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scop (noun): Old English – bard, minstrel, storyteller

Guest Scop: Stephanie M. Wytovich

The 21st Century Scop - HysteriaIn my previous post I talked about the mead-hall, its place in the history of fantastic literature, and how its tradition continues today in places such as the KGB Bar in New York.

But for the scops of the 21st century, the mead-hall need not be a physical location. It can be any place where the poet finds an audience.

To that end, I’d like to turn today’s post over to Stephanie M. Wytovich, a poet and storyteller with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage at the Jozarts Center for the Arts (another great 21st-century mead-hall) in California, PA.

Stephanie M. WytovichStephanie is an Alum of Seton Hill University where she completed a double major in English Literature and Art History. She is published in over 40 literary magazines. Her new book Hysteria is her first collection of poems.

Stephanie is currently attending graduate school at Seton Hill to pursue her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. She is also working on a novel while serving as the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press and a book reviewer for S.T. Joshi, Jason V. Brock and William F. Nolan’s Nameless Magazine. She plans to continue in academia to get her doctorate in Gothic Literature.

As a true 21st-century scop, Stephanie knows the past and future of the poetic arts, an understanding that comes through in the following poem, which is appearing here for the first time anywhere.

A Poem to Poetry

My darling Speculative,
do you tempt me with convention?

Or do you break free of the
rules that your ancestors
breathe down my neck?

Can I trust you
in a dark alley, walking
along the shadows—with the shadows—
as you sing your dead man’s song?
Or write you love letters in a café
as I sip apricot tea and scribble hearts
in the corner of my journal?

What say you if I talk of the moon,
of how it lingers in the corner
or your eye/I, or how the alien appearance
of your being—how you stand, walk
think, feel, and speak—seems odd,
yet familiar in a way that makes
me reach out and want to touch you,
explore you, read you, write you.

If I hand you a gun, would you smear
the powder over my page like ink-blot tears,
a murder’s note masked in a suicide’s letter?
And if I gave you the chance to
lay out your dreams—your wildest fantasies—
and let those creatures, those ideas,
those beautiful, magical, electric thoughts
that lay within your realm, loose…
would you take my hand
and speak through me? Draw it out
in a gothic rainbow, sprinkled with cotton-candy
tears and covered in the white sheet of promise?

My dearest Speculative,
you possess me in this time,
in this space, and I sing of clouds
as I look into your thousand faces and see
chance, opportunity;
A new way for poets to bleed,
to create without reservation
while you whisper rebellion,

preach about conflict of the soul
for we no longer live in a world
where the poet writes the poem,
but rather the poem seeks out the poet,
weaving motive through meter,
metaphor through prose,
and when the words stop,
the writer—no, the artist!—will see
that you have opened
up a world where any measure of
madness is free to run, to play, to be,
and that through you—we, the creators—
are free to imagine all possibilities,
all forms.

                                           — Stephanie M. Wytovich

“A Poem to Poetry” copyright © 2013 by Stephanie M. Wytovich





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