043 Handbag Poetry Night

But I think I stopped writing poetry as much just because when I would come back to it, I was like, what was I even trying to say?  It was just too vague.  It was too vague to get the meaning later.

Well hopefully it’s like protecting itself from getting burned.  If it weren’t so vague, you wouldn’t be able to stand it, maybe, you know?  That’s why I wrote that way, why I still write that way.

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This week on a special Handbag Hangout Poetry night, I’ve rounded up Amber, Diana, Sara, Maria, and Genevieve to read poetry with me.  Our friendship was cultivated while writing poetry and furiously journaling in high school in the late 90’s, which bound us tightly as very close friends over the past 20 years.  Since becoming adults, we have made a point to meet monthly (to reinforce and celebrate our identities before we became partners, spouses, mothers, or professional people), which came to be known as Handbag Hangouts as a dirty joke over beers.  Since COVID-19, we’ve upped our Handbags to a weekly Zoom meeting to dish out our love and support for each other.  (Please do forgive the quality of the recording since we weren’t able to meet in person.)

Order of poems:

Angelica: Title redacted a poem about restlessness found in an old journal (Feb 8, 2001)

Genevieve: “What is Never Lost” by Cynthia MacDonald from I Can’t Remember (1997)

Maria: “A Callarse/Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda.  English translation and in the original Spanish (1958)

We mentioned “the great pause” and referenced the incredible article, “Prepare For the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by Julio Vincent Gambuto.

Amber: “Sensation” by Arthur Rimbaud. French and English (March 1890)

Diana: “I’m Nobody, Who are You?” by Emily Dickenson from Poems, Series 2 (1891).

Sara: A saying probably by Lao Tzu (?) from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Angelica: “As Far as Masks Go,” a poem about COVID-19 (April 20, 2020)

Amber: Rhyming Poem, a poem about haircuts or a hangover maybe (2001)

Sara: “We shape clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want” from Zen Garden Book of Meditations

Genevieve: “If” a poem about being a therapist, in a series she wrote called Termination Poems (December 2019)

Diana: Two nature poems from a journal while being a summer camp counselor at Camp  Arrowhead (June 14, 2003)

Angelica: “Friendliness is Not the Car Ride it Once Was” in my portfolio used to apply for landscape architecture grad school (April 3, 2000)

Angelica: “Song of 3 Days Sad” A poem repeating the phrase Techno Glazes/Inspiration (July 14, 2000)

039 Word Alchemist: Ryan Dilbert

I started thinking about why I like it so much.  And then I thought, you know, it’s storytelling; I love stories.  Especially strange stories.  And pro wrestling is just a series of strange stories that are acted out in the moment…and some things are improvised and there’s a little bit of chaos because someone broke their nose.  Like, go with it. So it’s just a very weird world; it’s very easy to write about.

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That’s Ryan Dilbert.  As a creative writing teacher of 4th graders, he lovingly shapes young writers by utilizing all the other facets of his life: as a father of two young girls, husband to Julie, published author, pro wrestling journalist for Bleacher Report, stand-up comedian and performer, and tattoo artist and illustrator.  In his summers off, he’s hungry to do more, like developing screenplays, writing another novel, and trying his hand at graphic novel.

Ryan grew up in Cayman (we used the local inflection – in the States it’s often referred to as the Cayman Islands) before moving to Houston for high school.  We met in sophomore year and became student directors of a performance poetry group, Playwrights and Players, for our senior year.  Because our friendship included writing and editing together in this formative time, Ryan helped shape my own creative expression.  His biracial identity is something he has struggled to explore in his writing, and feels more comfortable creating his own worlds where he can confirm the validity of the character’s experiences.

You can find more of Ryan’s work at www.ryandilbert.com and his Twitter @ryandilbert.  This includes his novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press) which was published in 2011; the cover and visuals were illustrated by Shawn Callahan.  His website has links to his pro wrestling columns at Bleacher Report as well as to literary journals of his flash/nano fiction and prose.  He mentioned an article where he took his daughter, Lucy, to WWE Raw after sharing tweets of her experience.  And he participated in Austin’s Funniest Person Contest in 2008.

Ryan’s daughter, Lucy, age 6, sat down for a short interview at the end of the episode.

Shameless plug: His upcoming chapbook with a collection of flash fiction about pro wrestling, called Mat Burns, is set to come out in Spring 2020.

We mentioned Ira Glass’s concept of The Gap – when our taste develop more quickly than our craft.  Here’s a delightful video with his quote.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

Hey Crafties!  What is the term for a juicy quote that is pulled from an interview?  Like the kind of quote that I pull for the intro teaser, or that he uses to shape his wrestling columns.  Ryan and I both use this and calling it a “money shot” feels wrong)!