Issue 35, Final Fringe

Tagged: Anna Lena

On Poetic Objects and Poetic Economies

by Anna Lena Phillips 10.31.2011

A call for radical formatting: Put a well-loved poem on some nice cardstock and give it—or trade it, or sell it—to a friend. Fringe Editor Anna Lena Phillips, on why we need broadsides and other visual embodiments for poetry now more than ever. more »

This weekend: SPARKcon!

by Anna Lena Phillips 09.17.2009

sparkcon800There’s a lot of good things down here in North Carolina, and one of them is happening right now: SPARKcon, “a showcase of creativity, talent and ideas of ‘the creative hub of the South,’ the Triangle NC.”

The event is a “creative potluck” made by teams of volunteers. The poetrySPARK team has put together a great bunch of readings.  There will be a big NC Writers’ Network reading Friday night, and on Saturday, a series of four themed readings. These each have two headliners, including Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Joanna Catherine Scott, and Alex Grant, and then some rabble-rousers to round things out. Count me as one of the latter—I’ll be reading during the experimental reading at 10 p.m. Fringe Poetry editorial assistant Nellie Bellows will read during the narrative/lyrical reading at 7:30.

more »

Virtual eclipse


This spring, a project I’d been eagerly awaiting went live. EcoArtTech, who is Cary Peppermint and Christine Nadir, released its Eclipse project on the net-art site. This lil program grabs photos of U.S. national parks from Flickr, then uses real-time air quality data from to mess with the images.

I tried it out for the first time on the Great Smokies National Park, and despite a current air quality rating of G (that’s “good” to you), the images were corrupted with pleasingly colored but alarming horizontal lines. A couple of them had a feel similar to to one of my favorite recent shirt.woot entries—in particular, a photograph of huge grey-black rocks in a slow-moving stream, the water reflecting an odd bright yellow in the original photograph, became a disorienting/abstract thing with bands of magenta and cyan interrupting the flow of water around the rocks, the flow of the shapes the rocks made.

I tried the Sumter, SC, national forest, another site dear to my heart, but got a message saying that AQI values aren’t available for it right now. Wonder why.

If we could see the effects of factors like air pollution all the time, we’d become inured to them. In fact, that’s probably how... more »

more »

Fringe contributors: 2008 Best of the Net finalists


We’re happy to announce that two Fringe contributors were finalists for the 2008 Best of the Net anthology: Jehanne Dubrow, for her “Fragment from a Nonexistent Yiddish Poet” number 22, and Pattabi Seshadri, for his poem “Chairs.” Two of Jehanne’s poems, which appeared originally in the excellent Mezzo Cammin, were chosen for the anthology. This year’s guest judge for poetry was Dorianne Laux.

You can read #22 and three more of Jehanne’s poems in Fringe issue 13. Pattabi’s “Chairs” plus two more poems appear in Fringe issue 11.

Best of the Net, put out by Sundress Publications, gathers fabulous fiction and poetry from online litmags and puts it all in one spot. Each year. Since 2006. Props to Erin Elizabeth Smith, managing editor and poetry coordinator. Keep it up, Sundress! And congrats to Jehanne and Pattabi.

more »

Poems for the first 100 days


If you are needing a healthy dose of current events, delivered via poetry, you might want to have a look at Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days. I am sad to say it has taken me until day 38 of the project (and, ergo, the Obama administration) to post about this. But here’s to day 38! And here’s to Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker for making the project happen.

All kinds of poets are up there–Major Jackson with some knockout couplets for day 22, Cornelius Eady considering the much-considered inaugural poem for day 14, Diane Wald with a “nonromantic valentine” for day 27. I have also in particular enjoyed days 2 (Matt Rohrer), 3 (Martha Silano), 4 (Aimee Nezhukumatathil), 19 (Laurel Snyder), 20 (Cate Marvin), 23 (Erin Belieu), 26 (Nin Andrews), 32 (Mark Doty), 36 (Lindsey Wallace).

There’s a lot of funny bits, and some stuff that is convincingly sincere and moving. And they said that couldn’t be done with “political poetry.” Well, I have news for they, and the news is actually getting a little old, and it goes something like, “yes we can!”

more »

Breaking News: Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement


WASHINGTON—After decades spent battling gender discrimination and inequality in the workplace, the feminist movement underwent a high-level shake-up last month, when 53-year-old management consultant Peter “Buck” McGowan took over as new chief of the worldwide initiative for women’s rights. . . .

“All the feminist movement needed to do was bring on someone who had the balls to do something about this glass ceiling business,” said McGowan, who quickly closed the 23.5 percent gender wage gap by “making a few calls to the big boys upstairs.”

