Poetry

“Reaching for the Sun” published in Chiron Review

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Just got the new issue of Chiron Review, #118 Spring 2020, in the mail, a bit in advance of the official release date. Lots of great work in this print-only poetry journal, one of the best of its kind remaining in the under-the-mainstream scene. I’m very pleased to be included with one of my poems, “Reaching for the Sun.” It’s another installment in a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a woman named Billie. You can purchase copies of the issue from the Chiron Review website when it’s released.

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“Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight” published in Rat’s Ass Review

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Online poetry journal Rat’s Ass Review just released its Summer 2020 issue, crammed with loads of great poetry, much with that straightforward, real life focus found in the best outlaw work. I’m pleased to be represented with two poems, “Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight.” These pieces are from a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a girl named Billie. You can read the complete issue here.

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Ten visual poems published in Utsanga

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The new issue of Utsanga (#23, March 2020) was released today, packed with visual poetry, asemic writing, text work and poetics to help us while away the quarantined hours. It’s one of the the major journals documenting the international literary avant garde, and a quick glance of this one reveals interesting work by John Bennett/Texas Fontanella, Mark Young, Judith Pauly-Bender, Axel Calatayud, Francesco Aprile…well, it will take a while to check it all out. I’m pleased that the issue includes ten of my visual poems from a series incorporating tape samples (from Chinese newspapers) and asemic writing. You can check it out here.

Flashback: “Rusty Love” wins Fourth Place in World of Poetry contest

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That time my poem “Rusty Love” won Fourth Place in the World of Poetry contest. When I wrote this one, I deliberately tailored it for what I perceived WoP would like: something rhymed and sentimental. The title was cribbed directly from the name of an actual person–the property manager of the apartment complex where I lived in Winter Park, Florida. If I’m not mistaken, the real Rusty Love was retired, like most of my neighbors there, but she seemed pretty cool, driving a convertible and wearing youthful looking clothes. Her evocative name suggested the outrageous conceit that leads off the poem: “My love is like a rusty nail.”

Here is the whole piece in all its horrible glory:

Rusty Love

My love is like a rusty nail:
It is old but will not fail.
Tender is the tree, and I am wet;
Rain falls on me, but I won’t weaken yet;
We’ve years to go, and miles, more miles,
than can be counted on the branches of its head.
Quiet times, and times that break a smile;
Animal times, and times of flying fowl.
Quickening times, hears and times that part meanwhile.
I never doubt my love’s location;
She is in me, and I am her vocation.

As you can see, the opening analogy leads to an even weirder one, ad it spirals our of control for a while. I have no illusions about this award, either. Given World of Poetry’s modus operandi, I was probably one of about a thousand (or even more) “fourth place” winners.

This article has been delayed for months because I couldn’t track down a copy of “Rusty Love.” Finally, while going through a box of old postcards, photos, and junk, I found an index card with a pencil draft. It’s possible that I revised the piece when I typed it; the middle section, where there is no rhyme for “head” or “fowl” seems like something I might have fixed. Or I may have decided it was “good enough” for the purpose of competing in a World of Poetry poetry contest.

“Making America Great Again” and five visual poems published in Otoliths

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Great news! Issue 56 of Otoliths was just released. Sad news: it is dedicated to the memory of Reuben Woolley, a fine poet and editor in the vast international avant garde, who published my work in his journal Curly Mind. He will be missed as a poet and peace activist, both of which are much needed today.

Otoliths 56 is chock full of the usual suspects, representing the full range of textual and visual poetics options today, always cutting edge and great fun. Never a dull moment and an essential read. I’m very pleased to be represented among such fine company with a text poem from the robotspeak series, “Making America Great Again,” which applies the linguistic logic of the Facebook AI units to the branding catchphrase of the current US delinquent-in-chief. Plus 5 visual poems with asemic writing from a recent series of tape sampling pieces that seem to represent a scientific journal from a human colony on an extraterrestrial world. You can check it out here.

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“A Bleeding Screen of Need” and two other poems published in Synchronized Chaos

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Online poetry issue just released its first issue of 2020 on New Year’s Day, including a wide variety of work centered on the theme of “Co-evolution and Adaptation.” Three of my poems appear in this one: “A Bleeding Screen of Need,” “The Pieces Fail to Fit,” and “Salamander Tides.”

The editor wrote a nice introduction to the pieces, noting:  “In Jeff Bagato’s poetry, speakers resist oblivion in various ways: creating digital identities, building objects as a distraction, even lashing together sticks to form a raft in a rushing current.” You can read the poems here.