Tuesday, December 29, 2009

see here for information from PEN on Liu Xiaobo

from PEN: This Thursday, New Year's Eve, PEN will hold an outdoor press event in midtown Manhattan to demand the release of Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced on Christmas Day to 11 years in prison for his writings in China.

The press event will feature several prominent Members of PEN American Center reading short passages from Liu's work. The event begins promptly at 11 a.m.

The event rings in a year that marks the 50th anniversary of PEN's activism on behalf of writers who are jailed or face persecution because of their work. Joseph Brodsky, Wole Soyinka, Vaclav Havel, Jose Revueltas, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Alicia Portnoy, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, and Taslima Nasreen, are just a few of the hundreds of writers PEN has freed or defended over the years.

There are currently almost 1,000 writers on PEN's list of writers and journalists in danger because of their work. Leading the list is Liu Xiaobo, one of China's most prominent writers and a past president and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, which is doing on-the-ground PEN advocacy in China. Liu was convicted of "inciting subversion of state power" for co-authoring "Charter 08," a petition calling for political and human rights reforms in China, and for seven sentences in five articles he published on the internet that are critical of Chinese authorities.

PEN American Center President Kwame Anthony Appiah called his 11-year sentence "a scandal" and "a mockery," and PEN Members around the world have vowed to step up efforts to win his release.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Antigone by J Z & A

[click on images above to see legible text; bibliographic info. is on the way]

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bahamian in Winter

As the day went on, it only got worse. The snow stopped falling but the temperature climbed slowly, and stopped just above freezing. Snow began melting, and water dropped from above. It hit my head like a cool summer shower at sea, but instead of feeling refreshed, the drops sent shivers down my spine. As time moved forth the wind began to howl, and the skies let loose a fine mist of rain; it felt as though I was aboard a boat on the Bering Sea. The mist stung as it hit me; this was normal at home, but the water was never this cold. I pressed forth from the dining hall to my dorm, my body frozen through to the bone, my muscles shaking from temperature shock. I entered through the bright red door of Gunn, and thought how it was only suitable on a day like this to have a red door on a warm building. I climbed the staircase to my room, warming slightly with each step, until I was at the perfect sun and sand temperature. My mind left thoughts of the cold behind when I entered my room. Slightly delusional from the cold, and deceived by the warmth of the dorm, I felt at home as I looked at my photos. I began to think of tomorrow, and came to the scary realization that the snow, now turned to cold water, would again freeze overnight, causing thin sheets of ice to form, just perfect to slip on. I quickly got beneath my covers and fell asleep, dreaming of being on a beach, surrounded by warm air, and though there was no one there to see me as I dreamed, I can assure you a smile came across my face for the first time that day. I woke up not long after my dream faded and dressed for the gym, putting on the bare minimum seven layers of clothing and three pairs of socks. After taking the hour and a half to get dressed, I headed back out into the frozen tundra. At first it appeared to be warmer than before, but as I rounded the corner of Gunn and was no longer sheltered by the building, the hurricane-force winds almost knocked me from my feet. Suddenly seven layers felt rather insignificant. I was cold and miserable. I crossed the street and started down the hill, and that was when it happened: out of nowhere, a great big chunk of snow fell from above, and landed square on my head. Now my misery turned to anger, and I was again cursing this morbid state, and its deathly weather, and I began to run towards the gym. I entered the building, and was welcomed by the friendly embrace of the warm air, and for a split second a smile was restored to my face. After my session in the weight room, I dreaded the journey back to my dorm, and upon stepping through the doors to leave the gym, I instantly turned around. It was freezing, and my body was burning up and drenched in sweat, but there was no way around walking outside to go back to my dorm. I opened the door again, and began the dreadful journey.

[see previous post for part one by Bahamas, a.k.a. Scott Aranha]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I woke up this morning by Bahamas

I woke up this morning to the familiar sound of a small gas motor running at full tilt. For a moment my mind lied to me, it let me believe that I was down in the bay, watching the Haitian sloops unload their cargo in the small tin boats. For a moment I could smell, feel, and see everything. Around me the small restaurants cooked their breakfast specials; I could almost taste the corned beef and grits, the tuna and eggs. The sand was slowly molding to my feet, filling every nook and cranny, the sun shining down on my head, warming me to a comfortable temperature. The water before me shone as blue as it ever had, almost blinding me with the light of the sun, but I didn’t care, in fact I was happy. I slowly peeled back my eye lids when I heard several people swearing in the hall. Reluctantly, I climbed from beneath my covers, and moved toward the window. I pulled the curtains to the side, and was shocked by what I saw. There it was, Snow! Snow so white that it hurt my eyes. Suddenly the warmth from my dream faded, the sand slowly changed to snow, and the warm sun to a big ball of ice. I was saddened by what had happened: my brain had lied to me, and I let it! I slowly walked to the bathroom, and checked the water, and typically, it was ice cold. Within the few seconds that my hand sat beneath the faucet, it turned blue. I dragged my feet as I headed back to my room, all the while cursing this dismal place. In the hall, I passed by many other depressed people; we all looked like everything we cared for had disintegrated. The frozen church bells sounded different as they struck eight, their tone was much more piercing than usual, and I suppose that they too were sad. I pushed open the door to the cold wintery world, and the cold air insistently struck my face. I stepped outside, no longer protected by a roof, and headed for class. Beneath my shoes, the snow crunched, and onto my head more fell. I crossed over the slushy street with great caution, all the while fearing my imminent demise. I could see it, me on my back in the middle of the crosswalk, but somehow I made it across safely. My next feat was climbing the hill. The path had yet to be plowed, so my feet sank down into the cold white snow; I could feel it falling into my shoes, soaking into my socks, and slowly freezing my feet. I could now see the sanctuary that is English class. I walked through the door, and the warmth pulsed through my body. I fear that I may in fact be forced to go back out into the snow.

[click here for a picture of Bahamas]

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poem by Parrish Young

Winter’s Return

Engulfed in warmth, I am
Prepared for winter’s wrath, whose
Cruelty is relentless,
Preying upon those who know not your fury.
Many are paralyzed by the air, gasping for breath as you stare down from above.
Immune to cold, you are
Frozen to the core.

As days drift, the pines sway,
Whose needles of green are not the only survivors.
I am here.
Full of life, I have escaped.
It is not luck that has befallen me, but sense.
The sense to deny the feeling of false affection,
Whose warmth you consume immediately,
In a feeble attempt to liquefy your guilt.

Tumescent, your heart is
teeming with those souls whose journey was cut short.
Let them be
Let them breathe
Let them experience warmth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Two poems by Alejandro Castro

Love is fed by darkness and its fears
Don’t fucking interrupt me, but let me hear
I indeed feel love inside my skull: it would wonder
But it won’t go
It never will, for a fact
It will stay, because of its reality and its bluff
Love is real, and life is not
Learn to live while being loved
We do not comprehend
The magnificent complication of stereotypical conflicts
But for once, if ever gets to be ever,
I would love to be real in a life that is real
To be loved with stereotypical madness

Confessions to my concrete, but meaningful friend…
Hello little dresser, let me see
Behind those walls of yours,
Let me go in… Lock yourself little dresser, don’t let me go out
To a world full of ignorance, madness, lack just lack: laaaack, LACK
Maybe lock me forever or maybe just to seem
Ohh! I do not care about society, please don’t get me started little dresser
Don’t get me started…
First, I have to be locked in some place quiet and clean
I have to think and develop and then be mean
Let’s all be mean and let’s all end
Ending is different depending on the setting and the blend
Bye bye little dresser, you malicious bitch,
But please listen: we all have to be mean some day, some night
To succeed…

Friday, December 4, 2009

Opening by Zaid El-Fanek

Just another cloudless, cold, winter night. The moon was shining brightly from behind me, shedding its light on the creatures of the night. I watched them as they cowered in fear of its radiance. Snowflakes gently floated in the air, moving like puppets in the gusts of wind. They floated downwards, towards the shimmering lights of the city. A snowdrop landed on a branch of a nearby tree, my favorite tree. The snowflake melted, then slightly dampened the rugged wood. The tree stood alone on a steep hill, peering down at the city, separated from the forest behind it. It withstood the constant gusts as they pushed and grazed its trunk, while the leaves rustled and scraped against each other, like an orchestra conducted by the wind. My vision shifted to a leaf as it broke free of the tree and spiraled away. I opened my hand, but my invitation was rejected as the leaf landed on the ground. I watched the leaves move for several minutes, and slowly the leaves, making their gentle music, lulled me to sleep.

[From a work in progress]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ain Dara, Syria
photo by Chris Kean

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Poem by Rob Badger

Human Fields

A mountain lies in the west constantly dreaming. Forever sleeping as its different body parts move and sway with the winds. Although trapped in sleep the mountain can escape in many ways. Plants and trees shed part of themselves eventually dealing out new life in old places. Butterflies leave the vast expanse of mountain skin just to touch down again, changing its pigment once more. For each moving, breathing thing there is something that comes to a standstill, something that no longer needs air. Each being has a certain time of wakefulness until eternal sleep. We must do this in shifts because we believe the power struggle now is bad, but we are one species. I can only imagine…

Eventually after our shift of sleep is over we may be roused again. The mountain sleeps on waiting for the day he can again walk through sleeping human fields, and admire again all the different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poem by Zaid El-Fanek


There’s an invisible thread
that binds me through -

an idea,
or maybe a word,
or two.

I have these ideas
and thoughts that form.
These words that wander
and frolic about -

inside my mind
these words are helpless.
But the invisible thread
will do its work

and bring them together
one by one.

I write them down now
as I think.

They come together,
and make
this poem.

Monday, November 2, 2009

photo by Zach Elston

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the long overdue (re)readings (IV)

If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another; but those who are aware of it are a little better off - though I don't know.

This common attitude and habit of looking elsewhere than at ourselves has been very useful for our own business. We are an object that fills us with discontent; we see nothing in us but misery and vanity. In order not to dishearten us, Nature has very appropriately thrown the action of our vision outward. We go forward with the current, but to turn our course back toward ourselves is a painful movement: thus the sea grows troubled and turbulent when it is tossed back on itself. Look, says everyone, at the movement of the heavens, look at the public, look at that man's quarrel, at this man's pulse, at another man's will; in short, always look high or low, or to one side, or in front, or behind you.

It was a paradoxical command that was given us of old by that god at Delphi: "Look into yourself, know yourself, keep to yourself; bring back your mind and your will, which are spending themselves elsewhere, into themselves; you are running out, you are scattering yourself; concentrate yourself, resist yourself; you are being betrayed, dispersed, and stolen away from yourself. Do you not see that this world keeps its sight all concentrated inward and its eyes open to contemplate itself? It is always vanity for you, within and without; but it is less vanity when it is less extensive. Except for you, O man," said that god, "each thing studies itself first, and, according to its needs, has limits to its labors and desires. There is not a single thing as empty and needy as you, who embrace the universe: you are the investigator without knowledge, the magistrate without jurisdiction, and all in all, the fool of the farce."

Michel de Montaigne, 'Of Vanity,' dated 1585-88, in The Complete Essays of Montaigne, trans. Donald M. Frame. Stanford UP, 1958; 1995 (721-766): 766.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thumrait, Oman
photo by Chris Kean

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Poem by Rob Badger

I sat there

The ripped clothing I wore

Was not enough.

I smothered my chest with my arms and hands

My heart beat slowly and quietly

Barely heard over the voice of the cold.

I started to shake

The ball I was rolled over

I lay there in the soft white death.

Feeling began to be only mental

As my fingers lost my ribs

And my eye lashes became bars.

I was the last speck of warmth

For miles and miles

I was dying this nightmare.

The land claimed me quickly

I may have been dead but I was aware

The snow no longer asked to cover me.

Each time I heard the voice

I was lost a little bit more

To the soft cold death.

Now I was just a part of a scene

One small fragment of the world

One tiny picture in its frame.

I had no face

I had no body and no voice

But I was there.

That one small thought

That encouraging statement

Let me go on.

I was once something

I was whole and me, an individual

But now I am a part of the whole.

I am now the bigger picture

The inches outside picture frames

And the wandering mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If you're in NY, head over there on 10/31!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ksar Ezzahra, Tunisia

photo by Chris Kean

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scott Aranha

deep research

poems to follow

Friday, October 9, 2009

Poem by Callie Carew-Miller

In the voice of Io
(Metamorphoses I, 785)

Beauty is a curse.
I run, and run, but cannot escape
The beauty or him.
My feet kiss the earth,
Never staying long enough for a full embrace.
I make them fly.
But Jove’s feet are far swifter
Treading something lighter than air
And moving faster than I
A mere mortal
Can travel.
I have lost..
He has won
But what now?
The Goddess decends
Right into the crime scene…
How does she not see
What he has done?
What I have done?
And now?
She has asked for me;
Am I to be a present for Juno?
A gift to the Queen of the Gods?
But what use am I to her?
I am useless…
But she keeps me not.
I am placed under the care of a 100-eyed monster;
Watchful… terrifying…
And is there no bed for me?
Must I sleep on these muddy banks
And dine on these bitter leaves?
Why can I not cry out for help?
That wretched voice cannot be mine…
It escapes no human throat.
And my arms?
Where have they gone?
I long for these previous comforts…
A stream… cool clear water…
But who is this???
This shining white heifer?
She stands where I should stand.
She moves when I move.
When I cry out in fear, only her dulcet moo is heard.
What has he done to me?
This king of the Gods has robbed me…
Not only of my honor but of my human form.
Oh my family!
I have found them, but I cannot call to them!
They recognize me not;
But these hooves may have some use.
I scratch in the dirt
Tell them my story…
My sisters embrace me and my father wails,
What shall we do?
There is no escape.
What have I done to deserve this punishment?
But now I am restored!
I am human and my wretched beauty has been returned to me.
Clad in linen, I am worshipped by many.
In the sands of Egypt, I am a Goddess.
And the son I bore to Zeus…
That proof of my shame.
Now has temples in his honor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost in Spain by Andrew Simpson

I sip moonshine
Depressed cause I can’t get you off my mind
Stuck in this daze

I don’t see you anymore these days
Lost in Spain
I’m here with pain

In my heart
Cause you are my heart
Rather you stole it

It was in Rome by the water
When you swept me off my feet
I wish again we could meet

Middle of Grand Central
I see you waiting
As pretty as can be

How lucky I was you were with me
Now I just reminisce
About when we would kiss

Now it’s just sweet bliss
And all I do is miss you
Because I know what we had was true

These days you're gone and I’m blue

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poem by Taylor Dube


Unable to say my own words,
I cannot speak unless it be another's last.
I am an empty shell.
A body without a voice.

It pains me to not tell him of his beauty
To not initiate conversation
I must wait to hear the end of any speech and then recite it back
The mere sight of him caused my body to grow hot
I am overcome with the need to follow him through the woods
A fire growing deep within me as I pursue him
Spreading through my entire body
How I want to come on to him,
Accost him with endearments, tender prayers -
But Juno put upon me this curse
The inability to speak my mind
Forwardness goes against my nature now

He yells “Anyone here?”
To hear his voice makes me weak
“Here!” I answer,
Wishing I could speak my mind
Speak with lavish words
But his will have to do.
“Come!” he yells and I return it
But I don’t approach
“Why do you run away from me?” he questions, and again he hears them in my voice
“Here let us come together!” he cries out to me -
“Come! Together!” I respond.

Oh how I wish I could speak my own words to draw him to me!
I leap out of the woods, no longer hiding my face
I run swiftly to him, and embrace the neck I so desire
But he flees and cries, “Hands off! No hugs! I’ll die before you’ll have your way with me!”

My heart is broken and feel like I could collapse to the ground
But urged on by embarrassment I run to the woods
To bury my shame in the caves
My love for Narcissus is unwavering
It grows as I mourn the love I never had
My body wasted with grief for my love Narcissus

Now only my voice is left
None see me
But I am heard by all
The words of others spoken by me
A reverberation is all that I am.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

photo by Zach Elston

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'a modest rebellion against the tyranny of instant access'

[...] But these meandering journeys across the Internet soundscape can be taxing. The medium too easily generates anxiety in place of fulfillment, an addictive cycle of craving and malaise. No sooner has one experience begun than the thought of what else is out there intrudes.

-- from 'Infinite Playlist' by Alex Ross in The New Yorker August 10 & 17, 2009, pp. 82-83.

Monday, September 7, 2009

From the long overdue (re)readings (III)

You advance for hours and it is not clear to you whether you are already in the city's midst or still outside it. Like a lake with low shores lost in swamps, so Penthesilea spreads for miles around, a soupy city diluted in the plain; pale buildings back to back in mangy fields, among plank fences and corrugated-iron sheds. Every now and then at the edges of the street a cluster of constructions with shallow facades, very tall or very low, like a snaggle-toothed comb, seems to indicate that from there the city's texture will thicken. But you continue and you find instead other vague spaces, then a rusty suburb of workshops and warehouses, a cemetery, a carnival with a Ferris wheel, a shambles; you start down a street of scrawny shops which fades amid patches of leprous countryside.

If you ask the people you meet, "Where is Penthesilea?" they make a broad gesture which may mean "Here," or else "Farther on," or "All around you," or even "In the opposite direction."

(Italo Calvino, 'Continuous Cities 5,' Invisible Cities, trans. William Weaver. Harcourt, 1974. 156-57.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From the long overdue (re)readings (II)

Fifty years ago Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel The Leopard was first turned down by Elio Vittorini at Einaudi because he considered it nostalgic, accomodationist, pessimistic, but luckily for all (well, except maybe for Lampedusa himself, who died in the meantime) the following year Giorgio Bassani took the novel for Feltrinelli (it was published in 1958). In the novel, the aging Don Fabrizio ruminates over the multiple delusions of material and political change as Sicily is wrestled into a unified Italy. A good part of the drama of the story is due to Fabrizio's enactment, in several settings, of what Luigi Pirandello had called the "sentimento del contrario" (in Felicity Firth's apt phrase, "that ironic dual perspective") in his 1908 essay "L'umorismo." Although Pirandello wasn't talking about an approach to momentous historical events, the example of Don Fabrizio shows how principled equanimity works to preserve the social fabric, to cause the least disruption, while allowing for measured change - although Don Fabrizio thinks of it as more like a slow collapse. Referring to Pirandello's "sentimento del contrario," (usually translated as "the feeling for the opposite") Felicity Firth writes that Leonardo Sciascia remarked that it demonstrated Pirandello's Sicilian provenance, "deriving from the Arab inability to separate, as the Greeks do, the tragic from the comic" ('Pirandello,' in The Cambridge History of Italian Literature, Ed. Peter Brand and Lino Pertile, 1999: 481). The perception of a convergence, or discomfiting simultaneity of the tragic and the comic, might derive from an inability to separate the two, or it might be the essence of a more holistic worldview, to borrow from another vocabulary altogether. In "Averroës' Search," the story by Jorge Luis Borges, Averroës ends up his commentary on Aristotle's categories by writing that "Aristu [Aristotle] gives the name 'tragedy' to panegyrics and the name 'comedy' to satires and anathemas. There are many admirable tragedies and comedies in the Qur'ān and the mu'allaqat of the mosque" (The Aleph and Other Stories, trans. Andrew Hurley. Penguin, 2004: 77). Then Averroës feels "sleep coming upon him, [and] he felt a chill." He vanishes and the tale ends, except for the narrator's commentary about their mutual exclusion - on one side Averroës, "bounded within the circle of Islam," and on the other the narrator, whose yarn can no longer subsist on the shreds of rumor that he has.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

'I am all of yourselves'

Read the NYT review of the new biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser here. Although the review's positive, it may wind up repelling potential readers of this great author because it emphasizes her extreme personality (and yet...this should draw readers to the biography...). To me, as a reader, at least of Cronicas, it's Lispector's open grappling with her own egoism & a kind of fatal egotism that makes those tales fascinating even when they may appear dull or droning on the surface. Lispector sometimes does this on purpose, and other times her despatches are haiku-like, perfectly compressed. She had a kind of static class consciousness, depicting herself, mannequin-like, as though fixed in social space, acting within a cubicle of possibility, returning on herself.

