Poem, Today, 4th Thursday of July (2014)

I wander down streets losing
things I gather up again:
parts of my life
that have turned up from far away.

– excerpt from “Everything is Filled With You”, by Miguel Hernandez (1910 – 1942)

* * * *

Self loves this poem.  She stumbled across it in The New York Review of Books. Hernandez wrote it from prison. He was sentenced to 30 years for his role as a cultural ambassador for the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War.

The translation is by Don Share.

She’s quoted from it on this blog before, but this morning the section above seemed especially moving.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2014 Mendocino Writers Conference, July 31 – Aug. 2

The Mendocino Writers Conference starts Thursday, July 31 and runs to Saturday, Aug. 2 at College of the Redwoods in Mendocino.

The conference is now in its 25th year, which is pretty amazing.

Kudos to the Mendocino Art Center folks, who work so tirelessly to Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz in PANK No. 7

This is an excerpt from Cristin’s poem, “After Reading Your Poem About Hawaii,”  which was in PANK No. 7.  I bought four back copies of PANK from their Book Fair table at the last AWP, in Seattle, and am only now, four months later, finally settling down to read them!

I really liked Cristin’s poem — a lot!

Poems are phone calls you can eavesdrop on.
When you are a poet, poems are everywhere.
I still read your poetry. Sometimes I think
I still see me in there.

But other times I know that’s not the truth.
The truth is that we both know where we are,
and it’s not next to each other anymore.
So what am I to make of this poem?

Where you are the you I am speaking to,
when in real life we are not speaking at all.
Ring ring, my brain says. Or maybe, it can
just be my poem waving to your poem.

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and her work has been published in Conduit, Rattle, Barrelhouse, La Petite Zine, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, among others.  For more information, visit http://www.aptowicz.com

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Hydrangea”

Self loves gardens.  Ergo, she loves reading about gardens.

And when she isn’t reading a gardening magazine, she’s reading literary journals.

Today self is reading a back issue of the New Orleans Review.  They published a piece of hers, “Thing.”  Which was science fiction.  It was the start of her new experiments in genre.  Thank you, New Orleans Review.

And here is a flower poem by L. S. Klatt.  It’s called “The Hydrangea.”

In a hospital bed, the hydrangea
lies sedated. A gown covers it,
stem to neck, but neglect sunburned ankles
that seem to have walked a mile through dune grass.
And what a day that must have been, the head
of the flower, in a bathing cap, out
searching for wavy blue. June, the blooming
season, hothouse of panicles & Starstreaks.
Then August, rainwater dripping through a
French horn of tubes; the hydrangea
dishevels on a pillow, wilted giant.

Oh dear! The poor hydrangea! Well, hopefully the hydrangea in the poem will recover soon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Poem About Dentists on EUNOIA REVIEW

Self has a dentist appointment, later today.  She is not at all looking forward to the prospect.

This morning, she checks in on Eunoia Review and what does she see?

A poem about dentists.

How’s that for synchronicity, dear blog readers?

Here’s the first half:


by Katherine La Mantia

The dentist showed me
the x-rays where the
radiation lit up my teeth
like strings of lights at Christmas.
can you imagine how
marie curie glowed
And she pointed with
her pen tap-tapping
on my molar
or bicuspid, I don’t know.
the metal rings shrill
hammer on enamel

She showed me where
she would put metal brackets
and metal wires
and how she would

What a beautiful name.  The poet has.  Katherine La Mantia.

Katherine La Mantia is an undergraduate at the University of Georgia.

Stay tuned.

Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition, June 21-22, 2014

It is the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War, as self was being constantly reminded when she was in the UK, a few weeks ago.

Those kinds of commemorations seem to get lost in the welter of American politics — Are we going back into Iraq?  What should/can we do about Putin?  — but the Review section of the June 21-22, 2014 Wall Street Journal is entirely devoted to articles about the Great War.  On p. C3, at the bottom right corner, is a tiny article by Amanda Foreman on “The Poets of Devastation.”

All the familiar names are there:  Rupert Brooke (gorgeous), Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon.

