Poetry Saturday: Irene Suico Soriano

Met her at the reading put together by Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions (San Pedro, CA) in March.

Been reading her collection, Primates From an Archipelago: Poems (Rabbit Fool Press), off and on ever since. The back has blurbs from Melissa Roxas and Jennifer Tseng (both of whom self has never read; adding to the “To Read” pile!)

The book is divided into four sections: Scattered Islands, Reclamation, Scattered Cities, and Smog.

From the poem Months, for Napoleon Lustre:

I.

Essex said it perfect:
It is easier to be furious than yearning.
You belong to tribes of warriors and outlaws.
Many who are now dying or just waiting like you.
As I sit here by your bed looking at your sleeping body,
I wonder how long your fury can sustain you.

DSCN0385

Published 2017 by Rabbit Fool Press: http://www.rabbitfoolpress.com

Enthralling, powerful collection.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tim O’Brien: “On the Rainy River”

Of course, the title story, The Things They Carried, is brilliant: the listing of each piece of equipment and their weight, all contributing to that sense of dread too large to name.

Then, in “On the Rainy River” (Story # 4), self reads something that seems so basic, so elemental, so sensible, that she can’t believe no one’s quoted it before?

  • The only certainty that summer was moral confusion. It was my view then, and still is, that you don’t make war without knowing why. Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you cant make them undead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA, pp. 138 – 139 mentions Gogol

Loving this book because of all the writerly mentions. In addition to Bulgakov (Must watch the movie with Charlotte Rampling), there are Osip Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova . . .

All tortured, sent into exile, heartbreaking. But at least their words survived.

On p. 138, there’s a mention of Gogol (Self has to type on the floor, sitting on throw pillows; sitting at a desk gives her hand and wrist cramps. But the other day, she noticed spiders crawling over her legs and feet and she’s like constantly on the alert with Off! spray).

p. 138:

In his later years, Gogol had become convinced that God had abandoned him. Tortured, half-crazed, he burnt his remaining manuscripts only days before he died. As though the promise of man’s redemption must perish with him. He claimed the Devil had tricked him into doing so. He’d been only forty-one.

p. 139:

In 1931 when Gogol’s body was exhumed he was discovered to be facing downward. The writer had had a terrible fear of being buried alive, so much so that he’d willed his casket be fitted with a breathing tube as well as a rope by which to sound some external bell if needed.

As the grimness gathers around Bulgakov, the novel can only get more depressing. But so far, self has been able to persist.

This novel won the 2017 First Novel Prize from New York’s Center for Fiction, “the only literary center in the United States devoted to the art of fiction.”

Kudos to Ms. Himes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Economist Obit, 14 April 2018: Louie Kamookak, Explorer and Researcher

His ramshackle house outside Gjoa Haven, with hot water drawn from a camping stove, also had the best internet connection in town. Here he read and read and read.

What’s Available in The Only Bookstore in Redwood City, CA

Self is reviewing her reading list. Really, it’s become almost an obsession. She goes into the closest bookstore to her house, the Barnes & Noble in Sequoia Station, and out of a list of 22 book titles (novels published 2017), she found just these three:

  • As Lie Is to Grin, by Simeon Marsalis
  • Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
  • Mikhail and Margarita, by Julie Lekstrom Himes

She doesn’t wish to knock her neighborhood Barnes & Noble because it really is a good store, with a better-than-average fiction section. Anyhoo, congratulations to authors Marsalis, Saunders and Himes for having their books in the store.

BTW, an island book which was recently published and which self highly recommends is Lillian Howan’s The Charm Buyers, set in Tahiti. She read it when it was first published last year and it is just the most luscious thing.

A week ago, self went back to her B & N, toting along a list of 60 titles, all recommended by her fellow Hawthornden writers in June 2012 (She found this list again just a few weeks ago; it was stuck in a drawer), and all she found in the store were these:

  • The Things They Carried and The Lake in the Woods, by Tim O’Brien
  • Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
  • The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber
  • Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

Granted, the Hawthornden list is made up of books at least several years old.

When she was last in Mendocino, she took her list of Island Books to Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, and the salesperson, a very nice young man, told her: “With all due respect, these books are pretty old.” (I’d say! For example, these titles: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, published 1927; The Fish Can Sing, by Halldor Laxness, published 1957; A House For Mr. Biswas, by V. S. Naipaul; published ___ decades ago?; Greenvoe, by George Mackay Brown, published 1972)

She found Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey and when she was paying for it, she kept telling the bookstore person who rang up the sale: This is a very good book! Why do you only have one copy?

And the beleaguered staff person had to say: Well, we don’t normally have people come in from the street asking for The Odyssey.

Poor guy! Self didn’t mean to be so insistent but she is absolutely relentless in her quest for the Holy Grail — er, for the books on her list!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still More Awakenings: Sea Urchins

Last night was Second Saturday in Mendocino, and the weather was beautiful. Self walked down the street to the Artists Co-op on 10400 Kasten Street and saw some very beautiful artwork: paintings and sculpture and collages and jewelry, all by local artists.

Her friend, Mary-Ellen Campbell, had a few handmade books on exhibit, as well as collages. Self adores collages of all kinds.

