Sunday, March 29, 2009

Skulkers of the Philippine Night

Over the last five or six days, students in an Asian American Literature class at the University of Georgia have been friending me on Facebook. Their professor, Will Abney, offered them extra credit for contacting and friending authors they are studying.

At first, I was divided about the situation, but it has developed into an interesting learning opportunity for them as well as me: we now have a Facebook group in which we can discuss my poems in their textbook, Shawn Wong's Asian American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology. There is only a small window during which we (along with their professor, who has now joined the group) can address my work online; they start discussing the poems in class this week and will probably be done with them in fairly short order.

In the meantime, though, the students have started asking questions and I am answering . . . though I'm not simply giving the answers away. I find myself responding in such a way that I hope will entice the students to meet the poems halfway, so to speak, engage them to read the poems critically and actively.

Here is one of those poems that are in their textbook, on aswang (ah-SWAHNG), the bogey man (or woman) of the Philippines.


Shooting marbles, Carding from across the street
and I knelt on gritty concrete in front
of his house. His mother and a couple of friends sat
on the steps, laughing and gossiping about aswang,
those routine skulkers of the Philippine night. Carding's
mother had a pretty cousin who could
pierce your jugular with her hollow tongue
like sharpened bamboo, then delicately sip your blood,
her eyes darting crimson. One of the friends
had an uncle with fingernails hard as stone,
his breath reeking of damp earth, of human
flesh three days dead. They said Mang Enteng,
who sells baskets at market, changes into cat,
dog or boar at full moon and prowls bundok roads.

That night, I was strolling by Carding's house,
and I saw his mother, a pretty mestiza widow,
her face hidden by hair hanging down
as she bent far forward from the waist.
A manananggal, the worst kind of aswang:
women who can detach themselves at the hips,
shucking their legs at night like a wrinkled slip.
They fly, just face and breasts, to prey on infants.
For a moment, a shadow like a giant bat
darkened the moon, then I ran to my friend's room.
He cried as we sneaked into his mother's bedroom
and sprinkled crushed garlic and holy water
on the legs propped up in the southeast corner. "She'll be free,"
I told his trembling shoulders. "She'll finally be free."

The next day, friends and neighbors gathered
at their house. The priest wouldn't let anyone
in the bedroom, they said. Then six men carried a pine
box into the light. I couldn't forget how his mother
flew in the window at dawn. Her face was white, her
lips full and red. She screamed when
she couldn't touch her legs. He rushed in,
began to brush away the garlic. His mother
like a trapped moth fluttering against the wall.
I leaped and wrapped my arms around Carding.
She swooped, we struggled until the first sunbeam
touched her. My friend sobbed as I wiped blood from
a cut on my arm. The funeral was a week ago, and all
I've dreamed the last six nights is neighbors standing

in a line — I'm running — they whisper, "Aswang. Aswang."

— Vince Gotera, first appeared in Zone 3 (1990).
Reprinted in Asian American Literature:
A Brief Introduction and Anthology

Vince Gotera, "Aswang: Manananggal"   (click to view full-size)

The opening stanza is a kind of primer about aswang, the Filipino all-purpose monster: vampire, ghoul, shapeshifter. These different types of aswang have European cognates, but not the manananggal (mah-nah-nahng-GAHL) . . . there is no monster in European or American culture that does what she can do: split her body at the waist, entrails hanging like broken cables, unfurl leathery, pterodactyl-like wings, and sail through the night in search of prey.

Now of course all monsters have to have some weakness; otherwise, we humans would be long-extinct. A vampire can be killed with a wooden stake, the werewolf with a silver bullet, the zombie by a death-dealing blow to the head. With the manananggal — typically a woman — the vulnerability is that she must leave the bottom half of her body alone while she hunts. Spread a little salt or a little garlic on her nether regions and she cannot reconnect, reintegrate her body; when sunrise comes, she dies at sunlight's touch.

In the second and third stanzas, the poem moves from primer to narrative. Carding, the speaker's playmate, is the protector of his mother's bottom half. The speaker, off stage, convinces Carding to be brave, to set his mom free from the curse of being an aswang. After all, Carding is short for Ricardo, a Germanic name meaning "hard ruler," a là King Richard the Lion-Hearted of medieval fame.

