En ciudades pequeñas
deja de importar la velocidad
al nombrar la esquina,
el taxi, o la pizza.
La navaja opera igual de callada.
Si timbra el teléfono,
bajo una sábana
y un vaso tibio de vino blanco
en jugo de manzana.
Cede la puerta;
me acuesto callada.
Soy el primer astronauta—
busco qué decir.
From my book “Entre domingo y domingo” (“From Sunday to Sunday”)
O, Miami Poetry Festival is in its fourth year running in, where else, Miami. It is a month-long event whose goal is to engage every resident of Miami-Dade County with poetry at least once during April.
I will be running a project during the Festival called Poetry Parlor. The plan is to slip inserts with user-friendly poems into the magazines found at beauty salons. We will hit ten salons in three very different Miami areas: Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove and Little Haiti. The poems will be in English, Spanish and Creole.
Short, accessible pieces by A.E. Stallings, Maya Angelou, Mario Benedetti and Carol Ann Duffy will be featured. I’ll share shots of the pieces in the days to come.
This past Sunday, the Miami Herald ran a story on the O, Miami Poetry Festival and gave Poetry Parlor a little shout out. The excerpt is below:
Valuable lessons to be found in V.S. Naipul’s dark humor. From his book “In a Free State.”
The photo above, by Estonian photographer Alexander Gronsky, broke my heart.
Even though it is a small reprint of a reprint in a newspaper, the image transmits the desolation found at the limits of civilization, where it is uncertain if the laws of nature or man apply.
According to Gronsky, these landscapes, the margins of Moscow, had seemed “too huge to explore in (his) lifetime.”
But, he undoubtedly managed to accomplish what he intended. “I am trying to get everything into one picture,” the artist said.
After years of yoga, retreats and sessions with spiritual teachers, I was finally motivated to read the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most relevant Hindu texts ever written.
Religious reading is hard. It is slow. It can even, at times, be boring. But the Bhagavad Gita is an action-packed tale that gets to the point quickly. Its point is also clear, not swallowed by metaphor like Jonah and his whale.
The Gita tells of brave Arjuna who is about to go off and fight a war. Before, he speaks with Krishna, who is an incarnation of the Divine. Krishna gives Arjuna the knowledge he needs to fight and win all wars, especially the battle for inner peace and Enlightenment.
I decided to buy the Gita because a woman swooped in out of nowhere in a bookstore, while I had the book in my hands. She said that every morning she opened it up to a random page and read a few vedas, or verses. She also mentioned that the version I held, Jack Hawley’s “The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners,” was easy to understand and apply.
I’ve been reading the Gita for about a week in the way the woman recommended and have loved the experience. Like with most religious stories, I knew the narrative beforehand, so it’s not like I could get lost in the tale. Reading it like this has also taken away my need to get through it, to finish it, to devour it. I can envision reading it for years, a vision that would normally give me the chills.
Every passage I’ve encountered is a small bouquet of wisdom, just the right dose to get my restless mind working toward the ultimate groove.
Above is this morning’s verse, below is yesterday’s.
As I am finally feeling ready to send out a small collection of my recent work for publication, I’ve been on the hunt for as many poetry chapbook contests as I can find. The good news is that there are many. The bad news is that they all charge. Even those that “don’t” require you to buy a book from their catalogue.
I have to admit that I am not altogether against these charges though, especially when payment buys you a poetry book. How else are these small presses going to survive? From the throngs of people lining up to buy poetry books written by unknown authors? Unlikely. But, I
It is up to us writers of poetry to not only support small presses, but also to promote our work as best we can so that if and when we do get published, our books sell.
So, for all writers of poetry out there, here is a list I’ve compiled of the most legit-looking chapbook contests, with their respective deadlines:
If I’ve left out a contest that should be on the list, please send me a comment with the info and I will gladly add it.
The impeccable dialogue of Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipul.