Toward the end of May, I went to Minneapolis for the premiere at the Walker Art Center of the Sixth Season of Motionpoems, a webseries of short films adapted from poems by various contemporary authors. This season was interesting because all the poets were women, although the filmmakers were not – I believe there were about five female filmmakers out of a total of fourteen or fifteen. I write fiction as well as poetry and have even dabbled mildly in screenwriting, so I’ve definitely had my fantasies about having my work adapted on film, but I would hardly have thought that that particular dream would one day be fulfilled through the adaptation of a poem! The short film of “How Not To Need Resurrection” can be found here: https://vimeo.com/129687781 and should eventually appear on the Motionpoems site here: http://www.motionpoems.com/ with some supplementary materials (the poems are being released there individually over the course of the next year).
In addition, there have been some new reviews of Resurrection Party – I especially liked the one here: http://sabotagereviews.com/2015/05/07/resurrection-party-by-michalle-gould/ which is very detailed and thoughtful. Like many Americans, I have a touch of Anglophilia, so having my book reviewed in an English accent was a fun thrill for me.
I have a few new poems coming out this week, so links are forthcoming. It is encouraging to see some of the poems from what I hope will be my next book finding good homes and interesting to observe the shift from primarily print publication to primarily online (at least in my own case).
I hope you will enjoy the film! I am very grateful to the filmmakers for choosing my poem, among all the options they had available to them.
There is a new review of Resurrection Party up at The California Journal of Women Writers site today here: http://t.co/WpvS2qOwUo – it is always a relief when people write about your work and really seem to get it, especially for me, because I am always a little anxious that several of my poems deal with religion, which I know can be an alienating subject for some people for a wide variety of reasons. I also really liked the way she wrote about the “self-portrait’ series, which was the final group of poems to be added to the book and really gave it a sense of completion for me and hopefully for the reader too.
Verse Daily, a quality online web anthology of poetry. A poem a day, along with our complete archives, and poem selections from the web.
Verse Daily: How Not to Need Resurrection by Michalle Gould
The wall surrounding them they never saw;
The angels, often. Angels were as common
As birds or butterflies, but looked more human.
As long as the wings were furled, they felt no awe.
Beasts, too, were friendly. They could find no flaw
In all of Eden: this was the first omen.
The second was the dream which woke the woman.
She dreamed she saw the lion sharpen his claw.
As for the fruit, it had no taste at all.
They had been warned of what was bound to happen.
They had been told of something called the world.
They had been told and told about the wall.
They saw it now; the gate was standing open.
As they advanced, the giant wings unfurled.
This is my favorite Donald Justice poem. There is a good story about his having written this for a writing workshop and the professor being angry (jokingly I assume) about how perfect it was. My favorite line is the blunt almost numbed perfection of “as for the fruit it had no taste at all.”
Afternote: I went back and found the story, it is way down here: http://www.writinguniversity.org/writers/donald-justice in the section “Donald Justice on His Teachers at Iowa” – apparently, the professor was Berryman! But there are a few different versions related of the story.
In September, I was one of five diviners at the Rhapsodomancy event as part of the #90for90 series of events of ninety events in ninety days run by Writ Large Press and DTLab. Rhapsodomancy means divination by poetry; in our version, people from the audience wrote questions on two sheets of paper which they then folded up and put into a hat. There were also five poetry readers for the night and the divination took place between each reading. Once the reader finished, the diviners were called to the stage and questions were drawn from the hat. We then opened up our books at random and read answers from the pages (left and right) that we opened to.
There were a few things that I found interesting about this experience. I had actually brought a Yeats reader that contained more than just poetry, so I also ended up with dramatic selections, as well as some prose, including fiction, autobiographical, and critical writing. Something that surprised me was that although this was a thick book, on multiple occasions I opened to the same page. I know that some might say that could have been the result of previous wear but as far as I know, this was a new book, bought by a friend for her husband and then passed on to me after she discovered he already owned it. I had only recently received it, stuck it on my shelf, and not used it until the night I brought it to divine from.
Another thing that interested me is that I have tried doing bibliomancy before (divination more broadly from a book) and not really had much success with it as applied to my own questions, but the experience of doing it in reference to other people’s questions felt very different, much more powerful and “legitimate” inasmuch as something like this can feel legitimate to a person like myself. I didn’t employ a strict constructionist form of the method, restricting myself to the first passage my eyes alighted on; instead, I opened the book and skimmed the page until I found something that felt like an answer to the person’s question. What surprised me was how much luck I did have at finding something fitting on most occasions, given how many questions were asked.
It also interested me how the different answers from the four or five people answering (there were four regulars and also an additional different person from the audience between each reader) fit together, some serious, some humorous – they seemed to balance each other through no particular effort of our own. It felt generous and consistent with the tone of the series of events, which was about building community among LA writers. I am generally a somewhat skeptical person; I like having fun with this type of stuff without really believing in it, but I think the experience of working with the other diviners did make it feel like whether we were in touch with some source driving/guiding our answers or not, we were at the very least in touch with each other, in a whole being more of the sum of its parts sort of way, and that made it a really special experience for me and I hope for the audience.
Rhapsodomancy Defined (by Wikipedia)
Writ Large Press #90for90
The main purpose of this blog is to provide information about my first full-length collection of poetry, “Resurrection Party,” published by Silver Birch Press in August 2014 and my other writing and creative works. However, I may also add some blog entries about my travels, as they arise, and other random things as I feel like it (boggle tournaments/book clubs/badminton afternoons)! Please stay tuned! For now, you can find a little of that kind of thing here: http://michallesarchive.tumblr.com/
Please see the above links and feel free to contact me with any questions!