Eunoia Review: Last Wednesday of February 2015

By the time we fled our house
and the jackals
we’d become expert thieves,
really wonderful liars.
We smiled and told people how happy we were
while picking their pockets.

– excerpt from “Muscle Memory,” by Len Kuntz

*     *     *     *     *

For special occasions we ate
Glorified Rice,
white rice slathered with whipped cream and pineapple chunks.
Before that was German food,
hamburger baked inside dough,
fried dough and potatoes

– excerpt from “Glorified Rice,” by Len Kuntz

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection Dark Sunshine (Connotation Press).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Am Reading Today, Last Tuesday of February 2015

blogs

a friend’s novel

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

tweets about the Oscars

Sunflower Splendor: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

Here’s a poem called “Southern Mountains,” by Han Yu:

So therefore I watched a pool
Whose clear depths concealed water dragons.

Bending I could gather fish and prawns,
But who dares plunder divine beings?

About Han Yu: He was a late T’ang Dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Li Po and Tu Fu. He was born into a literary family of landed gentry in the province of Hunan. He served in several high posts in the government: Vice President of the Ministry of War, Vice-President of the Ministry of Personnel, and Metropolitan Governor. He died in Ch’ang-an in 824, at the age of 56.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Place, Memoir, Journey” Workshop, This Saturday & Sunday

Self’s primary purpose in coming here to Mendocino is to teach a workshop. A travel writing workshop. A workshop on writing about place. About a physical location. Something that exists. And damn self is going to make the students write as hard as they can. Write write write write write write, dear students. The funny thing about travel writing is: you’re writing about place, but you’re also writing about memory. And damn we will mine those memories to the max, dear students! Especially those of you who arrive in Mendocino from far away. From, say, Louisville! So, in order to prepare the students for this wonderful two-day hard writing weekend, self has been immersing herself in manuscripts. She’s looked at Zack Linmark’s Leche, which is tremendously inspiring for voice work. And she’s reading Tony Robles’s about-to-be-published manuscript Cool Don’t Live Here No More, which is amazing for being about a specific place that he loves so much: San Francisco, South of Market (which may be disappearing under the onslaught of construction and high-tech companies moving in)

She’s also reading the absolutely heartbreaking memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave. Deraniyagala lost her entire family in the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004. She lost her parents, her husband, and her two sons. And everyone told her: You’re so lucky you survived! Which just goes to show, people are stupid when it comes to pain. They either don’t feel it, or they feel it but they don’t want to feel it so they fight it and end up doing things like telling a woman whose entire life has been wiped out in one day: Thank the Lord you survived!

She’s also reading Thomas Lynch, who’s a poet but also an undertaker and also a memoir writer. She’s reading Nandini Dhar’s Lullabies are Barbed Nations. She wishes she had something by Atul Gawande and Abraham Verghese but after all, she could not bring her whole personal book collection to Mendocino. She’s still reading Roberto Bolaño and on the basis of the individual sentence, he is amazing. She thinks he has one sentence that goes on for two pages (Translator Natasha Wimmer, self salutes you) She will include the first page of her story “Rufino,” because it’s so far the only one of her short stories that mentions Neil Young. And Luisa Igloria’s poem “Oir” from her collection The Saints of Streets. And that’s as far as she’s taken her reading list at the moment. Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Scale 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

WordPress Daily Post Photo ChallengeSCALE

“This week, play with scale. Insert something into a scene to highlight size: your two-year-old in a field of flowers. A dime next to a huge cinnamon roll you picked up at the bakery.”

First, Mendocino houses, the sky at sunset:

Sunset, Little Lake Street, Mendocino

Sunset, Little Lake Street, Mendocino

Flowers in the Redwood City Farmers Market:

Flower Stand, Redwood City Farmers Market (The vendor's stall is that white tent behind the flowers)

Flower Stand, Redwood City Farmers Market (The vendor’s stall is that white tent behind the flowers)

Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

"Smoke" by Tony Smith, in the lobby of the Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Smoke” by Tony Smith, in the lobby of the Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Marcus Cumberlege: First Wednesday of February 2015

from firelines (London: Anvil Press Poetry) by Marcus Cumberlege (who self discovered when she was at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, last May)

Children of Lir

Cork of the dark waters
Connaught of the storms
Meath of still pastures
Our triangle, our forms

Everywhere we come from
Everywhere we go
Swans grow sleeves of crimson
The ancient ring-marks show

Ireland is a no-man’s-land
Where dead and living meet
Finola’s ‘flower-stung’ fingers
Knit Pearse’s winding-sheet

Coffin-ships trawl the ocean
And on beds tilled long ago
The shadowy birds of winter
Claw crosses in the snow.

