Blog Archives

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.

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

 

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

Milk and Honey Siren, Review

If Jeremiah Walton intended to create an anthology that was entirely unified, logical, mainstream, and direct, then he failed. Though I don’t think that’s what he intended when he selected works for Milk and Honey Siren. I think that he knew there’s a certain beauty in chaos, and that as readers we are receptive to such a chaos as to relish it. If that was the objective, then boy, he achieved it.

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Brought to you by Nostrovia! Poetry

M+HS is a pick-and-choose medley for differing tastes of readership, from somewhat traditional narrative poems that invoke popular culture and sentiment, to the aesthetically intriguing and bizarre, the abstract works that seize us in delight. Some of the poets that lassoed me wild were Kyle Hemmings, whose monkeys were daunting, Dan Hedges, whose blurbs were a bit dystopian—a flavor I love—and Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto. His monolithic political and cultural feast, “I’VE SEEN THAT MOVIE, TOO!” zigzags in and out of biting satire and pop potpourri. He presents a maniacal totem that strings characters like Prufrock, Holden Caulfield, and Seinfeld in the same lineage of cultural dystrophy, the degeneration of our own personalities into parasites of media references. It’s an excellent piece among many others that strike the reader with literary brutality.

Walton’s anthology has its flaws, though it accepts them. Not every work identifies with the central themes prescribed. Not every part of the framework is too neat. But M+HS is still a hell of a show. Bottom line: Walton and those anthologized made some spectral and illuminating art. To bastardize a poignant line in the final piece of the collection, “The Festival,” by Samuel McGrath, “there are hearts” behind these pieces…and I’m still reading.

4 out of 5
– Alex Grover, Yorick Magazine

Interested in Milk and Honey Siren? You can download it for free! Click here to do so.

Want us to review your work? Contact us at yorickmagazine@gmail.com.