“I am Pete Rose, dying with the hopelessly screwed, scorning giants whose plans date back before saviors . . . .” —This from is a mash-up of a blogpost, lyrics from several musicians, and three poems from a poet called Amanda. She can write. Check her out here:
The Syrian poet, Adonis, or Ali Ahmad Said Asbar, who might have won the Nobel Prize this year, wrote this below. I imagine the Nobel Committee thought it would be too political to choose a Syrian writer in this political climate of The Arab Spring. It’s from the title poem of the book, Desire Moving Through Maps of Matter:
I summon angels and ambulances—
I turn into water and flow in the pool of my sorrows
I become a horizon and climb the heights of desire.
I know that we die only once and are many times reborn
And I know that death is only useful if we live it through.
I know that the hereafter is this rose
and that a human face is the other side of the sky.
Tomas Tranströmer, a Swedish poet, won the Nobel Prize for literature today. Here’s a bit of one poem below and six others here. Enjoy.
After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.
The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.
The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays no tax to Caesar.
Tim Gager, the principal of the Dire Reader Series, announces a new literary journal: Printer’s Devil Review (PDR). He’s its Editorial Consultant and he helped find authors to submit to the journal. Thomas Dobson created it along with his staff of editors. It’s is an open-access journal of stories, poems, and visual art. They aim to provide emerging writers and artists with greater access to publishing. For the reader they hope to deliver new voices and visions. The journal has all the contents downloadable on PDF files from the Website. If the story of Kate Racculia is an example, he’s met his promise to showcase good writing. I was once a printer’s devil (a printing assistant) and had my own Red Howl Press when “press” meant paper under my feet and ink under my fingernails.
Daybreak in Alabama
by Langston Hughes
When I get to be a composer
I’m gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I’m gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew.
I’m gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
And big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I’m gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
And touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a composer
And write about daybreak
The BBs are my favorite poerty group so it’s good to report that Bagel Bard Tino Villanueva has been included in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Here’s one of his poems in English, the orginal is, of course, in Spanish. The Bagel Bard Website.
I PICTURED A PAGE
I pictured a page–a blank white presence,
pure opposite of life,
since life bursts forth.
It brings on its rituals, come calm or storm,
and instantly: it’s unerasable.
The page was real; I held it
in my two hands: white-page-utterly-white,
its utter whiteness unfathomable–
higher logic of a stuff that above all
demands the vital coloring of life
and of all that’s been lived.
It was night; I just couldn’t go on,
but still, I couldn’t stop. Gazing and dazed,
I reached toward the immense ocean-wide
of the white. I scratched scant words
across the blank white-washed: mineral white.
In the beginning there was a page;
and on the page, a memory,
and memory turned to words–
what gets forgotten, then comes back,
what’s been mine, forever and without end,
what, when it ends, ends up being what I write.
Original in Spanish: “Imaginé un papel” from Primera causa / First Cause/
Merrick: Cross-Cultural Communications, 1999). ©1999 by Tino Villanueva
Just because she won the award, it doesn’t mean she isn’t a fine poet. She won the Pulitzer for “The Best of It: New and Selected Poems.” This is one of her poems:
THINGS SHOULDN’T BE SO HARD
A life should leave
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn-out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
Her things should
keep her marks.
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space—
however small —
should be left scarred
by the grand and
be so hard.
“Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard” from The Niagara River by Kay Ryan, Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.