The Personal Bookshelf in the Mendocino Apartment

Writers travel with a lot of books. Self is amazed at how many she ends up bringing with her.

She’s been in Mendocino most of January. Here’s her stash:

  • Of course, Miguel Hernandez, in the translation by Don Share
  • World of the Maya, by Victor W. Von Hagen, the copy she had with her at 21, when she and her roommate, Sachiko, an anthropology major, rode the third-class public bus from Mexico City to Chichen Itza
  • The Best American Travel Writing, 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Travel Writing, by Cynthia Dial
  • Secret London: An Unusual Guide, by Rachel Howard and Bill Nash
  • Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, by Phil Pullman
  • Lost Between: Writings on Displacement, edited by Catherine Dunne and Federica Sgaggio
  • Travelers’ Tales Guides to Spain, edited by Lucy McCauley
  • Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia, edited by Teri Shaffer Yamada
  • copies of her first collection, post-Stanford: Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, as well as copies of the anthology she co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape
  • Conamara Blues, by John O’Donohue
  • Firelines, by Marcus Cumberlege
  • The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason
  • Writing the Memoir, by Judith Barrington
  • Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 – 1971
  • Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan
  • Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros, by Alan Berlow
  • Tonle Sap: The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage, by Colin Poole

Don’t even get self started on the journals!

Stay tuned.





“Lightning That Never Ends” by Miguel Hernandez, trans. by Don Share

Will this lightning never end, that fills
my heart with exasperated wild beasts
and furious forges and anvils
where even the freshest metal shrivels?

— Miguel Hernandez, poems selected and translated by Don Share, published by the New York Review of Books,

“A Man-Eating Knife” by Miguel Hernandez

It’s the second poem in the collection translated by Don Share and published by the New York Review of Books.

Every time I read it, I can’t help pausing at these lines:

Where can I be
that I will not find loss?
Your destiny is the beach.
My calling is the sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Invention of the Monsters”: From Aimee Nezhukumatatathil’s AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO

An excerpt from “Invention of the Monsters”

by Aimee Nezhukumatatathil

When a Yemeni bride complains
of sharp pains on her scalp, her hairdresser
insists it is only the hairpin holding
the braided black wedding wig in place.

Jealous Sister finally admits sneaking
a scorpion under the whorl of egg-stiffened
braids, loops of red ribbon, gold seadbeads,
How beautiful, this body — exquisite

More From BANSHEE Literary Journal

Self attended the launch of this magazine in Cork, September 2015, at the Cork International Short Story Festival:


by Annie Wiles

(an excerpt)

When we grow up
we’re going to rule the world.

After all, girls rule.

All the best artists start out like this.

Right? All the best people start out
as waitresses: are told they’ll never

make it. Although, strangely
this seems to be missing

from Madeleine Albright’s biography.

Annie Wiles is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Trinity. Since graduating, she has been teaching and working on a sailboat in the Pacific.

Stay tuned.

Miguel Hernandez, trans. by Don Share

Self loves poetry.

And she loves Miguel Hernandez, one of whose poems (translated by Don Share) she stumbled across in the New York Review of Books.

Miguel Hernandez was from Orihuela, in southern Spain. His father raised goats and sheep. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, he enlisted in the Republican Army. After the defeat of the Republican Army, he was imprisoned. He died in prison, at the age of 31.

“I Know Enough”

I’m going, I’m going, I’m going, but I stay,
but I’m going, dry as a sandless desert,
goodbye, love, goodbye till I die.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Naomi Shihab Nye: First Saturday, Mendocino 2016


Mendocino, 9 January 2016

Think of things that disappear.

Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.

Something that said adios to you
Before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.

— Naomi Shihab Nye

Preparing for the New Year

An excerpt from Song Lyric # 43 by 12th century Chinese poet Li Qingzhao:

I’ve heard spring is still lovely at Twin Streams,
I’d like to go boating in a light skiff there
But fear the tiny grasshopper boats they have
Would not carry
Such a quantity of sorrow.

A book by Stanford Professor of Sinology Ronald Egan, The Burden of Female Talent: The Poet Li Qingzhao and Her History in China (Harvard Asia Center, 2013), analyzes her legacy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Friday: HAPPY

Contemplating purchasing two books of fairy tales, one a translation of The Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman, the other a book of Chinese Fairy Tales from Princeton University Press.

(Hear Philip Pullman read from the collection, on SoundCloud.)

Weighty issue.

In the meantime, self is reading Tomas Transtromer’s The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems. This last is her own copy. She bought it last year in Venice Beach, when she was with poet Angela Narciso Torres, who recommended it.

In the Bookshelf Survey she was tagged in yesterday, she mentioned Wales as a country she’d like to visit.

Second choice was Sweden.

Because, you know, Henning Mankell. Among other things.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s “Elegy”:

At the outset, like a fallen dragon
in some mist-and vapor-shrouded swamp,
our spruce-clad coastline lies. Far out there:
two steamers crying from a dream

in the fog. This is the lower world.
Motionless woods, motionless surface
and the orchid’s hand that reaches from the soil.
On the other side, beyond these straits

but hanging in the same reflection: the Ship,
like the cloud hanging weightless in its space.
And the water around its prow is motionless,
becalmed. And yet — a storm is up!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Some Women” by Bunny Ty (from the Calyx anthology GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE)


Rose in the Kitchen: Tel Aviv, 2008

Some Women
by Bunny Ty

some women color their lips red.
not me, i like to color mine with good words instead.

some women curl their lashes hard.
not me, i want mine soft to catch my tears.

some women need to blush their cheeks pink.
not me, mine blush by themselves when i’m tickled pink.

some women close their eyes to show off their eyeshadow.
not me, i want mine open to see the world.

some women take pains to pretty up their faces.
not me, i would rather take pains in prettying up the world.

some women think i look plain and dull without color on my face.
not me, if you look hard enough, you’ll see i am wearing a rainbow.

(from Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, co-edited by Marianne Villanueva and Virginia Cerenio, Corvallis, Oregon: Calyx Books, 2003)

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