Friday, October 22, 2010

I've been reading a lot of Susan Sontag essays lately. I just finished re-reading "A Century of Cinema." A section that struck me was the one in which she drew the line between home theater options vs. the old movie houses. In it, she alludes to how a great movie watched in a theater can transport us for a couple of hours. Here's her creepy but exciting illustration of this: "To be kidnapped, you have to be in a movie theater, seated in the dark among anonymous strangers."

This had me thinkin' of a recent experience. We were recently at the Ken watching the new Basquiat documentary. As the film concluded, I heard a soft weeping that reached us from a few seats to the left. In the darkness, light splashed across half of her face. I was moved by this for a lot of reasons, and shared a bit of sadness at that moment with an anonymous stranger.

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I'm listening to Violeta Parra this morning as I write. My mind wanders. Imagine the conversations between Violeta and Nicanor! Check this out.

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I recently celebrated a birthday. My abuelita called and sang to me. It was utterly beautiful! Following this, she asked: "Mijo, are you still writing?" "I'm trying, grandma." And then she snapped "Don't try! Do!" Brief silence. "Have a happy birthday, mijo. I love you." Click.

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I'm playing trumpet again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The New Bitter Oleander Is Here

The new issue of The Bitter Oleander has arrived, and it's a great-looking piece of work. I'm happy to have a poem included entitled "The Yearning Feed," which happens to be the title of my new manuscript. It's a slight boost of confidence to pub. the title poem, especially as the rejection slips continue to slap against my house like angry, lost bats.

In this issue, I've been especially interested in the special addition, featuring the Ecuadorian poet, Ana Minga. Included are an interview, photos, and several poems, including a selection from her newest collection, Orphaned Birds.

Born in 1983, Minga talks about the genesis of her 3 collections of poetry, all of which, I believe, won various awards. Her first collection was called Pandemonium, written when she was just 18 years old. What a title, no? Additionally, Minga writes of her affection for dogs, solitude, dangerous journalism, books, among others. She also reveals episodes related to her long-time relationship with insomnia, and her experiences growing up in the "relatively isolated world of Opus Dei," where her father acted as administrator.

Minga is intense, she lives intensely, explaining that she sometimes writes days at a time. How many of us would love to claim this? And of this, comes lines like: It's hard to turn into a Lion / or some invincible God / when words break apart and we cry dead birds."

I am certainly going to try to pick up all of her books. Pick up this issue of The Bitter Oleander, and you'll know what I mean.