 
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 12/30: [It hear—you can closer come!]

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. 
 
This week (this life?), I’ve been having a love affair with trees. I am so grateful for authors like Sumana Roy and Richard Powers and Robin Wall Kimmerer, who alchemize trees into unforgettable, breathful characters with personalities and narratives and lineages all their own. These trees they profile are not anthropomorphized cartoons, but beings wholly greening unto themselves. These are almighty beings with majestic and complex communication systems, with that highly enviable process of photosynthesis. Beings that seem to embody — epitomize — what it means to live a good, long life. 
 
So, in honor of trees and the trees we shall one day become, I bring you Octavio Paz‘s “A Tree Within.”  
 
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 11/30: [Themselves than larger places go]

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 tune in our poetry radios to Naomi Shihab Nye, a true force of goodness in this world. A global champion for young people’s literature and for the education and celebration of Arab American heritage, the poet currently serves as the April 2022 Guest Editor for Poets.org’s Poem-a-Day series. 
 
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

Wisdom from Writers: A Conversation with Sequoia Nagamatsu

Art is a rich vehicle for critique. We’ve all been forced out of our everyday lives in a way that allows us to both create and consume art from a quasi-outsider perspective—maybe more objective, maybe more thoughtful about who we used to be, what the world used to be, and how we’ve all changed in the past couple of years. What do we miss? What do we never want to go back to? How were we surprised at how much we adapted to a particular aspect of lockdown? Who did we talk to? Who did we want to reach out to?

I recently spoke with author Sequoia Nagamatsu about his debut novel, How High We Go in the Dark, the role of art in an emergency, science fiction faves, and more.You can read the full interview here on The Rumpus.

While there have certainly been moments over the past year that may have temporarily diminished my faith in the human species, I think what gives me a sense of possibility are my students—young, smart people who legitimately care about the planet, are already doing so much for their communities, and are thinking intentionally about how their chosen disciplines might help provide for a better future in even small or unexpected ways.

Find out more about Sequoia Nagamatsu on sequoianagamatsu.com. Sequoia’s book How High We Go in the Dark (January 2022) is available from William Morrow.

Oh, to live another year with books

It’s always a bit staggering — to find oneself and the world arriving yet again at a December 31st. Here we are, on the precipice of hope, and yet, how easy it is to feel the loss of the year past — how we want to hold so much in ourselves at once.

It has become a tradition of mine to celebrate December 31st with a remembrance and appreciation for some books I encountered during the year, books that brought company, wisdom, linguistic splendor, and perspective — for in times of uncertainty, books are a stalwart, omnipresent friend. Throughout electric days, blue days, and the always-prowling fog, look — a book is here, waiting to sing to you as you hold each other close.

It would be impossible to include them all, but here is a sampling of a few books I would like to highlight: texts that were exquisitely staining and impactful to me in one way or another —  and have inevitably shattered and rearranged my glass body, my glass path … books that after reading, I will never be quite the same.

2021 was a year in which I also became reacquainted with the audiobook — a wonderful format to slow down, marvel at the sound of language on a tongue, and invite voices and oral storytelling into our private ear rooms. The book via the voice vessel becomes a secret companion on so many walks. Another reminder that a life with books is a life of abundance.  A star next to a book title means that I listened to and enjoyed the audiobook version, and you might enjoy it, too! (Hint: Did you know you can borrow audiobooks from your library system through the Libby app?)

So, on this pensive day of old and new, I give a fizzy thanks to those who write books, make books, bind books, share books, give books, read books, and love books! Happy New Year, and Happy Reading.

(in no particular order:)

I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart

Pew by Catherine Lacey

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

Another Country by James Baldwin *

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell *

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon *

Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo

The Pastor by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

Figuring by Maria Popova *

Sleep, Death’s Brother by Jesse Ball

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández, translated by Natasha Wimmer

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Two Big Differences by Ian Ross Singleton

Keen by Erin Stalcup

How I Became a Nun by César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer *

Water I Won’t Touch by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Woolgathering by Patti Smith

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich *

…& books

While 2020 was tumultuous and strange in so many ways, books continuously bring light and connection and hope. The following list is an appreciation for some of the books that brought company, wisdom, and perspective during so many shadowy days.
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
The Divers’ Game by Jesse Ball
The Frolic of the Beasts by Yukio Mishima
Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich
The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala
Lady Liberty by Joan Marans Dim
Remove to Play by Lia Woodall
Glitter Up the Dark by Sasha Geffen
A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
Ogadinma by Ukamaka Olisakwe
Summertime Fine by Jason B. Crawford
Animal Wife by Lara Ehrlich
Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith
Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
Heaven by Emerson Whitney
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno
This Way Back by Joanna Eleftheriou
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
Child of Glass by Beatrice Alemagna