I first met my cousin, Denise Janikowski-Krewal when I was eighteen months old. At the time she was writing under the simple moniker of “Denise Janikowski – de Mauvier Aupassant of Bletching Norton Under Thrackwood,” but she didn't know it yet. She had toddled over to our house bearing gifts of czarnina and blood sausage, as well as the condolences of her side of the family. My mother told her to leave the blood sausage and go home, so Denise placed the sausage in my crib, tweaked my nose, and left. I put down my martini and the unfiltered Pall Mall that I was smoking and took a bite of the uncooked blood sausage. I immediately spit it out, wet myself, and began crying. Mother slapped me a good one, took the sausage away from me, and switched my Pall Mall for one of her Kents with a filter tip. There, that's better.
The next time I ran into Denise Janikowski-Krewal she was writing under the name of Denise Krewal, but she was writing mostly irate letters to the Coop Editor at the “South Milwaukee Pigeon Times.” Little did I know that my dear cousin was a poet. A damned fine poet. A snarky, pigeon-kicking poet. Truth be known, she really kicks very, very few pigeons, but I am sure she thinks about it from time to time. The poetry is real, though, and it is fantastic. Period.
And so it was that one year ago today Denise and I began collaborating on this poetry blog. Mind you, I am a fiction writer, and not a poet. My only recourse has been to write pieces of flash fiction, edit out all but every fifth word, eliminate the capitalization and punctuation, and then list what remains in a column. Eighty percent of poetry blog readers think it is poetry. Fools.
Denise, on the other hand, is really a poet (did I already mention this?). In all seriousness, it has been an incredible honor to collaborate (in my own little way) with my dear cousin whose poetry never fails to captivate me. I eagerly await the release of her first book of poetry this spring, and I recommend it in advance to all lovers of the literary form.
In the mean time (in the words of W.H. Auden), thank you for following our material here on the lost beat, and please continue to read. As co-conspirator on this blog, I hereby proclaim this “the lost beat first anniversary celebration week.” I was knee deep in potato vodka last night when Denise informed me that today is our first anniversary, so I thought I would make up for my oversight by proclaiming an entire week's worth of activities and fun.
Never make proclamations when you are knee deep in a potato vodka hangover.