Writing guides today? Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration in a text. This can be used for emphasis or humor, such as “He practiced for a million hours.” Symbolism is when a poet uses objects, colors, sounds, or places to represent something else. For instance, snakes are often associated with evil, while white doves are related to peace. These are only a few of the techniques that have been used by poets past and present. They provide a wide variety of options for a poet to develop a unique style while expressing his or her thoughts and ideas to readers. The next time you read a poem, see how many techniques you can identify!
Think of like looking at the wind through a window. You can’t see the wind, right? The wind is invisible. But at the same time, you can see the wind because of its impact on the things that are visible. You see the leaves flapping. You see the surface of a puddle ripple. You see a girl hunched inside her coat, her hair blowing into her face. You see someone try to light a cigarette and the match go out. Abstractions like Love and Death don’t look, sound, or smell like anything. But they affect everything around them. And you can describe the places they’ve touched.
What are you writing about Rachel Rabbit White? I’m thinking about how desire is at the center of what it is to be alive and how desire is the root of all suffering. Love and poetry and romance are, like, the only place of enjoyment for me. When feminists like Shulamith Firestone criticize romantic love, namely heterosexual coupling, as a site of oppression, I agree. But sometimes it also feels like romantic love is the only site of release, or even a site of resistance, under capitalism. Maybe I feel this especially as a sex worker, when you’re selling a sense of love or romance for work, the romance “off work” can feel like a space of reclaiming. Yet the new poems are coming so easily, I don’t know if I can trust them.
How do you stay political in all the different things that you’re doing? Mine is a politics that comes from care, and mutual aid. I think the poems come back to that core. It’s not this idea of self-care, which I think can be very individualistic, and almost selfish. To me, care is community care. It’s keeping an extra space for friends who end up homeless or in between apartments, which often happens when people are criminalized. There’s ways to use your money to maintain spaces of care. Throwing parties to me is care. All these people come together at my parties, and everyone is intellectual and sexy and smart and [they] have all of these interesting things to say, and the girls end up doing a lot of care for each other when they’re coming down from working too much. A lot of what happens during the parties [that I throw] is people intellectualizing what is happening at work and what their burnout is doing to them and how the proximity to money and wealthy people is fucking with their brain. It’s almost therapeutic care that we do for each other. It’s also care to fuck people who aren’t clients and take back sexual energy. See many more information at this website.
I met Rachel Rabbit White last December. Her first collection of poems, Porn Carnival, had just come out the month before. I’d read an article about the release party, about some angel dust, a little cake-sitting, a DJ, and then something like “Rachel Rabbit White is a sex worker.” It all seemed glamorous and no-fucks-ish. And this was about poetry. Someone told me the book was good. It was getting a lot of attention. So I read it. It was fierce. It was pure. It stayed with me. It was in earnest, and yet there was no discounting the technique. The lines were as elegant as they were painful. Their intentions were as direct as they were dynamic in their complexities. It wasn’t the work of a dilettante. I haven’t gone back to check, but I think there’s only one hyacinth in Porn Carnival. And no one gets bored to death by what existential crises overtake a body in the organic co-op of whatever town Bard College is in. It isn’t that type of book. You get lines such as “these girls were at the wrong orgy,” titles such as “In the Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi of my Soul.” Which isn’t to say it’s all so… rowdy. On god, she reminds me most of Octavio Paz. Still, it’s a book about sex work, mainly.