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Click here to learn more about me.
Oh, hi guys. Remember me? It’s been a while. A bit has happened, but maybe most importantly: I got married!
We were surrounded by 28 of our friends and family, and it was a really lovely day. So that was something, anyway.
Today was a pretty banner week for Ole Kolleen. I had THREE poetry acceptances: “Everyone is a Predator” will appear in Moonchild Magazine; “A Correspondence Between Laura and Dale, 1989” will appear in Occulum; and “Convenience Store Cigar, Four Times” will appear in my dream journal, Glass. Obviously all of these acceptances have be over the moon so I did what any reasonable writer would do and cried a bit in the tub and then bought an overly expensive brunch (avocado and burrata toast with heirloom tomatoes).
Zoetic Press is now open for submissions for NonBinary Review #16: The Little Prince. I am very very excited for this one. #15: We Have Always Lived in the Castle, will be available 12/1. We’ve also updated our Patreon recently, including a level to receive our chapbook series, Viable.
Meanwhile, Drunk Monkeys has an all-Trump issue out, which includes this knockout poem by Bonnie Rae Walker. We’re closed for poetry and fiction at the moment, but I am hoping that we can catch up and open those categories again soon.
I suggest everyone purchase “The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surving My Mother’s Suicide” by Gayle Brandeis. I just got my copy today and I am excited to dive into it, even though I am in the midst of reading six other books.
I am back to doing my advice column at Five 2 One Magazine, so if you need advice from a friendly mess of a girl, write to me at email@example.com.
Let’s see, what else? I picked up a small side gig tutoring, which is cool. It’s nice to be on a campus but also not saddled with the burden that a lot of my teacher friends seem to be facing. I’m just here, living my little life, waiting to push through the holidays.
I think that’s it for now. Later days, buddies!
Wow, today was a real whirlwind of a day, and not just because I took the wrong dose of Wellbutrin.
First, my article regarding the sewer sex scene in IT went live on Birth.Movies.Death. I was very nervous about writing this, because I did not want what I meant to be misconstrued, but I also wanted to be as delicate as possible given the nature of the content. I suppose it went pretty well; there are some errant negative comments but overall it is a positive experience, and even people who disagree with me are being polite. I couldn’t ask for more, really.
Then, the reprint of my blog post from a few weeks ago went live on VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. As much as I would like to move past this subject, it’s still on my mind, because wow who would think that women would be afraid of men who are scary, regardless of distance or if it’s just on the ole internet? Mind boggling! So I am still sort of talking about it, and am glad VIDA took interest in it.
Then I got paid for some of my writing, which is good because I always need money, but is bad because what if I get used to it and never go back to being a broke poet again?!
Essentially, I am on cloud 9 today, and I don’t care who knows it.
As for work round-ups:
–Drunk Monkeys has two calls for submissions right now. We are looking for one piece of a scary nature- any category- for our 10/31 post. You can submit anything you’d like to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not use Submittable for this, just email with the subject line: HALLOWEEN SUBMISSION.
We’re also looking for political submissions for our November issue, which is dedicated to how awful Trump is. WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR 100% OF OUR SUBMISSIONS TO BE FROM WHITE MEN. Honestly, we need diverse voices, so feel free to send your stuff to email@example.com. Again, do not use our Submittable for this. You can read all the guidelines here. We will be donating all of our Patreon donations for the month of November to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group which is dedicated to tracking the spread of hate groups across the country.
We are otherwise open for submissions in every category. Please read guidelines before submitting.
–Zoetic Press is seeking submissions for the next two issues of NonBinary Review: We Have Always Lived In the Castle and The Little Prince. We are a paying market so check out our guidelines and send us your best.
Also, NonBinary Review has a new issue out: The Complete Works of Hans Christian Andersen. It is our biggest issue yet! And it’s only $1.99.
That’s it; I can’t possibly write any more than that.
I survived driving across the entire country! No Wrong Turn type situation, no cops, no crashes. We drove through the Harvey aftermath and came back to the largest wildfire in L.A. history. We swam and went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ate a lot of fast food. We are now surrounded by boxes and boxes of THINGS and are very worn out, but Aidan is here and he is amazing. And I am happy.
Meanwhile, I was interviewed by Andrea Blythe for her blog and that was really nice.
Otherwise, I am trying to get back into the swing of work, now that part one of two big events is over. And I am also trying to get into showering before 2 pm. Will it happen today? Doubtful.
CW: This post contains references to rape, murder, abortion, and sexual violence.
Ok, so, here it is:
Over the past weekend, it came to my attention that a male “poet” (I will use this term loosely) that has caused trouble within the poetry/ literary community for a while was at it again, this time using his Instagram as his platform for abuse. I am not going to use this man’s name, because I know he gets off on the attention he receives, and I refuse to legitimize or take part in his excitement. If you know me, or are familiar at all with the dramatic undercurrent of the poetry community, you know who it is.
