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What Light finalist Sandy Beach's poem, "Do-It-Yourself-Narcissus," was selected for this cycle of mnLIT by Coffee House Press' Associate Publisher Chris Fischbach. PLUS: The first 2010 mnLIT winners' reading is Sept 20!
September 8, 2010

Photo courtesy of the author

        Do-It-Yourself-Narcissus
                                (a paint-by-number picture by Andy Warhol)

        . . .but this poem
        is not about
        that picture

        rather
        meandering
        through galleries
        of surprising shoes
        I would never wear

        and also how
        an acutely
        perfect line
        jumped me
        in another painting

I had only known and did not much care for
Brillo boxes   soup cans   repetitive Marilyns
the occasional Chairman Mao

        An exquisite line
        a precise four inches
        hinting at muscled playfulness
        black on white
        devoid of fuss

        how that straight lyric
        poem in black velveteen paint
        arrowed me to the quick

        and that
        Andy
        is why I stole your title

 

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About her piece, What Light juror Christopher Fischbach writes: "Usually poems about works of art are in praise of said art, but right away, here, we are deflected away, and disarmed, since we are told that this poem 'is not about that picture.' Later, again, the poet 'does not care' for something else. Usually poets are scared to take on another artist in a poem, but this poet isn't, and I admire her for that."

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About the poet: Sandy Beach's poetry has landed her in Italy with Ezra Pound's family, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C., Dallas, Lutsen, and most recently a bowling alley in Uptown. Her MFA thesis was written about the lives and work of 19th and 20th century women artists. It was the Outstanding MFA Poetry Thesis at Hamline University in 2000. She has been a Loft Mentorship recipient, and was awarded two residencies at Norcroft: A Writing Retreat for Women.

Her work has appeared in the Poet Artist Collaboration at [email protected], on mnartists.org as a winner in the What Light poetry contest, Perigee Publication for the Arts, Whistling Shade, FarmhouseMagazine.com Dreamcasting (a limited edition chapbook), MentalContagion.org, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets (an anthology), Water~Stone Review, Sojourn Journal, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts Archives, in D.C. She lives in St. Louis Park and works in Minneapolis.

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About the juror: Chris Fischbach is the Associate Publisher of Coffee House Press, where he has worked since 1994, when he started as a letterpress intern. In July, 2011, he will become Publisher. He is the acquiring editor of dozens of poetry and fiction titles, including the international best-seller novel Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage; the groundbreaking Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang, and the National Book Award finalist Blood Dazzler, by Patricia Smith. He has been the Assistant Director of the Twin Cities Book Festival for five years and Co-Chair of the Minneapolis Arts Commission. He is currently on the board of directors of the Library Foundation of Hennepin County.

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Membership on mnartists.org is FREE. Find step-by-step instructions for how to join and how to use the free resources available on the site. If you need assistance, contact Jehra Patrick at [email protected]. Any Minnesota resident is eligible to participate in mnartists.org's mnLIT competitions for poetry and fiction; there are no entry fees, and writers at all levels of skill and experience are welcome to enter work for consideration by a revolving panel of established authors and publishing professionals in mnLIT's blind adjudication process.

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