My love letter to “Political Punch” and Gypsy poems

I don’t know if you read Juan Vidal’s NPR essay “Where Have All The Poets Gone?”— it’s a smart, well-intentioned lament of the lack of American political poetry since the Beat Poets. Many readers, myself included, respectfully and optimistically disagree. Perhaps, since all of the poets he mentioned were white men, Vidal’s scope was too small, because it seems to me that political poetry is thriving on the voices of the systemically oppressed rising-up. But I think Vidal and I both agree where it really counts– we need more political poetry in America and we need more people to read it and care.
In response to Vidal’s essay, Fox Frazier-Foley curated “Political Punch.” It’s a week-long series of diverse American political poets, featured at The The Poetry Blog in The Infoxicated Corner. The poets included thus far are CA Conrad with a poem about LGBT representation, Anne Barngrover with a poem about the rape of Daisy Buchanon, and Christopher Soto (aka Loma) with a poem about the need to revolutionize the prison system. These poets, whom I am honored to be listed among, are a reflection of the many types of poets who write their art and politics, who speak up, shake it up, and rise up. Vidal, by the way, has been very supportive of the endeavor and extremely kind.
Here’s the link to my Opre Roma-style political poems “Murder and Tradition” and “Transfiguration of the Black Madonna” “Murder and Tradition” is inspired by real events that transpired in Italy— Roma girls Violetta and Cristina really did drown, and that camp really was torched– it’s all too terrible. And I wrote “Transfiguration” at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Yoga and Writing Retreat, so all those craft talks, workshops, and inspiration exercises paid-off! It’s about the Romani Goddess/Saint Sarah (Kali Sara), and the non-Roma’s mythology of the Romani people. Click here for more about the Romani Goddess.
Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell Gypsy fashion shoot

Picture taken by Sarah Sullivan during a Quail Bell photo tale shoot for “Free Spirits”


Quail Bell Photo Tale: “Free Spirits”


I don’t know how I forgot to mention this on here, but I’m very honored to be in Quail Bell’s Photo Tale “Free Spirits” as the poet and model. There are so many things that I love about Quail Bell Magazine— it’s a fantastically beautiful indie lit and art mag that ranges feminism to the surreal, and these photo tales are such A GREAT IDEA! Fashion, diversity, and poetry should always be together. And I’m especially stoked because Quail Bell let me explore my two favorite things: Romani fashion fusion and complicated identity.

This is especially dear to me because “Gypsy” fashion shows up a lot in magazines and usually trades on offensive and misguided stereotypes about the culture, and usually doesn’t acknowledge that it is a culture at all. This is an utterly depressing state of affairs. So thank you, Quail Bell, for being progressive and delightful, and for letting me be a part of something I love. 

Photo Credit: Christine Stoddard, photographer and Quail Bell Editor extraordinaireImage