Dystopia by Matt Duggan. Worthy winner of the erbacce-prize.

Dystopia 38.10 comprises a balanced innovative collection of ground-breaking poetry. It is a poetic  dystopia divided into four zones, city life, private life, the life of things, and inner life all blended together. The poetic voice like all good art provokes defamiliarization or ostranenie with a multitude of poetic devices, such as alliteration, repetition, half-rhymes, and enjambments. Also it has something of the confessional poetic strand that Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath propagated. It awakens us from a comatose and complacent state and thrusts us out of the cement of our comfort zone, right from first line. Continue reading

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Island Ramble by María C. Domínguez in StepAway Magazine

 

StepAway Magazine Issue 20 is now online with a fantastic collection of poetry, flash fiction and short story.

StepAway Magazine is an award-winning online literary magazine which publishes the best urban flash fiction and poetry by writers from across the globe. The title of the magazine draws inspiration from Frank O’ Hara’s landmark flâneur poem, “A Step Away from Them”.

The Editor Darren Richard Carlaw says it all in his “A letter from the Editor”. As follows I will quote some of his lines:

In the opening to my first editorial on March 21st 2011, I posed the question: ‘who was the first writer to bring a city to life for you?’ I then discussed Blake’s ‘London’ and how, for me, the poem forged a connection between the urban present and the past, capturing that fear and fascination I experienced when walking in the city as a young boy.

I then namedropped Baudelaire, Benjamin and Poe, flâneurs all, before moving on to twentieth century literary wanderers, such as Frank O’Hara, whose New York walking poem ‘A Step Away from Them’ inspired the title and content of this magazine. ‘This is where StepAway Magazine begins,’ I announced hopefully…..

The past five years have flown, and we’ve achieved a great deal. We’ve won a Walking Visionaries Award, which was presented to us in Vienna. We’ve worked with Durham University’s Hearing the Voice Project to create Voicewalks, a creative exploration of inner speech within the context of walking in the city. We’ve celebrated the streets of Fitzrovia with the University of Westminster. We’ve been part of Newcastle’s Festival of Belonging, thanks to Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and Trashed Organ. And let’s not forget the publication of twenty issues showcasing the work of well over one hundred and fifty new and established writers…..

Issue 20 also provides a worthy home for the work of a startlingly talented set of writers, including:

Caroline Boobis, María Castro Domínguez, Sally Long, Ilona Martonfi, Luke Otley, Sue Spiers, Nicole Taylor and Norma Wilow.

StepAway Magazine is a Newcastle upon Tyne based online English literary journal. It was founded by the British writer, researcher and literary reviewer, Darren Richard Carlaw.

Key contributors have included James Robison, Sarah Schulman, Lemn Sissay, Maryam Sullivan, Van G. Garrett, and Richard Thomas.

The magazine’s cover art has featured the work of Life magazine photographer Roger Minick, and British artist Paul Baines.

Poem “Riddle me this” by María C. Domínguez in The Tower Journal today

Quite exciting to be in literary magazine The Tower Journal alongside  Allison Joseph with my poem “Riddle me this”. Editor Mary Ann Sullivan does indeed a fine work of art.

Here´s some biographical details of both Mary Ann Sullivan and Allison Joseph.

Mary Ann Sullivan is the author of the middle grade book, Child of War (Holiday House, 1984), which was named a Notable Book in Social Studies by the National Council of Social Studies and Children’s Book Council; a collection of poems, Hermit Day, and numerous digital poems such as “St. Damien of Molokai” and “Shaking the Spiders Out.”An e-collection of poems she wrote when she was a cloistered nun, Mending My Black Sweater (Eratio, 2008) can be found at eratio.

The New York Times called her book, Child of War, set in Belfast, Northern Ireland an “earnest first novel.”

A former cloistered nun, Mary today teaches undergrads writing at  St. Joseph School of Nursing and Great Bay Community College.  She also teaches Fundamentals of Fiction and Fiction Thesis courses for the MA in Creative Writing Program at Southern New Hampshire University.She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Norwich University and a Doctor of Arts degreefrom Franklin Pierce University.