*Read the Fernanda Eberstadt review of Moser's bio here. From the NYT Book Review of 8.23.09, this piece should attract more readers to Lispector's writing, and to the biography.

From the long overdue (re)readings (I)

Death (or reference to death) makes men precious and pathetic; their ghostliness is touching; any act they perform may be their last; there is no face that is not on the verge of blurring and fading away like the faces in a dream. Everything in the world of mortals has the value of the irrecoverable and contingent. Among the Immortals, on the other hand, every act (every thought) is the echo of others that preceded it in the past, with no visible beginning, and the faithful presage of others that will repeat it in the future, ad vertiginem. There is nothing that is not as though lost between indefatigable mirrors. Nothing can occur but once, nothing is preciously in peril of being lost.

- Borges, ‘The Immortal,’ from The Aleph and Other Stories, trans. Andrew Hurley (15)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Less is less

Chad Post writes that even though everyone's saying it's really really important indie/nonprofit/university presses are cutting back on translations this year and the big publishers are publishing fewer translations as well. Read about it here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the new edition of Free Verse is online & it includes translations of poems by Aldo Palazzeschi by Nick Benson, Camillo Sbarbaro by Paola Morgavi and Natalia Nebel, and Sandro Penna by Alexander Booth

Monday, July 27, 2009



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mr. & Mrs. Hide

Natalija Grgorinic and Ognjen Raden reading from their collaborative novel Mr. & Mrs. Hide, published by Spineless Books. The Croatian duo wrote the novel in English. There is a brief write-up on it here. The low-key & very intelligent presentation took place in a little park in Groznjan, w/muted background chorus of kids, jackhammers, & random barnyard noises. I have to buy the book and read it before making literary comparisons, but I was reminded a bit of Julio Cortazar's Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, a collaboration with his wife, Carol Dunlop.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

we're off
to the hometown of Zeno Cosini

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kurt by Ian

Friday, June 5, 2009

Poems by Aldo Palazzeschi

Sometimes, after looking
at the portrait for a long time,
I no longer see the canvas, the frame,
or the wall − I can no longer make out anything,
only that woman who seems
to abandon her pose
and move, to come forward
as though to say something to me,
who comes, perhaps, with severity
to scold me, to chase me off!
Oh come on! I shake myself,
it’s impossible...

See InTranslation for four poems translated from the Italian of Aldo Palazzeschi along with a short intro by Nick Benson. The piece above is from 'The peasant-woman in mourning.' Also just posted to InTranslation: writing by Héctor Hernández Montecinos, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky; by Suryabala, translated from the Hindi by Puja Birla; short fiction by Victor Hugo Viscarra, translated from the Spanish by Forrest Hylton; poems by Ángel Escobar, translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra; and writing by Carmen-Francesca Banciu, translated from the German by Elena Mancini.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poem by Lauren Castaldi

Conflict of Interest

I’m looking at pink purple and white stripes in my bed sheets.

She got mad at me for saying when I look at her I could throw up.
Who could blame her?

Margarine is one molecule away from plastic; no animals will go near it.
Why don’t humans just eat butter?

He’s ignoring my phone calls.

Your most important organ is your heart, so protect it.

This is the first time I’ve had a conversation with another boy that made me smile in a while.

Teenagers’ diets make our joints and muscles highly inflammatory.
Sugar equals sore body.

Love is sweet but self‐destructive. Kind of like sugar…

The same woman behind me in line for tickets was behind me in the bathroom.
She didn’t notice.

I saw him at church with his lame new girl.
Seriously, I could throw up.

Dolphins are the only other animals that have sex for pleasure.

All others simply are pro‐creating. Sometimes I feel like humans are the stupid ones in
the animal kingdom.

Do you think alligators ever suffer a broken heart?
I think not.

If I could take back the time I was with him I wouldn’t.

If I could take back the trip I brought him on where he met his new love,
Hmm. I wouldn’t.

I went to see a show in New York on a day so cold my fingers might have been bleeding, but
just warm enough that cold rain poured down.

That’s my favorite weather, the kind that leaves you numb but fresh.

I wonder if the people in foreign language texts know their faces get drawn into
the opposite sex.

Do people in Mexico say hello in Spanish conversation as we say hola?

Today was the first day I got butterflies in my stomach at the sight of someone since him.

A feeling long overdue.

In sports you shove the opponent to the ground and don’t say sorry, but at the end of the game
you’re expected to shake their hand.

Always be sportsmanlike when dirty play is involved.

Dancing is expressing the meaning of music in your interpretation of it.

Words are easier said than done.

Forever has different meanings for guys and girls.

Guys define it as, “Forever until I meet my next girl.”
Girls are devastated when they find out the hypocrisy of the male definition.

I don’t regret hurting her
He doesn’t think twice about hurting me

A boy foreign to my thoughts is now racing through them.

I have to make my bed.

[This poem was read by Frank McCourt at the ASAP Celebration of Young Writers, May 16, 2009, at the Town Hall of Washington, CT. Lauren's work is also in this year's issues of the English Journal and the Stray Shot.]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not a still from some epic film, not yet at any rate. This is happening now. President Obama has called for the Burmese regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi. Read about it here and here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poem by Kirsten Bouthiller

if this is too small to read, click on it to get a jpeg; thanks to Kirsten for this poem.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Poem by Karen Layman

Creating a world with you

Is even more fun than watching you draw, or watching you watch me draw

Or being like normal teenage girls and painting our nails and doing our hair and gossiping about boys

Partly because you know my characters as well as you know me

Partly because of their personalities, partly because you can become them so well

Partly because the stars that we cannot see through the ceiling but we know are there, or because of our friend’s obsession with ceiling fans, or because of the fan that has been attached to the ceiling that is blocking the stars and the combination of the ceiling and the fan makes us all laugh

You don’t have to watch your brothers when you’re with me—you aren’t their mother, your mother is their mother

You can say what you want with me—no one will tell

You are my friend

And we are goddesses—together we create the world of Areita, the isle of Vanisa Elitra, the city of Neras, and all the world and all its inhabitants

All your worst fears, nightmares materialize in this world and are destroyed forever by the characters that the two goddesses created

Our champions, our chosen ones to carry out our bidding on horrors that our own lives have given birth to, the personified villains and monsters that maybe once upon a time were the vicious gossiper and the kid that ratted on you for no good reason and have now become the Joystealer and that goody-two-shoes Paladin that is trying to slay our Vampire chosen ones

And the characters—the chosen ones—are more than abstract ideas, more than just tools for creating a game, telling a story

They are friends—perhaps some of the truest friends you may ever have

They will always understand, always know what you’re going through

And you will never be alone

So go ahead, tell me what a horrible person you are, and how selfish you are, and how you deserve to starve to death, or whatever other horrible punishment you dream up for yourself next

Every time I will tell you otherwise

And one day, maybe years down the road from here

Maybe one day you’ll believe me.

