Poetry Tuesday: Simeon Dumdum Jr.

When Is a Poem Already a Poem

from the Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction, edited by Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. and Ricardo M. de Ungria (University of the Philippines, 1996)

I wasn’t listening when you asked that question.
I was looking out the window, at the boat
That was just then leaving the port of Dumaguete.
One more day and already I imagined
Myself on that boat, slumped in a chair,
Holding a book like a cup of coffee,
Hoping that during the passage across
The strait I could read without spilling
A word, but then I remembered I still
Had to send someone to buy me a ticket,
And there was your question, and how far the boat
Had gone out in the poem of the sea, now
That I wished someone there would think of us.
From the boat someone could see the mountains, but not us.
From the boat someone could see the mountains, but not us.
Already we had become the Cuernos de Negros.


Simeon Dumdum Jr. is a Filipino judge on the island of Cebu, and a well-known poet. We met in 2009, at an International PEN Conference. Have loved his poetry ever since.

Poetry Monday: T’ao Ch’ien

On Returning to My Garden and Field

— translated by Wu-chi Liu

(1)

When I was young, I did not fit into the common mold,
By instinct I love mountains and hills.

(2)

I plant beans at the foot of the southern hill;
The grass is thick and bean sprouts are sparse.
At dawn, I rise and go out to weed the field;
Shouldering the hoe, I walk home with the moon.

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Side yard: Self placed the Chinese character for longevity beside the gate.


Self studied Chinese poetry under Prof. James J. Y. Liu at Stanford University, who became her advisor.

T’ao Chi’en (365-427)

Popularly known as Tao Yuan-ming, he was born the son of an official’s family near what is modern-day Kiangsi. During his youth, the family fortunes declined, and after several frustrating attempts to find an appointment, he gave up all worldly ambitions and retired to his home and gardens while he was still in his early forties.

A Book Launched: MsAligned 3

MsAligned Vol. 3: Women Writing About Men launched in the spring. This spring. Which means, during the corona virus epidemic. But it’s out there now, out in the world.

Thank you, Editor Rebecca Thomas. Thank you, Pat Matsueda, Founder of MsAligned. Thank you, El Leon Literary Arts and Manoa Books, for co-publishing. Thank you, Shawna Yang Ryan, for the lovely Introduction. Thank you, Lillian Howan, for soliciting self’s story. Thank you, Melissa Chimera, for the beautiful front-cover art. Thank you, Carly Elizabeth Huggins, for the beautiful back-cover art.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

Mary Archer * Mary Carozza * Ryan Nicole Granados * Lillian Howan * Gerda Govine Ituarte * Caroline Kim * Rachel King * Pat Matsueda * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Jeannine Ouellette * Connie Pan * Ann Pancake * Grace Loh Prasad * Marilyn Stablein * Rebecca Thomas * Marianne Villanueva

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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