Her work has appeared at BBC Arts Online, BlazeVox, French Literary Review, Jacket,Mezzo Cammin, National Catholic Register, Poetry Library, Synchronized Chaos and beyond. She has lectured at the New England Conservatory and American Association of University Professors Conference, and is founding editor of Tower Journal, an international online literary journal.

Allison Joseph is the author of six collections of poetry, includingImitation of Life and My Father’s Kites. She is also well known as an editor of the Crab Orchard Review, which she has edited with her husband Jon Tribble since 1995. Through the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, she and Tribble nurture to publication two outstanding volumes of poetry each year.

Joseph has directed the creative writing program of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where as an associate professor she continues to be a mentor to countless students. She is the founder and director of the Young Writers Workshop, an annual summer residential creative writing workshop for high school writers. Joseph has previously served on the AWP board of directors. In nominating her for the George Garrett Award, Joseph’s colleagues, Stacey Lynn Brown and Adrian Matejka wrote, “Her continued creative, inventive, and selfless dedication has made the literary world a more beautiful and friendly place, full of possibility and endless opportunity.” Announcing the award at the 2012 AWP Annual Conference & Bookfair, Executive Director David Fenza said, “Allison Joseph is the incarnation of the better angels that animate our organization.”

Alvar Aalto’s masterpiece and Ruben Dario´s Sonatina L6″y en un vaso, olvidada, se desmaya una flor”

Since its unveiling in 1937 at the Paris World’s Fair, the Aalto vase has been an international sensation. Its mysterious shape has been the subject of much speculation; some say it is based on Aalto’s sketches entitled, “The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches.” Others speculate that the fluid shape might be inspired by the lines of the Finnish landscape. Regardless of its questionable origins, one thing remains indisputable: its serene beauty.

But I also can´t help remembering Rubén Darío´s famous Sonatina, verse six, everytime I see a lonely forgotten flower fainting in a vase. So this scene provokes a complex of emotions. And as Ezra Pound asserts referring to the image in poetry, it is “that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time”.

Here you have the first stanza in Spanish, I haven´t included a translation since the English ones so far do not do it justice.

 SONATINA

Rubén Darío (1867-1916)

La princesa está triste… ¿Qué tendrá la princesa?

Los suspiros se escapan de su boca de fresa,

que ha perdido la risa, que ha perdido el color.

La princesa está pálida en su silla de oro,

está mudo el teclado de su clave sonoro,

y en un vaso, olvidada, se desmaya una flor.

 

saudade

 

Saudade

“This untranslatable Portuguese term refers to the melancholic longing or yearning. A recurring theme in Portuguese and Brazilian literature, saudade evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness.

Portuguese scholar Aubrey Bell attempts to distill this complex concept in his 1912 book In Portugal, describing saudade as “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present.” He continues to say that saudade is “not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”

Saudade can more casually be used to say that you miss someone or something, even if you’ll see that person or thing in the near future. It differs from nostalgia in that one can feel saudade for something that might never have happened, whereas nostalgia is “a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.”

Here´s a stirring poem  titled “Saudade”that embodies that sense completely.

Saudade
by  Cheryl Moskowitz
Think of how, in its final breath, the dying sun reaches
pink fingers out across the sky and places them urgently
on whatever surface it can find to reflect its own image.
Imagine; a lake or a window
my eyes or your hair.
Think of it as a branch, a root, a budding
from raecan, rookah, ruka to reach, to stretch,
to make long, to be long,
only to belong.
Make me a cloak of longing and I will wear it always.

