Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Category: Poetry (page 1 of 16)

Poems, thoughts about poetry and links to places that have published my poems

Aurora is the effort (Videopoem)

 

This is a video I made for Emily Dickinson’s “Aurora is the effort.” I stumbled on the Jupiter aurora footage at ESA/Hubble and wanted to do something with it. I had Dickinson on my mind since we share a birthday, and I often find myself turning to her work around this time of year, so I started searching for aurora-related Dickinson poems and liked this one for its simplicity and unusual syntax and wording. The sounds are radio static and me rubbing the strings and hitting the back of a bass guitar with some effects from garage band.

I’ve been wanting to do a Dickinson poem for years and even have a concept for another one that maybe someday will get done. Thanks for watching.

The Awesomeness of Grackles

It’s been a while since I’ve written much about grackles or birds for that matter. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve really done much blogging and in the intervening time, I’ve managed to forget to share some grackle-y goodness that came along earlier in the year.

First up, Eight Reasons Grackles Are Awesome, a Texas Monthly article from 2015. I’m proud to say that number eight “They’ve Inspired a poetry collection” is my book Birds Nobody Loves.

Next, a series of features on our local NPR affiliate KUT: A History of Austin’s Love-Hate Relationship with the Grackle which examines just that topic, and a two-part series of KUT’s ATXplained series that includes me reading from Birds Nobody Loves as reporter Mose Buchele delves into local grackle-lore: Part I: Why Do Grackles Flock to Grocery Store Parking Lots at Dusk and Part II: That Time UT Austin Waged a War on Grackles.

Around here, for many, grackles are a nuisance bird, but they’ve also become a bit of an unofficial mascot but without the PR that our bats get. Still, grackles are beautiful, fascinating birds and many of us couldn’t imagine Austin without them.

Chasing Headlights EP by Cwtch

 

Chasing Headlights is the latest EP from Cwtch (vocals: Marie Craven/music: Paul Foster). The lyrics are remixed from poems in my collection Highway Sky. Needless to say, it’s a bit surreal to have one’s work reinterpreted like this. Surreal and wonderful.

My academic background is in film production and screenwriting so the idea of having my words interpreted and reimagined and ultimately produced into a different medium by other artists doesn’t seem at all unnatural to me. I know that it may be uncomfortable for many poets working with a model that strangely exalts poetry, but this kind of thing seems so right to me. It’s why I released the Highway Sky poems (and everything on this blog for that matter) under a creative commons license.

But then there’s music (which I do confess to exalting a wee bit), and listening to how my poems were remixed into Cwtch’s sound in Marie’s voice and with Paul’s music just blew me away. This work is haunting and beautiful, and I am truly honored and humbled and filled with gratitude to Marie and Paul for finding something in my writing worth building upon, for taking the time to do it, and for putting it out there.

You can listen to Chasing Headlights on Soundcloud or download for free (or pay as you wish) from Bandcamp. I hope you’ll check it out.

And here is the video Marie made last summer for “I Drove to the River”:

Gasolina/For Gasoline

Here are two takes on my poem “For Gasoline” from my collection Highway Sky and made available for creative remix at the (now defunct) Poetry Storehouse.

In the first, Eduardo Yagüe translated the poem into Spanish and then made the video from the translation. The second is an English-language version (using the audio I’d provided to the Poetry Storehouse) that includes the text of Eduardo’s translation and was made by Javi Zurrón.

It’s a wonderful thing to see how other artists reinterpret one’s work in new and surprising ways. Thank you Eduardo for making this happen!

 

 

Update: 12.9.16: These videos are featured at Moving Poems today. Thank you, Dave.

Some Recent Publications

For those of you still coming ’round here, I’m excited to share some recent publication news:

“Coyote’s Bone” in Issue 6 of Zoomorphic

“Blown Away” in Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY

“Nicky Rose Driving South” in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine

Thanks to the editors of these fine journals for seeing fit to publish my work, and I hope you’ll check it out. And just because I’m still really proud of this one, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll click over to White Knuckle Press and read my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles.

