Tuesday, January 17, 2023

G U E S T #25 : Laurie Anne Fuhr : LIST OF INTROS


These people had nothing material to promise and offer one another. So they offered one another descriptions of the moon and pirates at sea. They offered one another jokes and snippets of poetry.

                                                                  Heather O’Neill, from When We Lost Our Heads


a. This is not a Covid chapbook; this is not not a Covid chapbook. It may be enjoyed with homemade bread, but skip the sourdough already.

b. When the first pandemic lockdown was announced, I was initially skeptical. Without cable, I lacked the flat screen frame of reference others had. I thought: how can authorities, mainly privileged and rich themselves, decide for everyone that no one should work for an indefinite amount of time? Fear of starvation from Carleton days came back, when my air force family was posted (again) and I stayed behind. Deep gut fear. Won’t those who live paycheque to paycheque perish? Can poems feed us?

c. Shown Italy’s suffering, I knew due shame for doubting. Bodies piled higher than debt. I was officially laid off from two jobs. Stayed home, masked up, read poetry. Singing and dancing were outlawed; music, my other income, was illegal. But poetry teaching went online. In my prompts class, I asked for list poems. Poets wrote stacks of words they hadn’t known were inside them. Their abundance felt comforting against the fear of scarcity. I wanted to share it.

d. This chapbook was conceived for bluemoonbooks, my sporadic micropress since Ottawa ’97 that had started with blue moon cut n’ paste poetry journal; most recently, a broadside by Moni Brar was published. This list of lists was gathered. But work came back, then music; the world revved back into action as suddenly as it stopped. I felt dizzy. My calendar, perpetually overbooked as I combatted fear of homelessness with scheduling. I approached rob. He kindly followed up. Now, be our guest.  

e. It’s the end of 2022. The government clawed back CERB, asked for payback. The price of gas, up. The cost of food, up and up. Rents raised higher than rooves. Credit cards maxed, and in Alberta, Enmaxed. Dear ones died alone in hospital. Poets write elegies. Many await hip replacements and other procedures, delayed by pandemic. Womb emptiness spreads throughout my body. I count blessings in lieu of toes. Count poems. Here are fourteen.

f. I read, again, this selection of poems as I prepare it for publication, and feel comforted by their abundance: of images, senses, ideas, emotions, words words words. Each poem invents its idea of a list poem form with one thing in common: affluent bounty. Delight in muchness.

g. Feel the true weight of this book: paper is light, but everything evoked in these lists fills them. We have the ability to give ourselves, and each other, so much, even in lean times. We should have known all along.

h. Receive it.

Laurie Anne Fuhr, GUEST guest editor





Laurie Anne Fuhr @multimodal_poet, Calgary-based base brat, former Ottawa poet and Peter F. Yacht Clubber, is author of night flying (Frontenac House 2018), shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her poems also appear in Uncommon Grounds (epcpress 2021) available at www.espressopoetrycollective.ca. In 2022, a poem was shortlisted for the Magpie Award for Poetry (judged by Renee Sarojini Saklikar). In 2021, a poem was shortlisted for the Freefall Magazine annual contest (judged by Gary Barwin). Her micropress bluemoonbooks, produced blue moon cut n' paste poetry journal from 1997-2001, and has since produced random ephemera by Fuhr and other poets, with two student chapbooks (and most recently an embellished broadside scroll by Moni Brar). When publishing postmodern works, the press goes by bloom oon. Book her for school visits with Poetry In Voice and take her poetry classes at www.alexandrawriters.org.

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