A new kind of poetry? Written by Laurie Smith

In Magma Poetry

A hundred years ago Ezra Pound was busy creating modern poetry in London.  He helped Yeats to write more directly and more symbolically, then set about “breaking the pentameter” by following T E Hulme and others to create imagism and, a bit later, vorticism.  He recognised the originality of Eliot, Joyce and Lawrence and published the first two, worked with William Carlos Williams (a friend from university) and as Foreign Editor of Poetry (Chicago), permanently influenced the writing of Marianne Moore, E E Cummings and Wallace Stevens.  In less than ten years, poetry had changed unrecognisably through the work of a small group of very different people who saw the need for change.

I’m wondering whether poetry is due for another radical change, perhaps starting in cities like London again.  It’s fascinating how English poetry changes by conforming to or reacting against the dominant language mode – printed prose – often under the influence of ideas from France.  The growth of regular newspapers and journals in the late 17th century, written in correct ‘classical’ style, led to a century of tightly metric, tightly rhymed verse dominated by the heroic couplet, a ‘classical’ import from France.  Eventually Wordworth and Coleridge led a reaction against this, complexly inspired by the French Revolution, but the formality of Victorian prose squeezed the life out most of the century’s English poetry – French symbolism didn’t take hold here and two of the three great radical poets (Hopkins and Emily Dickinson; the third is Whitman) were unpublished in their lifetimes.

The modernist poets of 1914 were responding among other things to the flood of cheap newspapers, the jingoistic ‘yellow press’, which the great Austrian satirist Karl Kraus saw as dangerously simplifying the way people saw the world and therefore could feel about it.  Popular poets like Kipling, Newbolt and Masefield were boisterously simplistic.  Pound and Eliot took several French ideas – Baudelaire’s flâneur poems, symbolism, Laforgue’s adaptations of Whitman – created imagism (originally called imagisme to make it sound French) as a short-term expedient and by 1922 had created modern poetry.

Today we have iPads and smartphones which quite a lot of writers believe are changing the way we think, both simplifying and complicating the way we see the world so that people’s ability to concentrate is impaired.  Will this affect poetry?  I think it already has, and for the better.  The rise of interconnected electronic media since the mid 90s has paralleled a rise in reading and writing poetry – a huge increase over the same period of poetry magazines, websites, pamphlets, books, courses, degrees and competitions.  I think this is because reading and writing poetry is something we can’t do quickly or interruptedly.

As with cheap newspapers in the early years of the last century, poetry is responding to an electronically connected world.  (Interestingly the other electronic media – radio, cinema, television – have had almost no effect on poetry; it’s words that are read which count.)  I think we shall have no more great poets like Seamus Heaney whose formative years were spent in a small rural community.  I sense that poetry will increasingly express feeling in a world of instant communication through new versions of the artifice that poems have always used – perhaps sound-based, formalist in new ways, Oulipian (the influence of France again; Oulipo – Ouvroir de la Littérature Potentielle – devises ways of stimulating creativity by restricting the choices available to writers, as in Georges Perec’s novel La Disparition which is written without the letter ‘e’.  It’s perhaps poetry’s most exciting new idea.)

I’ll be exploring these ideas and others in Magma 58 which comes out soon and tracing the development of modern verse in Make It New! how poetry became modern, a course at London’s City Lit which starts shortly – for details see here www.citylit.ac.uk/courses/Humanities_and_social-sciences/Literature/Tags: , , ,

Beyond Comprehension

Absolutely inspiring. Scott Thomas Outlar at his greatest here.

17numa

Love is a spasmodic explosion
Love is a tidal wave of passion
Love is a womb bursting open
Love is a scream across the void
Love is an aching in the bones
Love is a fire deep in the marrow
Love is an agony without satiation
Love is the electric pulse of skin friction
Love is the tip of the tongue tasting center
Love is hot flesh pressed tightly against hot flesh
Love is a stain found between bedsheets
Love is a wild dance in the midnight hour
Love is the first sip of wine in a new day
Love is the seed shooting out its first sprout
Love is the dirt into which roots burrow
Love is the evolutionary fervor of mutating genes
Love is the unstoppable swarm of progressive adaptation
Love is a widow weeping in despair
Love is the sorrow of existential desolation
Love is the pain…

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