Monday, November 11, 2013

thanks to Phil Dutton for this photo of Tim Cervera (l.) and Henry Gough in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, which just completed a fantastic run at The Gunnery. Bravo to everyone involved in the production!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Two poems by Laura-Delight van Tartwijk

They Died

It is as though everyone stopped believing,
But me. They are not bothered by their
Accents becoming heavier day after day, their tulips
Dying in the garden, and our anthem that has
Become a distant melody. The cheese in
Their shiny kitchens isn’t even real any more.

I am the only one who still loves
Those foggy days that smell like grass. During
Which you want to roll around in that grass, the
Dew drops making you soaking wet. Your boots
Becoming invisible and it seems like you are walking
To nowhere.

I would catch a raindrop, while passing the old
Windmill. The drop, following the lines of
My hands, always made me realize how young I am,
Yet how old I feel. My thin jacket did not do
Much to protect me from the rain, I would
Shake it off, exactly how my dog used to.
She died.

They should try catching a raindrop to realize how
Old they have become. I am sure that they
Will be able to see the faded pencil marks left
Behind in their minds, and they will remember
That if they do not water their tulips, they

Will die with them.


After the men knocked on our door,

Mother forgot to water the
Tulips in the garden. Their once
Playful colors, dancing with the soft, Dutch winter winds,
Now look more like my despicable grandfather:
Old and wrinkly, fragile and grey,
Purposely forgotten in his rocking chair.

The roses on the other side, however,
Were looked after with great care, never disregarded.
Mama loved their color:
A red resembling the red of the stripes on her country’s flag,
“So very lively,” as she would say with her thick American accent,
Looking out of the window, while making
Me a sandwich with appelstroop.

But I could still not understand,
While picking up the ashes of my favorite flower,
Why she did not want to see their enchantment,
The way the tulips were in perfect harmony with the robins who
Whistled “Nederland, oh, Nederland” just before dawn.
How couldn’t she love the reflection of the tulips
In the lake we skate on during the winter,
And how their colors complemented the colors of my flag perfectly?

I did not understand until I realized
That the men who knocked on our door that day
Took everything away: not just every book in our library,
Grandma’s favorite painting, and our family’s reputation,
They took away my father’s wonderful, soothing smile,
My sister’s naiveté, my mother’s love for tulips,
And my surrender.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


read the latest six entries to the online literary journal frankmatter here
Contributors to this issue: Arthur Case | Leslie Howes | Edgar Illas, translated by J.M. Sobrer | Robert Margolis | Jac Nelson | Moneta Goldsmith

Thursday, August 22, 2013

from the long overdue (re)readings XVIII

My generation was the first to have ready access to inexpensive tape recorders and cameras. Far from recording memories of these talks and events, what we seemed to be doing was storing memories that would never be retrieved, that would never form a coherent narrative. In the same way that our desk drawers and cabinet shelves slowly filled with these 'personal' sounds and images, we were beginning, it seemed to me, to live our lives in dissociated bits and pieces. The narrative spine of an individual life was disappearing. The order of events was becoming increasingly meaningless.

— Barry Lopez, from 'Learning to See' in About This Life. Journeys on the Threshold of Memory (NY: Knopf, 1998). 234.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

from the long overdue (re)readings XVII

"And so," he said, "answer the question: do you know a certain Judas from Kerioth, and if so, what exactly did you say to him, if you said anything, about Caesar?"
"It happened like this," began the prisoner willingly, "the day before yesterday in the evening, I met a young man near the temple, who called himself Judas, from the town of Kerioth. He invited me to his house in the Lower City and offered me his hospitality..."
"Is he a good man?" asked Pilate, and a diabolical spark flashed in his eyes.
"A very good man and eager for knowledge," assented the prisoner. "He expressed a great deal of interest in my ideas, gave me an enthusiastic welcome..."
"Lit the candles," said Pilate through his teeth, speaking in the same tone of voice as the prisoner, his eyes glittering.
"Yes," continued Yeshua, somewhat surprised by how well-informed the procurator was. "He asked me to express my views on the power of the state. The question was of great interest to him."
"And what did you say?" asked Pilate. "Or will you reply that you forgot what you said?" But hopelessness already sounded in Pilate's voice.
"Among other things," continued the prisoner, "I said that every kind of power is a form of violence against people and that there will come a time when neither the power of the Caesars, nor any other kind of power will exist. Man will enter the kingdom of truth and justice, where no such power will be necessary."
"Go on!"
"There was nothing more," said the prisoner, "because it was then that they rushed in, tied me up, and took me off to prison."

— Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita. Trans. Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor. NY: Vintage, 1996. p. 22.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

announcing the new online journal frankmatter

Over at frankmatter, we've started a new online journal intended to satisfy an unappeasable longing for more variety, the unexpected, and the less polished, among lots of other things; it aims to broaden your gaze, furrow your brow, arch your eyebrow, and put a stutter in your step. Head on over, and we hope you enjoy it!

[photo by Daniela Tomerini of Paolo Lagazzi, 2012]

Contributors to the inaugural issue: Anna Maria Cossiga | Paolo Lagazzi, translated by NB | Mebane Robertson | Emily Sklar | Gabriele Tinti, translated by David Graham

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stray Shot 2013 (cover photo by Dasha Zaporozhets) introduces several new talents even as it bids fond farewell to a talented group of new graduates. Featured in this issue are seniors Molly Moseley (Gunnery poetry contest winner this spring), Erin Sullivan (winner of the English Department's poetry prize), Sagine Corrielus, Ian Riley, Lenny Qiaojin Jin (winner of the English Department's prize for prose, the Stray Shot prize), and many other talented writers, including translators Tomas Diaz-Canedo (translating Mario Benedetti) and Jessica Qi Xu (Li Bai and Hu Cui). Thanks to the outstanding visual artists whose works grace this issue: Dasha Zaporozhets, Boya Zhao, Diego Duran-Ballen, Falon Moran, and Ria Han.

Check it out here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Daria Zaporozhets
La danse du feu.
at Student Center Gallery
photographs by Dasha Zaporozhets also featured here
The Gunnery
99 Green Hill Road
Washington CT

Thursday, May 9, 2013

From "The Voice of an Alien" by Xiaojin Lenny Jin

Alien Poet

I’m the poet

In the wee hours of the early morning, most of my peers are soundly sleeping. However, this is the best time for me to compose poems with maximized inspiration. My mind springs open with random notions that are then linked together in lyrical rhymes – perhaps an innovative sonnet which is my favorite form – or lyrics that convey humor or a deep emotion. Endowing ideas with concrete images, those poems often make my friends and teachers burst into laughter and they reward me with appreciative winks - I fully cherish those moments.

Alien Anecdote

A visit

Another weekly visit to Old People's home! Life is simple: Mr. Yu smiles and I smile. He is a 93-year-old childless chemist who has Alzheimer's. Again, I'm feeling the coldness from his trembling hands but the warmth from his smiles. Never changed was that old Chemistry Workbook on the desk, also his lack of coherent speech to express his excitement: only smiles.
Mr. Yu loves "Story Section". Only now is he able to recall his memory and deliver a "speech" to a patient listener: me. Although I clearly know every detail about this tale which has been repeated every single time, I will not interrupt as I wish his smile to be eternal. When he mentions children, he lowers his head depressingly. I will hold his hand and share my warmth with him for minutes. That childlike smile never fades from his face as "Story Section" ends. He waves quietly as another seven days start counting down.
Every smile of Mr. Yu gave me more appreciation of helping the elderly, more power of love and happiness.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poem by Erin Sullivan

Just a little girl, age nine at the oldest,
She doesn’t know a thing about reality.
She lives in a world where she could be a princess,
And fairytale endings really do exist.
The scariest thing about her precious life
Is the walk to the bathroom at night when it's really dark.
She doesn’t know what it is that scares her so much
About the dark. But it does… scare her.
I think back to that little girl that I used to be very often.
And now I think I know why I was so scared
Of the dark, that is.
Because who knows what’s out there, you can’t see.
I don’t like to believe in things I can’t see, but
It's so hard to believe in anything… when it's dark.
There could be monsters, or murderers,
Or boyfriends that don’t treat you right, or
Parents that stay up all night and fight,
Or just plain old loneliness.
And I think back to that dark teenager I used to be,
People must have been so scared of me.
I was endless and hard to see, like the dark
That separated the bathroom from me.
But now I understand
That the dark, twisty places are meant to be seen.
But only by a few that won’t just have pity.
They’ll be there, and even if they don’t understand,
They’ll understand that they won’t necessarily understand all the time.
And that understanding is more than any
I look back and I think
There will always be things I’ll be terrified of.
The dark in the hallway
The dark in my soul.
But one way or another
Fears must be conquered.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Poem by Erin Sullivan