I try to stay away from this man; we have had run-ins on Facebook and Twitter in the past, usually on a mutual “friend”’s page, but I have never really had to deal one-on-one with him. But rest assured, he’s been on my radar since 2015, when he wrote a disgusting rape- fantasy poem aimed at a woman who had written about her own rape. Of course, people were outraged, though “satire” and “artistic intent” and “censorship” were terms bandied about in defense of this garbage. I can’t quite wrap my head around seeing such a vile poem and trying to defend its merit, and “censorship” isn’t a pretty little hill I am going to die on. Everyone has the right to write garbage. It’s the editors that publish it—maybe to be edgy, maybe for rage clicks, maybe because they’re abusive as well— that are a larger part of the problem.
Not publishing writing like this is merely curation.
This man has made a “career” (if mostly self-publishing what I assume are terrible books is a career) out of harassing women and then playing dumb, as if he can’t comprehend that his constant barrage of unnecessary and often violent commentary is just not a cool fucking thing to do. Big name editors and terrible people that I would never associate with because I am, for all intents and purposes, a relatively normal person who does not believe misogyny, racism, or any sort of prejudice should exist in the world, much less be tolerated even on a sociological aspect (really, is there anything more useless than sociology nowadays? Haven’t we learned all there is to know?) defended this behavior as it moved into the more bizarre and, ultimately this past weekend, specific targeted violence. They defended rape fantasies. They defended a poem written from the POV of the Pulse nightclub shooter dedicated to a gay poet. They defended a culturally appropriative poem dedicated to a Native American poet. These are actions meant to incite anger, to cause a negative reaction, so that the poet I am speaking of can claim, when called out, that he is a victim. A victim of sensible people wanting him to act like a normal fucking human being, to stop being hurtful just to be hurtful.
This past weekend I, as well as several other outspoken, perhaps oh no don’t say it feminist women in the poetry community, were subject to a series of poetry with escalating violent sexual imagery. My poem was the first poem in which he named his subject, me, by name. I will spare you the disgusting details of the other women’s poems, because that’s their story to tell, but this lovely piece of words-strung-together-to-resemble-poetry had me raped repeatedly, impregnated forcefully, undergoing abortions and being fed the dead babies. It was pretty disgusting, and it was stupidly directed right at me, both on Instagram and on his website, with the tag “This has been a long time coming”. Like, what, bro? What the fuck am I doing besides calling you out for being a shitbag? But ok, whatever. I guess me living my relatively boring life is an affront to you.
It almost didn’t upset me. I mean, it’s laughably bad. Like really fucking bad.
Then my son saw it.
Then it really fucking upset me.
So I called the cops, and did what I had to do there, and we’ll see what happens. Even the cop, visibly disgusted by these words, taking a stack of printouts, was confused by it all.
“Well…no, but I don’t suppose you can press charges for that.”
Imagine trying to explain the nuances of the mostly-online poetry community to a suburban police officer (who, by the way, was pretty amazing).
All weekend that Instagram account was reported, and eventually it was completely deleted; I am sure this is just another thing to justify this man’s feeling of “censorship”, and I am sure it will be written about in his manifesto before he starts picking off people from a clock tower somewhere.
But Jesus, that isn’t even the place my rage is coming from. My rage stems mostly from the people who emboldened him to write these sorts of things in the first place, the people who saw how problematic he was two years ago and patted his head and gave him a platform. Who said, “It’s ok, it’s art, keep going.” These people are complicit in the anxiety I am feeling right now, in the fact that I had to go to work with my fiancé because I was afraid to be left alone, in the fact that my child had to picture his mother as a rape victim and a torture victim. My child. I mean, plenty of violent and horrible shit has happened to me in my 35 years, but I try to keep my kid out of it all.
I know at least one editor who does not give a shit about this behavior, who asked if he should be researching each poet before he publishes them. YES. YES YOU SHOULD! AND IF THEY HAVE A VIOLENT, ABUSIVE PAST, DON’T PUBLISH THEIR SHIT! Do you think I would knowingly publish someone so horrible? (Absolutely not, so don’t bother sending it.)
Therefore, I am writing this open letter to every publication (and their editors) who published this shitbag after it was evident he was a menace– 2015 onward– with a link to this blog post included (everyone from years previous will get a separate email).
And if I hear one fucking excuse as to how work like this should not be scrubbed from past issues, I will give them a fucking earful.
I have not been known to be a quiet person. My whole life I have been accused of rocking the boat. My whole literary career I have been warned of being blacklisted if I am too difficult to work with. But you know what? If there’s a fallout to this, I’ll just self- publish my own books, and I can promise you this: they’ll be a lot fucking better than the drivel this man has produced.