What Stranger Miracles

what-stranger-miracles

I’m excited to announce the publication of my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles by White Knuckle Press, “publisher of online chapbooks of prose poems.” My sincerest thanks to editors Dale Wisely and Howie Good for agreeing to publish it, and to Dale for his care and attention to the design, which is just wonderful.

You can read What Stranger Miracles free online. I hope you’ll check it out. And be sure to look around at all the other work published by White Knuckle Press.

Highway Sky: Creative Commons, Remix & Resources

 

That’s the video I made for “God Bless Johnny Cash” which is now part of Highway Sky. It’s the first video poem I ever made, and while it’s a bit rough, I still kind of dig it. Along with “Chasing Westward,” I’ve made two videos for the Highway Sky poems, but what really excites me is the idea of creative remix, which is why the poems in Highway Sky are all licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license.

I was inspired by the example of The Poetry Storehouse and its radical sharing/remix culture based on the same Creative Commons license used for Highway Sky. I participated in The Poetry Storehouse as a poet, reader, and remixer and found the whole experience to be so wonderful that I wanted to release Highway Sky under the same terms and see what, if anything might come of it. (Incidentally,  “For Gasoline” and “angels” are available for remix there along with a few of my other poems).

So, for anyone interested in remixing anything in Highway Sky, I offer the following resources:

Text

Free PDF version of Highway Sky (please note, the cover photo is copyrighted by the photographer and the Creative Commons License does not apply to it)

Additionally, early drafts of many of the poems can be found here under the tag highway sky draft poems

Audio

These are all of me reading some of the poems:

“For Gasoline” (text available at The Poetry Storehouse)

download

“Angels” (text available at feathers & The Poetry Storehouse)

download

“Night at the Interstate Diner” (text available at qarrtsiluni)

download

U.S. Highways

download

Chasing Westward

download

 

Of course, please abide by the terms of the license, and if you want to make a hit song, broadway musical, or some other commercial product out of any of my poems, you’ll need to get in touch with me. But we’ll be able to work something out.

And, while we’re at it, here’s the video I made for “Chasing Westward” which is also included in my short collection Birds Nobody Loves.

“Chasing Westward”

 

Highway Sky is Live

highway-skyI’m very happy to announce that my new book Highway Sky is now live.

Highway Sky is a collection of road poems published here on Coyote Mercury and in various fine journals, ‘zines, sites, and anthologies over the past seven years.

As of right now, Highway Sky is available in paperback in the following places: Amazon, my e-storeBarnes & Noble, and probably most anywhere else you can order books. There is also a Kindle edition and a free .pdf edition.

The following poems from the collection were previously published. Where there are working links, they can be read online. My thanks to the editors of the following journals for publishing these…

“Sonnet Found in a Road Atlas” Verbatim Found Poetry (Jun 2015)

“a hundred miles out” tinywords (Apr 2015, Issue 15.1)

“All the Way” Synchronized Chaos (Mar 2015)

“Three Scenes from the Road” The Lake (Mar 2015)

“windshield rain” A Blackbird Sings: A Book of Short Poems (Woodsmoke Press, Sep 2012)

“if there are angels” feathers (Apr 2012)

“North Through Fog.” Houston Literary Review (Feb 2011)

“Night at the Interstate Diner.” qarrtsiluni (Dec 2010 – The Crowd issue)

“Highway 73 to Port Arthur.” a handful of stones (Jul 2010)

“Deeper into Texas.” America Remembered (Virgogray* Press Chapbook Anthology Jul 2010)

“Miles (Never Once Imagined).” Carcinogenic Poetry (May 2010)

“I-10 Eastbound.” Carcinogenic Poetry (May 2010)

“We Talk of Trains.” ouroboros review (Jul 2009 – No. 3)

“A Texas Highway in Springtime.” Bolts of Silk (May 2009)

And, thanks to The Poetry Storehouse for making “For Gasoline” and “angels” available for creative remix. (Incidentally, all of the individual poems in Highway Sky are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license so if you want to envideo/remix… have at it.)