This is some unreal, crazy, infinite shit.
Like you’re pulling back my layers bit by bit.
You unravel me, unroll me until I’m nothing,
Naked on the floor, like a fool cuz you’re bluffing.
And I’m still crawling after you, scraping up my knees
Begging for your love, just please baby please.
You hit me and bruise me so much I can’t think
And then you tell me we’re forever, you put it in ink.
Somehow I don’t understand that actions speak louder than words.
It gets easier in time, at least that’s what I’ve heard.
But my heart beats for you, every rhythm is a cry.
I reach for you, beg for you, I will til I die.
You tell me you need me, we’re two halves to a whole,
We fit together, work together, but this love/hate’s taking its toll.
I want to breathe and think, without waiting for the other shoe to drop
But I just can’t leave you alone, I just can’t stop.
I feel like an idiot, just working my life around your every move
And when you come around, you act like there’s something to prove.
How about this, how bout you prove that you love me?
You quit playing games, we both win cuz we’ll both be happy.
But no, for you it's more fun to see me in pain,
Look at me and all you put me through, all the scars and stains.
I wish I could say I’m leaving you, but we both know I can’t.
I’m stuck here, rooted to the ground, I’m a god damn house plant.
So I’ll just write another verse, and try to buy time.
Before I get blamed and beaten for one more of your crimes.
You smile, I smile. You frown, I frown. Is that enough?
You secretly take advantage, cuz you know I can take it rough.
I’m done caring and worrying what everyone else sees.
I just want to be happy with you, for the fighting to cease.
It never will, and neither will I.
I will love you until the day that I die.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

from the long overdue (re)readings XVI

The Basque woman appears through the sweetness of an unknown language, and she disappears in the ungraspable murmur of words in a foreign language. Who is the Basque woman? And why is she obstinately characterized by an impenetrable 'speaking in tongues'?
   A first answer is implicit precisely in the incomprehensible nature of the verses at issue. The story suggests several times that the Basque woman is that which is so inner and present that it can never be remembered ('I would like her to be so close to me that a forced memory would not give me even her image')...

— Giorgio Agamben, The End of the Poem. Studies in Poetics. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford UP, 1999. 120.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thanks to Ria Han for smartly utilizing the cover of David Hinton's latest book, Hunger Mountain, to make a poster advertising this renowned translator/author/poet's talk at The Gunnery this coming Tuesday. That's in two days. That is just another sign of how quickly the spring term is proceeding. If you're reading this, please consider yourself invited to the talk, which will be in the same building as the school's dining hall, a dorm, and the Dean of Students' office. It's called Browne, and it's the first building on the left if you go in the main school gate. The talk begins at 1pm. For more information on David Hinton, click here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

poem by Anton Frondelius. translation into Swedish by Oscar Arfelt

En vacker mardröm

Jag stänger mina ögon och faller,
Faller bakåt in I det torra höet,
Det känns som en ändlös resa,
Från mina dryga 180 cm tills jag drunknar I marken,
Jag sjunker djupare och djupare,
Fåglarnas kvitter börjar försvinna,
Jag börjar försvinna,
In till en symbios med naturen,
Nar jag blir ett med jorden så försvinner allt som är gjort av människan
Jag har inte längre några kläder
Jag simmar I havet och jag springer over den våta mossan
Jag var gjord for det här, min hud, mina ben,
Är alla gjorda för det här,
Det finns inget motstånd när jag simmar,
Inget har varit lättare än att springa I skogen,
Generationer av avvisande av naturen har gjort mig rädd for det okända,
Det är som den vackraste mardrömmen som kommer tillbaks till mig natt efter natt.

A Beautiful Nightmare
I close my eyes and fall,
Fall backwards into the dry hay.
It feels like an endless journey
From my modest five feet until I drown in the ground.
I sink deeper and deeper,
The birds’ tweets are fading away,
I’m fading away
Away into a symbiosis with nature,
As I unify with earth everything manmade disappears. 
I no longer have any clothes,
I swim in the sea and I run over the wet moss.
I was made for doing this, my joints, my skin and bones
Were all made for this.
There’s no friction working against me as I swim,
Nothing has been easier than running in the woods.
Generations of rejecting nature
Have made me scared of the unknown.
It's like the most beautiful nightmare that comes back to me every night.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Poem by Li Bai. Translation from the Chinese by Xu Qi








The moonlight spilt through the window, reached the bed

Seemed like reflection from the frost on the ground

Musing, I looked up; the luminous moon caught my eyes

Gradually I looked down, and missed my hometown.

