Podcast Episode 15: Heat

Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Today I’m going to read you Tim Fab-Eme’s poem “Heat”.

[Bio below.]

He is also the current poetry editor for Reckoning 7! So for those of you interested in submitting, this is a chance to get a window on the inside of his head.

Tim may be the writer who’s work has appeared most often in Reckoning’s pages. Three different Reckoning editors, including me, have selected his work for publication. I hope you can imagine how delighted I was when he agreed to edit for us. His writing style, the impact it has on me, is hard to quantify, though I keep trying. There’s an intensity to it, a personal closeness that comes from an incredibly narrow-focused first-person POV and always leaves me fairly devastated. He’s obviously interested in form but not bound by it, his lines have a lyricality that comes from rhythmic agility, surprising internal rhyme, and are always informed by his startlingly close observation of people. There’s so much here! I’m afraid I’m too much of a fanboy at this point to articulate any of it much more coherently than that, and with respect to this poem, I think anything else I say will be doing the words themselves a disservice. So now I’m going let the poem speak for itself.

Heat by Tim Fab-Eme

Podcast Episode 14: The Talking Bears of Greikengkul

Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

This week we’re taking a break from Reckoning 6 content to bring you a flash back to a story from Reckoning 5: “The Talking Bears of Greikengkul” by Sandy Parsons, read by the author herself. This is a weird, creepy story that blurs the line between human and animal and examines some of the ethical implications.

[Bio below.]

The Talking Bears of Greikengkul by Sandy Parsons

Podcast Episode 13: When someone says the world is a fish

Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

This week’s episode features Nancy Lynée Woo reading her poem “When someone says the world is a fish” from Reckoning 6. You’re going to wish you had Catherine Rockwood here to help ground you in this delightful, funny, nesting puzzle of a poem, but she’s off for a bit, so you’re stuck with me. I’ll make it quick. The way I read it, this is a poem about metonymy, the endlessly regressing act of replacement that we’re always performing when we engage in language. We use language to situate ourselves in the world, in nature, but each time we interpose a word describing a thing—a silk worm, a rat, a wisteria—we distance ourselves from that thing by introducing another layer of interpretation. It doesn’t take many iterations of a poem interpreting a children’s science book interpreting science interpreting nature before we arrive at something that feels and works a lot like decadence. How do we find our way back? Can we? What gets lost on the way?

[Bio below.]

When someone says the world is a fish by Nancy Lynée Woo

Podcast Episode 12: “The Loss of the Moon” and “Snuffing the Night Candles”

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Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Hi everyone, my name is Catherine Rockwood, I’m a staff member at Reckoning Magazine, and today I’ll be reading and discussing two poems from issue six: “The Loss of the Moon,” by Ken Poyner, and “Snuffing the Night Candles,” by Scott T. Hutchison. Ken Poyner’s poem is already up and free to read at https://reckoning.press, in case you want to follow along or go back to re-read it. Scott T. Hutchison’s “Snuffing the Night Candles” will be released on the website on May 8th. These poems speak so effectively to each other, and to the work of the magazine, that we decided to discuss them in the same episode.

I think probably the way this will work best is if I read you the poems first and then add some thoughts afterward. So, here goes, starting with author bios.

[Bios below.]

“The Loss of the Moon” by Ken Poyner

[“Snuffing the Night Candles” by Scott T. Hutchison will be available to read for free online on May 8th and in print on July 1st; if you’d rather not wait, get the ebook now.]

So, after listening to them, you probably have some thoughts about these poems: and the different levels of immediacy they bring to a shared consciousness of being present in a time of loss. “Snuffing the Night Candles” is more abstracted, its narrator’s depiction of his own experience more constrained by a sense of personal isolation, though the poem reaches out at the end for something I’ll talk more about in a minute.

In Ken Poyner’s poem, the narrator is always thinking about making it back home to his wife—temporarily isolated, but striving for connection. His habitual yet threatened return to his own home and partner is connected in the poem to the recurrence or return of things we depend on in the natural world: the changeful yet reliable moon, the changing yet predictable tides. So when the bottom falls out of all of it, in the poem, it’s a huge shock. It feels personal, as it’s meant to. “The Loss of the Moon” is so effective, I think, partly because it activates for the reader a lifetime of sense-memories of watching the moon from a moving car, or a moving vehicle of some kind. And in that scenario, you can’t fully keep track of what’s in the night sky, because your visual orientation changes all the time. The moon goes behind trees, you go behind a hill, there’s a truck—etc. But, we learn to live with this (mostly)—kids don’t like it, at first, but they get used to it: they (we) get to the point of yes, there’s the moon, (wow, the moon!) and I’m in a car again, and even if that means sometimes I can’t see her, I trust she’ll recur eventually.

Until she fucking doesn’t. Until it turns out her visual instability of presence, which we had accommodated ourselves to by constructing a faith in the eternal return of the moon, was a symptom of something that could really happen—we could really lose the moon. And I think Ken Poyner’s poem accesses, in a way many readers can understand partly through childhood sense-memories, the deep distress of trying to multitask your way through such a terrifying realization: which is, of course, also a realization about losing other things we had thought to be eternal, like the tides, the seasons, a functional biosphere; like the oceans’ thermohaline circulation system, and everything that depends on these things, including but not limited to ourselves.

