Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nan Lundeen is a Feminist Poet with Firmly Planted Roots—National Poetry Month 2024

                                Nan Lundeen.

Nan Lundeen  may be best known for her widely admired handbook, Moo of Writing which was a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was based on her article, Find Your Moos, appeared in a 2013 issue of Britains  Writing Magazine, and her article, Relax and Renew with Moo/Mu of Writing in The Paddock Review.

Lundeen’s poems have been published online by The Iowa Reviews Iowa Writes, and the University of South Carolina Poetry Initiative; she was a finalist in the Yemassee Literary Journals 2010 Pocataligo poetry contest.  The Catawba  was nominated for a Pushcart Prize  in 2014.  She has been widely published and admired in numerous literary journals.

Her poetry books include Gaia’s Cry, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir, which was a finalist in the 2016 National Indie Excellence Awards, poetry and The Pantyhose Declarations.  

Her journalism has been published in the Detroit News, the Grand Rapids Press, the Connecticut Post, The Greenville News, and elsewhere.

Lundeen holds a master of arts in communications and a bachelor of arts in English from Western Michigan University at Kalamazoo. She is married to freelance photographer Ron DeKett. They live in rural southwestern Michigan among deer, wild turkey, hummingbirds, and wildflowers.


What is intriguing about Lundeen’s The Pantyhose Declarations is its organization into three sections.  Each one is a layer of the poet’s identity.  The first section The Declarations is her defiant but playful avowal of her feminism which is rooted in her refusal to be bound by either convention or expectation.

Do I Have to Wear Pantyhose?

They look down their noses and ask if I will

sit on the committee,

make a presentation,

take a job with the corporation.

 

And I want to know—

do I have to wear pantyhose?

 

They ask if I will teach a class,

speak to the congregation,

accept the most officious task,

and sit on yet another committee.

 

And I want to know—

do I have to wear pantyhose?

 

They ask if I will host the symposium,

teach the workshop,

sing for disadvantaged tots,

and sit on yet another committee.

 

And I want to know—

do I have to wear pantyhose?

 

They ask if I will witness the execution,

provide them with locution,

marry the candlestick maker in the finest of clothes,

and listen while many unburden their woes.

 

And I want to know—

do I have to wear pantyhose?

 

Oh give me your bare legged,

your grandmother in tennis shoes,

your gardener in old boots

your hikers

your wanderers

your dreamers

the barefooted—

grass and chicken shit

between their toes—

but do not,

oh, do not

give me panty hose.

 

—Nan Lundeen

That poem and the handful that follow it hint at Lundeen’s spiritual connection with Gaia having shaken off the Lutheranism of her youth and young adulthood which she expands on in the next section, Earth.

If I Could Be

anywhere at all

I would be outside

to see how

monarchs migrate

and frog skin breathes,

how birds’ feet shape

to grip trees, shrubs, or weeds,

how milkweed seeds fly

and what kind of cactus turtles munch,

I’d see how spikers hinge trapdoors

and how many rooms a chipmunk bores,

how a big, bumbling bear

suddenly adept, snatch lunch,

how a spider lives beneath the sea

in her very own bubble home.

I’d discover all that

and wonder why a cricket chirps.

Does he chirp to cheer the hearth

or for some other reason?

 

—Nan Lundeen

But what are the roots of her feminism, her defiance, her connection to the earth around her?  The secret is revealed in the lives of grandmothers and aunts, of immigrants and Midwest prairie earth in Goddesses.

Mathilda Lundeen

 

 

The wintergreen she rubbed into her knee

mingled

with roses.

 

I still see her

at age eighty, picking up skirts

and wading through the creek

to search out

shy ferns hidden in the bluffs.

 

Or gathering the eggs

Scratching chicken dirt with her fingernail,

Bosh, a little manure can’t hurt you.

 

She argued with her children

walked upstairs, blue eyes

ablaze,

insisted in molasses in the rye.

 

Her mother died

when she was eight

and Gram saw her

one night on the stairs.

