Category Archives: Why So Serious

In the Flesh? In the Flesh

Dear readers and patrons of our little magazine,

I am regretfully announcing our decision to definitely close submissions for Yorick Magazine. This was not an easy choice to make. This was not a digestible idea at first. This was not how we pictured Yorick at the end of 2013.

But there should be no tears but smiles at the finish of this road. Admire yourselves for having the bravery to submit your work and extend your mind to ours. When the magazine began, I had no expectations that there would be such a community to follow this jester of an experiment. I have more faith in the online literary world than I ever had and ever knew. Thank you.

Thanks also to Lauren Wainwright for your layout, design, and graphic productions for this magazine, as well as being a great manager to our staff. You were a fantastic help and a backbone for Yorick.

Thanks to Olivia Errico, Dean Terrell, Sam Levenberg, and Ed Jameson for your amazing work respectively editing, “social-mediating,” writing content for Yorick, and producing The Skullcast. You were a bliss to work with.

Thanks to Jeremiah Walton for your indelible efforts to promote and support Yorick. Cheers!

Thanks to the other literary publications that associated with Yorick, especially The Gap-Toothed Madness, for your ability to share the literary space we tread online.

And, so importantly, thanks to Cody Steinhauer for the wonderful idea. You didn’t know it at the time, but your drunken plans for a magazine brought all these people together.

The website will stay up as long as WordPress exists. The online issues, too, will remain as long as Issuu.com exists. When we find the funding, print issues of the Summer and Fall 2013 issue will be sent out to contributors.

It was a pleasure serving you all.

Best,
Alex Grover

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Busking Poetry (This Isn’t as Wonderful as You Think)

by Jeremiah Walton, Guest Writer

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Jeremiah Walton, Poetry Busker

Busking is street performing in hopes of obtaining tips from passing pedestrians. A vast array of musicians, poets, painters, jugglers, tarot card readers, and other acts compose the majority of the busking community. The performers are generally passionate, taking their work to the streets in hopes of snaring passing ears. This is a living for some.

Before reading this article, please note: no one obtains fame through busking. The minuscule amount who have, or will, are rarities of circumstance. Making connections and socializing with others will help you build a career. Busking won’t.

I busk to make an income while traveling. I perform poetry and distribute books for Nostrovia! Poetry, W.I.S.H. Publishing, and Underground Books. I set up a cup a couple feet away from me so it invites others to throw money in, but is close enough for me to prevent thievery. I’ll usually have a cardboard sign with suggested donations for the books.

In the right communities, with the right people, it can bring in a substantial income. Other days, my cup remains empty and passers tell me to get a real job. You will deal with this shit regularly. People peoplin’.

Slam poems, or generally accessible poems, are better received. Your fleeting goal is to attract an audience to throw money into a little cup at your feet, not to perform the Howl of this generation. It’s a business, a really fun and horrible job, especially when this is how you are making a living.

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The Art of Busking

Performing in public streets is vastly different from performing at open mics or slams. Rather than having an audience ready to go, you have to fish for one. Your ocean is of concrete and full of organisms that do not care what you have to say. And, unless you’re busking for fun, you’re not just fishing for people, but for what’s in their wallets (ah, that infectious dollar bill giving Us fishes reason for gills).

In Buffalo, NY, I busked out front of a cafe in Elmwood. One of my poems caught the attention of a man, and, for a couple poems, I had an audience of one. Before leaving, he dropped $20 in the cup and bought a book. In 3 hours, I had a couple dollars short of $60. That’s not bad.

The next day I made ten dollars in two hours, and had to get creative (a euphemism for selling fake flowers to couples).

Location and time are essential. The first day, I was up at 8 a.m., when the cafe was busiest, and had a large audience passing. The line would extend right out of the cafe to where I had posted up at some points. I had people trapped as my audience (cross walks near stop lights work for this to).

The second day, I arrived at 2 p.m.. The cafe was closing, and pedestrian traffic had slowed.

Location also brings up the concept of territory. Buskers habitually have particular locations they prefer. Harvard Square in Boston is plagued by buskers, and many of them do this every day for a living. That gives them reason to be territorial; it’s how they eat, buy their smokes, and consume other pleasures and conveniences.

The best thing to do is be respectful. Don’t post up right next to the man trying to sell jewelry. He’s trying to make a buck too, and you’re stealing attention from his work. There’s a musician on the corner with the most traffic, and a crosswalk and stoplight. Don’t go to the other side of the crosswalk and start screaming poems. The audibility of your whining and his whining will mesh into this gooey noise of empty cups.

Now, onto confidence. Confidence is key. Know your poems. They don’t necessarily have to be memorized, but make eye contact with your audience, and those passing by. Direct your poem at them.

Be loud, be the applicant (poet) of force (poem) upon external objects (people) to cause movement (soul).

Also, if no one is gathering around (per usual), and no one is paying attention (per usual), directly ask people, “Hey! Want to hear a poem?” This direct interaction can either have them brush you off, or have them stay, listen, and potentially donate or attract others’ curiosity. You have nothing to lose except opportunity.

Practice consistently. You will fuck up, as you’re a human. Read at home, read to your friends, read to the mirror, and then read to the streets.

Busking will help with your confidence and performance at open mics and slams, and vice versa. It’ll help you grow, realize the beautiful insignificant you are, and humble you.

Or it’ll boost your ego tenfold and you’ll be a dick.

BIO:  Jeremiah Walton is a traveling poet going across the United States performing at slams and open mics.  He’s 18, was raised in N.H., and manager of Nostrovia! Poetry, W.I.S.H. Publishing, The Traveling Poet, and an editor at UndergroundBooks.  Jeremiah blogs at Gatsby’s Abandoned Children, where most of his chapbooks can be read free.  Jeremiah promotes poetry to the youth, hoping to broaden the community, and promote creating for Self.

The Return and the Departure

Dear Lovers of the Aubade who fight to never leave,

We’ve had a slight jumping off since the summertime. Many of you have emailed about when the new issue will be coming out. Many have wondered why we haven’t had as many posts as usual. Many have developed new-found passions for optometry and are pursuing a lucrative career in the medical field. To all of you, I apologize.

Tragedy has hit many members of our staff lately. It has convinced us to grab onto our knees and dig our nails into the skin. Loss begets nothing more than reaching for a glass and having it drop before you can catch it. It’s the unfair it could have been different than this circumstance.

Know that what we’ve seen will make us better for you. What drives us to serve you is the love for art and communication and to make your experience on this lovely, lonely planet the best it can be. While we won’t be in full capacity until 2014, don’t forget about us. We won’t forget about you.

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“Flower” by Abigail Allen

Today marks the publication of Yorick Magazine‘s fifth issue. We have harbored 44 unique writers and 9 artists since we began in 2011, and we are dogged to harbor more. Enjoy this new issue. It’s pretty.

Sincerely yours,
Alex Grover,
Editor-in-Chief,
Yorick Magazine

A Much-Needed Submitter-Contributor Appreciation Post

Dear people who cross the digital expanse and pray their submitted work gets in,

You are the champions of the literary world. If you do not view yourself as “equal to” or “greater” than the literary magazines you support, then you are looking at this culture all wrong. What is a magazine without its submitters? What does it really mean to submit?

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Courtesy of The Gap-Toothed Madness, a wonderful presentation of a blurb I wrote

Let’s look at the definitions of “submitting” for a moment:

sub·mit  (sb-mt)

v. sub·mit·tedsub·mit·tingsub·mits

v.tr.

1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.

2. To subject to a condition or process.

3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.

4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.

 

(Courtesy of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Submitters)

If applied to writers, the first definition imagines the submitter as a small kingdom who yields to an empire greater than itself. So, by this definition, writers are lesser than and must abandon themselves and their values for what they perceive as the greater good. Of course, by obeying the empire, these writers can bring glory and fame to their name.

That’s a disgusting perspective to have, but we’ll continue.

The second definition is more appropriate, though it seems to waylay the emotional ability writers have and need to submit their work. It is not just a “condition” or “process.” This definition forgets that it’s a love for the work. It’s a respect for the work. Therefore, it’s a love, respect, and need for the writer.

As the fourth definition doesn’t seem truly applicable, the third definition ascends to be our best bet. Writers committing (prose or poetry or artwork or photography) to the consideration or judgment of a magazine. Consideration seems to have a more positive connotation than judgment. Yet, while this is the most salient definition of “submitting” for the writer to bear in mind, the question for all writers to consider is “Does this magazine have the authority to judge my work?”

I will be the first to say that literary magazines do not and should not carry the pomp they brag of. The word “magazine” comes from the French word magasin, which translates to “storehouse.” Does the word translate to “publication that reaps the benefits of its contributors and is more important than them”? No.

Moreover, a storehouse must be filled with goods to function. Without the goods, there would be no storehouse. However, without a storehouse, the goods cannot be distributed. Nonetheless, I believe the ones who share their goods with the world are the better people at the end of the day.

