From now until April 30, INverse Poetry Archive is accepting its fourth round of submissions from Hoosier poets. Your poetry could join that of many other talented poets from all walks of life and skill levels in building a rich repository of the human experience. Current and former residents of the state are encouraged to apply if they have lived in Indiana for at least five years and their poems meet the spirit of the project.
The digital archive debuted in October of 2019, with the first batch of poems available Sept. 1, 2020. The project was the brainchild of former 2018-19 Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka – now editor of Poetry magazine – and intended to celebrate, capture and preserve the works of Indiana’s diverse poets for future generations. It is a collaboration between the Indiana Poet Laureate, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana State Library.
Access to modern poetry, especially online, can be limited due to copyright laws. INverse allows students and poetry lovers to study and enjoy the works of Hoosier poets for free. Each year, living poets, or the heirs of deceased ones, select a few of their poems to submit to the archive, allowing their accessibility while retaining their rights of ownership. Poets may submit up to three poems per cycle, every three years, up to a total of 10 poems. If you’re interested in submitting your poems to INverse, please read the entire list of eligibility criteria.
The following poem, from Suzy Harris of Indianapolis, was added to the archive last year.
“Garage of Amazements”
The neighbors across the street
had a garage of amazements:
a bicycle that folded into an umbrella,
a red car with giant bird wings
that purred like a cat.
And one day something new –
silvery handlebars gloating
over a leather seat that sat
throne-like over a tangle of machinery
and two wide wheels.
The neighbor convinces my father
to ride this heaving machine.
We stand in the grass watching
my father climb on,
the motorcycle moving under him
down the long curving driveway
until, as if in slow motion,
he spills onto the mix of gravel and grass
by the road in front of the house,
blood pouring from his head.
We are afraid to go near,
wonder if he is dead,
but the neighbor, who is a doctor,
strides over, helps my father to a stand,
and walks him into the kitchen
where he pours my dad a whisky
and stitches him up
with a needle and thread
as we watch from the doorway.
The doctor pours himself a whisky too
and they swear at each other
as friends like that do.
Alive, we think, alive alive-o,
humming his favorite song.
This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at 317-232-3671 or via “Ask-A-Librarian.”