Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi is the author of many books including Voice-Over, The Cloud of Knowable Things, and most recently, Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems (all from Coffee House Press). A new collection, Click and Clone is forthcoming in spring 2011. She teaches in the MFA programs at The New School and City College of New York.

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

My favorite editing project has been to assemble an anthology of “greeting card” poems called The Holiday Album for the online magazine, Jacket. Basically, I invited some of my favorite writers to contribute poems about a holiday — real or invented. The results are a wide-ranging mix of pieces that celebrate everything from Easter to Elvis Week, the Veneralia to the Bride of Frankenstein’s Birthday. The poems are arranged according to the dates of the holidays, so this collection is also like an almanac or calendar of poets. Nicanor Parra speaks of poems and anti-poems — anti-poems being work that challenges or mocks the institution of literature. In a certain way, greeting card poems are anti-poems. I like the fact that they can be sentimental and subversive at the same time. I’m currently in the process of adding a visual component. It’s taken a while to find the right artist to work with, but by spring 2010, The Holiday Album should be as colorful and richly illustrated as one might expect.

Check it out at Jacket.

                for David Trinidad

Once again pink seeps in.

The rose door is ajar.

In the pink cubicle,
pink ghosts are loosed.

Pink pirates navigate
the deep magenta seas.

Under a necklace of icy lights ,
a trio of pink ladies
sip Pink Squirrels studiously.

They are my pink Alma Mater.

Pink completes the crossword puzzle.

Pink sands shift
in the dunes of memory.


Yesterday they were playing Frank Sinatra at the bank. Not soft background stuff. They were blasting big band Tommy Dorsey classics like a pizza parlor or the small branch of a newly opened casino. I took my money from the ATM, half expecting to see a row of slot machines nearby. That way I could give the money back before I even got outside the door. The bank has been gradually changing its image. Since most transactions are now done online, employees with nothing better to do often loiter in the entrance greeting you like a high school friend and asking about your weekend. They’ve put a huge dish of peppermints and cinnamon hearts by the deposit slips. They give away baseball caps if you can guess their latest interest rates. It’s all very cozy and carnivalesque. Although, I vaguely remember a time banks were formal, almost somber places because taking care of money was thought to be serious business. Recently I’ve heard of a bank with a Starbucks in it. Maybe soon they’ll add a buffet, a boutique for selling designer sportswear. Why not a floor show? As long as it’s not a poetry reading. A poetry reading in a bank — that would be going too far.

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