For now, I am writing this email and sending it to each publisher/ editor that has chosen to encourage this man’s behavior, in hope that they will denounce it, and remove his “work” from their journals. But, knowing how this is a man’s world, I will not hold my breath.
Here’s the email:
An open letter to the publishers of <redacted>,
Perhaps it has come to your attention, or perhaps not, that a writer you have chosen to publish in the past has spent that last two years harassing women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color.
Perhaps it has come to your attention, or perhaps not, that this writer, <redacted>, has been escalating this disturbing behavior since 2015, and with each publication since has been given a platform and the encouragement to habitually harass and torment people in the writing community.
Perhaps it has come to your attention, or perhaps not, that <redacted> has spent the last weekend writing “poetry” to real women in the poetry community, including myself—he named me by name, and my name is not very common— poetry that depicts violent sexual acts and threats. I will not speak for other women, but as for me, <redacted> wished for my continual rape, torture, forceful impregnation, and to feed my aborted children to me. I am sure you can imagine, as a woman, a human, and an abuse survivor, how that made me feel. I am sure you can imagine how, as a mother, it made me feel to learn that my twelve-year-old son saw these poems, especially the one about me.
Long has this behavior been excused and encouraged under the guise of free speech and protected as a wish to not promote censorship. Quite frankly, I am tired of the excuses, of the promotion of such language, and of the willingness to publish shock-poetry, which I assume is to get rage-clicks and increased traffic. I do not want to be made fodder for controversy and discussions about the ethics of censorship. I do not want someone to be encouraged when they write a poem about raping me.
I urge you to do two things. I urge you to remove any writing by <redacted> from your publications, and I urge you to be careful with who you publish in the future. I know the discussion of censoring people with addictions or mental illnesses will come up, so allow me to address that for you: mental illnesses are not an excuse to be a violent, reprehensible person, and violent, reprehensible people have no place in the literary world. And yes, I do believe that a quick search of who you wish to publish is not a bad thing. Would you want to be associated with a person who threatened to slash someone’s vagina to ribbons?
I would hope not.
I suppose if you know me you know there was some DRAMA that happened this weekend in the poetry world, and rest assured I have a lot to say about it, but I’m still working on that. To those who reached out: I am safe, I am ok, I am angry, but it’s being dealt with. No worries, man. No worries. Stay tuned for that jazz.
Otherwise: I have another article about Steel Magnolias up at Birth.Movies.Death.! I drank quite a bit while I was writing this so you should all read it because I put a LOT of effort into those glasses of vodka.
I just found out three seconds ago that Gerald’s Game is coming to Netflix in late September. As you might or might not know, I wrote a series of erasure poems using Gerald’s Game as the source, and wrote a lengthy article for BMD’s King issue about the feminist/female perspective in the novel, so I guess: 1. I am pretty much an expert on Gerald’s Game now, and 2. I should probably do something with those poems. So I will work on that.
Anyway, stay tuned. That’s all.
Hello! Happy mid-August. Two things to report:
My flash fiction piece, The Way It Is Now, was featured in the inaugural issue of Rabid Oak. Thank you to Matthew Woodman for snagging it! I had a hard time placing it, and I am guessing the subject matter is why, though I don’t usually write fiction so who knows. I am so happy it has a home, and I am excited to see Rabid Oak grow.
The latest epsiode of The Literary Whip podcast features…ME! Lise Quintana and I discuss “David Bowie: Sound and Vision” by Julie Greenberg. I hate the sound of my own voice, and since I never shut up, I apologize to the world.
I wrote about obsession and the movie Chuck and Buck for Birth.Movies.Death. I had a lot of fun revisiting this movie; I don’t think I’ve seen it in about 15 years, but having watched it three times since I purchased it for the article, I can say with great honesty that I do not want to watch it again for another 15 years.
On August 25th we’re hosting a chapbook release party/ reading at the Book Show in Los Angeles. I am donating 50% of sales to Book Show’s fundraiser, and I am reading with some really great people: Ashley Perez, Rachael Warecki, and Joseph Iraggi. Drunk Monkeys founder Matthew Guerruckey is hosting, and it should be a fairly lovely summer evening. I would love to see you there.
Over at Drunk Monkeys we’ve wrapped up our themed issue, Vice and Virtue, for September. We received a LOT of intriguing submissions, but man alive, there are other vices besides sex! This was a fun one to build and I’m excited to show it to you all. Regular submissions for poetry and fiction are still closed right now, but I am hoping we can open them back up in September.
Finally, I just finished We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samatha Irby and I highly recommend it. I’ll be writing a review for Drunk Monkeys, but until then…just trust me.