…more at, you guessed it, The Onion. Via WomPo, the women’s poetry listserv, which is well worth checking out itself.

more »

November 23 is Buy Nothing Day!


Come all ye fair and tender shoppers
Be careful how you spend your dough
It’s like a puddle after a rainstorm
It first appears, then there’s no more

Tralala, it’s Buy Nothing Day! If you’re in the US or Canada, that is; in other countries it’s November 24. Buy Nothing Day was founded in 1992 to help us think about how we consume; it’s no accident that it falls on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. There’s a lot of potential for preachiness with something like this, so I reckon it’s best to approach it in the spirit of having fun and raising awareness. Adbusters has some good ideas for stuff to do, as well as posters you can print out.

Adbusters also makes ads for BND every year, and then tries to get big networks to run them—with varying success. I like this one, which involves mittens (though the music, well, …).

Lots of places will have skillshares and other events, so if you want to get involved, check your local weekly to see what’s happening near you. And if taking your folks to the potluck at the anarchist bookstore sounds implausible, consider designating a surrogate Buy Nothing Day for yourself later in... more »

more »

Panties for peace


If you’ve already told the Postal Regulatory Commission you won’t stand for a sellout to big media (and if you haven’t yet, there’s still time to weigh in before their hearings on Tuesday, October 30), perhaps you’re feeling a little bored, a little blue.

Happily, there’s a cure for such listlessness, and it even involves the mail. You can support the people of Burma by sending your panties to the SPDC! Dunno about you, but the image of hundreds of pairs of panties, lacy, frilly, variegated, winging their way through the postal system carefully packaged in envelopes and boxes, destined to freak out officials worldwide, just puts a smile on my face.

Andrew Buncombe writes in the Independent:

Activists seeking to pressure the Burmese regime are targeting the superstitions of its senior generals by asking for people around the world to send women’s underwear to the junta.

In what may be a first, campaigners based in Thailand have called for supporters to “post, deliver or fling” the underwear to their nearest Burmese embassy. They believe the senior members of the junta – some known to be deeply superstitious – could be made to believe they will lose their authority should they come into contact with the lingerie.

“The... more »

more »

Post office: another chance for small journals!


I’ve written before about the U.S. Post Office’s misguided (read: guided by TimeWarner) plot to raise postage sky-high for small periodicals and simultaneously lower it for huge ones. The Postal Regulatory Commission voted to put these new rules in effect on July 15; a massive petition effort has caused them to hold hearings on the new rates. They’re scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30. Kudos if you spoke up and signed that first petition…

…now let’s all sign it again! To ensure that those hearings have the biggest possible impact, you can sign the new petition—and simultaneously have a message sent to your congressperson—to repeal the new rates. Also at, you’ll find an excellent essay by Peter Rothberg, reprinted from the ActNow blog at The Nation. We’ve got to stop this bad idea before it’s too late and the pages of dead periodicals start fluttering from the backs of mail trucks like sad little elegies.

Stamp Out the Rate Hike: Stop the Post OfficeIf supporting small journals isn’t enough to convince you that this is an issue, remember that, if those journals go out of business—which many will surely do under the new rates—that means less mail volume and, as a result, fewer decent-paying post office jobs. Also, remember love notes. Subscriptions to... more »

more »

One Year Later: Wendy Taylor Carlisle


We’re happy to present the first results from our One Year Later survey. We’ve been asking writers whose work appeared in Fringe a year ago or more to revisit that work and respond to some questions. Fittingly, our first writer’s work appeared in our first issue, back in February 2006. Here she is:

Wendy Taylor Carlisle, b. Manhattan a long time ago, currently living on the edge in the border city of Texarkana, TX, an accidental Texan and a self-defined southerner, author of one book, Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda), and one chapbook, After Happily Ever After (2River Chapbook Series). Her poems are anthologized and available online.

What are the materials you prefer for writing first drafts of poems?

A quiet mind, some other poet’s essays or poems or letters from/to anyone, some words other than my own for a jump start; one of those cheap Mead notebooks—the kind with the mottled covers, preferably black and white although I’ve been known to use a purple one when feeling juicy; a Pilot P500 pen or, occasionally, a superfine P700. Is this helpful? I can’t see how anyone could care about Mead notebooks.

We care, yes we do.
What’s one of your favorite poems that has appeared in... more »

more »

One Year Later


Coming up in just a few days, right here in this space, a fabulous new feature: our One Year Later questionnaire.

This little survey is designed to wring all the juicy information there is to get out of our unwitting authors—ehr—I mean, this survey will allow writers revisit the work they published with Fringe a year (or more) ago. We’ve used extensive market research to come up with some other essential questions as well.

Watch for Wendy Taylor Carlisle’s survey, containing good thoughts, favorite poems from other online journals, and a revision of one of her poems from Fringe 1. And if there’s a question you feel we should add to the survey—something you’ve just got to know from our writers—tell us and maybe we’ll add it.

more »

Teeth, feathers, girls, boys


A good poem from Jeannine Hall Gailey on Verse Daily this morning:

The Husband Tries to Write to the Disappearing Wife.

On her blog, Jeannine says: “This is one of the few persona poems where I tried to write in a male voice, so it was a little risky for me.”

I reckon it’s good—potentially good for the poem, most def. good for the mind—to mess around with gender in this way. Seems like, now that the distinctions between genders are blurrier than ever, it should be easier for us to do. But having tried writing from the boys’ side of things, I find it still does feel risky, or at least difficult. Brava!

more »

National Day of Silence for Net Radio


Save it, kids! New royalty rates for internet radio are set to go into effect on July 15, which will put many small webcasters out of bidness. Broadcasters have declared today a National Day of Silence, and will be observing it at various times during the day today. Save Net Radio has organized the effort; here’s more from their press release:

The regularly scheduled programming of millions of Internet radio listeners will be temporarily interrupted tomorrow when tens of thousands of U.S. webcasters observe a national Day of Silence. Protesting the recent 300 percent royalty rate increase for online music webcasters, the aim of the industry wide daylong blackout is to raise awareness of the threat these new rates pose to the future of Internet radio and rally support for legislation pending in Congress.

“Webcasters of every size and from every corner of the country will stand united tomorrow to protest a very real and fast approaching threat to their livelihood,” said Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio Coalition. “With nearly a half million emails and phone calls from webcasters, listeners, and the artists they support sent to Congress in just the last two months, this national grassroots campaign... more »

more »

Betty in the Sky


Ever watch a flight attendant giving the safety spiel before takeoff and wonder what s/he’s really thinking? Well, now you can find out–or at least get a good idea.

Betty’s a flight attendant who puts together a fabulous little podcast about flying the friendly skies. She’s upbeat and frank, and great at capturing the strange, irresistible, sometimes gross details of the job (like the mysterious “water” that dripped on a couple of passengers for an entire flight. Only after they’d landed did the flight attendants realize that someone had put their two pet ferrets in the overhead bin.).

The background music is occasionally a tiny bit repetitive–but other than that, the show is well-made and entertaining, and it gives you that satisfying feeling of having just heard a good bit of gossip.

For those of you who like it analog, this new book by Kathleen Barry talks about the history of the profession from its ambiguous beginnings to the present. For more info on Femininity in Flight, and an interview with the author and with Betty, check this episode of the Diane Rehm show.

more »

We love the Post Office, but it's doing us wrong


By now y’all have probably heard about the nefarious plot by our Postal Service to raise rates for periodicals through a deal with Time-Warner. Here at Fringe, our thoughts usually run more to web stats than stamps. But the new rates are going to have a serious effect on our literary sisters, small print journals. This isn’t just a matter of a few cents an issue; it’s a crisis for small presses–and for the principles of free speech itself. The Postal Service is one of my favorite things about America, but right now it has me so mad I’d pontificate to a mailbox.

Some folks say we’ll soon live in an online-only literary world, but we all know they are wrong. We need the dual forces of print and online. They’re like Superwoman and Supergirl. Like Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Like ketchup and mustard, whiskey and ginger ale, peas and honey.
I need both the leisurely, tactile pleasure of print journals and the quick fix of online journals that can deliver a hot new poem any time I want one. And I don’t think I’m alone on this one.

So what’s a gal or guy to do? Well, first, you might scrape together your spare change... more »

more »

the Sampler


The latest Sampler arrived at my house the other day. For those of you who haven’t seen one–and it is elusive–it’s a monthly packet of small samples from indie crafters, zines, record labels, and makers of various stripes from around the country. All these little bits of stuff are collected and packaged up at Sampler Central, wrapped in tissue paper, stuffed into a Priority Mail envelope, and sent out to lucky people all over.

For about five months, I would go to the site and attempt to get a subscription, and every time I was too late. Even so, I loved the Sampler in theory. Finally, last fall, I hovered over my keyboard the minute subscriptions went on sale, and I got myself one. Every month for the past three months, a package of surprises–some great and some so-so–has arrived in my mailbox. Hooray! The good things have included: fabulous fabric swatches from Repro Depot; vintage button earrings from tomate d’epingles (I wear em all the time!); random new music. Not so hot: a preponderance of one-inch buttons. I mean, how many of those can one girl use (unless they’re Fringe pins, of course!)? But overall, I love the Sampler.

The best way to... more »

more »