Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Aimé Césaire, Martinique poet, has died
April 17, 2008

Aime Cesaire

Thursday, April 17, 2008

PARIS: The esteemed Martinique poet and politician Aimé Césaire, a leading figure in the movement for black consciousness, died Thursday, the French president’s office and a hospital said. He was 94.

Césaire was involved in the fight for French West Indian rights, and he also served as a lawmaker in the lower house of France’s parliament for nearly 50 years. French President Nicolas Sarkozy successfully led a campaign last year to change the name of Martinique’s airport in honor of Césaire.

Sarkozy on Thursday praised Césaire as “a great poet” and a “great humanist.”

“As a free and independent spirit, throughout his whole life he embodied the fight for the recognition of his identity and the richness of his African roots,” Sarkozy said. “Through his universal call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed peoples.”

~~~

From The liberating power of words – interview with poet Aime Cesaire – Interview

Aimé Césaire: I’ve always had the feeling that I was on a quest to reconquer something, my name, my country or myself.

That is why my approach has in essence always been poetic.

Because it seems to me that in a way that’s what poetry is.

The reconquest of the self by the self….

I think it was Heidegger who said that words are the abode of being. There are many such quotations. I believe it was Rene Char, in his surrealist days, who said that words know much more about us than we know about them.

I too believe that words have a revealing as well as a creative function…

The Abbe Gregoire(1), Victor Schoelcher(2) and all those who spoke out and still speak out, who campaigned for human rights without distinction of race and against discrimination, these were my guides in life. They stand forever as representatives of the West’s great outpouring of magnanimity and solidarity, an essential contribution to the advancement of the ideas of practical universality and human values, ideas without which the world of today would not be able to see its way forward. I am forever a brother to them, at one with them in their combat and in their hopes…

I really do believe in human beings. I find. something of myself in all cultures, in that extraordinary effort that all people, everywhere, have made – and for what purpose?

Quite simply to make life livable!

It is no easy matter to put up with life and face up to death.

And this is what is so moving.

We are all taking part in the same great adventure.

That is what is meant by cultures, cultures that come together at some meeting-point….

I think it was in a passage in Hegel emphasizing the master-slave dialectic that we found this idea about specificity. He points out that the particular and the universal are not to be seen as opposites, that the universal is not the negation of the particular but is reached by a deeper exploration of the particular.

The West told us that in order to be universal we had to start by denying that we were black. I, on the contrary, said to myself that the more we were black, the more universal we would be.

It was a totally different approach. It was not a choice between alternatives, but an effort at reconciliation.

Not a cold reconciliation, but reconciliation in the heat of the fire, an alchemical reconciliation if you like.

The identity in question was an identity reconciled with the universal. For me there can never be any imprisonment within an identity.

Identity means having roots, but it is also a transition, a transition to the universal….

We are far removed from that romantic idyll beneath the calm sea. These are angry, exasperated lands, lands that spit and spew, that vomit forth life.

That is what we must live up to. We must draw upon the creativity of this plot of land! We must keep it going and not sink into a slumber of acceptance and resignation. It is a kind of summons to us from history and from nature….

And so I have tried to reconcile those two worlds, because that was what had to be done. On the other hand, I feel just as relaxed about claiming kinship with the African griot and the African epic as about claiming kinship with Rimbaud and Lautreamont – and through them with Sophocles and Aeschylus! …

I have never harboured any illusions about the risks of history, be it in Africa, in Martinique, in the Americas or anywhere else. History is always dangerous, the world of history is a risky world; but it is up to us at any given moment to establish and readjust the hierarchy of dangers. …

At any rate, it is for me the fundamental mode of expression, and the world’s salvation depends on its ability to heed that voice. It is obvious that the voice of poetry has been less and less heeded during the century we have lived through, but it will come to be realized more and more that it is the only voice that can still be life-giving and that can provide a basis on which to build and reconstruct….

* And yet this century has not been one where ethics has triumphed, has it?

A.C.: Certainly not, but one must speak out, whether one is heeded or not; we hold certain things to be fundamental, things that we cling to. Even if it means swimming against the tide, they must be upheld.

In other words, poetry is for me a searching after truth and sincerity, sincerity outside of the world, outside of alien times. We seek it deep within ourselves, often despite ourselves, despite what we seem to be, within our innermost selves.

Poetry wells up from the depths, with explosive force.

The volcano again.

No doubt I have reached the moment of crossing the great divide but I face it imperturbably in the knowledge of having put forward what I see as essential, in the knowledge, if you like, of having called out ahead of me and proclaimed the future aloud.

That is what I believe I have done; somewhat disoriented though I am to find the seasons going backwards, as it were, that is how it is and that is what I believe to be my vocation.

No resentments, none at all, no ill feelings but the inescapable solitude of the human condition. That is the most important thing.

~

1. Henri Gregoire (1750-1831), French ecclesiastic and politician, a leader of the movement in the Convention for the abolition of slavery. Ed.

2. French politician (1804-1893), campaigner for the abolition of slavery in the colonies, Deputy for Guadeloupe and Martinique. Ed.

–The liberating power of words – interview with poet Aime Cesaire – Interview