But Carding is no Lionheart; he wants his mother to live. Her only release from aswang-ness is through death. It turns out not Carding but the speaker is the "hard ruler" and he must battle in epic struggle against both Carding and his monster mother. In the fight, the speaker is injured slightly. Later he fears (no, perhaps is more than certain) that he has damned himself, that he has in his heroism been turned into an aswang.

I suppose I really didn't need to tell you all that; we are all such good interpreters of horror-film conventions. But I wanted to retell the story, rehearse the thrills again.

You see, I really just wanted to write a good old-fashioned horror story, and the clincher was I wanted to do it in a sonnet. Well, fourteen lines was not a large enough space to contain this topic, so it ended up being three sonnets. With a tail, a small caudate: an ending monostich or single-line stanza where the punchline is, full circle from the characters in the beginning of the poem "laughing and gossiping about aswang."

You may not have recognized that the poem is made up of three sonnet-shaped stanzas because, at times, I use quite distant slant rhyme. Here are the rhyme schemes of the three stanzas, broken into rhyme groups:
















white, her


standing   //   Aswang
As you can see, the first stanza is a Shakespearean sonnet, the second a modified Petrarchan (cddc instead of abba in the second quatrain), and the third a pretty standard Petrarchan . . . with the caudate line rhyming with the closing line of the last sonnet stanza.

Some of the rhymes are so slant they may hardly be rhymes — and some of my poet friends probably would say they don't rhyme at all. For example, in the first sonnet stanza, "front" and "aswang" (the b rhyme). Or "stone" and "Enteng" (the f rhyme), though that pair has a more subversive rhyme: the rich consonance of /t/ + /n/ with /t/ + /ng/. Which also rhymes, consonantally, with the earlier c rhyme: "Carding" and "tongue" (/d/ + /ng/ with /t/ + /ng/). Which in turn rhymes in a more standard fashion with the second b rhyme above, "aswang." So, while the rhymes can be quite distant, there is a great deal of subtlety in the rhyming that gives the poem a confident musicality and poetic texture. (I'm particularly proud of the rhyme of "white, her" with "mother.")

Unless you counted the lines in each stanza, you might not have thought these were sonnets at all. You might have thought this was free verse, in fact. While I was pursuing my MFA at Indiana University, my classmates in that program were mainly unfriendly to rhymed and metered verse, so I developed a formalist style that used slant rhymes and roughed-up meter as disguises. A reader expecting free verse could see my poems as such, while a reader looking for formal conventions could also find them there.

Okay, enough craft talk. A few final notes. In the original version of the poem, published in Zone 3 and reprinted in Asian American Literature, I misspelled manananggal. I left out a na syllable. This spelling is corrected above.

In the textbook, a footnote says the manananggal is a "witch who is half-human and flies around in a caldron [sic]." I have never encountered the cauldron element in literature I've consulted on aswang legends, so I wonder if this footnote is in error, though the cauldron may be part of a local version of the myth somewhere.

Here is a YouTube video showing a female aswang transforming into her manananggal form, from the Philippine film Shake, Rattle & Roll (1984). Production values quite low, but interesting nevertheless.

It was difficult to find an aswang image I liked out in the internet. So I made my own; see above. It's more of a cartoon than a representational rendering, though my wife and kids assure me it's nonetheless a scary image. You decide.

And comment below, please. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hi Vince! So I've starred this post and plan to read it closely very soon. Just wondering if you wouldn't mind my cross posting this on the PAWA blog, and linking back here? Please do let me know.

Vince Gotera said...

Hi, BJ! Sorry to be such a newbie, but I am one. Could you explain what all of that means? I suppose as a blogista, I should know what you're talking about, but I need some schooling from the old pro. Well, not "old"! ;-D Thanks. --V.

Barb said...

Huh. I always thought aswang just meant vampire. I love the legend behind the manananggal. The closest I've heard to that is matatanggal. LOL! Anyway, not being familiar with the story, I would have taken the term literally like, "removable" or something like that. Interestingly, I just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the narrative part of your poem reminds me of the narrative style in the novel, the matter-of-fact telling of "magical realism."

Also, it's totally cool how you're interacting with those students studying your work. IMO, however, I think you totally gave away the answers here!

bjanepr said...

Ha, no worries. I've been looking for content for the PAWA blog (it's hard and impractical for me to continually be the one of the very few generating it), and I'd love to include this post there for our PAWA readers and members to enjoy and think about and maybe even respond to -

then provide the link over to the entire post here?

Vince Gotera said...

BJ ... sorry, I think we're missing each other. I just didn't know what cross-posting meant. But I just looked at the PAWA blog and I think I understand. You put a teaser in the PAWA blog, maybe a couple of paragraphs then put in a "Read more here" link. Is that right? But how will you handle the poem? Will the link be in the middle of it? Okay, BJ ... go ahead and cross-post. --Vince

Vince Gotera said...

BJ: The cross-post at PAWA looks great. Nicely excerpted. Thanks for pulling in my little graphic too. --V.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment, Vince! I appreciate it. I also really enjoyed your aswang poem and the explanation; I'm working on a book of them and would really love to pick your brain sometime.

I'll definitely add you to my blog list, too. Thanks!



Vince Gotera said...

Rachelle, cool. Yeah, let's talk aswang sometime, absolutely. It's great to meet you. In fact, let's talk not aswang too. ;-D

Anonymous said...

enjoyed greatly.

Vince Gotera said...

ibtf: Sorry, I missed your comment. I'm not sure if this is JWSC or DJP or JM or RE I'm talking to (or maybe everyone at ibtf), but I do appreciate your generous comment. Many thanks.

Jewel Allen said...

Loved this poem. I am a horror fiction writer and afficionado who grew up in the Philippines. I see you have a lot more on your sidebar. I'll have to return for seconds...

lady gaga halloween costume said...

I love coming to this site and reading all the great content.
lady gaga halloween costume ideas

Anonymous said...

I am also studying your work at University of Phoenix, and am using the same textbook that the University of Georgia class used. Maybe I should add you on facebook too! Either way I enjoy your poem, and you are right, the rhymes are distant enough to not be obvious unless you really look for them.

yanmaneee said...

nike sb dunks
kd shoes
pandora jewelry official site
curry 7 shoes
kobe shoes
nike shox for men
kevin durant shoes
kobe 9
yeezy supply
kyrie 7

yanmaneee said...

curry 8 shoes
nike off white
cheap jordans
yeezy 700
kd 12
cheap jordans
yeezy boost 350 v2
nike sb
hermes handbags
kyrie spongebob

13th floor elevators (1) 3d (1) 9/11 (3) a schneider (1) abecedarian (11) acrostic (5) adelaide crapsey (1) african american (1) aids (1) aisling (1) al robles (2) alberta turner (1) alex esclamado (1) alexander chen (1) alexander pushkin (1) alexandra bissell (1) alexandrines (3) alien (1) alliteration (3) alphabet (1) alphabet poem (2) altered books (1) altered pages (2) altered reality magazine (2) amanda blue gotera (6) amelia blue gotera (3) american gothic (1) amok (1) amy lowell (1) anacreon (1) anacreontics (1) anaphora (2) andre norton (1) andrea boltwood (19) andrew davidson (1) andrew marvell (1) andrew oldham (1) angelina jolie (1) angels (1) animation (1) anna montgomery (3) anne reynolds (1) annie e. existence (1) annie finch (1) anny ballardini (1) anti- (1) antonio taguba (2) aprille (1) art (7) arturo islas (1) ash wednesday (1) asian american (4) assonance (2) astronomy (2) aswang (12) aswang wars (1) atlanta rhythm section (1) balato (1) ballad (2) barack obama (7) barbara jane reyes (1) barry a. morris (1) bass (2) bataan (5) becca andrea (1) beetle (2) belinda subraman (2) beowulf (1) best american poetry (1) beverly cassidy (1) bible (1) bill clinton (1) billy collins (2) blank verse (8) bob boynton (1) body farm (1) bolo (1) bongbong marcos (3) bop (1) brian brodeur (2) brian garrison (1) bruce johnson (1) bruce niedt (4) buddah moskowitz (2) burns stanza (1) callaloo (1) candida fajardo gotera (5) cardinal sin (1) carlos bulosan (1) carlos santana (1) carmina figurata (3) carolina matsumura gotera (1) caroline klocksiem (1) carrie arizona (3) carrieola (3) carriezona (1) catherine childress pritchard (1) catherine pritchard childress (36) catullus (1) cebu (1) cecilia manguerra brainard (1) cedar falls (6) cedar falls public library (1) cento (1) charles a hogan (2) chess (1) childhood (1) children's poetry (1) China (1) chorus of glories (1) chris durietz (1) christmas (2) christopher smart (1) chuck pahlaniuk (1) cinquain (1) civil rights (1) clarean sonnet (2) clarice (1) classics iv (1) cleave hay(na)ku (2) clerihews (3) cliché (1) common meter (1) computers (1) concrete poem (1) concreteness (1) consonance (5) coolest month (1) cory aquino (2) couplet (5) couplet quatrains (2) crab (1) craft (5) creative nonfiction (1) crewrt-l (1) crucifixion (1) curtal sonnet (26) dactyls (2) daily palette (1) damián ortega (1) danielle filas (1) dante (5) dashiki (1) david foster wallace (1) david kopaska-merkel (1) david wojahn (1) de jackson (2) decasyllabics (2) denise duhamel (1) deviantART (3) dick powell (1) diction (1) didactic cinquain (1) dinosaur (2) disaster relief (1) divine comedy (1) dodecasyllables (1) doggerel (2) doggie diner (1) don johnson (1) donald trump (8) dr who (3) dr. seuss (1) draft (2) dragon (1) dragonfly (17) dreams & nightmares (1) drug addiction (1) drums (1) duplex (1) dusty springfield (1) dylan thomas (1) e e cummings (1) e-book (1) earth day (1) ebay (2) ecopoetry (1) ed hill (1) edgar allan poe (2) edgar lee masters (1) edgar rice burroughs (1) editing (1) eileen tabios (7) ekphrasis (3) ekphrastic poem (2) ekphrastic review (1) election (2) elegy (3) elevenie (1) elizabeth alexander (2) elizabeth bishop (2) elvis presley (1) emily dickinson (8) emma trelles (1) end-stop (3) english sonnet (1) englyn milwer (1) enita meadows (1) enjambed rhyme (1) enjambment (5) enola gay (1) envelope quatrain (1) environment (1) erasure poetry (9) erin mcreynolds (4) ernest lawrence thayer (1) exxon valdez oil spill (1) f. j. bergman (1) f. scott fitzgerald (1) facebook (3) family (4) fantasy (1) fashion (1) ferdinand magellan (1) ferdinand marcos (5) fib (3) fiction (3) fiera lingue (1) fighting kite (4) filipino (language) (1) filipino americans (6) filipino poetry (1) filipino veterans equity (3) filipinos (5) film (3) final thursday press (1) final thursday reading series (2) flannery o'connor (3) flute (1) fortune cookie (1) found poem (1) found poetry (6) found poetry review (2) fourteeners (1) fox news (1) frank frazetta (1) franny choi (1) fred unwin (1) free verse (3) fructuosa gotera (1) fyodor dostoevsky (1) gabriel garcía márquez (1) gambling (1) garrett hongo (1) gary kelley (1) gawain (1) genre (1) george w. bush (1) gerard manley hopkins (12) ghazal (2) ghost wars (5) ghosts of a low moon (1) gogol bordello (1) golden shovel (5) goodreads (1) google (1) gotera (1) grace kelly (1) grant tracey (1) grant wood (4) greek mythology (1) gregory k pincus (1) griffin lit (1) grimm (1) grinnell college (2) growing up (1) growing up filipino (2) guest blogger (1) guillaume appolinaire (1) guitar (9) gulf war (1) gustave doré (3) guy de maupassant (1) gwendolyn brooks (3) gypsy art show (1) gypsy punk (1) hades (1) haggard hawks (1) haibun (3) haiga (1) haiku (28) haiku sonnet (3) hart crane (1) hawak kamay (1) hay(na)ku (21) hay(na)ku sonnet (12) header (1) hearst center for the arts (2) heirloom (1) herman melville (1) hey joe (1) hieronymus bosch (1) hiroshima (1) hiv here & now (1) homer (1) how a poem happens (2) humboldt state university (1) humor (1) hybrid sonnet (4) hymnal stanza (1) iain m. banks (1) iamb (1) iambic pentameter (1) ian parks (1) ibanez (1) imagery (1) imelda marcos (4) immigrants (1) imogen heap (1) indiana university (1) inigo online magazine (1) ink! (1) insect (2) insects (1) international hotel (1) international space station (1) interview (3) introduction (2) iowa (2) iran (1) iran-iraq war (1) irving levinson (1) italian bicycle (1) italian sonnet (2) ivania velez (2) j. d. schraffenberger (4) j. i. kleinberg (3) j. k. rowling (1) jack horner (2) jack kerouac (1) jack p nantell (1) james brown (1) james gorman (2) james joyce (1) jan d. hodges (1) japan (1) jasmine dreame wagner (1) jeanette winterson (1) jedediah dougherty (1) jedediah kurth (31) jennifer bullis (1) jesse graves (1) jessica hagedorn (1) jessica mchugh (2) jim daniels (1) jim hall (1) jim hiduke (1) jim o'loughlin (2) jim simmerman (2) jimi hendrix (3) jimmy fallon (1) joan osborne (1) joe mcnally (1) john barth (1) john charles lawrence (2) john clare (1) john donne (1) john mccain (1) john prine (1) john welsh iii (2) joseph solo (1) josh hamzehee (1) joyce kilmer (1) justine wagner (1) kampilan (1) kathleen ann lawrence (1) kathy reichs (1) kay ryan (2) keith welsh (1) kelly cherry (1) kelly christiansen (1) kenning (1) kennings poem (3) killjoy (1) kim groninga (1) kimo (6) king arthur (1) king tut (1) knight fight (1) kumadre (1) kumpadre (1) kurt vonnegut (1) kyell gold (1) landays (1) lapu-lapu (1) lapwing publications (1) laurie kolp (2) leonardo da vinci (1) les paul (1) leslie kebschull (1) lester smith (1) library (1) library of congress (2) limerick (3) linda parsons marion (1) linda sue grimes (2) lineation (6) linked haiku (9) linked tanka (2) list poem (5) little brown brother (1) little free libraries (3) lorette c. luzajic (1) lost (tv) (1) louise glück (1) luis buñuel (1) lune (2) lydia lunch (1) machismo (1) magazines (1) mah jong (1) man ray (1) manananggal (2) manong (3) margaret atwood (1) maria fleuette deguzman (1) marianne moore (1) marilyn cavicchia (1) marilyn hacker (1) mark jarman (1) marriage (1) martin avila gotera (16) martin luther king jr. (1) marty gotera (5) marty mcgoey (1) mary ann blue gotera (6) mary biddinger (1) mary roberts rinehart award (1) mary shelley (1) matchbook (1) maura stanton (1) maureen thorson (326) meena rose (3) megan hippler (1) melanie villines (1) melanie wolfe (1) melina blue gotera (3) mental illness (1) metapoem (1) meter (7) mfa (2) michael heffernan (3) michael martone (2) michael ondaatje (1) michael shermer (2) michael spence (1) michelle obama (1) middle witch (1) minotaur (1) mirror northwest (1) misky (1) molossus (1) monkey (1) monorhyme (1) morel mushrooms (2) mueller report (1) multiverse (1) mushroom hunting (1) music (3) muslim (1) my custom writer blog (1) myth (1) mythology (3) nagasaki (1) naked blonde writer (1) naked girls reading (1) naked novelist (1) napowrimo (333) narrative (2) natalya st. clair (1) nathan dahlhauser (1) nathaniel hawthorne (1) national geographic (3) national poetry month (333) native american (1) neil gaiman (2) neoformalism (1) New Formalists (1) New York School (1) nick carbó (3) ninang (1) nonet (1) north american review (7) north american review blog (2) ode (1) of books and such (1) of this and such (1) onegin stanza (2) ottava rima (2) oulipo (1) oumumua (1) pablo picasso (2) pacific crossing (1) padre timoteo gotera (1) painting (1) palestinian american (1) palindrome (1) palinode (1) palmer hall (1) pantoum (2) paradelle (2) paranormal (1) parkersburg iowa (1) parody (4) parody poetry journal (1) parol (1) pastoral poetry (1) pat bertram (2) pat martin (1) paula berinstein (1) pause for the cause (2) pca/aca (1) peace (2) peace of