Wednesday, May 21, 2008

cosas, momotombo interviews, a podcast


I admire the discipline of diligent web loggers.
Lest I get in trouble for quoting a poem in full without proper permission, here is the latter half of something. It's from a piece titled, "Missing Angels":

Remember we too migrated--
we once left our signatures on the sand
& on night
sliding through our fingers
like hourglass
And the memory of you
swearing an oath on a steel spike
then offering it deep to the earth & ocean
dead fish looking on

We promised we would not end like the others
forgetful of breeze
the smooth Caribbean relax
of conversation
the humanity of doing nothing

Soon you'll have to answer to the sand you swore
& the steel you swore
because it's possible they've hidden you
buried the script of you
the arching target of history: Yet
blood reaches home soon
Sand will eventually turn to bone
Wind will feel its flesh
Steel will give it body

& there is still music
more music
memorized in stone

from WISE FISH: TALES IN 6/8 TIME (Coffee House Press, 2005)
* by Adrian Castro

Many many months ago, when I mapped out PALABRA PURA's 2008 season, one of the things I wanted to do was invite poets whose work interested me, but who I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting.

One of those poets was Adrian Castro, whose work I was led to by Victor Hernández Cruz.

The irony is that I recently made the difficult decision to stay put and sit out tonight's reading in Chicago because my travel was taking its toll (I head out again on the 30th). So I'll have to rely on Lisa Alvarado to let me know how things go tonight at the California Clipper. On a related note, Latino Poetry Review (LPR) will be publishing a piece on Castro's work by Barabra Jane Reyes.
And speaking of VHC, I was in the Strand in NYC back in mid April, wandering back to the poetry section, and there was Victor: crouched and scanning the shelf for first editions of Frank Lima. He found a volume he already had: Inventory, a New and Selected. So I got to buy it instead.

Contributing Editor of LPR, Urayoán Noel, will be putting something together on Lima for a future issue of LPR.
One of my recuperated pleasures since my move from South Bend to the District last summer was the urban noontime stroll. Today, I took a generous one along M into Georgetown for a lunch meeting. On my way back I walked into a small bookstore. A friend had casually mentioned its existence, but I hadn't gone in till today. I handed over my bag, walked upstairs to check out the poetry section and was pleasantly taken aback:

While not rivaling, say, the selection one might find in the Poetry Room at City Lights in San Francisco, or the poetry section at the sadly defunct Cody's on Telegraph in Berkeley, or Black Oak Books on Shattuck in Berkeley, I was quite impressed for its range and aesthetic diversity. I only spent a moment, but it was enough to see that they carried titles, for example, by Rodrigo Toscano and Edwin Torres, and others. I ended up buying two volumes: one was a book published by Soft Skull Press in 1998 titled Intermission and which had an introduction that began:

Let's say, for the sake of argument, you are a lover of poetry. Why else would you be standing there in the poetry section of this bookstore? Your eyes happened to fall upon this book.
If you are a fan of Tracie Morris, as I am, then I don't really have to twist your arm now, do I?...

Cornelius Eady goes on to say:

If you are a stranger to her work, then I envy you, for you are about to experience the pleasure of discovery, a delight that seems all too rare in these cynical days


The second book I bought was published in 2007 by Atelos, which is a press whose editors are Lyn Hejinian &Travis Ortiz

Here's how the first poem in the volume begins:


decorative heart slap
chasing zephyr tail

wearing red for aerial diffusion
elusive illusion reached by ruin

how to render gesture
before its mess: prefection

how to gale on DNA
while still revered by extension

the whirligigged dog arrives
bowlegged in blue surrender

how to pierce insistent whelping

from The Popedology of an Ambient Language

* by Edwin Torres

And the name of the bookstore?

Google "Bridge Street Books" and check it out.


Eduardo C. Corral and Daniel A. Olivas have generously consented to have their interviews of Kevin A. González and Aaron Michael Morales, respectively, posted on Momotombo Press' website in the "Interviews" section. Have a peek at these latest Momotombo Press website updates. There are also e-interviews of previous Momotombo Press authors, as well as a special e-interview with Gary Soto on the subject of The Chicano Chapbook Series.


I was exploring the web today and came upon a podcast I did not know existed: it is of a reading sponsored by The Poetry Foundation that took place at The Art Institute of Chicago on January 24, 2008. Linking it here is consistent with Letras Latinas' mission.

1 comment:

Manuel Paul Lopez said...

Great to see your mention of Frank Lima. His work leaps tall buildings. I'll be looking forward to Noel's piece about him.

Take care, Francisco.