DSCN0814

Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Self loved the sharp little objects that are clustered on Mary-Ellen’s encaustic collages. Liza, an artist who self met at one of her previous readings in Mendocino, explained that those sharp little things are sea urchin spines. “If you go to the parking lot of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, you’ll find lots of these scattered about,” Liza told self.

DSCN0815

Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Liza told self that sea urchins are killing the forests of sea kelp that the local abalone population needs to survive (see San Francisco Chronicle article here), and that’s why abalone are becoming extremely hard to find.

She learns new things every day.

Fascinating.

Stay tuned.

 

AWAKENING in Caspar, CA: An Artist’s Home

The artist is Mary-Ellen Campbell. She is a tireless traveler who paints and makes little books of found objects.

DSCN0805

One of Mary-Ellen Campbell’s Books: She also writes poetry.

Mary-Ellen has been to Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. She set up this little shrine in her home:

DSCN0804

This is her living room. All the art on the walls is hers:

DSCN0801

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Hilary Tham

One of self’s purchases from the most recent AWP Bookfair, in Tampa, Florida, was a poetry collection called Bad Names for Women, by Hilary Tham. The author’s bio says that she was born in Kenang, Malaysia, lived in Arlington, Virginia, and had three daughters.

An excerpt from Mrs. Wei Goes Home to Shensi, from the collection Bad Names for Women (Washington DC: The Word Works, 1989)

Aiiyah . . . they told me, they told me true,
See Shanghai, Peking, SiAn first, but I
would not listen, Ancestral Village, then

the tours, I never dreamt a family
so extended, so devoted.
They trudge for miles, hitch rides

on two horse-power tractors, pony carts,
arrive begrimed with coal-dust
just to see my face. My traveler’s checks

vanish like dew on late-morning grass,
exchanged for yuan, sacks of rice,
“You must stay to dinner

(and breakfast) before your trip home,”
My uncle’s wife’s brother-in-law
says he rises at five to work the commune farm,

at dark returns to hoe his ginger patch.
It brings in fen for bread and cloth

AWAKENING: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 11 April 2018

This week, show us renewal. — Jen H., The Daily Post

The Daily Post has this quote from Jack London: “The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great Spring murmuring of awakening life.”

Today, self looked out the window of her unit at the Mendocino Art Center and noticed that the house next door has a tower:

DSCN0730

Next Door to the Mendocino Art Center, a Roof Tower

That’s GOT to be an awakening of sorts.

Next: self’s awakening always involve books. Since she just finished La Belle Sauvage (Vol. One of a new trilogy by Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust), she is extremely woke.

She’s started The Golden Compass, Volume One of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and here is the library bar code. Decades ago, self realized that she would never be able to store all the books she bought if she continued buying. So she wisely switched to checking books out of her local library. And has kept it up despite years of hectic traveling, carting the library books with her to Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, the Philippines, and so forth and so on.

DSCN0731

Library Barcode for The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

Other Awakenings:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tomb Raider: Just Okay

This is not a masterpiece. It’s not, even, that much fun. Alicia Vikander’s body is rippling with muscle so that’s certainly an improvement over Angelina Jolie’s (The trouble with Jolie as Lara Croft is that she’s very top-heavy and it gets in the way. Seriously). But Dominic West, poor Dominic West, is so wasted.

Here are a few positives:

  • That ripped body of Vikander’s
  • Walton Goggins having a stellar moment in every action/fantasy movie of the past few years (He was in the final Maze Runner movie, which self would rank higher than this one)
  • There is an Asian man who is kind and also has a ripped bod (Never seen this actor before. Googled. Welcome to the world, Daniel Wu!)
  • Solving puzzles is always fun. Though self did get a little lost when people were tossing all kinds of colored crystals at Lara Croft while balancing on their toes at the edges of a room with a crumbling stone floor.

Was there music? Self can’t remember. Too bad. A score can do so much for a movie.

What was that fox race through London? She doesn’t get the point, but loved that she saw a section of Tottenham Road, which she knows intimately: Hanway Alley (where her favorite London restaurant, Chez Nous, is) is just off Tottenham. Moreover, Vikander does a great job as a biker. She has that look of determination, and looks great in capris and bike helmet.

The guy who plays spoiled brat/murder suspect ‘Silver Smile’ in TNT’s The Alienist has a bit part!

Good Lord, she would never place this on the same level as The Last of the Mohicans, even if just for comparison, which critic Matt Zoller Seitz did in his review for RogerEbert.com. The Last of the Mohicans was a masterpiece! It was directed by Michael Mann, at the height of his powers! It starred Daniel Day-Lewis, at the height of his powers. (No, let’s re-phrase that: with Daniel Day-Lewis, there is no such thing as ‘height of his powers.’ Because he is still bringing it all the time! Just watch Phantom Thread!)! It introduced Wes Studi to the world!

Every time Vikander sailed through the air, self was reminded of the Fassbender move in 300. Which he executed so well that now, every action movie has to show its heroes and heroines doing the exact same move, at least once. It’s getting to be a thing! Vikander does it so many times in Tomb Raider that she even out-Fassbenders Fassbender.

Self found Tomb Raider a by-the-numbers thriller, which is to say it was not a thrill ride.

She was so excited, though, to see a preview of John Boyega’s Star Wars movie.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle

Rants Of A Gypsy

Amuse Thyself Reader!

FashionPoetry by Val

A blog. My blog

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog