Sobre la poesía

This was a poem I wrote in 1981, that I liked then and still do, but that needs context to be comprehensible. At what point do poems expire, speaking only to their own age? At what point does a text that interests its writer become interesting to another? I never thought of this level of poem as something to publish, but others are less modest than I.


The Chancay face has a curved eye and stands
among cumbias and guayaberas
(imported and contraband)
in the crowds by the jukebox sounding
dreaming in bars the gods are silent
but they rise

As La Tapada stood with one veiled eye
among the flowers of a National Palace dream
(il faudrait du vert à cette place, dit-il)
Miss Peru wore Maybelline
no somos de aquí they said
the President lives abroad
and the eyeless face walks
backward down the road PERDÓNAME

Carnaval: a day to show your desire
–-Spanish costumes French style
me dijo, y me llevó hasta Estados Unidos, qué lindo–-
We’re proud Incas
only foreign investment will save Peru
no somos de aquí

The Chancay face with shaded eyes diffused
among a wig and satin cross
in the offices with the jukebox sounding
from lawn chairs we call them comfortably
name the gods our real selves
as though they were here

The Chancay face has shells as eyes and turns
among imported and smuggled the cumbias and guayaberas
counting small coins–
Curves his eye
on an embroidered girl
as though we were here
gone but we are here
Krugerrands in an offered hand unseen–-
fingers cut through the bone

Marzo 1981: SÍMBOLO DE PERUANIDAD era la eslogan de Petroperú y se citan canciones de Juan Gabriel, Blondie y Camilo Sesto que andaban en las radios. Se inspira en un poster que había para promover el turismo de culturas antiguas, que tenía una máscara de Chancay.



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Two Lines. Print journal, online features, and also books. Center for the Art of Translation. Study this journal; here are submission instructions.

Tripwire. Experimental. They take translations but not poems originally written in English. Verify?

Split Lip. You can submit one poem only. This is fun, if you only have one good one.

Siete vientos, especially for Moro?

Phoneme Media. Books, contemporary poetry (note: they have one on the Angola 3). Founded by David Shook (see just below).

Noemi Press.

Modern Poetry in Translation. Their traditional focus is on Eastern Europe, although they publish other things; they are the ones who put out the Baltic issue. Working with them is DAVID SHOOK who “is a poet and translator in LA, where he has founded Phoneme Media, a publishing house for literature in translation. His translations of Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome and Pablo D’Ors Biography of Silence will be published in 2018.” I should read this journal, but can you submit to it?

Metamorphoses. Print journal. I had thought, at one point, that they were a good goal.

Journals seeking work in translation. PEN.

Here is a long list of little magazines, although not all want poetry in translation.

Graywolf? Perhaps yes.

Gato Negro? Perhaps yes as well.

Black Widow. This could be good for Moro.

And here, finally, is Latour’s Compositionist Manifesto, that I would really like to read.



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Notes on that poem

…that I spent days translating when I should have been doing any number of things.

The post-human.
The critique of nationalist literary histories.
The attempt to locate origins in what has been lost.
The fact that that is the game nationalist literary histories play, appropriating those origins for the national project.
We are taught to identify with that appropriation.
The evidence of those origins — that we know are not the reified origin of national literary histories — are nonetheless all around us, and resist nationalist appropriation (Vallejo knew it, too).
The dislocated feeling of identifying with a landscape filled with signs of this unknowable and unrecuperable past.
Writing about these things now, in globalization and the end of the nation-state.
Ortega speaks of this poetry as “emanating from a wound in the Spanish language” but it is more properly a gap in [the Peruvian gestalt].
Roxosol, the title, refers to the sun in a Golden Age poem but also to the Incan sun.
Inkarrí is here that awareness of the older world, lost to us, but whose traces are still visible.
The speaker is a national subject dissolving.
The poem insists on place, situatedness, but outside the narration of nation. Consciousness of this place means moving beyond binaries like civilization and barbarism, present and past, but also human and non-human.

…I wonder if this has potential, or is good.


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Fernando de Herrera, Soneto X

Roxo sol, que con hacha luminosa
coloras el purpúreo y alto cielo,
¿hallaste tal belleza en todo el suelo,
qu’ iguale a mi serena Luz dichosa?

Aura suäve, blanda y amorosa,
que nos halagas con tu fresco buelo;
cuando se cubre del dorado velo
mi Luz, ¿tocaste trença más hermosa?

Luna, onor de la noche, ilustre coro
de las errantes lumbres y fixadas,
¿consideraste tales dos estrellas?

Sol puro, Aura, Luna, llamas d’ oro,
¿oístes vos mis penas nunca usadas?
¿vistes Luz más ingrata a mis querellas?

Also, did you remember that Garcilaso de la Vega died in 1536? He was 35 and died in battle, being a soldier.