~~~

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Never a More Generous Man
April 3, 2008

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Never a more generous man have I met than poet and friend, Matthew Rotando. I take great pleasure in singing the praises of his first book of poems, THE COMEBACK’S EXOSKELETON. I wish you could all know him too, as you will find that once you fall in love with this collection, you will long to meet the person who has such zest for life as well as an eye not afraid to behold our evils. It’s really a lovely collection — and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been waiting for years for it to appear. You should throw caution to the wind and take up this EXOSKELETON! Discover how well dresses up your own worldview!

What others are saying:

Incorporating the density of Spanish surrealism and a sprawling Whitmanesque line, this amazing first book finds Rotando engaged in a poetic biathlon which draws equally from maximal and minimal traditions. There are tight, economical poems, free verse forms derived from the sonnet, poems leaping about the page, but my favorites are the wonderful prose poems tumbling over and under themselves toward gnomish statements that feel both didactic and self-parodying. –Tim Peterson, from the Foreword

The rich, exultant writing in Matthew Rotando’s first collection is both comic and cosmic. Lyrics steeped in the Latin American literary tradition disclose what might be called the surreality of reality in contemporary American culture, while cadences of Stein and Barthelme make the prose poems in The Comeback’s Exoskeleton ring with laughter of great philosophical depth. This is a writer unafraid to love and to err, and to do so with irrepressible grace and humour. To read such unapologetically joyous work is a tonic for melancholy and a prescription for wonder. –Srikanth Reddy, Facts for Visitors


And a few short poems from the collection, though there are many longer ones to gleefully sink into:

THE OCTOPUS MAN, TO HIS SON

 

Son, watch the way the eaves bend when you breathe.

They move the way a star would

If you could corral water into spheres.

 

Shadows play in the paint under the floor:

Tentacular spirits!

They will hold your cages and laboratory equipment.

 

Your time as a human is near at hand;

I am repealing all the old regulations

Regarding prostrations and guttural pronouncements.

 

There will be things called Souvenir Shops;

Bring back an “I ♥ Mt. Rushmore” keychain for your mother.

 

~~

 

TOM DEVANEY, LON CHANEY

 

I snave this heaking suspicion

That the poung yoet, Tom Devaney,

Is really the mold oviestar, Lon Chaney.

If lou yisten to the way they laugh,

Or notice their hartling, storror movie eyes,

You’ll sefinitely dee

That they’re both obvious dasters of misguise.

 

 

AMY, I’M GOING TO CALL YOU THE TROUBLE GIRL

 

I like trouble. I like to shoot watermelon seeds at passing barges. I wanna

put Elmer’s Glue in your hair and make it stick straight up. I wanna go

down to the docks and kick some ass! Your shoes small like skunk. And

so do mine. If we were lizards, I bet we would both be geckoes with

sticky round fingers. A friend is someone who decides to find you out.

Let’s have a broken bottle party! A Chinese dude, Shih-Wu, said, “Pine

trees and strange rocks remain unknown to those who look for mind

with mind.” So let’s not bother. Let’s just walk arm in arm through a

crumbling metropolis, clacking castanets.

 

–From THE COMEBACK’S EXOSKELETON by Matthew Rotando

 

 

In the mood for one more? Try this one, complete with a nearly naked pic!

☻☺☻☺☻☺

Let’s Go Out Past the Party Lights
March 29, 2008

If I had a woman, I’d play this Tom Waits’ re-make for her.

If I had to live in the suburbs, I’d pick North Massapequa, former home of Christine Jorgensen, who was the world’s first publicized sex change star.

If I had to live in North Massapequa, originally settled by the Native Americans of the Algonquain language group, I’d choose a house ten minutes from the ocean and the Wantagh nature trail.

If I had to live ten minutes from the ocean, I’d explore the vineyards of Long Island and take the LIRR into Manhattan every other weekend.