Reading (First Tuesday of February 2015): Luisa Igloria

Fish is much on self’s mind these days.

That’s because she has successfully avoided eating any meat (rib-eye steak* cough* Mendosa’s Harvest Market* cough!) during her stay in Mendocino.

No, that’s not quite true. She has had a roast beef sandwich from Cultured Affair Café; and she tried some lamb from Ledford House.

But for the most part, her daily diet has consisted of: fish and chips; cod; clam chowder; scallops; pasta; ramen and vegetables (She had the most wonderful cod from Ledford House, just last Saturday)

Ledford House, Albion: Saturday, 31 January

Ledford House, Albion: Saturday, 31 January

Given her new eating habits, it is fitting that the first poem self reads this morning, from Luisa Igloria’s collection The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House), is about fish:

Parable of the Fish

A bitter heart, a few little fires
abroad in the countryside. The skeleton
of a life shaved down, both bait and
barb. So here is the fisherman
who never caught a thing, having moonlit
conversation in the reeds. She
is covered with scales and sinuous
as brocade. She listens
but will not grant
a mansion for his wife.
His hair is fading to the color of shells.
Maybe he will cross the river tomorrow.
Maybe he will beg a boon.
Maybe he will take her back
and hide her raincoat in the garage
among the power tools and
rusted lawnmowers.

How beautiful is the language!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

This Evening, Tomas Transtromer

When self was with Angela Narciso Torres in Venice Beach in November, Angela took self to A Small World, a fabulous bookstore fronting the beach. Self ended up getting poetry collections by Neruda and Tomas Transtromer.

This evening, self is looking through Transtromer’s collection The Great Enigma (Pretty fabulous, that title!), translated by Robin Fulton.

The back cover has the New York Times quoting Transtromer as saying, “My poems are meeting places.”

Oh. Wow. Self can’t even. Just. Kill her now.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s Balakirev’s Dream:

 The black grand piano, the gleaming spider
trembled at the center of its net of music.

In the concert hall a land was conjured up
where stones were no heavier than dew.

Love, love, love those images.

Stay tuned.

Express Yourself 3: Easy When You’re With Old Friends

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is EXPRESS YOURSELF. In posting on this theme, self has focused — twice — on artistic expression.

But here are two other kinds of expression: facial expression and doggie expression!

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Looks like Connie's Li'l Crits are hungry! Her dogs' names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Looks like Connie’s Li’l Crits are hungry! Her dogs’ names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Angela Narciso Torres's son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela's first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

Angela Narciso Torres’s son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela’s first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

And here is the poem:

BLOOD ORANGES

At the river’s edge —
strewn seed, vermilion
petals from blood oranges

we ate. A branch
stoops from the weight
of phantom fruit. Falling,

the leaves exhale
the spice-heavy air,
its punishing sweet.

Self Does Love a Good Poem

This one’s from Eunoia Review:

The author is Anthony Tao, whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Kartika Review, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Anthill.

An Excerpt from “Chinese Love Song”:

She is quick to giggle, riddled
with unsanswered questions:

is it he, him, his character?
His whiteness,

white for privilege
and power? Or that inside

he quivers?
She giggles, forgetting

her mother had said
giggling was unseemly

for such an ugly girl –

You can read the rest of the poem here, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.

Mary Ruefle: “Patient Without an Acre”

Self tried three times to upload photographs today (the system kept crashing before the photos finished uploading), she’s amazed she was finally able to attach a picture to a post. The one below is what part of her writing table looks like.

Self brought a stack of poetry books with her to Mendocino and it is so much fun to go back and forth, deciding which collection she’s going to read from.

This evening, it’s Mary Ruefle.

Here’s part of her poem “Patient Without an Acre.” It’s in Mary Ruefle: Selected Poems (Wave Books: Seattle and New York, 2010)

Look how appropriately incomplete
I am: I never carry a pocket mirror.
My skin takes the light.
I don’t know where it goes.
Maybe it passes right through me.
Maybe it follows me,
making me easy to follow,
for there’s no mistaking
what it is: a life all right,
and my own, but to what end?

DSCN8396

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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