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More for “Language and the entrepreneurial university”

Last year, the state moved for dismissal, arguing that the 14th Amendment contains no reference to literacy. Then, last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III agreed with the state. Literacy is important, the judge noted. But students enjoy no right to access to being taught literacy. All the state has to do is make sure schools run. If they are unable to educate their students, that’s a shame, but court rulings have not established that “access to literacy” is “a fundamental right.”

“The deeper implication that the judge is tacitly admitting that it is all right to gut all of the public functions of government while leaving them nominally intact,” my friend said.

These ideas are key and they are for my next article (not the one I am working on now).


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A brief and subjective review of Charlottesville, Virginia

I should have driven further but traffic was thick and it is raining, so I have stopped in Charlottesville. I started out in northern Maryland, driving to Washington, DC where I parked off the national mall and went to the Cézanne exhibit at the National Gallery, which is worthwhile. The gift shop at the National Gallery is endless and junky, and if you eat lunch you should go to the Garden Café since in the end, the poor cafeteria is almost as expensive as the sit-down place. I walked past the Capitol and drove by the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument on the way out of town; in Virginia I passed the sites of several famous battlegrounds including the Bull Run.

I cannot handle junky motels, nor face expensive hotels, so I am staying at the conference center of the University of Virginia Business School. It is a bit sterile, but very comfortable and it has a pub, that I would be in if it were less stuffy, and a laundry room that is free, and breakfast in the cafeteria will surely be interesting. I will visit Monticello tomorrow and am curious to see whether it will seem different from other plantations I have seen; having been there will make me more experienced as an American.

The University of Virginia is manicured and buttoned down, and many students are military. Charlottesville has one of those very Southern courthouse squares and seems on the whole to be a quintessence of squareness. I think all the students and faculty must be rich, as this place is very obviously upscale. I went to the pedestrian mall downtown where I had a slice of vegetarian pizza, quite good, for $4.14 and for another $4.14, an excellent capuccino at a place where you could sit and read for a long time. There was a great deal of overpriced shopping, uninteresting, mixed with overdone bistros, and several very interesting antiquarian bookstores where you could also sit and read for a long time. If I had been less tired I would have had dinner at Bizou, eating at the bar–this place looked cozy, unpretentious, and good, actual not faux European. Then I would have gone to a concert at the Front Porch, a roots music school.

There must be some sort of cool scene here but my overall impression is that it is not a cool town. Have you been to Charlottesville?


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Remnants of that article draft

***Alternatives to the current university: Edu-factory, more.

***Bosquet: adjunct women wildcatting will be what saves us. Is this an adequate hope? Can we all get together to reeducate the public / rebuild the idea of the public and the public good?

***Asking for accountability from administratons:  the LARB article.

***AAUP needs much closer connections regional/national, and CBC/advocacy.

***Nair: what if we foregrounded movements, not the cult of personality and celebrity? what if we held on to abstract concepts? Also use the Eric and Mike essay, which is in my downloads.

***People younger than me do not remember what it is to have rights any more than the undergraduates care about voting…faculty have less interest in shared governance than undergraduates have in voting. Is AAUP/shared governance antiquated because they presuppose an older kind of university, or not? (Tenure didn’t really exist when the AAUP started.) Is collective bargaining enough of an update on older strategies?

***I am an outsider and outlier because I am old, because I am not entirely from the US, because I am from California, and because I am still idealistic like a graduate student. But it is because mostly because where I am, corporatization has most aggressively taken over. AAUP’s ideas arose from another crisis (in Veblen’s day) and they also presuppose the kind of stability universities had in the 50s and 60s (although the highest membership was during the McCarthy period, for obvious reasons). Still, needed now are new and different connections / solidarity with parents / students / more. [Work these ideas out]

ALSO: Bosquet says it is women contingents wildcatting who will turn the tide. Based on NC teachers strike & the fact that most professors are contingents who are women. I add that it has to be for education, not jobs or money. AND we have to start supporting each other, not being individualist careerists. Note too that wildcatting did not help in Oklahoma (or was that just a battle lost, and not the war?).

ALSO: Snow’s ideas are fine and everything, but there are also Yasmin Nair’s: she talks about movements and abstract concepts, not just strategies.

*NAPOLITANO: she should be supporting the university, asking for public funding of a public institution, not depending upon charity and philanthropy and “public-private partnerships” It’s effectively the public education version of the asinine argument about how, once we destroy the social safety net, private and philanthropic organizations will take up the slack. It is like saying churches will take up the slack on welfare. had a similar first reaction: “The point of fact is that public funding at the level it was at is unlikely to be restored”— that’s not a point of fact, it’s a point of politics. We need to get state and national-level candidates elected who understand how to convince boards of trustees of the importance of state universities.

Giroux, Henry, 2016. Public pedagogy and manufactured identities in the age of selfie culture.



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