If I had to read up on such “surburban” living, I might go here:

This fascinating study of the suburbs of Long Island, New York (and by analogy, those across America) arose from the authors’ daily commute from Manhattan to SUNY Old Westbury, which is near Levittown, one of the earliest and perhaps the most famous of American suburbs. Initially they had imagined suburbia “as an anaesthetized state of mind, a no place dominated by a culture of conformity and consumption.” Their research quickly taught them otherwise. While Picture Windows does document a growing obsession with middle-class consumer goods, like the televisions that came with 1950 houses at Levittown, it disrupts the myth of suburban serenity to reveal “a rich and stormy history” of political and social conflict. The planners and visionaries of suburbia, as the authors attest, tried to create a place “where ordinary people, not just the elite, would have access to affordable, attractive modern housing in communities with parks, gardens, recreation, stores, and cooperative town meeting places.” Shunning the “snobbery” of cultural critics who deplored the “neat little toy houses on their neat little patches of lawn,” Baxandall and Ewen find much to celebrate in the burgeoning suburbs. Most of those who flocked to the new towns had been crowded into city slums during the depression and war; they never questioned the architectural conformity of the suburbs, but only rejoiced in the chance of owning their own brand-new homes, places empty of anyone else’s memories and rich with potential. Picture Windows is a quintessentially American story, told with skill and conviction. –Regina Marler

Or here:

Le Corbusier’s vision of the future had come true: “The cities shall be part of the country; I shall live 30 miles from my office in one direction, under a pine tree; my secretary will live 30 miles away from it too, in the other direction, under another pine tree.” What that vision omits, of course, is the 5 or 6 million people in between, each with his or her own pine tree.

“…you are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always well taken care of if you come from Iowa.” Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography

Or Brooklyn, or Baltimore, or Buffalo, or Stone Mountain, or Massapequa, or, or, if.

~~

3 Responses to “Let’s Go Out Past the Party Lights”

  1. Gary Says:
    January 7th, 2008 at 9:37 pm eWhile you’re on the topic, don’t forget Candy Darling, who lived for a while in Massapequa Park.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    January 8th, 2008 at 5:41 pm eThe move made. Hopefully a lot of
    commute drag is gone from life.
    Seems a bit like Cape Cod, at least
    the low, gradual part. Been for a shufti or two,
    looks like. Nice place!
  3. Amy King Says:
    January 11th, 2008 at 7:07 pm eCandy Darling! I didn’t know!

    It’s a lovely area, though not as busy to the naked eye as Brooklyn…

Quickie
March 29, 2008

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Yes, that’s John Travolta and Kirk Douglas lip wrestling, but this post is about much more than curing the daily — Jim K wrote a quick review of my recent Dusie chap, Kiss Me With the Mouth of Your Country (send your address to amyhappens @ gmail dot com for a copy). And thank you, Jim!

For more sexiness, click here now!

~~

4 Responses to “Quickie”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    December 11th, 2007 at 6:08 pm eHeh…I dunno; I saw Travolta’s mouth drool a lot
    in “Battlefield Earth”.
  2. Amy King Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 9:00 pm eHeh heh!
  3. Sara Says:
    January 2nd, 2008 at 9:29 pm eHi Amy, did I tell you yet that your new chapbook’s title is I think about the best I’ve ever heard? ‘Cannot wait to read it.

    It appears that John Travolta’s taste in men is even worse than his taste in scripts post-Pulp Fiction — this post reminded me of something I saw on 60 Minutes a few years ago: Apparently, Kirk Douglas had been on the show, and a few weeks later I was watching another episode in which they reviewed some of their mail. A few women wrote a letter together, saying, “If Kirk Douglas thinks women should be more like dogs, we think he should be more like a tree.”

  4. Amy King Says:
    January 4th, 2008 at 10:33 pm eI’m so glad you’re into the new chap, Sara! And yes, I think you summed Travolta and Douglas up… don’t get me started on his son, Charlie Sheen. Ugh.

    Happy happy to you and yours, Ms. S!

Kiss Me With the Mouth of Your Country
March 29, 2008

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I have just finished sending out my chapbook copies for the DUSIE Chapbook Kollectiv.

The title is this post’s title. I have a few copies left over, so if you’re interested in receiving one – freely and imminently – please drop your snail mail address to me at amyhappens @ gmail . com – I’ll post it to you before the holidays.

My DUSIE chapbook from last year can now be viewed online here, “The Good Campaign“. Read a review of it by Chris Rizzo here or read another review of it by Fionna Doney Simmonds here.

5 Responses to “Kiss Me With the Mouth of Your Country”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    December 9th, 2007 at 4:00 am eI got it. I read it.
    The sound and touch are great. It’s beautiful!

    A leedle revu, all true: http://jimk-eclectics.blogspot.com/2007/12/kissed-into-another-country.html

  2. Gina Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 4:41 pm eOh hey, if you still have copies, hook a sister up! xoxo
  3. Amy King Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 9:01 pm eI got you, lady!
  4. Indran Amirthanayagam Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 10:59 pm eI would love to read the poems if still available. cheers. Indran
  5. Amy King Says:
    December 20th, 2007 at 3:37 pm eIf you send me your snail mail address, I’ll send you a copy!

Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers
March 29, 2008

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Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers

How about a pleasant poem to start your month off right? Ugly Duckling has smartly created a Eastern European Poets Series that we Americans might benefit from. I am currently immersed in Lidija Dimkovska’s most excellent book, DO NOT AWAKEN THEM WITH HAMMERS, translated by Peggy Reid – yay!

Craig Santos Perez wisely reviews this collection at Galatea Resurrects – check it. And if you’re thinking of holiday gift giving already … hint hint.

Incidentally, I’ve been thinking about where the bulk of my paycheck goes lately, after rent and other bills. I’ve narrowed it down to books, fine wines (recently got into sampling), and the occasional dining experience. I don’t even go nuts for clothes anymore, and many friends would concur – I’m not the “fashion plate” I once was – ha! No more keeping up with the Joneses, ahem, I mean, the hipsters.

Okay, no further ado; it is now for your daytime treat – here’s one from the collection:

ADVICE FOR EXCELLENT ACHIEVEMENT AND EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOR

The Newscaster entered the history of her people,
the children study her for a grade, and they know her
from the advertising billboards in all the suburbs.
Who knows if she’s going to have her photo taken for “Playboy?”
Mommy, why does this lady have such a big ass?
So that the daily “Nova Makedonija” will not perish or else your father
will hang us. And why did you get an F in history?
The teacher asked who wrote our anthem,
and I said Ataturk, because I had melted into the palms
that the Turkish girl sitting next to me on the school bench
was warming between my legs, and drawing
bridal veils in my notebooks.
Shame on you son.
Is that why I sit at home, patching dead languages,
starching sonnets, is that why my back’s killing me
from washing Byzantine hymnographers’ manuscripts,
Havel’s letters and all sorts of other cult mystifications?
And every night my cheeks defecate,
and I have to tell you, not even Cleopatra went through
so much toilet paper. It is for nothing that
I press Delete, nothing can erase them,
and even less stop them from ejecting
feces–worms in a game of mirrors.
Oh son, son, it’s not the wind beating against the shutters that wakes you at night,
it’s the pores of my outer skin flushing themselves with water from the toilet,
and whoever arrives first in the dream
on the other side of the cable TV goes to pee. Look at her,
she’s all dressed up as if she was talking about Osiris,
not about the rice that caught diarrhea at dawn,
and do not ask shy she has such red eyes,
or why her nails are all gnarled, and her cheeks transparent.
Study son, repeat, not battles and peace summits,
but: why doesn’t a dead person’s hairdo stay in place
for more than ten minutes, why didn’t Isis
catch it from Osiris,
(and your father once told your uncle:
the more I beat her, the more she loves me),
because you have to know everything so as not to know anything
and be photocopied on freshly painted walls,
white walls for all those wonderful people.
Study son. Study will not harm the head underwritten
by the Lethe Insurance Company.

–Lidija Dimkovska, DO NOT AWAKEN THEM WITH HAMMERS

~~

dimkovska.gif
Lidija Dimkovska was born in 1971 in Skopje, Macedonia. She is a poetry editor for the online literary review Blesok (Shine). She took her Ph.D. in Romanian literature from the University of Bucharest, and now lives in Slovenia. Her books include The Offspring of the East (1992), The Fire of Letters (1994), Bitten Nails (1998), and Nobel vs. Nobel (2001).

Ljubica Arsovska is editor-in-chief of the quarterly Kulturen Zivot, the leading cultural magazine in Macedonia, and translator of numerous books, plays, and poems.

Peggy Reid is a translator of Macedonian poetry and prose. In 1973 she and her husband, Graham W. Reid, received the Struga Poetry Festival Translation Prize for their translation of The Sirdar, by Grigor Prlicev. In 1994 she received the Macedonian Literary Translators’ Society Award; she has also won first prize at the Avon Poetry Festival, UK, twice for her own poetry. She teaches English at the University of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje.

One Response to “December Day Treat”

  1. ashok Says:
    December 9th, 2007 at 4:22 pm eHope all is well – just curious, any particular sort of wine?I always like drinking Sauvignon Blanc b/c it’s readily available and (relatively) cheap: yeah, I admit it, I know squat about wine.

A Little Weekend Beauty and Clarity
March 29, 2008

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I hope to make something this lovely one day. Listen to Iron and Wine’s new album, “The Shepherd’s Dog”, at Rolling Stone (scroll down a bit), read about it at Pitchfork, or watch the video below of Sam Beam performing “The Resurrection Fern” (click here to find out what one is).

3 Responses to “A Little Weekend Beauty and Clarity”

  1. didi Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 4:31 pm eThat is a tremendous painting. I love it.
  2. ashok Says:
    October 8th, 2007 at 11:48 am eLove Iron and Wine, and didi’s right – that painting is marvelous.

    Hope all is well.

  3. Rachel Mallino Says:
    October 11th, 2007 at 2:01 pm eI’m in love with Sam Beam.