Noteworthy Today (First Wednesday of April 2014)

Self reached p. 266 of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed (Only 400 pp. more to go!)

Self is at the moment extremely bummed out about the fact that she read 58 chapters of what she thought was Everlark on fanfiction.net, and it turned out to be Katniss/Gale.  Boo. Well, the category did say “Angst.”  Self, you should know by now:  angst =  love triangle.  And just like that, three days of her life (24 hrs. x 3 = 72 hours) go up in smoke.  Self adores “dark Peeta” but abhors “dark Gale.” Dark Katniss is pretty much standard.

These are the books she’s read thus far in 2014:

  • In the Shadow of Man, by Jane van Lawick Goodall
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West
  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed

Although this year she has set a record for extremely-slow-to-finish-reading, the three books she’s read so far have been — luckily — outstanding.  And all of them, it just so happens, are nonfiction.  What does that mean.

The next two books on her reading list are by Jhumpa Lahiri: the short story collection Unaccustomed Earth and the novel The Namesake.

Her retired priest friend in Dublin says he’s managed to get a fellow priest to agree to drive her to Tyrone Guthrie.  According to him, it’s a 2-hour drive north. OMG!  Self cannot allow it.  It would mean two hours worth of gas and whatever, each way.  These words from her friend the retired priest stick out in her mind:  wild and remote.  Wild and remote.  Gaaaah!  One more time: Wild and remote.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

EKPHRASIS: Jean Vengua’s The Little Book of Haptic Drawings

The word epkphrasis is one of those words, like deconstruction or meta-fiction, that self has heard floating about, here and there, usually in the most erudite settings — like literary magazines.  Like university websites (She used to have “dystopian” on that short list, but ever since The Hunger Games, and its overwhelming popularity, self hears “dystopian” at least 10x a day and it may be moving from the realm of the esoteric to the realm of cliché)

Ekphrasis refers to poems inspired by another art form — visual arts, say, or music.

The Little Book of Haptic Drawings is about ekphrasis.  But you don’t even need to know that.

It’s available now online in pdf format.  You can read it for free online or download it.  Jean would welcome a small donation — anything you can afford.  (There’s a small donation button on the sidebar).   Just click on the link.  Explore.  Enjoy.

And if you fell in love with it, be sure and let Jean know.

Stay tuned.

 

1st Friday of March (2014): Reading Poetry

P. 1 of Mary Ruefle's SELECTED POEMS (Wave Books, 2010)

P. 1 of Mary Ruefle’s SELECTED POEMS (Wave Books, 2010)

One good thing about rooming with poet Luisa Igloria during the recent AWP conference in Seattle (three shouts out for Seattle, what a gorgeous city) is that self got to learn a little more about poets.

The AWP Book Fair (where self spent most of her time hanging out) is like a big block party, only 10x better because everyone’s artistic and eccentric.  At the Wave Books table, self saw a display of books by poet Mary Ruefle. Until last week, self had never heard of her (Aaaargh, because self is stupid, OK? In her defense, she’s a fiction writer and she didn’t even recognize probably half the names of the fiction writers on the AWP panels).

Luisa, can we room again at next year’s AWP?  Self would dearly love to do a Part 2 of this personalized crash course on contemporary poets!

At the Book Fair, self picked up a collection of Mary Ruefle’s, and today was the morning she finally had a chance to start reading (Her car’s at the mechanic’s. It flunked the smog test. Her mechanic said it would be around $800 to get the engine to a point where it could pass the smog test. Understandably, self is in no hurry to pick up her car)

The very first poem in the book self purchased (Mary Ruefle:  Selected Poems) is this one:

Standing Furthest

All day I have done nothing.
To admonish me a few aspen
jostle beneath puny stars.
I suppose in a rainforest
a draft of hands brought in
the tubers for today, women
scratched their breasts in the sunlight
and smiled: someone somewhere
heard the gossip of exotic birds
and passed it on in the night
to another, sleeping curled like an ear:
of all things standing furthest
from what is real, stand these trees
shaking with dispensable joy,
or those in their isolation
shading an extraordinary secret.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

EATING CULTURES Call for Submissions/Bellingham Review’s Annual Contest

The EATING CULTURES submission deadline is coming up very soon (this Sunday, Mar. 9!); self only found out about it today, via an e-mail from Karen Llagas. Thanks much, Karen!

The Asian American Women Writers Association (aawaa.net) is accepting submissions for a multidisciplinary arts exhibition exploring Asian Pacific American (APA) food and foodways (See deadline above)

Artists are invited to submit works that examine the idea, literally and metaphorically, of food and feeding (or the lack thereof) in creating and negotiating personal, gender and cultural representations in both the APA community and U.S. mainstream culture.

Eligibility:  Artists working in literary and visual arts, film & video, sculpture, installation and multimedia arts of Asian Pacific American descent

Venue:  SOMArts Cultural Center, Main Gallery, San Francisco

Juror:  Dr. Margo L. Machida, Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at University of Connecticut

For more information, e-mail:  exhibitions.aawaa@gmail.com or call:  (212) 433-0229

The deadline for Bellingham Review’s Annual Literary Contest is approaching:  BEFORE Mar. 15, 2014.  Here’s some additional information:

Three $1,000 prizes and publication in Bellingham Review are awarded for works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  Finalists will be considered for publication.  The 49th Parallel Poetry Award is given for poetry; Kathleen Flenniken will judge.  The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given for a short story; Shawn Wong will judge.  The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay; Joy Castro will judge.  Before Mar. 15, 2014, submit prose up to 6,000 words or up to three poems with a $20 entry fee ($10 for each additional entry); this includes a subscription.  Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The 10 Books Self Keeps Near

Self loves surveys of reading habits.

This one’s from Kepler’s Books Facebook page:

Name at least five books you’d keep near.

Self can’t possibly keep it to five.

Here are the 10 books self keeps near (on a shelf right above her MacMini):

  1. 50 Stories From Israel:  An Anthology, edited by Zisi Stavi
  2. The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene
  3. Myths and Symbols:  Philippines, by F. R. Demetrio, S.J.
  4. Drive-By Vigils, by R. Zamora Linmark
  5. National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Trees of North America
  6. Going Home to a Landscape:  Writings by Filipinas, edited by Marianne Villanueva and Virginia Cerenio
  7. Pinoy Capital:  The Filipino Nation in Daly City, by Benito M. Vergara
  8. Another Kind of Paradise:  Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan
  9. Flannelgraphs, by Joan McGavin (Met Joan at Hawthornden, which was part of the reason self enjoyed Scotland so much)
  10. If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly, by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Lists are fluid; the books rotate per self’s mood.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Monday, the Fifth Day After New Year’s (2013)

Angela Narciso Torres’s first poetry collection, Blood Orange, was last year’s winner of the Willow Books Literature Prize! Understandably, she has been extremely busy!  Aside from doing readings from her collection, Blood Orange, she has shepherded a son to Stanford, while still serving as senior poetry editor for RHINO magazine.  Self admires her so much!

Here’s a poem from Blood Orange:

Ironing Woman

Afternoons I’d lie on her woven mat
of lemongrass and burnt leaves,
listening to tales of spurned love
on her bright-yellow transistor radio.
From her I learned what the old wives knew –

never to wash after ironing. Propelling
the gleaming prow along the ripples
of my father’s shirt, she’d tell how the iron
gnarled her wrists, once smooth as bamboo.
How the steaming metal twisted
her veins, brought on “the shakes.”
When I saw the serpentine rivers
on her arms, I knew this was true. Slowly

she’d raise both hands to show how
they trembled like maidenhair ferns
before a storm. Turning to her work,
her eyes reclaimed their stare
as though tracing a gull’s shadow
over the surging sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New Year’s Day Poem: “Tired” by Maiana Minahal

This poem was in the anthology self co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx Books, 2003)

Tired

    by Maiana Minahal

Not demon nor god
just my tired father
who snaps off the useless bulb
burning above me.
Home from another night shift
at the machine shop,
grimy at midnight,
he finds me
half asleep,
face down in a book, tired
from trying to cram
too much in one night.
Too young, he thinks,
to work so hard.
But he wants me to work hard
and ace this American country,
His footsteps fade away
as I try to shake off sleep
to tell him,
no American dream drives me,
but fear,
fear of failing to conquer words
I don’t
understand.

Community 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Christmas is only a week away!

Self cannot believe how fast 2013 flew by!

Thinking about “Community” a bit more.  It’s a perfect theme for the week before Christmas.

Still in connection with this theme, self will add more pictures from the last Filipino American book event she attended:  the Filipino International Book Festival, held in the San Francisco Main Library in October.

Linda Nietes, owner of Philippine Expressions, the quintessential bookstore, with Angela Narciso Torres, whose collection, BLOOD ORANGE, was this year's winner of the Willow Book Prize

Linda Nietes, owner of Philippine Expressions, the quintessential Filipino bookstore (L.A. based, but they do mail order), with Angela Narciso Torres, whose collection, BLOOD ORANGE, was this year’s winner of the Willow Book Prize

DSCN2574 DSCN2578

Photo # 2 is a solo shot of Linda Nietes standing next to a bulul!  A bulul is an Igorot fertility carving.  There was an exhibit of bululs at the Palo Alto Cultrual Center on Newell Road, several years ago.  Nine months later, a number of women who had attended the exhibit delivered babies.  It was an unusual enough occurrence that the event got written up in the local papers.

Photo # 3 is one of my All-Time Favorites:  Florante Aguilar and Fides Enriquez, the husband-and-wife team that brought us one of self’s favorite movies of the year: a documentary about “the lost art of serenade,” Harana.

Community: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

As we move closer and closer to Christmas, the WordPress Photo Challenges seem to be aiming for the spiritual aspect . . .

Last week’s theme was Grand.  This one’s is Community.

Here’s part of the prompt on The Daily Post:

Community.  When I think of this word, I imagine all sorts of scenes:  A family sitting and chatting in a living room.  Crowds gathering in squares to watch a holiday tree lighting.  Or even some of the spaces on the web that I frequently visit . . .

These are self’s first batch of pictures on the theme “Community.”  She took these pictures two months ago, at the annual Filipino American Book Festival, held in the San Francisco Main Library.  The book display tables were fascinating (Self will not lie; she aimed for the display that showed two of her books.  After all, she has to sell books, too.  She can’t just be writing, writing, writing all the time — though, come to think of it, she would love it if she could do just that)

DSCN2613 DSCN2638 DSCN2640 DSCN2642

The writers pictured are all poets.  From the top:  Michelle Bautista, Jean Vengua, and Karen Llagas.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WACCAMAW No. 12

Waccamaw No. 12 (Fall 2013 issue) went live about two weeks ago, but self was so overwhelmed with the typhoon disaster in the Philippines that she couldn’t focus.

Self’s story, “Bridging,” which she began last year while doing a residency in Hawthornden, is one of the current issue’s fiction pieces.  The other stories are “Vostok vs. Belmont,” by Ned Balbo; “Liner Notes,” by Matthew Fiander; “In a Far Country,” by Khanh Ha; and “Fireworks,” by Charles Israel, Jr.

The nonfiction features “Glass House: The First Moment of Her Leaving,” by Hannah de la Cruz Abrams; “On Needing,” by Erin Grauel; “Halloween Glossary, D-H,” by Tom McAllister; “Corrida de Toros,” by Lane Osborne; and “Notes on Being a Mistress,” by Cynthia Schoch.

The poetry features “You Were Made for This Part,” by Paul Allen; “Priority Seating for People With Disabilities and Seniors,” by Agatha Beins; “Still Breathing,” by Jo Brachman; “In Vineland,” by Mark J. Brewin, Jr.; “Lottie” and “Pepsi” by Nickole Brown; “Operation I” by Michelle Chan Brown; “Apples or Waffles,” by Kathy Didden; “O Mary Lou” by Anthony DiMatteo; “My Lips Are Made of Wax, My Teeth are Furry Blades, and Other Lies,” by Karla Huston; “All That Happened,” by Donald Illich; “Faultline,” by Elizabeth W. Jackson; “Sometimes Winter Comes When You Least Expect It” and “The Bright Forever” by Terry L. Kennedy; “Entreaty” by Keetje Kuipers; “The Third Egg” by Diane Lockward; “Icarus at Lake Acworth” by Christopher Martin; “Crossing Peachtree” by Thorpe Moeckel; “Roadkill” and “The Astronaut” by Alan Michael Parker; and “Improvisation on Newsprint” and “Window Box” by Mike Smith.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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