Many of the poems first appeared here in draft form. You can read those early drafts here. Some are draftier than others, but I offer my sincerest thanks to the many people who commented, critiqued and left feedback on these drafts over the past seven years. It has meant a lot to me.

I hope you’ll check it out and help spread the word. Thank you.

Some Recent Publications

Six October Stones CoverI’m very happy to announce that my micro-chapbook Six October Stones is published by Origami Poems Project.

Like all of Origami Poems Project’s micro-chapbooks, this collection of six short poems woven into a longer poem is a free PDF download that can be folded into a very small chapbook using the instructions found on the site. Check it out!

 

 

Next up, I’m thrilled to share that the Take2 Guide to LOST is now available for download. This is a massive compendium of online writing about the ABC TV Series LOST, and it includes all of my LOST book club blog posts (explained and indexed here) as well as my reflections on “The End.” Yes, I really did read and blog about all the books that appeared on the show, and it’s nice to see all that collected with so much other fine LOST writing. More info here.

 

Finally, I’m proud to have had a poem featured at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily: “Made or Just Happened.” Do check it out if you haven’t already.

And, yes, I’m still putting finishing touches on Highway Sky and The Corner of Ghost & Hope. Things move slow.

Two Videopoems and Two Poems Published

I’ve been remiss in updating this here blog, so, here’s some cool stuff…

Below (videopoem)

This is a video Marie Craven made for my poem “Below” found at The Poetry Storehouse. Needless to say, I was blown away by this and am very grateful for the time and effort she put into remixing my poem.

This is the second of my poems to be remixed into video lately (the first was a remix by NS of “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea”) and the experience is fascinating. I don’t always feel like I know where my poems come from and sometimes I’m surprised to see what I’m thinking. It’s interesting, then, to find out what another artist sees in my work.

I’m filled enough with gratitude when someone takes the time to read what I’ve written, but it’s a humbling thing to know that someone has taken the time with it not just to read it but to try to know it and then bring it to life in a whole new way. So, thank you Marie for “Below” and also to NS for “Empty Sea” and for creating the soon-to-be-phased-out Poetry Storehouse. These are truly gifts that left me speechless.

Marie wrote up some process notes about the video on her blog, along with notes for two other videos she’s recently done. Three of Marie’s videos have appeared at Gnarled Oak, and you can see even more on her Vimeo page. Or explore her website, pixieguts.com, where you can check out her musical work too.

///

flower (videohaiku)

A few weeks ago, Dave Bonta put out a call for haiku based on a video clip with which he intended to experiment in an effort to develop a new approach to videohaiku. He wound up using lines that I supplied and we worked on editing and revising them to come up with the above video.

Dave wrote extensive process notes at Moving Poems, and I don’t have much to add other than that the collaboration was fun and produced an interesting result. Here’s Dave:

This collaboratively produced videopoem with text by James Brush represents a new approach to videohaiku for me: one in which the first part of the haiku is represented by film footage, which freezes and transitions to text roughly where a mid-poem kireji or cutting word would occur in a Japanese haiku.

[…]

James had started with a rather high-concept idea and pared it down in the course of three drafts. I suggested two further edits. What finally emerged was this:


how your hands burn
for the sun

with the ellipsis standing in for the footage of the baby in a meadow waving a daisy around. (One could even make it fit into a line: babe with a flower, say, or toddler in the yard.)

As I mentioned above, it’s a kick to have one’s words envideoed, and I’m grateful to Dave for taking the time to play with a few of mine. I’ll have to try this technique for myself sometime.

///

Two Poems Published

As mentioned yesterday, my poem “Sorrow” is in Right Hand Pointing Issue 82: an absence at the center. This is the second time I’ve had a poem appear at RHP and it is quite an honor to be there.

And finally, my poem “Trigger” was included in the anthology/prompt book/workbook Poem Your Heart Out (Words Dance Publishing anthology, Dec 2014). “Trigger” was the winner for April 29 in the Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge back in April. The book contains the 30 winning poems for the month. My Poems “Sticky Note” (April 3) and  “The Summer Forecast” (Apr 18) were finalists on their respective days.

Ok. Enough about me… go read Gnarled Oak.

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