Category Archives: Poetry

We’re going to let it shine

“I’m so glad I’m fighting for my rights, singing glory Hallelujah, I’m so glad.”

#OccupyHE

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Dérèglement des sens

Is the way these poems work in part by having an auditory aspect, a soundtrack that does not quite fit what is emerging visually? And to have a sense of touch working in still a third way? I do not have time to work this out now but there is something symphonic happening, or some kind of rock and roll, some back beat.

People try to read poems like coded messages and they are wrong on this. I do not really have any options, anyway, so I should stop being so depressed and be a professor.

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Virginia Woolf

To write one needs money and a room of one’s own, it is said, but I say one needs access to self, a clean and well lit space (or an otherwise adequately comfortable one), and peace of mind. Without these things no methodologies apply — even those which do otherwise, like Archambeau’s.

Today’s reading indicates that while many modernist and avant-garde poets attempt to fix a scene through vision, Vallejo grounds his work in sound (and emphasizes the other senses as well) … and that poetry is dialogic.

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Some gossip about Vallejo

He had an affair with the woman living across the street from his family in Stgo. de Chuco, who was the former “wife” of a priest. Poems like “Verano” are about her. He lost her to Carlos Santa María … all of this was in 1915 but I wonder whether it contributes to the events of 1923 (Stephen Hart thinks so).

Do you think, by the way, that the Catholic disapproval of sex is based on the activities priests actually get up to — women they have promised not to have, young boys, and so on?

He felt guilty about his parentage, as a descendant of priests.

The “golpes en la vida” are the rape or attempted rape of Ma. Agueda in Stgo. de Chuco, in 1917, by (I think) an associate of the Santa María family.

Hart is using Silva-Santisteban’s edition of Vallejo.

It is really wonderful to be able to read with attention, no to have to struggle to work.

Espejo Asturrizaga is veiling the truth throughout his biography, and this is why it is so tedious (to me) to read.

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Silvia Goldman

Some time ago I was a referee for this article and liked it. I see the journal agreed, because the piece is out … so I know who wrote it. Now we should all read more things by Silvia Goldman.

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Desgaste (fragmento)


Hubimos máquinas de coser, máquinas de guerra y rayadores manuales
para las verduras que eran blancas y espesas:
leche adicionada con hierro
fortalezas:
capitales de nuestra acumulación
derrames que lubricaban los utensilios.
Construimos cuartos blancos en los que pastaban cuadrillas de caballos
a galope,
racimos de mariposas en la piel y máquinas:

máquinas de escribir como máquinas de guerra
máquinas como diosas fosforescentes
máquinas de silenciar, máquinas para dormir
para calmar los ánimos,
para pasear con los niños en el parque y no olvidarlos:

máquinas con motor silencioso:
diosas fosforescentes que no hacen ruido, que dicen cosas:

dicen ‘toma tu sopita’,
‘quema las naves’
‘no enloquezcas’.

Cuartos blancos con caballos trotando alrededor de máquinas fosforescentes:
‘no enloquezcas’.

Maricela Guerrero

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Division Street

I was looking for an older, American poem about Division Street I read long ago and found this 2008 piece by Helen Mort.

You brought me here to break it off
one muggy Tuesday. A brewing storm,
the pigeons sleek with rain.
My black umbrella flexed its wings.
Damp-skinned, I made for the crush
of bars, where couples slip white pills
from tongue to tongue, light as drizzle,
your fingers through my hair,
the way you nearly sneaked
a little something in my blood.

At the clinic, they asked if I’d tattoos
and I thought again of here –
the jaundiced walls, the knit-knit whine
of needle dotting bone, and, for a moment,
almost wish you’d left your mark;
subtle as the star I cover with t-shirts,
the memory of rain, or your head-down walk
along Division Street, slower each week, pausing
by the pubs, their windows so dim you see
nothing but yourself reflected.

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Trilce XXVIII

He almorzado solo ahora, y no he tenido
madre, ni súplica, ni sírvete, ni agua,
ni padre que, en el facundo ofertorio
de los choclos, pregunte para su tardanza
de imagen, por los broches mayores del sonido.

Cómo iba yo a almorzar. Cómo me iba a servir
de tales platos distantes esas cosas,
cuando habráse quebrado el propio hogar,
cuando no asoma ni madre a los labios.
Cómo iba yo a almorzar nonada.

A la mesa de un buen amigo he almorzado
con su padre recién llegado del mundo,
con sus canas tías que hablan
en tordillo retinte de porcelana,
bisbiseando por todos sus viudos alvéolos;
y con cubiertos francos de alegres tiroriros,
porque estánse en su casa. Así, ¡qué gracia!
Y me han dolido los cuchillos
de esta mesa en todo el paladar.

El yantar de estas mesas así, en que se prueba
amor ajeno en vez del propio amor,
torna tierra el brocado que no brinda la
MADRE,
hace golpe la dura deglución; el dulce,
hiel; aceite funéreo, el café.

Cuando ya se ha quebrado el propio hogar,
y el sírvete materno no sale de la
tumba,
la cocina a oscuras, la miseria de amor.

–C.V.

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Coldhearted

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Durme, durme, hermoza donzeya

Hoy ha muerto alguien y le he cerrado los ojos.

All things be in God.

Axé.

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