Every day is World Poetry Day! Happy World Poetry Day!
And there is no world without poetry, at least not a world worth living in. No, Wallace Stevens, it is everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem, but I’m not sure Stevens said this because most of my books are in boxes, and the internet isn’t helping, of course—it might even be making things worse, if that were possible—but anyway, it, that is, the Stevens quote I’m paraphrasing, or rather, arguing against is probably in his Adagia—a luminous collection of aphorisms, in my recollection—but maybe the quote is a misremembering, dismembering interpolation of a moment in Stevens’s “Certain Phenomena of Sound,” where he recalls the “sound of that slick sonata,” which makes “music seem to be a nature, a place in which itself // Is that which produces everything else…”; and isn’t that one of the things poetry is, that is, does, that is, produce everything else, what’s there and what isn’t, which is to say, there’s poetry to the neuroscientist’s claim that reality is a hallucination, his work suggesting “[w]e are all…trapped in our self-created universes, internal worlds that are all we can ever know, and that will vanish in an instant,” moreover that “one day science might bridge the gulf between our own minds and those of others, so that we can see each other more clearly.” Not new ideas, of course (“life is but a dream,” “I do not know whether I am a person dreaming I am a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a person,” etc.), but it makes me also think of simulation hypothesis, which posits that all of existence is an artificial simulation, even a computer simulation; and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which posits that there are many worlds existing in parallel at the same space and time as our own; all of which is to say, I can’t help thinking how these ideas might not only help us reconsider our perception of reality but how they might expand our imaginations and subsequently vitally alter the art we imagine and create; and I hope they do that for you, too.
In other words, I’m all over the place, which is to say I’m in the world, as it is, as it can be imagined, transformed, renewed.
Anyway, in celebration of World Poetry Day, which is every day, here’s a collection of poetry I’ve published in Big Other.
T. J. Anderson III
Charles Bernstein and Ted Greenwald
Charles Bernstein and Norman Fischer
Raymond de Borja
Nik De Dominic
Tse Hao Guang
Tom La Farge
D. A. Powell
Lisa Russ Spaar
Joanna C. Valente
G. C. Waldrep
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.