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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Profiles in Poetics at womens quarterly conversation with yours truly


Thank you to womens quarterly conversation for asking me really intelligent and interesting questions. Full text of the interview can be found on their website here: 

You are sitting beneath the shade of a coral curtain. The curtain was created by ‘we’ hand-strung ornaments, balanced from sandy trees in the Far East. In the Western hemisphere of the world ‘I’ stretch out my legs on a plush Ikea perch, making sure to check if ‘I’ have enough. Carbon dioxide cartridges for my home made sparkling mineral beverage, for example. Take a step away from the romanticization of these images and ask yourself the following. Does patriarchal structure and commodification depend on its cultural configuration? How does self and subjugation interplay in the conversation? Does identity depend on its soil? We converse today with Maria Garcia Teutsch: a writer whose journey in this interview begins as a young girl planter of wishes. 

Teutsch now, self-ascribed as “southern-protestant-pacifist-radical-chicana-feminist-super-pussy-take-no-crap-offa-nobody-no-how-type-of-writer,” is a well-traveled poet, mother, wife, teacher, community builder devoted to “helping artists get their stuff out there.” We speak to her about America’s open markets and how language is “shaped into the image of its maker”. The message is not always easy for readers to digest because of the origin of the earth. She admits, “part of the beauty of poetry is that I can break language down and let it do the work.” Here we glimpse how revolution occurs every day, pronounces and obscures the inscriptions of our cultural framework, and how we learn to respect the nuances of that glass of water. 

Teutsch’s most recent work, the focus of this profile, The Revolution Will have its Sky, is the recent winner of the 2014 Minerva Rising chapbook competition. The collection contemplates existential notions of the self. She tells us, “we little beings do all we can to change the world, and the effort is worth it, but don’t confuse good work with importance.” The focus of this book is about “women as subject, object, and ruler.” Here we “invert the social order and in the end, the madame becomes queen. Queen of what? The social order is still patriarchal, the war machine still goes on, but the revolution, well, that may have just begun.” Let us applaud and take part. In the revolution. 
--Jillian Mukavetz, EIC, womens quarterly conversation

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Revolution Will Have its Sky, Minerva Rising Contest Winning Entry!


I would like to thank Heather McHugh and the editors at Minerva Rising journal for selecting my collection of poems, The Revolution Will Have its Sky, which will be published this year:

Thoughts on The Revolution Will Have Its Sky by Heather McHugh

The personal is political, and politics are everywhere: the courtroom, the throne room, the confessional (real or fake), the brothel, the gallows, and the street corners. Here in The Revolution Will Have Its Sky, Maria Garcia Teutsch presents a manifesto for an ageless cause. By turning her poetic tricks, she conflates image and casts aspersions--we see shadow and reflection, we see queen as whore and judge as prophet as well as thief.


As Heather McHugh asked, in her Judge’s Citation for this year’s winner, The revolution will have its sky--where else might its banner wave, aloft, esteemed--and still be widely legible? Teutsch sets this poetic stage against the clear backdrop of sky, complete with cast of characters--Madame, General, Executioner, Pimp. There is a bishop, but is he fake? There is a judge, but is he fair? “the judge wants/ screaming”, and in the naked truth that the poet lays bare, isn’t that what we all want? To punish others, to absolve ourselves of sins? We want to confess, to be given permission to keep sinning, to make our whores criminals and queens so that they pay the price for our transgressions and also lead us into the next Tiananmen, the next Tahrir.

In the titular poem, “The Revolution Will Have Its Sky” we hear the “eternal song” advancing like a battle march. “If you fasten a collection/ of decorations to a uniform/ you can give last orders to last men. The eternal song/ can prolong the funeral trick/ but for a moment.”
The sexual, political, religious and historical, revolutionary every one, are layered here in bull-horned overtones and covert whispers. Weaving them together, somewhat violently in places, deftly and provocatively throughout, and flying its banner high, this chapbook raises a small yet mighty fist, crying “War, rebellion,/ showers of shrapnel,/ nothing stops them/ coming.”

Tricks of the oldest profession on earth are not tricks played while lying down, they are the tricks of the poet, who in this case is the Executionee. When she “empties her pockets, / words fall --/ iambs,/ quatrains/ couplets./ Nothing to save her.” Let this poetry, this poet be saved, let the language of her tricks and her tactics be more than a Revolution of One. Let them be an eternal song.

--Emily Shearer, poetry editor, Minerva Rising Journal

Monday, March 2, 2015


For Women's history month we have the twin goddesses of my existence: Alice Notley is this month's featured poet on Poet Republik and Anne Waldman's poem is featured in last month's love offering. It is a rare joy to be able to interact with such amazing poets.
Enjoy!