Reckoning Magazine was created to make a space where readers and authors can come together in that moment of realization, and know we are not alone in it: that we can continue together as we work out next steps. So this was definitely a poem we responded to immediately, and we are so glad Ken sent it our way – and yours.

Scott T. Hutchison’s poem, “Snuffing the Night Candles,” has a clear thematic relation to Poyner’s poem through its focus on the night sky, but is wrapped further, deeper, in layers of an alienated, despairing self. I wonder, personally, if there’s a reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost in the lines “I’m anchor-chained on this stark lake/of arrogance and folly.” It could be just a really sad angry way of talking about taking a little boat out on a lake at night, when there’s heavy cloud-cover and the stars and moon can’t be seen: and casting your anchor and drifting for a while—unable to break out of your own heavy thoughts about the future. But poets are tricky, and like allusion, so this recalls, for me, Satan in book One of Paradise Lost, “chained on the burning lake,” a victim of his own overreach. The allusion is strengthened but also complicated and expanded by these lines in the last stanza of Hutchison’s poem:

…Something cheerlessly cast out
has happened here. What America
coughs up to heaven
might be what happened.

There’s been a Fall, like Satan’s—a casting out from a state where joy, cheer, health of many different kinds, can be accessed. And in a fascinating inversion of the Miltonic original (I’m just going to say I’m strongly attached to the idea that there’s a Miltonic original), evil has actually sort of ascended into the sky from the world instead of plummeting from heaven to hell—what is “cast out” and changes all cheer, or joy, is what “America/coughs up”. Anyone working on, or even aware of, global greenhouse gas emission-levels doesn’t have to work too hard to translate that content.

I wouldn’t say Hutchison’s poem leaves us in particularly awesome fettle, as readers. But one of the many things that makes “Snuffing the Night Candles” a poem we were moved to read, and wanted to include in the magazine, is its concluding gesture toward a community that may intercede for the poet in his “perfect night” and “wish for the future,/for [him.]” I think we can. We must wish, and work, for it.

Podcast Episode 11: Babang Luksa

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Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Hi folks, it’s me again, your host, Michael J. DeLuca. I’m about to read you Nicasio Reed’s story from Reckoning 6, “Babang Luksa”. It is a beautiful, quiet, sad story about family and facing the real consequences of hard choices. I don’t think you will find your time with it ill-spent. It’s extremely evocative for me, as an Italian-American from a big family on the East Coast I don’t get to see very often. But I have great confidence in its broader applicability, because it’s impossible not to see the incredibly skillful hand with which Nico has sculpted these characters and sense that he’s looked them in the eye. And if you’re not having to make these kinds of choices already–well. Don’t let me jinx it. But it’s good to be prepared.

[Bio below.]

“Babang Luksa” by Nicasio Andres Reed

Podcast Episode 10: Move, Mountain, Move

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Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Hi, everyone. My name is Catherine Rockwood, and today for the Reckoning Magazine Podcast, I’m going to be reading “Move, Mountain, Move” by the author Russell Nichols.

So, I’ll begin with some commentary on the poem and then tell you a little bit more about Russell Nichols and then read you the poem itself.

What affects me when I read this poem is its insistence that we can make something new and better—something external to, and common to, all of us—from our climate grief. And Russell Nichols has used old images, Biblical images, to show us how to imagine this something better. You’ll notice there’s a mention of mustard seeds in the poem, confirming its close literary relationship with the Book of Matthew chapter 17:20, where Jesus says to his disciples “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

A mustard seed is proverbially tiny, and yet the plant that emerges from the seed is tall—so through this simile we understand, both in the Bible and in Nichols’s poem, that if you have even a little bit of germinal matter to start with, you can turn it into something very meaningful and expansive indeed. In the Bible, the germinal matter is faith; in Nichols’s poem, it is grief. We must start there, he argues, but we do not end there. If you’re a Reckoning reader and subscriber, you probably agree.

When Nichols writes, “there is no relief/ without release,” I think of how often the speaker (or singer) of the Psalms mentions weeping, and the necessity of weeping, in times of trouble. As the King James version of Psalm 6:6 has it: “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” And this is how we communicate our grief and make it manifest—but in Nichols’s poem, it is also how we build.

Here is a little more about the author.

[Bio below.]

Russell Nichols, “Move, Mountain, Move”

Podcast Episode 9: Gills

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Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Hey, it’s me, your sometime host, Michael J. DeLuca. I’m going to read you a short story, “Gills” by Nicholas Clute, from Reckoning 6. If you’d like to read along with me, you can, it’s free online at reckoning.press/gills. The author’s extremely succinct bio goes like this.

[Bio below.]

First I’m going to tell you a little about why I love this story. In it, you will meet two brothers, Allas and Young. Their relationship, the bickering, loving, supportive, competitive relatability of it, is what drew me through from beginning to end. I’ve got younger sisters who I desperately want to make it through this crisis, and the next one, and the one after that. Whenever I get to the end of a submission and find myself surprised it went so quickly, that’s a pretty good sign I’m going to want to publish it. This was like that. It’s 4,200 words and it felt like half that. We all thought it worked particularly well juxtaposed with Nicasio Reed’s story “Babang Luksa”, which is also about family amid risen seas and I encourage you to check out.

The other thing about “Gills” is the surreality, for which I am a sucker. This is a post-collapse future that’s just weird enough I can inhabit it without dragging along all the dread and anticipatory grief and guilt I’ll be bringing with me to the real future. And it’s such a relief!

Here’s hoping it does the same for you.

“Gills” by Nicholas Clute

Podcast Episode 8: water-logged roots

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Hi everyone, my name is Catherine Rockwood and today on the Reckoning Magazine Podcast, I’ll be reading “water-logged roots” by Cislyn Smith, which is a poem that’s featured in Reckoning 6.

We want to start a practice on the podcast of talking a little bit about what we loved about the pieces that are in the magazine. And so I’m just going to say a little bit about what particularly draws me to “water-logged roots” as a poem and how I see it applying to climate justice, which is our theme as a publication. When I first read “water-logged roots” when it came through in the submissions, one of the first things I was struck by is how skillfully it uses visual images of a world turned upside-down and then sort of enchants the images so they become part of a knowledge-gathering dialogue. And this is a dialogue with the dryad in the poem, which is just, like, it’s so wonderful! But this dialogue really moves the narrator from the place where she first stands, outside her family home in the aftermath of a hurricane, to a place where she can imagine taking a next step that doesn’t leave her as stuck in where she is and what she’s doing. And it’s not a decision without cost, but it’s an extremely pivotal moment and an adaptive moment. So again, personally speaking I loved the way Cislyn’s poem took an image of climate destruction and began to think about it in very compelling adaptive ways, tying all this to extremely striking imagery.

So here we go. We’ll start with Cislyn’s biography.

(Bio below.)

“water-logged roots” by Cislyn Smith

Podcast Episode 7: Surprise

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Subscribe via RSS, Google Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or on iTunes!

Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

Reckoning Press is a US-based nonprofit; we flourish under your regard. Please support us on Patreon, consider donating directly, buy a book or an ebook, read our contributors’ beautiful work for free online, and submit! We’re always open to submissions, we’re always excited in particular to read work from Black, brown, Indigenous, queer, disabled, trans, or otherwise marginalized poets, writers and artists.

You can find all this and more on our website at: reckoning.press/support-us. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or by visiting reckoning.press/audio.

Thank you very much for listening.

Hi, everyone, my name’s Catherine Rockwood, and today for the Reckoning Magazine Podcast, I’m going to be reading you “Surprise” by Tom Barlow, which is featured in Reckoning 6.

Podcast Episode 6: Vivian, Radiant

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Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast! Reckoning is a nonprofit, annual journal of creative writing on environmental justice. I’m Michael J. DeLuca, publisher.

Reckoning 4 comes out the first of the year, which is in less than two weeks!

In the meantime, we have for you a reading by Dayna K. Smith of Bernard M. Cox’s story “Vivian, Radiant” from Reckoning 3, which you can read for free on our website, reckoning.press.

Dayna K. Smith is a writer and comics creator living in north Chicago.

She’s an Intrepid Soul from the 2015 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at University of California, San Diego. That adventure left her richer 20-some-odd best friends and one reverse mermaid tattoo.

She also wandered into the 2014 CSSF Spec Fic Novel Workshop, and wandered back out as a Merchant of Anarchy. Novels are brewing….

…And she brews them with the Happy Little Comets retreat each year!

Frequent attendee of WisCon Writer’s Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. She may even be teaching a workshop or gabbing on a panel… Come say hi!

Known to draw if no one’s watching, sing when you’d rather she not, and bake cookies by the hundreds.

Website: www.daynaksmith.com
Twitter: @daynasm

Bernard M. Cox is a 2015 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University.

Bernie has taught fiction writing, screenwriting, literature, and composition; curated FeedBack, an experimental music concert series; ran a staged reading series for screenwriters; served as Assistant Artistic Director for the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series in North Riverside, IL; served on the Board of Directors of the University City Arts League in Philadelphia; and recently worked as a volunteer at the Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Stories in Five on the Fifth, A cappella Zoo, Blood and Lullabies, Collective Fallout, Crack the Spine, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. Visit www.bernardmcox.com or @bernardmcox on Twitter.

This is a story about toxic masculinity and the love of nature. It’s dark, it’s unsettling, there’s sexual violence. It’s an important story to me. Honestly, I hope it’s a story you don’t need. I hope you’re safe and secure in your identity enough to share that with others and encourage them to find the same thing. I hope you get to love nature–and people–the way you want to, as hard as you want to. But even if you do, I think there’s always fulfillment to be had in hearing about another person’s struggle to achieve that.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Vivian’s dad’s co-worker Rick, the best man in this story. “We’re all posing at being the men our fathers wanted us to be, and it ain’t cracked up for shit.”

Thanks for listening.

This podcast is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Content and audio recording are copyright by the author.