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They who we ought to be reading: Reb Livingston.

November 22, 2011 \pm\30 6:16 pm

A while back I sat down and tallied up all of the poets in my Facebook friends list and asked myself if I could actually say I knew well or had even read a single poem by all of them.  The answer was an embarrassing “no.” Embarrassing because I think a lot and talk some about this idea of  “literary citizenship,” which is something I suppose I heard about first from Robin Becker, one of my MFA profs, and which Cathy Day talked about quite nicely over on The Bird Sisters blog, too. It’s a good, important idea. Crucial, really, if one wants to call oneself part of a community of writers. Which I do.

So I was a shitty literary citizen. I’m still not the best, but I’m trying to be better. The will to improve sparked the engine behind a little project I had going for a while over on Facebook wherein I went down my list, one poet a day, found one or two of their poems online, read them and then linked to them in my status with a couple of sentences about the work or the writer or whatever struck me. Not so much a review as a poetry PSA: hey, read this poet! 

My list had 66 poets on it, and I got to #45 before getting derailed. But I’m ready to be back on track, and I’m taking you all with me.

Go here to see the whole list and links to the poems already featured. (If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to become my Facebook friend. I’d like that.)

Now, Poet #46: Reb Livingston

She hardly needs an introduction, I know. Instead, how about a plaque somewhere, commemorating the incredible gift she gave to contemporary poetry in the shape of No Tell Motel, or maybe a series of ghazals or paens or shanties that narrate her good humor and  generosity, her, yes, exceptional literary citizenship. Or a mix-tape. Someone needs to make Reb a mix-tape! To inspire you, go read some of her poems, which a mutual friend once described to me as being “bananas in the best possible way.” I totally agree.

This one, for instance.

Or this.

Or these.

 

 

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