Compliments From A Poet Laureate

Over the weekend, I was happy to discover that Peter Hargitai, longtime friend and Poet Laureate of Gulfport, Florida, completed a review of the poetry portfolio I had provided him, a selection of poems written within the last 16 years. Peter’s critique washed me in validation, his words honoring my approach to our shared craft. The poems he mentions are embedded in this post.

From Professor Hargitai’s Facebook Page:

VON SIMEON, the author of I Blew Up Juarez, is a wunderkind of imaginative literature, having published her first creative effort in Germany when she was eleven years of age. A self-described poet, novelist and blogger with an international following, she transitions from genre to genre with dashing confidence. As a child in a military family, she had to adapt to life, transitioning from Panama, where she was born, to Germany, where she was raised, to Puerto Rico, Texas, Kentucky and her current home in Saint Pete Beach, Florida. Her educational background is a testament to her mastery of seemingly contrary disciplines: science and the arts.

When responding to works of imaginative literature, it is not always appropriate to identify the author with her work, unless the work contains biographical elements that may be useful in shedding light on a text. Such is the case with confessional poetry in which the speaker and the author are one and the same. Von Simeon’s attraction to dualities is not confined to art and science, but cover a broad spectrum of contraries that serve as leitmotifs in her verse: black/white, male/female, spiritual/physical, demonic/divine, obscure/grandiose, gentle/furious, pensive/manic, weak/strong, feeble/titanic, fear/courage, curse/blessing, life/death.

These contraries are much more than rhetorical or metaphysical conceits; they are urgent and personal unresolved questions of identity that ultimately find as a solution a persona that is mythic, titanic, and divine. Wolfgang von Göethe, when referring to Lord Byron as “heroic” described him in terms of “Keckheit, Künheit, und Grandiosität” or “daring, dash, and grandiosity.” This is not something to be taken as a disparaging delusion of grandeur, but rather a true realization of the poetic soul’s immensity. Likewise, Von Simeon’s “Empress of the waves,” in her poem “Reed-Girl,” is titanic and cosmic, since the power of the imagination is limitless, “ordained by the Cosmos” where the poet can “go play about galaxies” to “show the universe / how majesty is done.” The sense of empowerment through which the creative process makes us more than mere mortal finds a kindred echo in Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “What am I? Nothing. / But not so art thou, Soul of my thought! / with whom I traverse the earth.”

The aspect of the divine is palpable in the power of creation itself: as God creates, so does the poet create, and insofar as we create, we are divine. What makes Von Simeon’s deity different is that hers is always female, usually a strong woman, a poetess-warrior “with the strength of five lions,” a mythic heroine or a goddess who is as powerful as she is divine as in the case of “Calypso,” “Artemis” and “Venus,” the queen of the gods who adorns the poet with a “Wreath of Stars,” or the primordial Earth Mother “Gaia” who grants her the “Voice of the Gods.”

My personal favorite is her poem Black Not Black. In this highly original verse Simeon combines the jaunty rhythms of hip-hop to convey a youthful surge of sensuous energy in tandem with a kindred spirit when her female speaker encounters her soulmate at a bus stop. The usual dualities surface, this time as pressing questions of racial identity: “Black? Not Black.” As her lens focuses, the inchoate figure approaching her with “full lips, Gillespie dizzy,” and “chocolate eyes brimming with soul” turns out not to be “Black” insofar as physical features are concerned; but inside the fair skin is a truly “sensational soul” (another duality: sense and spirit) that evokes the melding of dualities just as the words “BlackNotBlack” merge into one word. The speaker and poet embody the same conceit in the duality of opposites (“ivory” and “black”) as she is a mirror image of what she perceives. And the encounter, however brief, is a transfiguring epiphany. Something wonderful, inexplicable and immortal has happened, a discovery of oneness that has the power to suspend time, to heal a rift in a fractured psyche, and to resolve for time immemorial all her inner conflicts into transcendent art.