Do I contradict myself by posting a shameless advertisement of Yorick as the picture in this post? No. It’s my job to shamelessly advertise my magazine. It’s a storehouse for crying out loud. How else are Greek citizens going to know to come here for their oil and fleece skeins?

I’ve talked with several individuals in the immediate literary community who are committed to caring for submitters. Jeremiah Walton, of Nostrovia fame, is continuously working to create projects like The Traveling Poet so that writers have more opportunities to be heard. Brittany Wright and Richard Barnhardt at The Gap-Toothed Madness have created a newsletter for their submitters and contributors detailing new ways to submit work. It’s magazines like these that appreciate the writer.

So, submitters: you are not the worthless creatures you believe yourselves to be. You are not the mercenaries who struggle to make a living by providing service to an emperor. You are the artifacts that the acolytes struggle to collect. Some artifacts are undiscovered, some are found and made public.

Whether admitting it or not, the acolyte, a wretch in torn cloth, dreams only of finding the best.

– Alex

 

Speaking of Genitalia

by Steve Burns, Guest Writer

WARNING: This post is risqué and groovy.

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If Mr. Peanut Had Genitals, by CJ Sorg

Suddenly her bra’s off and the boobs are out. Maybe some fella’s schlong dangles momentarily on-screen. Either way, it’s happened and both parties who are watching this raunchy scene don’t know how to react. Typically, postures shift or someone clears their throat. You’ve been there when wobbly-bits enter the room, and you’ve endured the post-sex cool-down. These are three minutes and forty-five seconds you’d care not to watch (publicly) again. This is film, however.

When a poet uses the words dick, pussy, cunt, or cock at a reading before an already intently listening audience — something else happens. Ears perk up; smiles crack. My experiences at readings have shown me that poets use these suggestive terms to call attention to something larger than the words themselves. I first heard Ian Davisson read his work at Milano’s Pizzeria as part of CA Conrad’s Milano’s Reading Series. Davisson read his poem, “May 4th, 2012,” which says, “ask the right questions/you’ll be my friend forever/it’s a secret/boner in everyone’s/cup of coffee.” Combined with Davisson’s blunt, quivering delivery, folks around me immediately nodded, smirked, or sent consenting murmurs towards the front of the room where he read. I thought: “Ian uses the word boner in a really interesting way.” Sexualized terms can be abrasive, hauntingly absurd, and, at times, quite charming — Davisson’s work revealed this to me.

“May 4th, 2012” comes from a manuscript titled Summa Cum (appropriate, no?) and, in its entirety, is a ruthlessly lonesome, gnawing piece that flows from one shattered line to the next. A broken sexuality and paranoid isolation is the poem’s driving force; the phallus is at its core. Davisson begins his poem in hiding: “there’s a part of sleep/where you forget/it’s wonderful.” Sleep seems to be Davisson’s only solace. Unfortunately Davisson “won’t sleep tonight” because “I is for ian or/I is for issues.” “Ian” and “issues” are practically interchangeable, equally (painfully) alive. “[S]omeone,” says Davisson, “sleeps/inside me/leaves before I wake up.” It’s this someone who’s “a ghost/on [his] back.”

Davisson’s agony is most evident, however, in his sexually charged lines. On a restless night Davisson writes, “held my dick so tight/must have busted/something/lonely/out.” Here “dick” is being abused, exclaiming loneliness; this is not pleasurable. Davisson’s not sure what’s been released; he’s only certain it feels like isolation. Even “lonely” and “out” sit singularly on the page, unaccompanied in the line. “I’m paralyzed,” says Davisson. The issues Davisson faces have likely been assuaged by “Dr. Verdi” in the past, but in “May 4th, 2012” Davisson “can’t make it this week.” It’s safe to assume that Dr. Verdi is a counselor or therapist—“ask the right questions”—yet Davisson’s difficulties are not so confidential. “[I]t’s a secret/boner in everyone’s/cup of coffee,” writes Davisson. A boner, usually a private phenomenon, is poking obtrusively through everyone’s everyday beverage; it’s not a secret because it’s prodding everyone outright. “I love her,” says Davisson, “I’m sorry/there’s no reason for it/but I do/tell my relatives/I’m ok.” These fragmented lines, which illustrate Davisson’s attempts to calm concerned relatives, struggle to remain cohesive on the page. The “boner” renders assurances useless.

Davisson concludes that he “love[s]/knowing the stuff/that eats [him] alive.” After all, were it not for that stuff, we might not have this wonderfully compelling poem.