- translation from the Chinese of Li Bai (701-762) by Jessica Qi Xu

Friday, March 29, 2013

Poem by Natalie Ross

We won’t break the form
Though we could ask why
We conform to the norm

Trapped in his dorm
He ties his tie and wonders why
We won’t break the form

Forced to write to the form
It makes us lie but we sigh and comply

We conform to the norm

We are engulfed in this storm
Of lies & we don’t know why
We won’t break the form

Like bees the media swarm
But on their honey we rely
We conform to the norm

Scared, so we conform
Too real is the truth, so we lie
We won’t break the form
We conform to the norm

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

to see & do in NYC

THE MYTH OF THE GIVEN works by Graham Gillmore | Ebenezer Singh | Jason Wallengren 3/1-30, at Ashok Jain Gallery 24 W 57th St. suite 605 artist talk: March 13, 7 pm

Friday, March 1, 2013

photo by Jake Paron

as noted below, on 2/26 -- see the short vid on El Camion here -- above, the Taco Truck in all its glory

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Poems by Wyatt Clark

ADD poems

The stars are shining
And the world seems so sublime
Goldfish are tasty.

Trees are natural
Machines are illogical

Nothing is sweeter
Than cool water from a spring
Geodes are awesome.

I look into the crowd
Into the sea of faces
But I see no one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jake Paron on the Taco Truck

click here to watch Jake's short doc on the Taco Truck, which is busy serving it up in Waterbury, CT

Friday, February 22, 2013

English Journal #13 (2013)

click here to view English Journal 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Capturing Light. Photos by Falon Moran

Falon Moran Photography Exhibit
Student Center Gallery
Capturing light
Photos by Falon Moran are now on exhibit at the Student Center, The Gunnery, Washington, CT

Friday, February 15, 2013

Portraits. Photographs by Bart McMann


Over the summer, I took a course for my masters degree at Wesleyan University on Self-Portraiture and Portraiture. These photos are from various projects from that class except for the photo entitled The Giant (large young man in an African village). That picture was taken in Malawi about three years ago. The rest of the photos were taken last summer in CT and NY. This is my first ever art show and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to present my work to The Gunnery community. Thanks to Nick Benson, Andy Richards, Susan Rogers, Shavar Bernier, Brian Lillie, and Jesse Perkins for support.
- Bart McMann
Bart's show is on view now in 'The Silent Study Room' at The Gunnery Library, 99 Green Hill Rd., Washington CT. (Above is a cropped version of one of the photos.) All are invited to the opening, next Tuesday at 1 pm.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

View calligraphy and art by Mr. Rui Zhang and his students on exhibition in Browne, at The Gunnery, through March. Above, Mr. Zhang's version of Wang Xizhi's Lantingji Xu (Orchid Pavilion).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm very grateful to Otis Books/Seismicity Editions for publishing my translation of Aldo Palazzeschi's 1910 book of verse L'Incendiario/The Arsonist. Their announcement is here. The book will be available from SPD soon.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poem by Yan Guo

A walk

What goes into your head when you try to not think of anything.

Who goes into your heart when you try to keep everyone from entering.

Where does a snowflake end up when the wind fails to be its wings.

How do all the promises fit into two little rings.

Walking up the hill, embracing the tender chill;

Closing up my eyes, giving back the 'hi' s.

The flag is battling fiercely with the pole;

Smell of similarity, cozying up my world.

The white used to be so pure, so pure and so perfect.

It has now been ruined, ruined with no respect.

Like Holden tried to fix the walls, I eagerly crave spring;

When all brightness will fade into a lovely green.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Translations of Beppe Salvia

Several translations by Nick Benson from the Italian of the poetry of Beppe Salvia are in the latest MPT, issue 3:18, 'Transitions'. Salvia (1954-1985) is not well known outside poetry circles in Italy. A good piece reviewing a 2004 selection of his work was just posted on the blog blanc de ta nuque, here. His poetry reminds me of Edwin Denby and Antonia Pozzi and Frank O'Hara. So that must mean he's not like anyone else! Here's another translation of a Salvia poem, which is not in MPT.

My fits have passed
and I’ve found a job. I’m less
anxious and look better; I’ve had some luck.
It’s spring now and I spend
my free time walking the streets. I watch
those who’ve known no pain and remember
the lost days. I waste my time
with my friends, and suffer a little still
from loneliness.
I have time now to read and write;
maybe I’ll go on a trip, or maybe I won’t.
I am happy, and sad. I am distracted,
and as I wander, realize what was lost.

Translation by Nick Benson of Beppe Salvia, 'I miei malanni si sono acquietati,' in Un solitario amore (Roma: Fandango, 2006), p. 162.