Congratulations to Karen Layman, who won The Gunnery's 2009 Poetry Contest with this poem.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Daymaker premiere

The Daymaker -- Movie Premiere
Friday, May 8th 8:30PM
Emerson Performing Arts Center

Trailer: http://vimeo.com/4519695
Scene: http://vimeo.com/4211174

Featuring: Zach Elston, Hope Simpson, Sam Cobb, Pat Loglisci

The Daymaker follows a quiet boarding school student who collects audio recordings of the environment around him. His routine is altered when a fellow student begins communicating with him in the back of an antique Bible, found in the basement of his school’s library. Suddenly the world he has been recording serves a different purpose, since he is no longer confined to being who he has always been.

Screening followed by Q&A with director Kurt Bailey and actor Zach Elston.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Congratulations to the poets

Congratulations to the poets recognized recently at The Gunnery for their outstanding accomplishments this year:

Ian Engelberger, recognized for his consistent engagement in the arts and especially his contributions to the enjoyment and study of poetry. Ian's work appears here regularly.
Karen Layman, winner of the 2009 poetry contest. Karen's work will appear here soon!
Yuze Michael Sun, Kirsten Bouthiller, and Callie Carew-Miller, recognized for their outstanding contributions to the enjoyment and study of poetry. Yuze's translations have already appeared here, and we hope to publish work by Kirsten and Callie soon. (Above you're looking at a version of Kirsten's variation on Frank O'Hara's "Having a Coke with You.")
Victor Bogachev, winner of the poetry recitation contest, for his exceptional recitation of "The Raven." We hope to bring you illustrations and a story by Victor in the near future.
Dan Goldberg and Lauren Castaldi, whose poems were chosen to be read on 5/16 at the ASAP celebration at the Town Hall, Washington. Their work will appear here shortly also...

Friday, May 1, 2009

photo by Ian Engelberger

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poems by Thomasin Alter


I’ve confined myself to knowing nothing.
I’ve built this cage of wires and hair,
I can’t escape it.
But it’s mine, and that’s something.
I don’t mind being lonely.
I don’t mind being empty.
I’d rather pretend that this is vacant
than know that it is occupied.
Please, please,
don’t mind.
Don’t spend your time.
This cage is impenetrable,
you’ll never break through.
I’ll catch you in my web.
I’ll eat you. I’ll have you.
The ground is heavy with
new beginnings, you slip your
fingers under my skin,
and you suck on the blood
flowing wickedly
through my veins.
I sit here, soggy,
hoping you’ll forget.
But you don’t,
I can see that,
I can see it in
your teeth and
your toes. I know.


Static of frog noise, 10 pm walking
Back from pruned hands, fixer fix
ing gray. I expose. Cracked lens, crooked
eye vision lop
sided. Warts, slimy telling sorry tales of
Yesterday, tomorrow, to
day. Machine, over and over,
static of repetition. Fixed time fixed
aperture, fixed f stop
ing down. I stop at a pond. I grab at a


We lift our feet in the same place
One step ahead, you
you guiding leading foraging
you in the act of deception
casting shadows where they do not belong
making strangers of branches
lifting my lids too high stretching too hard
making a fool of this night.
but I still lift my foot here,
I still listen for the rustling of your leaves
and my ears
wait impatiently for the creaking of your bones


My legs hurt
That familiar ache
Childhood is thrust back
wards, four words--
‘this pain is old’
knee is raw’
‘my mother loved me’
‘my father
hasn’t yet’
but it’s not that simple and
age has taught me that, experience
shows me
the truth. Or some shade of it.
Some hue that tells me, ‘no
this is not’ ‘no
this can not’
‘no, it never has’
but it’s still a dull gnawing,
this pain, static of it-- might i
be growing,
still? stretching my bones
into possibility

[Thanks to Thomasin for sharing these poems with us.]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

thank you for maxireading

Kurt (at left) was big at the mega-reading in school meeting yesterday, and he didn't even read - he was part of Ian's arresting time-machinelike slide show of b&w images.

Many thanks to the fantastic crew who did read, some for the first time: Joe Mashburn, Sam Funk, Maisie Theobald, Ian Engelberger, Clark Johnson, Kristi Bojdani, Tom Hart, Kirsten Bouthiller, Amanda Kloth, Nellie Simmons, Dan Goldberg, Alex Lizotte, Will Obilisundar, Frank Agli, and Lulu Rutt.

Look for their work in the Stray Shot in June.

Here's a poem Dan Goldberg read:

Alphabet Soup

Poems aren’t always short, they aren’t always sweet
They don’t always repeat, or have a beat
Poems don’t always rhyme, or have a special form or a line
They don’t always have a moral or a theme—
No story it seems.

Sometimes, the best poems are the ones that make no sense
The ones with no purpose
no pretense nor context
no focus nor logic
Just words—
Strung together by the stroke of a pencil
Straight from thin air—
Bare – naked – words.

They can mystify, glorify, retell history or a Sherlock mystery—
Words have the power of power,
they are almighty and all-encompassing
Words move people to fights and countries to war
They lead the world through the bible
They lead us through the Constitution
And they lead you through identification
Words – Control – Everything.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Two ghazals by Genny George

She sat there, unsure of what to do, sitting there, nothing but silence
Glancing at the face of the grandfather clock that broke the silence

The moon stared blankly at the stars, the night sky, and even the people
Illuminating everything in a yellow glow, savoring the moment in silence

Seeing, searching, seeking, sighing, no singing, nothing
He looked at her from afar. Nothing, but stifling silence

What to do? Noise was not an option. But neither was living without sound
It was time to break out of the shell, time to break the ever-present silence

The sun slowly rose over the vast horizon. This was the moment of truth
The boy stood up, walked to her, and started talking. He broke the silence.

Addicted. That’s what she thought, what they all thought. But they were wrong
She wasn’t addicted to it, to anything. It was something she loved, was that wrong?

Peace, love, truth, happiness. What garbage. Filling innocent minds with lies.
And they said she had problems, and needed help. They couldn’t be more wrong

How was it possible to feel this way? To keep wanting something more than anything else?
There wasn’t an accurate explanation for the way she felt. Words were so insufficient, so wrong

Which will it be? To keep living the way she currently was? Or to find another way of being?
She didn’t know what to choose, which one to pick. She didn’t want her final pick to be wrong

There are rarely any redo’s in life, the girl thought. I had better make this decision count
She looked deeply in her mind, picking the path to walk. She chose, and knew it wasn’t wrong

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Our trip to MOMA

Mira Schendel's work was the high point: here's an excerpt from Roberta Smith review in recent NYT:

But, striving for something less rational and more ephemeral, she found her true voice in a Zen-like visual poetry. It was created by pressing down - often with only her fingernail - on Japanese rice paper laid on glass laminate covered with ink and lightly sprinkled with talc. The technique unleashed an immense range of seismographic marks, symbols, letters, word fragments and phrases that soon spread to the imposing two-sided works she called Graphic Objects. Here multiple sheets of rice paper dotted with regiments of little marks and letters, as well as big press type, are sandwiched between sheets of plexiglass. The disembodied, translucent patchworks and textures suggest different layers of sound caught on scrims - black on white, red on white and white on white.

By 1964, Ms. Schendel was using her rice paper sculpturally, evolving forms that, concurrent with Eva Hesse's, achieved a resonant fusion of organic and geometric. Weaving and knotting twisted strands of it, she made odd, flexible forms that she called Little Nothings. These spheres and irregular nets evoke brains, vines, relaxed bodies and collapsed grids; they hover eerily between animate and inanimate.

Full review is here, if you're signed up for the NYT.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poems by Hai Zi translated by Yuze Sun

The shades

In the shades
I have three agonies: Drift. Love. survival
I have three happinesses: Poems. Throne. The Sun

The Sun of Arles

Down to the South
Down to the South
There’s no spring or lovers pulsing through your veins
Not even the moon
Not even bread
Not even friends
Only a group of starving children
Consuming everything
Oh, Van Gogh, my thin brother
Fir and Rye
Belched recklessly from underground
Or it is you
Belching the unwanted life
In fact, you can light this world with one eye
But you used your third eye----- The Sun of Arles
It burns the sky into a rough river
It burns the earth till it starts to swirl
Raising your yellow twisted hand, Sun Flower
To invite all those people
All those people who pull the chestnuts out of the fire
Do not draw a Christian olive orchard any more
Draw a fierce fire
To take the place of the old man
To purify the life
My red hair brother
After drinking the vermouth
Set your fire

Two poems by Hai Zi (1964-1989) translated from the Mandarin by Yuze Sun, a young man from the northern part of China.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Poem by John Alter

Pray tell

tell, let little words swim through this net,

let crepuscular crawfish
crawl through, each

with a
tiny sword & the red badge—pray

a measure of peace, not this beating

ploughshares into swords, this rough weather,

not this shit, not this raw
rough cheating, these

of tin—pray for an affirmation

& not this
nitpicking; a firm footing

not these huge cracks in the pavement. Pray.


I search the library shelves
for poems

written about or
during aerial

Badly disorganized as

if Dewey had
lost his temper or his

Intelligence-seeking missiles will

do that
to a bibliotheque. Books burn.

I reach a place where
only the bottom

of a
perpendicular consonant

remains intact. A young
boy wanders through

the rubble, dragging
Thelonius Monk

along in a
red wagon; they whistle

Crepuscule with Nellie
together. The

ensemble assembles.
Some minor keys,

the body of the bass like a

a voiceless saxophone,
Art Blakey drums

on what remains of what may once
haye been.

William Blake
is the bloke who shuffles

the picture, holding in his hands

what little remains of
the important

questions. If
you must know, he says, it is

only partially like a game

scrabble; you must use
your mind like a pitch-

throw out the old verities, then find

somebody to whom
you can give ashes

of what has not
been imported; forget

what I
have said before about thought &

volition. The
ensemble plays Abide

Me as their answer. Smart bombs whistle.


I used to play the drums
after I failed

to master the classical piano.

What remains
is my affection for Art

I have been known to hear drumming

in the cascade of
waterfalling on

rock. To hear Well, You Needn’t

the song of early morning birds today.


It is
attentive today. Trees, water,

the place where
famous writers congregate

when they are
dead. A library of rock.


Allow me to
underscore that point. Pine

growing up out of granite boulder.

John read this poem, from his book, Hanuman's Home, at the gathering tonight in the Reading Room. Join us there for informal readings on Monday the 13th and the 20th, from 6 to 7.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"By some reckonings, expenditure on political representation in Italy, all found, is equivalent to that of France, Germany, Britain and Spain combined. Beneath this crust of privilege, one in four Italians lives in poverty..."

Read the article by Perry Anderson in the 26.2.09 London Review of Books here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

English Journal #9 (1.09) is now available as a downloadable pdf here.
The issue features work by Ian Engelberger (who also did the cover), Lauren Castaldi, Maisie Theobald, Clark Johnson, Kirsten Bouthiller, and many others.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Poem by Dritëro Agolli translated by Eros Angjeli

I won't be here

I won't be here, I’ll be gone
Dissolved underground like many others
At the favorite café
The waiters won’t see me

And through the roads I’ve walked
My dry cough won’t be heard
Above my grave will silently stand
An orchard like a miserable monk

You will be saddened
Because you won’t have me alive in a room
And when the wind blows on the window
You will cry slowly with the wind

But when you are really sad
Look through the bookshelves for me,
I’ll be hiding there
Between words and letters

You’ll only need to move the book
And I’ll come down, I’ll come near you
You will laugh nostalgically like you once did
Like a blooming meadow after heavy rain

Ketu s’do jem

Këtu s'do jem do jem larguar
Ne tokë I tretur si te tjerët
Ne kafenenë e preferuar
Nuk do më shohin kamarieret

Dhe nëpër udhet ku kam ecur
S'do ndihet kolla ime e thatë
Mbi varrin tim do të rrijë I heshtur
Nje qipariz si murg I ngratë

Ti do trishtohesh ateherë
Se s'do me kesh ne dhome te gjallë
Dhe kur ne xham te fryje erë
Do qash me erën dalengadale

Por kur te jesh merzitur shumë
Ne raft te librave kerkomë
Aty do jem I fshehur unë
Ne ndonje fjalë a ndonjë shkronjë

Mjafton qe librin pak ta heqesh
Dhe un do te zbres do t'vi prane teje
Ti si dikur me mall do qeshësh
Si nje blerim pas nje rëkeje.

Poem by Dritero Agolli, translated from the Albanian by Eros Angjeli. Click here for a previously published poem by Agolli translated by Kristi Bojdani.

Monday, March 2, 2009

artwork by Katie Pierce

Sunday, March 1, 2009

From a work in progress by Jon Hartmann

-Fuck that- she said.
I’ll never tell her I threw
out her grandmother’s pin and her cigarette roller
her silver fork and few grams of stale weed with a plastic cup.
All that shit in my room hovering like sarcastic parents,
I tossed them halfheartedly into a larger trash can
and they sat there with crumpled paper bags and empty bottles
regretfully shining in their sentimentality.
A few slaps on the back and a - you did the right thing bro -
and I’m on the lake, lake Michigan, glazed over by a
frozen brown organic shit crust, up to my knees in snow.
-Of course I haven’t had time to fucking talk to you, I’ve been
so busy, god Jon,-
Absurdity, I saw a dead dog by the lake and didn’t know whether
to laugh or to sigh. I laughed though and someone looked at me strangely.
I went to see Andy and he was smoking around his produce as usual.
-Check out these fucking kiwis man! Fucking take a look at them! Hold on a sec bro,-
An asian couple walks in the door
-You know brussel sprouts are the same species as broccoli?-
-You don’t say?-
And he was back, door open and spewing smoke.
-I’m going to turn the whole fucking thing into a bar man, people don’t care
about fruit, they just don’t give a damn and I’m making no money.-
I know what he means,
I rearrange some sugarcane propped up against the wall.
-People eat shit man no one wants good fruit-
I know what he means.
I was walking with Perry and a man with mismatched shoes
asked for 50cents.
-Hey it’s 2 dollars to ride the bus-
-Hey man I got kids that need to ride-
-Just take it all- he said and threw 8 dollars into his hands.
I like giving people money Perry says.
-I could NEVER be in a relationship with you-
-GOOD- she choked
It’s good I can never get that pin back.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Poems by Jennifer Armentrout

In My Favorite Memory of You

Quiet clings to street corners. No cars are out,
sidewalks ice-packed and slick. By 3rd Avenue

the snow picks up with great, fat flakes
like soap. I want to stop and catch one

on my tongue but it’s cold. Instead we walk
as fast as we can to the bar. A couple dozen

Santas jingle by. All of them drunk, some shouting
“Ho ho ho!” as they pass. We laugh

until we get inside and see fifty more: a sea
of cheap beards and velvet. I think nothing

can be more absurd but am wrong. In the bad light,
the snow makes your hair look gray. Like a kick

to the head I see us spin out. For a second
our future spreads till you reach up and brush

your hair clean. Now you are gone and everything’s wrong.
Coffee spills on my hands without burning. Bird wings

litter streets as if plague cut them off in mid-flight. I write
you letters, take up meditation. I examine my grief, peel

back the skin of its story—a torture. I touch each word,
you, lover, friend, your name—then let it drift

like snow off a roof. At the end, I’m told, I will see
its essence. But when I look there's nothing,

just a chasm, my belly its lip. I picture my hand
dipping into a silver bowl, a plastic ballerina inside.

Floating mid-air, she begs to be touched. But I can’t—
she’s only a trick of light, an illusion. Late in my pregnancy

I ran a fever for six days and felt nothing—no flutter, no kick.
I’m not saying this is the same, just that the wait’s its own end.

The Lipizzaner

Next to your show ribbons hung
this photo of a Lipizzaner your sister
saw in Austria. I’d marvel at it:
I’d only seen stock horses and Pintos
since I’d moved to the country.
While you braided your hair,
I conjured the Airs: levade, courbette,
croupade—tried to make my legs
as graceful. No use; of the two of us
I was always the clumsy one, who
could draw a horse but not ride; whose
limbs were all bruises and bends.
I reached for the frame, intending
to drop it ‘on accident’ when you said,
“Take it. I don’t want it.”—
you’d learned only yesterday
your sister wasn’t your sister
but mother, who’d given you up
at seventeen, married a year later,
and left the country.

I had nothing
to say about that so I walked home,
popped tar bubbles in the road
with my toes, and stuffed
that photo deep in the trash.

Jennifer Armentrout lives in Seattle, Washington, where she works as an IT Engineer for a Chemical Distribution company. Her work has appeared online in The Adirondack Review and Rock Salt Plum Review, and in print in The Wolf UK and Orbis.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Poems by Mebane Robertson

Linda #1

I feel I’m dancing alone
Though I’m stretched out on the sofa,
And my pregnant wife
Is reading across from me.

She says I need a rest.
That I’ve been too busy the last few weeks,
But I feel lazy
And write poems out of this freedom.

Linda #2

Being needy is unattractive.
I try to seclude my need.
I try to contain my need in a box
Decorated with ribbons and bows
So that you might think it is a gift.

And when you’re not here, I’m too here.
I spend hours on the sofa Sundays
Just waiting for you to call.
And I would call you
But pride trumps need.

Linda #3

In her belly the baby’s dropped
She walks slowly as below the Mason-Dixon.
Passing a patisserie, she must have a doughnut.

In the warm end of December she craves
Rare vegetables in balsamic vinegar
While the baby kicks her in the ribs.

I love this woman & this child to be.
I love her ample, waddling straddle.
And what do you know, sun’s coming out.

Linda #4

Like men with signal flags
It was my job to bring the thing down safely.
We had walked to the hospital
Through the trails of false labor at 4 a.m.
I slept till lunch the next day.
But this, borne of reality, was not a test.
My wife scored high percentile in everything.
She dilated like an astronomer’s eyepiece.
I got lost trying to find the bathroom.
Then returning,
I drew the curtain on my wife,
The only one to whom I was not a stranger.

Linda #5

Walking out of the house again
My wife and friend
Out to get some coffee and a trim
Calls me lazy and awry.

I seldom brood.
It’s just her way, I tell myself –
Half-warm, half-cold, this December morning
With the barometer falling.

Poems by Mebane Robertson, past contributor to Green Hill and author of the poetry collection Signal from Draco. Many thanks to Mebane for these poems, which mark a significant departure in style for him.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Poem by Dritëro Agolli translated by Kristi Bojdani

The Seagull

We found a seagull lying on the wet sand,
She had broken her leg under the fragile knee,
She was alone in the middle of the seashore.
She was abandoned and no one was waiting for her.

We brought the seagull into our room,
And she became used to us, like a family member.
But from the windows she would look at the furious surf,
And the foaming waves rising in the midst of the angry storm.

The seagull lived for a very long time in our room,
But one day we couldn’t find her.
A day when the sea would devour the wet sand,
A day when storms were coming.

And we went to look for her in the sea
When waves clashed heads like bulls,
When the wind and the clouds would moan,
And we found the seagull lying dead.

We saw her!
She had opened her wings in the clammy sand.
We saw her!
Maybe she didn’t want to die in that room.


Pulbardhen në rërën e lagur e gjetëm,
E kishte thyer këmbën nën gjurin e brishtë.
E kishin lënë shoqet në bregun e detit vetëm.
E kishin lënë e askush nuk e priste.