Peter Hargitai
First Poet Laureate of Gulfport

unrelenting
“the strength of five lions”

©2016 VS Enterprises

Black Not Black

Five Oh One and bounding

down the

street,

be-boppin’ and

extolling the

successes of yet another fine day.

The next bus is at five twenty.

He strolls smoothly

eyes half-closed in pensive rapture

perhaps timing out a tune

in his

head.

Black. Not Black?

Full lips, Gillespie dizzy

chocolate eyes brimming with soul

A thick crown of tight

curly

hair

It is copper red.

Black? Not Black.

His skin is sweet fair

cheeks flecked with freckles

Not tall…short? Average.

Hands are smooth and adorned with

promising rings.

Black? Not Black?

Sensational soul stops suddenly.

Seductively.

The bus corners and prepares to stop.

Starstruck eyes meet starstruck eyes

I stand to reveal sharp curves enveloped in

ivory skin

small hands pressed against thick thighs

and long Black hair framing pursed lips

BlackNotBlack.

Soft-skinned saint smiles and sidles off

The next bus is at six o’clock.

12/2/03

©2016 VS Enterprises

Happy Anniversary, Johnny Saucedo! WE DID IT!

irenes_booksigningMy first book signing. We ran out of books.
 
I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing.
 
The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible.
 
I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening!
 
Wow. Just. WOW.
 
4/9/14 @ 11:38pm

Have Tea With Me On Saturday!

Join us Saturday March 28th from 2 to 4pm for Sawgrass Bar’s Afternoon Tea! As you nosh nibbles provided by Ray’s Vegan Soul, me and my Wordier Than Thou pals shall ear-tain you with diverse readings!

Reader lineup:

C Abraham Bellamy
Shae Krispinsky
Von Simeon
Austin Scott Collins
Anda Peterson
Tiffany Razzano

Located at 2315 Central Ave, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713 Donate what you can at the door! See you soon.

Read the Creative Loafing article

Remember the Literary Pub Crawl

all photos stolen from the Internet – Google ‘Victorian afternoon tea’ (why lie)…

Von On Bloggy Break: Feb 8 – Feb 21

duckface

Getting new poetry and prose in publication condition, got two shows to prep for, and I’m taking a poetry class! Let me soothe your dismay with this especially dedicated song to you, my blogosphere neighbor. Crank it to 11!!

Miss ya already. See you in two!!

Support Your Favorite [Adjective] Poet This Saturday!

fantasticekphrastic
As per Keep St Pete Lit ~10AMEST: Tickets are almost completely sold out!

Purchase My Ticket Now

Guilty By Association

“Your honor, all I did was retweet…”

“This from the woman who wrote, ‘I Blew Up Juarez‘!”

“*sigh* Ya got me, yah honah, ya got me…”

My mental cutaway when I happened to catch on Twitter I was ‘featured’ in a webzine, only to find out it’s someone’s mash-up site. Such is the side affect of being out there in the zeroes and ones; the more you digitally connect, the more likely you’ll get digitally hijacked!

It’s not that big a deal, knowing my @VonSimeon is a public account. I’ve been much more active on Twitter this year, but not enough to where I’m desperately racking up followers to substantiate authenticating my Twitter existence. Twitterstence? Existter? Nevermind…

So things like this are bound to happen, and will continue to happen, as I widen the cast of my Ether-net (get it get it!). A credit for sharing a post on Literary Jihadi…? Umm, think I’ll leave THAT one off the CV!

😛

literaryjihadi

Bibliophiles Unite! Gig Sunday Featuring Your Favorite Madwoman…

The Best of Von Simeon

My blog buddies, I’m offline-ing the first two weeks of June to address projects requiring strict concentration. Hanging out with you is so fun, yet it distracts me from getting work done…shocker…

But shed not a tear darlin’, I’m gonna schedule a compilation during my usual Sunday-Wednesday cycle to tide you over. Now enjoy this 2013 gallery of me in swimsuits. See you June 15th!

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