Check out more of Ian Davisson’s work here.

Steve Burns works and writes for Philly-based APIARY Magazine. He’s currently enrolled in Rutgers-Camden’s MFA program. His poems are weird. Also, he’s pretty tall.  

In The Streets/ We Do Roam – Nostrovia’s at it Again

Dear Scary Monsters, Nice Sprites, Ghosts n Stuff,

Well! Yorick Magazine‘s Spring 2013 issue received its first review from our good friend, Jeremiah Walton of Nostrovia! Poetry. Here’s what he had to say about the issue:

“I’m truly happy my work is appearing in this particular issue of Yorick Magazine, alongside the great words of other poets and writers.  The magazine transitions smoothly from poem to poem, story to story, and provokes thought through powerful writing.  The editors here certainly know what they are doing.  Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto & Katherine Steiger are two poets in this issue to make note of.”

We’re grateful to Walton for his flattering review and are thankful to have him on our team of contributors. If you haven’t read his work, or the works of the other lovely artists and writers in our fourth issue, click the link and give us a Facebook like!

Walton has been up to quite a bit in New England, as he’s heading a project called Poetry to the Streets, where contributors have the opportunity to have their work spread by carrier pigeon.

That’s an absolute lie. But their work will actually be circulated by Walton and a few other volunteers in the streets of New Hampshire! Placed on trash cans, lamp posts, store windows, and other places where you might not normally find poetry, these grassroots blossoms (maybe crumbs of pollen, to be more accurate) are the darlings of Walton’s mantra: “Bring the average person free poetry.”

Poetry to the Streets is managed through The Virus Is Silence, another of Jeremiah’s blogs that will be published in summer 2013. According to Walton, “The Virus Is Silence will promote poetry activists, those who creatively promote poetry, and are inspirational to us as poets.  The website the blog is hosted at will feature a list of potential publishing presses, self publishing resources, and general tips and ideas for creatively promoting your poetry.”

The distribution does not have to be contained to New Hampshire; in fact, it shouldn’t be contained. It should be spread. Silently. Like a virus. If you’re interested in circulating free poems in your streets, email Walton at TheVirusIsSilence@gmail.com and you’ll receive some poems that you can print and hand out in your area. The goals are voluntarism and outreach. Visit Walton’s website, publish a blog post linking to the project, and use the weird vibrating qualities of your mouth to tell others about Poetry to the Streets.

If you want your poems carrier-pigeoned in this grassroots fashion, email TheVirusIsSilence@gmail.com with your submissions and watch as the world gains another great work.

Don’t forget to do anything that I wrote in this post! I’ll be holding you accountable. Dubstep is cool.

Best,
Alex
Editor-in-Chief,
Yorick Magazine

It’s really inspiring…uh…

…to see the artists of the turf rise together.

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Erm, maybe not exactly like this.

I had the glorious opportunity to spend an evening with a photographer, a field botanist, a magazine journalist, an engineering student, an owner of a prominent literary magazine, and a team of managers and interns of a printing press that sprouted in Philadelphia and took roots there and elsewhere.

How do these people find each other?

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Um.

No! It’s not just that.

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It could be.

Listen. Do they go to school imagining these literary and artistic and sophisticated friends that they’ll meet one day and, lo! they appear? Do they gravitate towards one another by some spectral ferocity that animates from the spine and burrows through the flesh? Maybe that’s disgusting. And sure, it could be as simple as sending a tweet to an account that looks especially “literary” and “artistic” and “sophisticated.” I’m dramatizing this, but it should be said that these relationships shouldn’t be taken for granted, and that for artists to meet is a beautiful happening. The energy from last night is stellar–is!

Not was. Is. Still feelin’ it, people.

It remains and thrives until the next meeting of minds. Golly, the pretension of this statement. But how true it is!

Okay, without all the crazy talk, I’d like to thank for the umpteenth time The Head and the Hand for putting on a lovely night with some very lovely people, Nic Esposito and Linda Gallant especially. That, my friends, was a big ol’

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Well that was fun!

Have a good morning/afternoon/night/perpetual state!

– Alex

Reviewing Pieces for Yorick Magazine

Dear you Crazy Diamonds,

I want to thank everyone who has submitted to Yorick Magazine as of now. It’s not easy submitting work to the painful scrutiny of others. That’s why I want to make this submission process a little more transparent than other magazines may. Whether this destroys the mystique that literary magazines carry is as precarious a consideration as to whether Philippa and Henry David Thoreau would make great friends.

