Bruce Covey

Bruce Covey is the author of the forthcoming Glass Is Really a Liquid (No Tell Books, 2010) and Reveal (Black Radish, 2010), his fourth and fifth collections of poetry. He lives in Atlanta, GA, where he teaches at Emory University, edits Coconut Poetry, and curates the What’s New in Poetry reading series.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

I’m going to turn the question a little and instead talk about what I like most about editing Coconut. My favorite aspect of the process is to read through unsolicited submissions and “discover” exciting new poets who surprise me! Sometimes these works aren’t the tidiest, but I’m not sure I ultimately prefer tidy to raw, unbridled, rough originality. Coming across dessert-rich poems from people I’ve never heard of is wonderful. Then I love sending the acceptance note and sharing in the writers’ happiness, placing their poems in big, original design settings, and launching them on the web so that others might enjoy them. I love the thought of ongoing professional relationships with these writers—reading what they write next, maybe helping them to place a book—my small role in helping poetry continue to shimmy forward.

My favorite single project wasn’t exactly editorial. Last year at AWP I worked with Larry Sawyer—a wonderful poet and editor whom I hadn’t yet met in person—to curate an offsite reading. The event was a blast—everyone read really well, had fun, kept within in her/his allotted time, etc. Denise Duhamel, Reb Livingston, Jen Tynes, Zach Schomburg, Susan Wheeler, Jenny Boully, Dan Nester, Gina Myers, Natalie Lyalin, and Ken Rumble were among the readers. At the same AWP I chaired a panel on “electronic poetry communities” with Danielle Pafunda, Stephanie Strickland, Charles Jensen. In each of these cases, working with experienced poets and scholars was the “editorial” joy—defining a frame in which other writers can perform, share their insights, and discuss their projects. In this sense I think I feel happiest when I organize or edit as facilitator or even “spark” to bring other writers into conversation with one another.

Look, No Hands!

Tomorrow: It’s a song washing through, redirecting each junction
Or: Pressing the braille until it ruptures, suffocating
Ten burrowing rabbits underneath its stairs

For example, the first time: You answered rain definitely
I’m on the couch: Coupling across the woof
How does your garden grow? With silver bells & cockle shells

Or rows of mirrors: Foil & window clung according to static’s laws
Sudden shape, snap to grip, thinking a lode of diamonds
Marry the walls, its grassy field admits the game, administers

Shuddering. & bolt all the apertures, orifices, & mouths
Lapping up the soda drops, fizzy & wet & strawberries
Holding down mine, ten of them tied, casting

Its other side fortune: Lucky roll, a sculpture, perfectly
Embossed screw, cards as a function of your core,
Apple, huge push, assembling a chorus of the tracks

But we’ve hidden in the tunnel’s muddy sidebar, cleft
Impression in the granite: Cracked, however, like the
Liberty bell—let’s retain its shape just because it’s nice

Combustion scent—time to grow from glowing. I see,
When you stopped, surprised, that passing one
Straight thru the other, ionizing, averaging their minerals,
Might just be the only way to seek stripes & frolic


An unexpected rivalry between east and west

Untangling the balloons from the banana tree limbs,
One never before inhabited and barely enough to hold
Falling down a story or through another character’s window

Meeting you in a hat on block, passing

The duotone tattoos—crows and leaves—
Decorating your breasts and neck

Four-fold toy contests—which is the best metaphor?—
But unexpectedly rigged
Lovemaking in a car, a phone booth

Or someone thinking, how couldn’t rich win,
A troupe of dancers from Singapore
Nine melting candles on a bench
Outside an exclusive club
Look in & see the baseball player

Its shower, the kids running in circles
& angry that you picked someone else
& angry that she too picked someone else

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