First Gin Editor’s Blog of the Fall: Sally Jane Smith

The Bombay Gin editorial staff is pumped.  We’re currently buried by the most glorious mountain of all: piles of submissions for issue 39.1: The Contemplative as Transgressive.  Thanks to everyone who wrote and submitted work for consideration in this issue.  It’s an honor to be an editor of Bombay Gin, and a beautiful opportunity to swim in the avalanche of your words.

So, Gin lovers, in honor of this issue’s theme, I’d like to make my blog debut by sharing my conception of contemplative poetics.

Contemplative poetics is a classroom in the Lincoln building with meditation cushions.  Contemplative poetics is Reed Bye ringing a quiet golden bell.  Graduate school in socks. It is Dharma Art, which is, according to Naropa University founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle of thoughts or fears.” Or, according to Naropa professor and life poet Reed Bye, “what it is.”

Contemplative poetics is clearing the mind and standing in a circle to recite spontaneous poetry.  Abandoning the ego and giving up on designing a poem: simply giving voice to the poetics that arises.  Admitting that my thoughts are not gems to collect with nets and pens.

My writing process: never carry pens in pockets.  Meditate with open eyes every day.  Carry a backpack full of rocks and keep notebooks filled with fall leaves instead of paper.  Dip self in ink and then shower, and only record the ink that is left pooled around eyes.  Forget poetry when breathing, never look for words in the stream.  Be in the stream. Dream of the time before the vowel shift and practice saying those vowels. Read everyone else’s poems out loud.  Only then, write poems and edit them out loud in empty rooms.

icy juniper

tonic marginalia—

breathe between covers.

Thanks for reading.

And, finally, some New News:

In addition to working hard on our upcoming issue, our beloved editor-in-chief J’Lyn Chapman has taken us to an important milestone in archiving: every book review from past Gins is available now on the Naropa website: http://www.naropa.edu/academics/jks/bombay-gin/previous-issues/index.php.  Check out this incredible resource.

-Sally Jane

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