Intimate Strangers

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” -Carl Sagan

Humanity is unique in its diversity. Unique in its ability to adapt and ask questions about the universe in which we find ourselves. Every one of us comes from an experience no other has traversed and yet we find common ground when we choose to seek it. It is this common ground together with our individual perspectives that imbue artistic endeavors with the truly inimitable.

Philip Metres is currently involved in a number of projects. The More You Love the Motherland, a memoir about his time living in Russia is his particular obsession at this time. For Metres, a poet, writing in this format is an exciting departure. Metres has a book coming out this fall called The Sound of Listening, a collection of essays about the role of poetic arts in our lives. It is Metres belief that art plays a critical role in creating spaces where politics can begin and being can happen in new ways. In writing this book, Metres sought to invite readers to rethink the boundaries they place around poetry. Metres is also finishing up revision on a work due out in 2020 titled Shrapnel Maps which examines the Holy Land from various perspectives. While much of the resource material for this and other books Metres has written comes from documents, he believes in the importance of standing in the ground of his own experience. Metres poem from a sequence called Home Front touches upon the experience of post-9/11 air travel as an Arab, what that meant for him and how others looked at him deciding quietly who they thought he might be. It also touches on his own internal struggle and the inexplicable fear that in fact he might be who they think despite knowing the reality of the situation. To hear more from Phillip Metres including readings of several poems, listen to the complete interview.

Peter Mishler released his first book, Fludde, in May 2018. The book was a lengthy process of writing and revision and for a period of two years he worked almost exclusively on preparing this book. He is now beginning to draft another manuscript having placed considerable energy into finding new ways to write his poems. While writing Fludde, Mishler couldn’t quite place what exactly the overarching message was. Once the book was complete and he had the opportunity to step back a bit, he was better able to see the intention of the poems. Reception for Fludde has been very positive and Mishler received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry for the work. Through his writing, Mishler has been able to connect with experiences that are beyond his own and to value this in his work. This has opened doors to his unconscious life outside the bounds of his day-to-day. For one work read during the interview, Mishler draws on the poetry of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience using the character of chimney sweep Tom Dacre to represent those who are harmed during their lives. To hear more from Peter Mishler including readings of some of his poetry, listen to the complete interview.

 

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Embrace the uniqueness of others and seek out the common ground you share.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Philip Metres is reading Irish on the Inside by Tom Hayden. Peter Mishler reads a lot at once. Some of the things he has been taking a look at are The Book of Ezekiel in the King James version of The Bible as compared to the poem Endymion by John Keats.

Opportunities

The FRESCO Art Award is a novel take on the traditional art prize. Rather than jury selection, the award is based on public opinion of all submitted artwork as gleaned through social media. Artists are required to create posts on several social media outlets according to the guidelines of FRESCO. The theme for this year’s contest is Blockchain. Artists may use any medium they wish. For more details about how to submit your art to this unique award, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is August 22 though due to the nature of the process, artists will want to submit well before this date in order for their work to be seen by as many people as possible.

Deadlines

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

 

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