Poetry Saturday: Ernest Hemingway

We ate well and
cheaply and drank
well and cheaply
and slept well and
warm together and
loved each other

For Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. These are the women (prose) authors on self’s 2020 Reading List:

  • Liane Moriarty
  • Diane Gabaldon
  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Mathangi Subramanian
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Jung Chang
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Sally Rooney
  • Peg Alford Pursell
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Dacia Maraini
  • Shahrnush Parsipoor
  • E. R. Ramzipoor
  • Elizabeth Tallent
  • Sadie Jones

Also: Caroline Kim-Brown’s short story collection, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, coming this fall: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts. You can read the title story now, in Ms.Aligned Vol. 3.

Women self has read so far 2020:

  • Dodie Smith
  • Katherine Addison
  • Jia Tolentino
  • Kathryn Ferguson

Poetry Saturday 2: Kyi May Kaung

MR. SMOOTHIE

from the chapbook Pelted With Petals: The Burmese Poems (Alaska: Intertext, 1996)

This is what
you’re paid to do
spin doctor to put
a good
surface on
things —

your side says
we’re rude —
you’re recognized
by the UN
no less
defacto —
you don’t lose
your temper – polished in your
polyester
suit – cheroot burn in your
tie – big hole in the center –
but remember
truth is sometimes ugly
often ugly —
lies can be beautifully
crafted —
the smoothness of a surface
is not our criterion
lies make us angry – we shout –
blood comes out
through our
nostrils and
all our
bodies’
other
orifices —
what can be
uglier and more
truthful than
blood.


Kyi May Kaung received her doctorate in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is originally from Rangoon, Burma and has written four collections of poetry and an allegorical novel, She Monkey Goes West, which was a finalist for a Pew Fellowship for fiction. Much of her poetry addresses oppression in Burma, now called Myanmar, as well as the experience of being a woman in relation to others.

Poetry Saturday: Brian Komei Dempster

OVER THE EARTH

— Nanking, 1937

“Over the Earth” by Brian Komei Dempster from Topaz (c) 2013. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.   

I don’t want us
to end here, wondering
who will be first,

our eyes lowered
as the soldiers raise
their blades,

slicing those
ahead of us.
Kneeling by the gutter,

I conjure our home
in fading light.
At the kitchen table

you opened
a bottle of plum wine,
unwrapped paper,

lifted the vein
to filet soft meat.
Now their swords strike

closer, the ground shifts
with each head cut
from its stem,

I hear the thud
of your rolling pin
pounding flour,

the dust rising
like bone smoke.
The edge is near, my love.

Skies darken
into our room,
the clouds a line

of ivory buttons
on the blue silk
of your dress.


Brian Komei Dempster was editor of From Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America’s Concentration Camps (Kearney Street Workshop, 2001), which received a 2007 Nissei Voices Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society, and Making Home From War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011)

Haiku Tuesday: Des Dillon

SHAVED HEAD

from Scunnered: Slices of Scottish Life in Seventeen Syllables (Luath Press, Edinburgh, 2011)

You don’t understand
because you are fuckin thick.
That’s the art we like.


Galloway writer Des Dillon is an internationally acclaimed award-winning writer and stand-up comic. His novel Me and Ma Gal was shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and won the World Book Day ‘We Are What We Read’ poll for the novel that best describes Scotland today.

Poetry Saturday: Jackie Gorman

Met Jackie at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Self ordered her collection The Wounded Stork, as soon as she got home.

Oh, wondrous.

DSCN0450

Shorn

Pale blue eyes looking up,
I put nitroglycerine under your tongue,
as we watch the football and
hum Nessum Dorma.
I help you to shave or tie a Windsor Knot,
each time noticing the beige circle
on your cheek,
melanoma erased by radiotherapy.

In July, you planted a rosemary bush.
Covered in ancient toil and sweat,
I help you undress in the hallway.
Closing the bathroom door, seeing you bare,
all of you was vulnerable and shorn,
shivering like a frightened lamb.
My skin burnt silently and slowly.

You looked at me and
I write you a poem with naked eyes.


Jackie Gorman has been published in a number of journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd, The Honest Ulsterman and in anthologies such as The Windows Anthology. She was part of the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series, a national programme to profile and support emerging poets in Ireland.

Poetry Monday: Jose Wendell Capili

Ohtaue

(Prelude to a rice festival)

from the collection A Madness of Birds (University of the Philippines Press, 1998)

Call it staple.
Marsh grass with stems
veiled in leaf sheaths.
From a farmer’s thatched
cottage, it is the speech
of earth nourishing
a roothold, green and firm
like frogs torching on a path.
A cool breeze of fall
spells harvest.
Rice grains are hard,
mellowing when cooked,
a passion flickered
when ascetics donning
orange robes reflect
the shape of parasol pots
containing each grain.
A luminous space
of children strumming
arpeggiolike strings
invite settlers to wear
pearls and summer kimonos
dyed from playful
shades of light.
Bamboo flutes hum
while people eat rice.


Jose Wendell P. Capili graduated from the University of Santo Tomas and holds a Masters in Philosophy degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University (England). He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Korea Foundation, The Carlos Palanca Foundation, The Cultural Center of the Philippines and Silliman University. He teaches at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Poetry Thursday: Kate Miller

At the Dew Pond, West Dale

from Kate Miller’s first collection, The Observances (Oxford, Carcanet Press)

The boys have caught the sun
and cross the field with their loot
striding barefoot on cropped grass,
surf-boards like shields held triumphal
four crowns laurelled by the cliff-edge light.
The sea’s a wily dog who tugs them back:
swinging to face its pull they stall, lose all
sense of being watched.
A tiny snake
weaves through the cool purée of pond,
black-buttoned in its shift of greenness.
First time we’ve ever seen one
here, long evenings waiting for our young —
who happen on us suddenly as men.


Kate Miller grew up in Hampshire and now lives in London. She studied Art History at King’s College, Cambridge, and Fine Art at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, London.

Poetry Tuesday: Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Night Deer

from the collection Poems: Selected and New (Ateneo de Manila University Press)

It was deer dark when I opened the door,
I mean in the blackness I could make out
The free form of a fawn, a nose
Would be there small and cold, would cloud
My face, and if I stretched my hand I’d hold
A funny little jaw, how dark the round
Night, and it would kneel if it was stroked
And I would pat it, and about
This deer, of course, I’d been feeling the road,
Touch and its tale, and darkness you could count
How many deer —
And then I would not close
The door so they could come and ring around,
Darkness and its animals, so you would know.


Simeon Dumdum, Jr. once studied for the priesthood in Galway, Ireland, but left the seminary to take up law. He has won prizes from the Palanca and Focus Philippines.

Poetry Sunday: Alfredo Navarra Salanga (1948-1988)

Anniversary

from the collection One Hundred Love Poems: Love Poetry Since 1905, edited by Gemino H. Abad and Alfred A. Yuson (The University of the Philippines Press)

Why celebrate the day we married
With a poem about your hair?
Perhaps because I’ve always wondered
how it would have been if left uncut:
after ten long years it could have grown
maybe long enough to brush the floor.
But life is very much like hair.
(or should that be the other way around?):
the cutting of it marks beginnings.
We have been blessed, the two of us,
with the resiliency of your hair —
we have always been capable of growth
and of not losing our way

1985

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