One of the current conversations in the performance poetry community is centered around the consumption of trauma. If you’ve never been to a poetry slam, let me confess openly that some of the stereotypes ring true. As the event goes on you are likely to hear stories about racism and homophobia, depression and alcoholism, violence and grief – happy poems don’t win slams. Even in our conversations about craft, we highlight the ways that poetry heals us – all of the ways we write through our traumas and bring our pain to the page.
Here, I don’t by any means wish to suggest that poetry cannot carry all of that weight, but instead, I dare say it can and should do much more. The Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award welcomes whimsy, humor, and other light-hearted observations of this thing called life. We welcome joy and all the ways that it too moves us.
That’s all from me. I’m cutting this week’s post a little short in order to give you more time to revel in Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; check out the 2021 Katherine Kennedy McIntyre winners in the 2021 Pinesong; and learn about this year’s judge, Jeremy Paden.
Jeremy Paden was born in Milan, Italy and raised in Central America and the Caribbean. He received his PhD in Latin American literature at Emory University and is a Professor of Spanish at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. He also teaches literary translation at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA. He is the author of three chapbooks, one of which he has translated into Spanish, and the author of two recent full-length collections of poetry: world as sacred burning heart published by 3:A Taos Press and Autorretrato como una iguana, a collection of poems written in Spanish and translated into English which co-won the 2020 Valparaíso Poeta en Nueva York prize. His illustrated and bilingual children’s book, Under the Ocelot Sun published by Shadelandhouse Modern Press co-won a 2020 Campoy-Ada prize for Children’s Literature. As a translator, he has published a chapbook of translations and two full-length collections: A Stone to the Chest by the Argentine poet Carlos Aldazábal and The Correspondences by the Mexican poet Alí Calderón.