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Who knew Thoreau would look so good as another gender?

First we take a submission and put it in a folder labeled “Season 20XX Manuscript.” We ensure that all submissions are gathered and placed in aggregate Word documents for easier viewing. Then, we give our courtesy to the writer, letting them know the submission was received. Seems fair enough.

It’s the deliberation that always villainizes the magazine. Here’s how we’re not villains.

When we review submissions, we don’t let a writer’s accolades precede their work. That doesn’t fly. A T-Rex that eats three Deinonychi will always be more formidable than a T-Rex who is reputed to have been able to eat four or five Deinonychi but gives of show of only eating two.

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They may look intimidating, but they’re scared, their souls weak with tears.

So no, reputation doesn’t cut it. What does “cut it” is quality. Good stories and good poems are determined by two deciding factors: 1) Their inherent quality and suitability to the reviewers’ tastes and 2) The quality of competing submissions. A short story may be magnificent, but if it’s fated to be matched with another short story that is 1.1% more magnificent, and both are deadlocked for the last position in the issue, then the least magnificent story probably won’t be accepted.

One component of this whole process is very important to illuminate: if all submissions are just plain terrible, then the issue won’t be produced. Standards are created for a reason. The prefixes “stand” and “stat” draw from the same meaning, which is something that remains and does not move. Some examples are statues and statutes. Immovable entities. Standards shouldn’t lower just because the content we receive is sub-par to what we usually publish.

Fortunately or unfortunately, all of the submissions we’ve gathered so far are maddeningly wonderful. It’s going to be hard to choose what goes into the Spring 2013 issue. Whatever is selected, just know that we’re picking diamonds from a glorious field of, well, diamonds – if that makes sense.

Cheers!

– Alex, Editor-in-Chief

The Return of Yorick in an Awkward Year

Dear Congress, Bacon-Lovers, and All Others Who Enjoy Pork,

McGayesville, VA, 2013

The staff of Yorick emerged from our doomsday bunker unscathed, finding that our native country had barely survived running over an oddly placed cliff.

Greetings, cliff-edge.

Anyhow, as we promised, we are open for business! Send us your best short stories, poetry, flash fiction, novel excerpts, dramatic scenes (10 pages and under), flavored gametes, and Oxford commas. We want them. We lust for them. We’re the magazine that believes in publishing to a fine standard. Whether that standard is kosher or not, we’ll stand by it with whatever metaphorical legs we possess.

Send your submissions to yorickmagazine@gmail.com. You probably won’t regret it.

Cheers!

– Alex, Editor-in-Chief

Best New Poets 2012

Dear Readers, Readers, and, yes, Readers,

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The third issue of Yorick Magazine is coming to you…soon. Unfortunately, the staff at Yorick was caught in a Civil War reenactment battle, so some of us are artificially wounded and have to pretend to be dead for the rest of the historic and educational event. Oh dear. But! On discovering Best New Poets, a great organization featuring, well, the best new poets of modern civilization and uncivilization, we found five of our favorites on a compiled list by Matthew Dickman, renowned and award-winning Portland poet.

Sean Bishop, with “Black Hole Owners Association”  – originally in Alaska Quarterly Review

Bishop’s poetry is bleak and mildly sarcastic, with a grim timbre and sagging lines that draw the reader into Bishop’s world.

Jenny Gropp Hess, with “Months After the Crash, the Blind Aerobatic Pilot Speaks” – originally in Beecher’s Magazine

An important mixture of image and sparsity, Hess’ poetry spans several contexts and ideas to bring the reader into a state of mind that compares the incomparable.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra, with “As If” – originally in The Monarch Review

Blunt, full of didactic-isms and the reality of being an Asian American, Malhotra’s poetry illustrates goofy and lugubrious lives through momentary awkward, though gorgeously written, instances.

Matthew Nienow, with “O Anchor”  – originally in Beloit Poetry Journal

Nienow’s brilliance comes from his innate understanding of the poetics of industry. Quite simply, his poetry discovers beauty in the subtleties of a job, especially boatwork.

Martin Rock, with “Double Acrostic for Francis Ponge”

Rock has a spiritual edge with his poetry, something spectral that emerges through cultural enigmas and startling realizations. The words culminate to appreciate the mysteries of life.

Well that’s our mini-list! Invest some time in researching these poets, and learn more about the up-and-coming-poets’ scene by purchasing a copy of the Best New Poets anthology here.

More soon. Cheers!

Best,
Alex