Pulbardhen në dhomën tonë e shpumë
E u mesua me ne si njeriu i shtëpisë.
Vec nga dritarja shikonte detin me shkumë
Dhe valën që ngrihej mes shiut dhe stuhisë.

Jetoi pulbardha shumë në dhomë
Po humnbi papritur një ditë,
Një ditë kur deti hidhej mbi rërën e njomë
Një ditë kur vinin stuhitë.

Dhe shkuam në det ta kerkonim,
Kur vala me valën si deshtë kokat kishin përpjekur
Dhe era dhe retë rënkonin
Dhe e gjetëm pulbardhën të vdekur…

E pamë!
Kishte hapur krahët e bardhë në rërën e njomë
E pamë!
Ndofta nuk donte të vdiste në dhomë…

poem by Dritëro Agolli (b. 1931), translated from the Albanian by Kristi Bojdani

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Take Back NYU!

The New York Times gives some microspace to NYU's attempts to squash a student-led movement to bring transparency to business at the university, including (in the movement's words) "budget disclosure, endowment disclosure, and student representation on the Board of Trustees." The movement wants the unversity to practice Socially Responsible Finance, or Socially Responsible Investing. For the article in Saturday's NYT, go here. For the organization itself click on Take Back NYU!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

photo by Ian Engelberger

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Free Will by Navid Ahmadzadeh

Smite him
He said with a force of a thousand winds
A stampede of proboscis mountains rose from the earth
The retribution cast by a dark mage
Bitten by a draconian magic devoured his soul
With stentorian blasts of bites
Fed upon his unholy flesh
Rapid fire of convoluted snakes wrapped around his decaying life
His body consumed with such vulgar lavishness
His spirit free with serendipity and as powerful as an anticyclone
Free from the imprisonment of reality and society
I will march on and carry the flag of freedom into battle
Long live my heart, my winged star, my eagle mind

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

english journal nine advance notice micro e-flyer
cover art by ian engelberger. poem by eros angjeli

Monday, February 2, 2009

Poem by Karen Layman

Ode to Groundhog Day

Why is it
That on February 2nd each year
We strange humans
Go and look for groundhogs in their holes
To see if they have a shadow?
How do we know if they can see their shadow?
And who decided it was six more weeks anyways?
And what is the groundhog thinking?
"If there are humans outside my hole
There will be six more weeks of winter."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kurt Bailey is making a movie

...and it's called The Daymaker. There is a journal of progress on the film here.

And he's uploaded some video of tests for the film here.

There are also links to fantastic photos by Ted Rogers and by Thomasin Alter at the Daymaker site.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poem by Kristi Bojdani

The Day That…

I see lights,
Steam coming from the ground,
Scary figures dancing to a song,
And me standing in the middle of an empty room.

I see a house burning
And the rain falling.
Madness in the dark.

I smell ashes,
Temperature increasing,
Leaves fighting with the wind.
Grayness embraces the dirty sky.

A green hand grabs my neck
It doesn’t allow me to move
My eyes slowly close, my existence fades.
The night came too soon.
The mesmerizing eternal dream
Has found me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

artwork by Katie Pierce

Friday, January 23, 2009

Writing Prompts by Joe Mashburn

1. Construct a story with absolutely no characters. This includes animals, trees, imaginary people, or a main character.

2. Set a scene for a short story without using adjectives. Description of the surroundings is prohibited.

3. Write a story from a bee’s perspective in which you sting a person you know is allergic. Why would you do this? What made you so angry?

3a. You can actually extend this further, and turn Winnie the Pooh into a not so loveable bear…

4. Write a story from the view point of a child. By child, I mean infant. And by infant, I mean no words or movement. I suggest studying babies before attempting this prompt.

5. Describe a hockey game. However, do not describe the game. Describe the fan you are sitting next to who believes he is the announcer and has a smart comment about every player on your team.

6. Use your most boring day to make the best piece of writing you have ever created.

7. Write about the girl you are madly in love with. However, write from the point of view of your other best friend who is a girl to whom you have ranted about all your issues throughout your past.

8. Write a poem without using punctuation or line breaks. However, the speaker of your poem is from a foreign place, so he/she will not know the correct words for some of the things he/she is attempting to describe. Go crazy with this one.

9. Write a story about an alien species that takes one earthling every year. Write it from the perspective of the mechanic for the space ship.

10. Write a first person story with a third person narrative. [Joe explained this one to me and Farsh, but I fell asleep. I think Farsh started behaving in the way described by the assignment, though, so he may have understood what was going on.]

11. Write a story where your character flies. Write it from the perspective of the bird that is flying next to him/her.

12. Write a story in which the main character has a storm cloud over only his head. Write it from the point of view of the storm cloud. Swearing at the character is encouraged.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Poem by Mebane Robertson


One thing I fear is not so much
The usual awful feelings. It is the plain silliness
That sometimes comes over me
When I am feeling nice and comfortable.

I have been burned badly
Often when being giddy,
And am most open to being harmed
When I am madly laughing.

I will always make this bed neatly, tuck
The four corners in tight before I crawl
Under it, where I hide
Some pieces of a light I broke, where nobody

Will look. But if they make me explain,
What will I say? All the king's horses
And all the king's men? When the days in store
Would teach me the lesson without their help?

[Poem from Mebane's book Signal from Draco, out from Black Widow Press. Mebane's work has appeared previously on Green Hill, and he is currently featured online at Able Muse. This poem is published by permission of the author.]

Thursday, January 8, 2009

artwork by Katie Pierce

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Poem by Antonia Pozzi

Love of Distance

I remember that, when I was in the house
of my mother, in the farmland,
I had a window that looked out
onto meadows; a distant wooded border
hid the Ticino and, farther away,
there was a dark strip of hills.
Then, I had seen the sea
just once, but I harbored
the bitter nostalgia of a lover.
Toward evening, I gazed at the horizon;
squinted my eyes; and with my eyelashes,
caressed edges and colors:
the strip of hills turned flat,
trembled, became blue: to me it seemed the sea
and I liked it better than the real one.

(24 April 1929)

Translated by Nicholas Benson
[also at the Project for Innovative Poetry, with another translation previously on Green Hill]

Biographical note: When Antonia Pozzi (1912-1938) took her own life at the age of twenty-six, she was virtually unknown, but the notebooks she left behind were filled with terse poems of astonishing power and controlled lyricism. Her verse places her alongside the ‘hermetic’ poets of her day – most notably Montale, Ungaretti, and Quasimodo – but her voice is solitary and unmistakable. Her poems are collected in the volume Parole (Garzanti, 1998), and a collection of prose has been published as Diari (Scheiwiller, 1988); a selection of her work has been published in English translation by Lawrence Venuti (Breath: Poems and Letters, Wesleyan UP, 2002).