Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’m feeling fabulously scandalous….



Those are two words that I would never use. Especially not in a sentence together. Well, I would never use them unless I was just published in a book of poetry with them both in the title. And guess what? I was just published in a book of poetry called :

Fag Hag –A Scandalous Chapbook of Fabulously-Codependent Poetry

The first piece I ever read by the poet Bryan Borland was published at InkNode and it's titled Fag/Hag. I fell in love with Bryan's work that day. Over time I fell in love with the joyful, mischievous and soulful man behind the work.

Bryan pulled together a group of poets by asking us to use Fag/Hag as a jumping off point for a piece of poetry touching on the very broad topic of unrequited or somehow otherwise unattainable love.

I wrote a poem about my beautiful friend Judy Clement Wall. To my delight and amazement, it's in the collection.


If I were a boy
her husband would
have to fight me

Fight me for her
time, her laugh
her unqualified exuberance

If I were a boy I would
wrestle all comers
to be the one to make her smile

But if I were a boy
she wouldn't love me anyway
she only likes older men

-j- looks extremely vanilla compared to most of the other pieces. This is not a book for the faint of heart. Some of the pieces are angry, some are raw and achingly beautiful, some are just raw.

In short, it's everything you want in a poetry collection. Pieces that break your heart, pieces that make you think, pieces that are alien and far removed from your own experience right next to pieces that resonate with you in every fiber of your being. I think my favorite piece is by Stephen S. Mills. His piece is titled "Bryan makes me write a poem about a term I don't like." Stephen's piece is a heartbreaking telling of what life for both the fag and the hag can be like, and the power that ugly words can have on the human psyche.

There's a great preview of the book HERE.

It was incredibly easy to be inspired by the dazzling life force that is -j- ; so the only thing I had to do after I wrote my poem was come up with an interesting seven word bio [which is harder than it sounds] and then be ever so grateful that I got to participate in this particular collection of very powerful and very human words.

[which I am]

Thank you Bryan.


Mary said...

I'll be checking out the preview.
Giggles and Gunsx

Cathy Olliffe said...

Awesome poem, Karen. And the book sounds GREAT! Good luck with it!

Karen from Mentor said...

It's a beautiful chapbook Cathy. I thought about sleeping with it under my pillow last night.

*grins at you*

Alan W. Davidson said...

That's excellent news, Karen! I'm really happy for you. I'm sure that your piece will mellow out the 'raw' nicely.

Karen from Mentor said...

Mary the preview gives you the first two poems,

Surrogates by Joseph Harker
Of Violets and Bunnies by BR Belletryst

Both are amazing pieces.

Joseph's seven word bio is:
reminds you of everyone you've never met


BR's is:
shopping with one's mother kills the soul

Makes you want to get to know them better doesn't it?


Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Alan, but I don't think mellowing out the raw was in any way Bryan's intent...laughing...he likes to poke bears with sticks. A lot of his work is in your face blantantly sexual.

But he has a totally different side to his work. He has a wonderful piece called "Weeds" that was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and listening to him talk about the experience of being nominated makes me tear up every time.

You can go to Alice Shapiro's site and hear Bryan talking about Weeds and about how being nominated for the pushcart prize changed the way his family viewed his poetry.

Here's the link:

Thanks for the congrats my friend.
I'm well chuffed.

Jessie Carty said...

I keep getting glimpses of the chapbook even though I haven't had a chance to read it in full yet. So glad to be a part of it and I love your poem :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thank you Jessie. That means a lot to me coming from you. Your piece gut punched me. You painted it so vividly. The scene gets seared into your head and heart.

Jessie's piece is called:
"Fat Girl at the Drugstore"

her seven word bio:

just realized she shares initials with jesus

[seven words can be so much fun]

Thank you for taking time to stop in and comment.
*Big Hugs!*

judy said...

Yay! If I were a boy, I would be madly in love with you now. Oh, wait. I already am. xoxoxo

KjM said...

*wipes feet carefully*

I love your take on what a poetry collection should be: "Pieces that break your heart, pieces that make you think, pieces that are alien and far removed from your own experience right next to pieces that resonate with you in every fiber of your being."

Congratulations on being in one such - though, in truth, what I have read of yours indicates the editors of the collection know what they are doing, for they included you.

And I love your poem -j-

Well, well done.

Laura Eno said...

Congrats! Uh...I don't think I could describe you in 7 words. Just talking about your tentacles would take more words then that...and then there's your vibrant personality that can't even be contained in a box...what the **** were these people thinking about?

Do you have a cookie I could borrow? I'm all worked up over this...I need to calm down.

Karen from Mentor said...

My seven word bio:

spreads joy with a generously quirky shovel

*hugs Laura...hands her a cookie*

Karen from Mentor said...

*swoons a bit and wishes ONCE AGAIN that she could clone Kevin*

Thank you so much for your lovely words Kevin.
My head has now swelled too big to fit out the door. Good thing I've already been to the park and the grocery store today.

*smooches Kevin*

Karen from Mentor said...

Judy you were so easy to write a poem about. The only problem I had was editing it, but once I cut the superlatives down from the original hundred, I really got on a roll.

I love you baby.

But you already knew that.

Anonymous said...

(jumps up and down for joy)

Beautiful poem, Karen, and congratulations! I'm very proud of you. Big hugs!

Dani H said...

Woo Hoo!!! Yay for you!!!

I LOVE the poem! {And I feel exactly the same way about j.}

I am a lucky woman as I am acquainted with you, j and BR! So much talent in my corner of the virtual universe.

Congratulations, sweetheart *BIG HUGS*

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Karen!

Karen from Mentor said...

I don't know BR Dani, but that bio makes me want to.

Thank you for the giddy woo hooing...
you're so sweet and now I'm all mushy.

Karen from Mentor said...

Watches open mouthed as all that beautiful curly red hair bounces up and down while Gracie jumps about with joy...

Giggles delightedly and says thank you very much for your delight in my news my wondrous friend.

*Big Big hugs!*

Karen from Mentor said...

Lily you snuck in there while I was talking to Gracie.

Thank you so much my dear. Is there an Aussie word for thanks? If so....pretend I said that too.
It was so sweet of you to take the time to pop in and comment. I really appreciate it.

Marisa Birns said...

Such a wonderful poem to read after a day of errands...

Congratulations to you! Makes people want to sing and dance is my bio for you.

Karen from Mentor said...

I love that bio Marisa, not least of which because I get to picture you in your kitchen cooking while singing and dancing right now.

*Smooches Marisa*

Anonymous said...


You are an absolute joy and I'm lucky to have had the honor to publish you in what is the first book I've ever designed cover to cover.

And I'll announce it here for your readers... this chapbook and the contest that inspired it will be an annual event over at my website,

Love to you!

Karen from Mentor said...

You're such a sweetie Bryan. I'm so happy that I got pulled into your orbit. And I'm so pleased to be in this collection.

Love & smooches to you! You Rock

Chef E said...

Karen, I enjoyed your poem when I first read it on his site-

I am also excited to be a part of the b-dawg crew, and on my head ready to spin as my followers experience something as great as this great book and you wonderful poets!

E Stelling

Chef E said...

Oh btw I am reading your side bar and smiling from ear to ear- "I wish I had someone to touch me and I wish I liked whiskey" about "Whiskey touched me like I wish someone else would"...hmmm, I may have to steal it, or once I was under the influence of some'thing' and wrote... "I like the ride of a splintery barrel while sucking down it's juice"...

E Stelling

J. M. Strother said...

Congratulations, Karen. Your poem is beautiful and I'm sure the rest of the collection is amazing.

Karen from Mentor said...

I'm giggling my head off at you Elizabeth.
So glad you enjoyed my random thoughts.

Chef E's poem is called:

Side Order

and her seven word bio reads:

is always in the weeds-writing/cooking

both sound like fun to me.

Thank you for hacking your way out of the weeds long enough to come in and say hello.

And thank you for your kind words about -j-.
I told Jessie that her poem gut punched me, yours punched me in the face.... but in a good way.
Nice to meet you.

Karen from Mentor said...

You snuck in there while I was giggling at Elizabeth.
Thank you for saying the poem was beautiful and for taking the time to stop in and see me on a non fridayflash day. That was incredibly sweet of you.
*hugs jon*

Daniel W. Powell said...

Woot! Congrats on the publication.

The poem is strong, and it turns on a dime in that last sentence...that's definitely a signature in your work, Karen. It's kind of cool to expect to be surprised!

Karen from Mentor said...

I love that you mentioned the twist at the end Daniel and I love that you expect to be surprised, yet were still surprised.... did that make sense? [reads it back to self] yes I think so.
Thank you for taking time to come in and comment on my piece my learned friend.

I just love teachers. Especially when I get an A.

*happy sigh*

Ana said...

I felt fabulously scandalous too -for being included in the chapbook (because otherwise I am fabulously non-scandalous -grin-). I did not get a chance to read it from cover to cover, but all I got to read I loved. And I thought that your poem fit in perfectly (you say vanilla , I'd say a gentle touch among the rest and no less witty). The book as a whole is a balance of gentleness, anger, raw feelings and bittersweet emotions.

Anonymous said...

Congrats honey, I'm so happy for you! This is amazing news!!!

The poem about J is just lovely, and knowing J a bit, I can see how easy it must have been to write :)

Huge hugs!

Karen from Mentor said...

j is an inspiration Estrella. *hugs you* and says thank you for your enthusiasm. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends.

Karen from Mentor said...

Ana I'm so glad that you came in and took the time to comment. Thank you for your lovely words about my piece.
-j- is sandwiched between your gentle and wistful Letter to an Absent Friend (for O) and Bryan's Splattered I think just the contrast between the two titles gives a prospective reader of the chapbook an idea of the range of pieces in the collection. *grins back at you*

I wholeheartedly agree with your review:
"The book as a whole is a balance of gentleness, anger, raw feelings and bittersweet emotions."

Ana Tun's bio:
published bilingual poet/grace to octavian's translation

Bryan Borland's bio:
looks at her with his turkey baster

'nuff said....

*goes off giggling*

Cat Connor said...

Congrats Karen!!
Huge hugs oxoxox

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Cat.
You would L O V E this collection. I think you should order it right now.
*hands you your wallet*

I'm giggling at the oxoxox <-- it read to me like ox, ox, those are really strong hugs then, yeah?

Thank you my sweet for the congrats and for taking the time to look the book over. You my dear are a wonder.

ganymeder said...

Congratulations on making the anthology! I'm downloading it. :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks so much Cathy, I'm pretty pleased.
I know you'll enjoy the book. It's amazing.
Now that Bryan has made it an annual event, you'll have to enter the contest next year. Go ahead and put your thinking cap on and warm up that pencil.
*Big Hugs*

Cat Connor said...

I can still feel those hugs... think you cracked a rib!! xx

Karen from Mentor said...

ooops, sorry. I'll adjust the hugging Cat setting on my dial.... ok, there... I think the calibration is just right now.

Dani H said...

BR is @Belletryst on Twitter. You can find a link to his main poetry blog in his twitter bio. He absolutely amazes me with his talent and he's still a college student! I adore him!

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Dani, thanks for the update.
I've actually made BR's acquaintance now. He very sweetly emailed me to introduce himself shortly after the post went up.

I had already read a lot of his work at Voxpoetica, but I hadn't seen his personal poetry site prior to him emailing.

I think the only thing we haven't mentioned now is that he's also an amazing photographer.

k :0)

Link to BR Belletryst in the poemblog at Voxpoetica:

Jodi MacArthur said...

Just gorgeous, Karen. Poetry fascinates me, even more the poet whom the words flow from. I wish I had the skill you do. This book is on my to buy SOON list. Great title. ;-)

Karen from Mentor said...

Awww,thank you Jodi. It's lovely to see you. Been missing you while you're holed up in your writing cave.
I know you'll enjoy the book from the moment you get your hands on it.
Big hugs!

jane, candid said...

Karen, what a beautiful poem about a truly beautiful person. I am excited for you both that this was published!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Jane,
So sweet of you to say.
*hugs Jane*