Posts tagged ‘poems’

June 12, 2011

Tim Gager Announces the Debut of Printer’s Devil Review

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.

Advertisements
May 21, 2011

Against Any Theory of Literary Theories

Coming to any conclusion regarding the value of any particular literary work or group of literary works against any other standard, whether it be an educational, political, or economic one, is simplistic and ludicrous. It’s as intelligent as rating the quality of paintings by the total number of brush strokes.

Let’s see, that’s Rembrandt with 11,534 strokes versus Jackson Pollock with 0. Or to make a literary comparison: it’s Tolstoy with 450,000 words versus Emily Dickinson with 3,250. Now, how fun is that? But if you want to keep warm during a Boston winter while avoiding news of American deaths in Afghanistan, read War and Peace and feel smug against the comparison with Moscow and Napoleon. If you want your brain to toy with the many times your feelings have reacted to a snake in the grass, read Dickinson’s poem about it. The joy Tolstoy and Dickinson had it creating those writings is there for all to read again and again. There is no way to create a definite product from that, but readers do keep coming back to it.

Ultimately, art cannot be put into any box besides its own creation. It is profoundly anti-establishment, anti-ideological and of course, anti-narrow-minded. Marjorie Garber says: “Literature is a process rather than a product, and if it progresses, it does so in a way that often involves doubling back upon a track or meandering by the wayside rather than forging ahead, relentlessly and single-mindedly, toward some imagined goal or solution.”

April 29, 2011

Of black and white black white black people— Langston Hughes

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
In Alabama.

April 24, 2011

Bagel Bard Tino Villanueva in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature

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.
Page 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: “ImaginĂ© un papel” from Primera causa / First Cause/
Merrick: Cross-Cultural Communications, 1999). ©1999 by Tino Villanueva

April 23, 2011

A Gold and White Spring

A Gold and White Spring

There is gold like that
there is white like that—
Are they far from the nightmares in grays,
Are they far from here?
If someone holds them for us
they are never gone far
only one world away
only one call away—
I need those colors now,
may I please borrow your eyes?

Eyes from California


Photo by Anne Abrams

April 18, 2011

Kay Ryan wins the Pulitzer for her poetry

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
deep tracks:
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
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
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
damaging parade.
Things shouldn’t
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.

April 10, 2011

How to learn to learn to write

Two Girls Invent a Spring Day
(for Charlotte)

A mommy, a doggie, a soccer ball, and two three-year-old girls.
One kicks it to the other and she runs away as if chased by it.
One kicks it to her again and she jumps over it twice as it rolls.
The other, tired, says new rule: kick it to yourself so I can sit.
New rule: I kick the ball to the doggie and I sit, too.
New rule: you stand on your head. I stand on my head.
New rule: the doggie should stand on his head.
Look at the doggie and giggle. Look at the sky and giggle.
New rule: when the doggie runs away, I kick the ball at him.
New rule: you have to giggle when you run.
Uh-oh, Mommy calls. Kick the ball to the far corner so
she has to run after it. Laugh at Mommy as she kicks the ball.
Kick it back to the corner again. Laugh at Mommy again.

If I could imaginate like these girls, I wouldn’t
have to walk across a park to a library
to get a book full of it: I’d kick a ball. I’d run.
I’d stand on my head. And I would laugh at Mommy.

April 9, 2011

The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Novelist

Is there a lonelier task on earth than writing novels? On days when the reality I’ve invented no longer serves to fill the space in my life, I feel more than empty. And other times, compared to my imagined characters, real friends and lovers sometimes appear pale. I hung out today with four people of excellent accomplishment, talents, and wit, yet I found myself habitually going home alone and being all right with that. I often feel that only the famous and dead writers I’ve read understand how I feel, yet they are no longer a comfort to me now that I inhabit a world of my own words. Their worlds are now places in which I can no longer live, only visit. I get the impression I’ve dreamed myself into a life others envy, yet they understand only the slightest amount about the solitary place into which it exiles me. It is a weak joke to me that my main characters so often find themselves alienated and desperate to throw themselves into the life of others, yet fail to do so successfully. Perhaps that alienation is the fuel that drives me to create new work after new work. How pale is that?

March 7, 2011

Writing: The Sweetest Curse

Writing is like pro football—you have to work at it until you sweat every day (and, of course, the injuries are more severe).

December 27, 2010

Dorothy Parker on living a poor writer’s life—

INTERVIEWER: Do you think economic security is an advantage to the writer?

PARKER: Yes. Being in a garret doesn’t do you any good unless you’re some sort of a Keats. The people who lived and wrote well in the twenties were comfortable and living easy. They were able to find stories and novels, and good ones, in conflicts that came out of two million dollars a year, not a garret. As for me, I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. I hate almost all rich people, but I think I’d be darling at it. At the moment, however, I like to think of Maurice Baring’s remark: “If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom he gives it.” I realize that’s not much help when the wolf comes scratching at the door, but it’s a comfort.

%d bloggers like this: