Friday, March 19, 2010

Shout Out ... Gypsy Art Show


Belinda Subraman has featured my book Fighting Kite on her blog Belinda Subraman Presents / Gypsy Art Show. In this generous book notice, Belinda also reprinted my poems "Greased Pole" and "Wedlock." Thanks, Belinda!



Please check out my page on Belinda Subraman Presents / Gypsy Art Show and leave a comment there.

Belinda Subraman's untiring efforts to highlight poetry and the arts deserve your support. This blog's subtitle is Audio and Video Interviews with Poets, Writers, Musicians and other great Creators as well as Book Info, Excerpts and Occasional Reviews. Lots of promise there to keep you coming back to her many projects and blogs (you'll find links to these in Belinda Subraman Presents). And comment, comment. Maraming salamat — many thanks!

Note: You can find out more about the poem "Wedlock" here on this blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview: How a Poem Happens


I had the honor recently of being interviewed on How a Poem Happens, a blog run by the poet Brian Brodeur.

I'm joining excellent company: Stephen Dunn, Marilyn Hacker, Donald Hall, Robert Hass, Maxine Kumin, Dorianne Laux, Richard Wilbur, and many other renowned poets. As well as several equally renowned Filipino American poets: Rick Barot, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Oliver de la Paz.


The interview centers on my poem "Newly Released, Papa Tells Me What It's Like Inside," which was also featured in this blog. Please check out my "How a Poem Happens" interview and leave a comment there. Brian and I would love to hear what you think. Take care. Ingat.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Poetry Reading at Indiana University


Friends, I'd like to invite you to my poetry reading at Indiana University tomorrow evening (Thursday, 4 February). This event is cosponsored by IU's Creative Writing Program, Asian American Studies, the Asian Cultural Center, and the Filipino Student Organization.

The trouble begins at 8:00 P.M. at Collins Living Learning Center, in the Edmondson Formal Lounge. See you there?

Before the reading, there will be a poetry workshop for residents of the Collins dorm. That trouble begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Ed basement classroom. (Interested students should sign up in the Collins duty office.)

For more info, visit the Facebook event page or the Collins Living Learning Center's Facebook page. Many thanks to Sarah Eaton, Assistant Director at Collins LLC, for your tireless work on this event.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Poetry Reading at the Library of Congress: A Video


The Library of Congress has put up videos of Unsung Heroes: Asian Pacific American Heroism in WWII, the 26 October 2009 symposium in which I gave a poetry reading.


Click on this web address: http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=4808. You'll go to a webpage at the Library of Congress with a small video screen. Click on Launch in a new window below the screen. You can then enlarge the Real Player window that will open. Also, you'll need to close the webpage with the small screen, because the video will start in both windows.

I certainly recommend you watch the entire program, but it's quite long (over two hours). To see only my section, go to the 36:26 mark for the gracious introduction by Ms. Reme Grefalda, Reference Librarian in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress and a fine poet herself. My actual reading runs from 38:08 to 54:38 (16 minutes and change). Enjoy!

And please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think. Thanks.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

America, Lady Liberty, the Stars


Well, how about that? Two days in a row here at the old blogista keys! Keep on keepin' on, as we used to say back in the day. (I think I'm probably showing my age here!)

Yesterday, I gave you a link to my daughter Amanda's poem "Mitosis" on Rattle poetry magazine's online blog from last October. That particular poem was originally published in Rattle 24, the Winter 2005 issue that featured a tribute to Filipino Poets. Although Amanda has been published several times before, including a nation-wide anthology she edited, this was the first time I believe she was published expressly as a Filipino (American) writer. At right is the cover of that Rattle issue, still available for purchase. (Many thanks to Rattle for publishing that tribute to Filipino poets.)

I was fortunate also to have a poem in that issue. Here is the beginning stanza of that poem:

Chewing Gum Upskirt


On the Avenue of the Americas,
at noon two weeks ago Tuesday, a nun
paced the grimy concrete, robed in black,
a starched, white veil framing her stunning face,
one-in-a-million supermodel cheekbones.

Read more . . .


Would you mind clicking on "Read more" directly above and reading the poem on the Rattle website? This opening stanza doesn't really foreshadow the several directions this poem takes: Catholic school in San Francisco, my son under our deck in Iowa, my father in grade school in the Philippines, and throughout the poem the muses women teachers can be to boys. As Nick Carbó wrote in a comment responding to this poem in the Rattle blog: "Female teachers do face a different set of challenges than males, I think ... although they seem to have an advantage in activating their students' imaginations." In the poem, such "activation" leads to political ... whoa, you'll discover that when you read the poem, how chewing gum can represent the lofty themes that title this blog post.

Something else Nick said in his comment really moved me: "My late grandfather could have been the soldier packing the spearmint — an unwitting accomplice. I'm sure he'd have shared it anyway though. I'm happy to have thought of him. Thanks, Vince. From the stories my grandpa told, I felt he left a chunk of his heart in the Philippines." One just never knows how what we write, what we say, will touch someone in unexpected ways. Keep on keepin' on, people.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Adventures in Library Land


My daughter Amanda, a recent graduate of Grinnell College, now works in our town's library, the Cedar Falls Public Library. This gig as a Children's Librarian has been something of a dream job for Amanda. Below are a couple of pictures of her reading a book to some gathered tykes and parents. Note also the puppet theatre behind Amanda's storytelling throne . . . that she would be giving puppet shows was the deciding factor between this job and another that would have paid more. Puppet shows are a very important — no, crucial — part of life, as we all know. Or at least as we all learned when we were kids, though perhaps many of us may have forgotten that by now. Not so, Amanda.
Another part of Amanda's job is creating book displays to entice children (and those other taller children: parents, grandparents, sundry adults) to read. To rediscover the joy and magic of reading. Below are some views of Amanda's first book display. Books on time travel, with the centerpiece nothing less than a time machine: that steampunk-y TARDIS-looking affair. (Google TARDIS if you're a little lost.) Notice the clock and gears embedded in the side of said time machine. And the sassy gold Jetson antenna on the roof contrasting with the Victorian frou-frou detailing. And the lazy wave-like frieze of moon phases. Lovely, isn't it?

I spent a couple of dreamy hours browsing through the time travel books, then settling on a graphic-novel rendition of Wells's Time Machine, which I read from cover to cover. I traveled in time back to childhood when I had read Wells's story as a comic book in the Classics Illustrated series. Thanks, Amanda.
Shortly after she started as a children's librarian, the print and online magazine Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century put up one of Amanda's poems:
Mitosis


When things have bloomed, my mother
teaches me to hunt out the dead
 
 
 
 
 
 
Read more . . .


A little reminder: you can click on the pics above to see larger versions. Well worth it to inspect Amanda's time machine up close. Oh, also, if you didn't get around to googling
TARDIS, it's an acronym that stands for "Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space": the moniker of The Doctor's time/space ship that looks like a London police box (in the British science fiction show Dr. Who).

On a meta-front, sorry again that I have been neglecting the blog. I'll try to be better about it. Keeping up the blog, I've just decided, is a
new New Year's resolution. Added just now. So . . . see you tomorrow?


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