mind band (1) pecan grove press (2) pepito gotera (1) percy bysshe shelley (2) performance poetry (1) persephone (1) persona poem (3) peter padua (1) petrarch (1) petrarchan sonnet (19) phil memmer (1) philip larkin (1) philippine news (1) philippine scouts (6) philippine-american war (1) philippines (8) phish (1) pinoy (1) pinoy poetics (1) pixie lott (1) podcast (1) podcasts (3) poem-a-day challenge (331) poetics (6) poetry (5) poetry imitation (1) poetry international (1) poetry reading (4) poets against (the) war (2) pop culture (2) popcorn press (1) prejudice (1) presidio of san francisco (1) prime numbers (1) prime-sentence poem (1) prince (3) princess grace foundation (1) promotion (1) prose poem (4) proverbs (1) pterosaur (1) ptsd (2) puppini sisters (1) puptent poets (2) pushkin sonnet (2) pyrrhic (1) quatrain (4) r.e.m. (1) rachel morgan (3) racism (1) rainer maria rilke (1) rap (1) rattle (1) ray fajardo (1) reggie lee (1) rembrandt (1) ren powell (1) reverse golden shovel (1) reviews (1) revision (1) rhyme (8) rhysling awards (4) rhythm (1) richard fay (1) richard hugo (1) rick griffin (1) rime (1) rippled mirror hay(na)ku (1) robert bly (1) robert frost (2) robert fulghum (1) robert j christenson (1) robert lee brewer (331) robert mezey (1) robert neville (1) robert zemeckis (1) rock and roll (2) roger zelazny (1) romanian (1) ron kowit (1) ronald wallace (2) rondeau (1) ross gay (1) roundelay (1) rubaiyat (1) rubaiyat sonnet (1) run-d.m.c. (1) saade mustafa (1) salt publishing (1) salvador dali (4) san francisco (8) sandra cisneros (1) santa claus (1) santana (1) sapphics (1) sarah deppe (1) sarah palin (1) sarah smith (26) satan (1) sayaka alessandra (1) schizophrenia (1) science fiction (2) science fiction poetry association (1) science friction (1) scifaiku (1) scott walker (1) screaming monkeys (1) scripture (1) sculpture (1) sena jeter naslund (1) senryu (4) sestina (9) sevenling (1) shadorma (2) shaindel beers (2) shakespeare (1) shakespearean sonnet (6) sharon olds (2) shawn wong (1) shiites or shia (1) shoreline of infinity (1) sidney bechet (1) sijo (1) skateboard (1) skeltonics (2) skylaar amann (1) slant rhyme (6) slide shows (1) small fires press (1) sniper (1) somersault abecedarian (1) somonka (1) sonnet (42) sonnetina (4) soul (1) southeast asian american (1) spanish (1) specificity (1) speculative poetry (1) spenserian stanza (1) spiraling abecedarian (1) spondee (1) spooky (1) st. patrick's day (1) stanford university (1) stanley meltzoff (1) stanza (1) stars and stripes (2) stereogram (1) steve hazlewood (1) steve mcqueen (1) stevie nicks (1) stone canoe (2) sue boynton (1) suite101 (2) sunflowers (1) surges (1) susan l. chast (1) syllabics (1) sylvia plath (2) synesthesia (1) syzygy poetry journal (2) t. m. sandrock (1) t. s. eliot (2) tanka (21) tanka prose (4) tanka sequence (1) tarzan (1) teaching creative writing (2) ted kooser (1) term paper mill (1) terrance hayes (2) terza rima (10) terza rima haiku sonnet (7) terzaiku sonnet (4) terzanelle (1) tetrameter (1) the byrds (1) the warning (1) the who (1) thomas alan holmes (183) thomas crofts (4) thomas faivre-duboz (1) thunderstorm (1) thurifer (1) tiger (1) tilly the laughing housewife (1) time travel (1) tom perrotta (1) tom petty (1) tom phillips (1) toni morrison (2) tornado (1) translation (2) translitic (3) tribute in light (1) trickster (1) triolet (6) triskaidekaphobia (1) tritina (1) trochee (1) tucson (1) typhoon haiyan (1) typhoon yolanda (1) university of northern iowa (6) unrhymed sonnet (2) us army (7) valentine's day (1) vampire (2) ven batista (29) verses typhoon yolanda (1) veterans' day (2) via dolorosa (1) video poetry (6) vietnam war (4) viktor vasnetsov (1) villanelle (2) vince del monte (1) vincent van gogh (1) virgil wren (1) virtual blog tour (1) visual poetry (3) vladimir putin (1) volkswagen (1) w. somerset maugham (1) wallace stevens (3) walt mcdonald (1) walt whitman (4) war (7) war in afghanistan (2) war in iraq (2) wartburg college (1) waterloo (1) whypoetrymatters (1) wile e. coyote (1) wilfred owen (1) william blake (1) william carlos williams (1) william f tout (1) william gibson (1) william oandasan (1) william shakespeare (2) wind (1) winslow homer (1) winter (1) women's art (1) wooster review (1) wordy 30 (1) writing (1) writing away retreats (1) writing show (1) wwii (6) young adult (1) yusef komunyakaa (6) zone 3 (1)