 

In her rocking chair, stitching

quilt blocks,

That was Judith’s party dress

and that Aunt Clara’s apron,

she wove

long stories

about Cynthia’s cow, goblins, and British generals—a

 

Snuggled close in bed

we whispered late at night

about romance, boyfriends.

I don’t trust that one.

Eyes too close together.

 

She was right.

 

—Nan Lundeen

 

For more information on The Pantyhose Declarations © 2009 by Nan Lundeen and her other work visit NanLundeen.com .

 

 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Patricia Lockwood Takes Aim at a Cultural Icon in Curls—National Poetry Month 2024

Shirley Temple in The Little Princess, a 1939 MGM release was just one of many pictures she made as an orphaned or abandoned waif.

Moppet Shirley Temple was the biggest star in Hollywood in the 1930’s.  She sang, danced, and wept herself in the hearts of Depression Era American as an orphan, a foundling, abandoned, or misplaced by circumstances.  What primal fears of abandonment did she strike in insecure lives?  And what about real children—the talented tot herself or tattered girls barefoot in the Dust Bowl?  Poet Patricia Lockwood considers it all.

Multi-genre writer Patricia Lockwood.

Patricia Lockwood was born April 27, 1982 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  She is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her 2021 debut novel, No One Is Talking About This, won the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her 2017 memoir Priestdaddy won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Her poetry collections include Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, a 2014 New York Times Notable Book. Since 2019, she has been a contributing editor for London Review of Books.

She is notable for working across and between a variety of genres. “Your work can flow into the shape that people make for you,” she told Slate in an interview in 2020. “Or you can try to break that shape.”  In 2022, she received the American Academy of Arts and Letterss Morton Dauwen Zabel Award for her contributions to the field of experimental writing.

Kirkus Reviews called her “our guide to moving beyond thinking of the internet as a thing apart from real lives and real art,” and Garden & Gun, “goddess of the avant-garde.”

Lockwood was the daughter of a former Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism and ordained a Priest under a special pastoral provision issued by Pope John Paul II in 1980.  She grew up in the unusual circumstances of a nuclear family in a rectory and returned to live with her father for a while in adulthood. 

She graduated from Parochial school but never attended college.  Instead, after a traumatic rape experience at age 19, she married when she was 21 and became a mother.  She never really held a job but spent hours everyday writing. 

Lockwood is still recovering from long-term Covid contracted in March 2029 and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.

The Fake Tears of Shirley Temple

How many sets of her parents are dead. How many times over is she an orphan. A plane, a crosswalk, a Boer war. A childbirth, of course, her childbirth. When she, Shirley Temple, came out of her mother, plump even at her corners like a bag of goldfish, and one pinhole just one pinhole necessary. Shirley Temple, cry for us, and Shirley Temple cried. The first word of no baby is “Hello,” how strange. The baby believes, “I was here before you, learning to wave just

      like the Atlantic.” Alone in the world just like the Atlantic, and left on a doorstep just like the Atlantic, wrapped in the grayest, roughest blanket. Shirley Temple gurgled and her first words were, “Your father is lost at sea.” “Your mother was thrown by a foam-colored horse.” “Your father’s round face is a round set of ripples.” “Every gull has a chunk

      of your mom in its beak.” Shirley Temple what makes you cry. What do you think of to make you cry. Mommies stand in a circle and whisper to her. “Shirley Temple there will be war. Shirley Temple you’ll get no lunch.” Dry, and dry, and a perfect desert. Then:

      “Shirley Temple your goldfish are dead, they are swimming toward the ocean even now,"

      and her tears they fall in black

and white, and her tears they star in the movie.

She cries so wet her hair uncurls, and then the rag

is in the ringlet and the curl is in the wave, she thinks of dimples tearing out of her cheeks and just running, out of cheeks knees and elbows and running hard back to the little creamy waves where they belong, and the ocean. Her first

      glimpse of the ocean was a fake tear for dad.

A completely filled eye for her unseen dead father,

who when he isn’t dead he is gone across the water.

 

Patricia Lockwood

 

From Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals  by Patricia Lockwood, copyright © 2014 by Patricia Lockwood.