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  • Guest Post: Tania Pryputniewicz on Being a Poetry Editor
Guest Post: Tania Pryputniewicz on Being a Poetry Editor
Contributor
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
Contributor
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
I am very pleased and excited to repost this guest article by Tania Pryputniewicz, a fellow SheWrites writer with whom I did a blog swap a few weeks ago. Recent poetry by Tania has appeared either in print or on-line at Autumn Sky, Literary Mama, Linebreak, Salome Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Tiny Lights; a photo/poem montage is forthcoming at The Mom Egg along with new poems at The Blood Orange Review. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is the poetry editor at The Fertile Source. She lives in Sonoma County, California with her husband, three children, and five feral cats. Please take a moment to visit, read, and subscribe to Tania’s excellent blog Feral Mom, Feral Writer, where she documents the process of mothering while writing.

“So You Say You’re a Poetry Editor…”

by Tania Pryputniewicz of The Fertile Source, with additional remarks by Christine Klocek-Lim (Autumn Sky) and Marjorie Tesser (The Mom Egg)

Six years ago when my daughter started preschool, I found companions of heart in other mothers. The director of the preschool hosted a book club in her home, bringing together two of my favorite subjects under one roof: literature and motherhood. Halfway through the year, taking advantage of Poetry magazine’s offer to send out free copies of its yearly Translation issue to bookclubs, I attempted to put poetry on the map for our little group.
I also (the teacher in me) passed out a handout of compiled poems which included Thom Gunn’s Baby Song, Brigid Murnagham’s For my Mother, Anne Sexton’s Pain for a Daughter, Eavan Boland’s Dawn, Sylvia Plath’s Baby Song, Joan Logghe’s twenty six, Mark Strand’s Where Are the Water’s of Childhood, and D.H. Lawrences’ Baby Running Barefoot.

Once we were all assembled with our coffee and spritzers in hand, I asked, “What did you think?” After a half minute or so of silence, our preschool director (who kept us frequently in stitches with her childrearing stories and really should write a book of her own) read a poem of Wendell Berry’s to us from a volume her sister mailed to her. One member read a sweet poem she’d written herself in sixth grade. And that was about it; my friends resumed an earlier conversation about fundraising money for the children’s school.
In fairness to the group, I found the introductions to each of the translations compelling and poetic, whereas the actual poems didn’t lend themselves so easily to newcomers to poetry. I found myself tongue-tied and unable to stand up for my first love (poetry), unable to woo my companions by reading aloud even Firefly Under the Tongue by Coral Bracho, which begs to be performed. And frankly, I’ve been as guilty as the rest of the bookclub members (after three minutes of discussing The Bean Trees or Rain of Gold) of dodging the material at hand in favor of a second chocolate-chip cookie, steering the discussion back to what keeps me up at night: troubleshooting junior. But I left that evening questioning the importance of poetry—at least for a good couple of hours. As a mother with an MFA, I wanted to know: what might hold the interest of these other women who infused my daily life with the energy to keep going, face my children, my husband, and most importantly: myself? When the opportunity arose to come on board as poetry editor at The Fertile Source (an on-line zine founded and run by Jessica Powers where one can find writing and artwork on all aspects of birth, fertility, labor, miscarriage and adoption), I said yes, despite the slow modem on our acre in the redwoods, my three young children, the five feral cats, the fact that our family is straddling two cities in order to stay ahead of our mortgage, and finally, the draw to write and send out my own work. Despite such a list, here was the opportunity to be a small part of bringing accessible, unflinching, at times pithy, at times lyrical, poetry to an international audience on the web. I hope the poems not only provide a mirror for women and their families facing similar life experiences, but also that collectively they shed light on our understanding of what it means to be female and be born with the privilege, or at least the expectation of, the ability to give birth. And all that follows: the utter transformation of one’s marriage, relationships to prior children and oneself, the inescapable morphing of the physical body, the devastating grief that encompasses the inability to bear a child. Read the rest of Tania's excellent article...

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