After a few mentions of these poets’ iconic works, Foreman delivers the meat and potatoes:

“. . .  the war poets’ greatest contribution wasn’t their rediscovery that war is truest hell, but their reinvention of poetry as a democratic mode of expression.”

She mentions the “broadening of the canon” with works like Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.

“. . .  there is no other war in history,” Foreman writes, “. . . with the exception of the Trojan War, whose poetry has so shaped a nation.”

(Self thinks the Vietnam War definitely served a similar function for American literature.  Think Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War.  Think Frances Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake.  Think Michael Herr’s Dispatches.  Think Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  Think Robert Stone)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Pigeon, Flying Away

Yesterday, Near Dublin Castle

Yesterday, in a Park Near Dublin Castle

Self is re-reading John O’Donohue’s poetry collection Conamara Blues.

The first section, “Approachings,” begins with quotes by Hélene Cixous, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Love the quote from Cixous:

I want to watch watching arrive.
I want to watch arrivances.

Self was at the Chester Beatty Library yesterday until closing.

She then decided to sit in a little circular park to rest before catching a bus back to her B & B.

For some reason, there was a whole pod of pigeons in restless flight around a nearby bush.  So self waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Until she finally caught the rustle of a wing almost directly above the bench where she was sitting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Room 2: Lincoln’s Inn, Dublin

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

– John O’Donohue, “Fluent”

Self had the Special of the Day at Lincoln’s Inn:

Bacon and Cabbage: Self now knows that "Bacon" in Dublin means "Corned Beef" in the U.S.  If you want bacon in Dublin, what you want are called "streaky rashers."

Bacon and Cabbage: Self now knows that “Bacon” in Dublin is what “Corned Beef” is in the U.S. If you want U.S. -style bacon in Dublin, ask for “streaky rashers.”  BTW, the pinot noir went grrreat with the bacon and cabbage.

Self parked herself at Lincoln’s Inn for an hour and a half this afternoon.

a booth in Lincoln's Inn

A Quiet Sunday in Lincoln’s Inn

Her companion?  John O’Donohue’s Conamara Blues.


Getting here and back was pretty straightforward:  the No. 7 bus, no transfers needed.

Buses are so much cheaper than cabs.  And so much more interesting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Irish Writer # 7: Margaret Cotter

The Main House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

The Main House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

It is so peaceful here.  The air so — limpid.

Self discovered another Irish writer today, Margaret Cotter.  The poem below is from her first collection, Lines of Our Lives (Portlaoise, Co. Laois:  SMC Press, 2003)

“The Laneway”

 I know where there’s a mossy lane
that winds its way between the fields,
past tall stands of ancient trees,
and hedges filled with rustling
and the hum of bees.

Where wild flowers dazzle bright
and sparkle in the summer light
that burnishes your cottage white,
beneath its thatch of gold.

Around your house serene
a stone wall, ivy greened.
On the other side, a lake
where torpid fish sleep away
the idle hours of day.

I wish that I might stay forever,
away from all the noise and bother,
where dragonflies, translucent, hover,
down that mossy lane.

Works of Art (Of the Literary Kind): Colette Bryce, Irish Writer # 6

“The Beast”

I thought, to hear my mother talk,
corruption lurked
round every corner;
up back lanes, in the Bull Park shelter,
and nowhere more
than the high-rise walks
and stairwells of the Roseville Flats,
a den, she said, of iniquity –
levelled, now, to rubble.

I followed my nose for trouble;
and found my shadow racing me
along the dizzy balcony
of the seventh floor
and, chasing me,
the hound of hell, a vision –
its overgrown electric blue fur spiked
to lacquered peaks,
after the latest fashion.

–  from the collection The Full Indian Rope Trick (Picador Poetry, 2005)

About Colette Bryce (from the Author Bio at the back of the book):

Her The Heel of Bernadette was one of the most highly praised new collections of recent years, winning both the Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection, and the Strong Award for best new Irish poet.  Her second, The Full Indian Rope Trick (the title poem already the winner of the 2003 National Poetry Competition), sees a leap forward in confidence and range, with Bryce’s dark lyric and darker wit finding many voices.  She grew up in Ulster.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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