You Don’t Know: Poems for Amanda

So, Amanda Palmer wrote a poem. It was a bad poem. It was about the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Sort of. Kinda. Maybe. Because it was bad, see, so it was hard to tell.

The poem is here.

There’s nothing wrong with writing a bad poem, per se, btw. I’ve written many myself.

Then Amanda Palmer wrote a blog post defending/explaining her poem and getting all excited that April was National Poetry Month and here she had singlehandedly prompted a huge discussion about poetry and isn’t that neat and wonderful and what art is supposed to do? Not bad for a poem she wrote in only 9 minutes, eh? And the Internet collectively rolled its eyes in disgust.

That post is here

Actually the Internet collectively freaked out in a dozen different directions, some of them less than pleasant and some of them entirely on-point. As the Internet does.

Meanwhile, amidst the roar of the commenting classes, Daphne Gottlieb suggested that a bunch of writers each take a line from Palmer’s poem and write a better poem from it. “Like flowers from mud” is how I believe she may have phrased it.

So we did. 23 of us did, anyway. And then we took all the poems and put them together in a spiffy PDF chapbook called “You Don’t Know: Poems for Amanda.”

It’s a pretty awesome chapbook, if I do say so myself. And hey, I am responsible for at most only 1/23 of it.

And now you can have your very own PDF copy of this spiffy chapbook by donating to the West, Texas relief fund.

Any amount will do. Send a receipt to me (use the comment form or e-mail lori dot selke at gmail dot com) and I will send you the file.

Why are we donating to West? Because Boston has money pouring in already, and disaster relief fundraising for West is lagging behind. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So who else is involved in this little project? Let me name-drop for just a moment here:

Geoff Kagan Trenchard
Rachel Brod
Blythe Baldwin
Sean Patrick Mulroy
Ryk McIntyre
Cynthia French
Karen Garrabrant
Baruch Porras-Hernandez
Phil West
Erin Nichole Handy
Justin Bagnall
Daphne Gottlieb
Gabe Moses
Brian S. Ellis
Tony Brown
Missy Dugan
Rachel Kann
Lori Selke
Morris Stegosaurus
Caroline Ryder
Sam Sax
Steven Schwartz
Jackie Simmons

My poem is called “you don’t know how your life managed to move twenty six miles forward and twenty eight miles back” — that’s the line from Palmer’s poem, yup — and it’s about numbers. Letters and numbers and sharp things like that.

written by Lori Selke at 10:16 pm · leave a comment

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