I had a poem up a couple of days ago on Rattle, which is a pretty exciting thing for me. Rattle is a pretty great journal. I subscribe to the print edition, and regularly recommend to my writing students that they check out “Poets Respond,” a really amazing cultural project created by Rattle editor Timothy Green that publishes one poem online every week in response to a current event. The deadline to submit to Poets Respond each week is Friday at midnight, and Green reads all of the submissions each Saturday, which is an extraordinary committment. I have a lot of respect for him, based on this fact alone, but also based on the poems he chooses. You can check out the archive here. “Poets Respond” is a bit of necessary culture. Here is the blurb about the project on the Rattle site:
“On average, poems in Rattle are published six months after they were submitted. Then they appear online six months after that. Real poetry is timeless, of course, so usually it doesn’t matter—but this is the age of information. News cycles rarely last more than a week, let alone a year. One reason poetry lags behind other forms of contemporary media might be this delay—how can poetry be part of the conversation when it enters so late? Moreover, poets do often respond to current events in real-time, so why make them wait for our print schedule?
Our solution is Poets Respond—a poem written within the last week about a public event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday. Our only criterion for selection is the quality of the poem; all opinions and reactions are welcome.”
This past week, out of 250 submissions, Timothy Green picked two poems instead of just one, and one of the poems was mine. So I am elated. You can check out my poem “If You Really Aren’t A Racist Take This Online Test,” if you are curious, and while you’re at it you might also want to read “Perpetuation of the Species” by Jessica Goodfellow (the other poem selected last week). It contains these extraordinary lines: