2sDay Poems: Mouthfeel in the Borderlands

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index This week we look at poets with work out from Mouthfeel Press, a relatively new, bilingual, small press run out of El Paso,TX. Its primary mission is to publish poets from the TX-NM-AZ-CA region.Mouthfeel banner

But beyond that the “borderlands”, which founder Maria Miranda Maloney describes (in an interview with Katie Hoerth) as

not necessarily a geography or a specific place…that would narrow its definition too much.  A more liberal definition would be a point or space of rupture from pre-determined and predictable roles and circumstances, a point of deconstruction, and a space that Emma Pérez references in her book, The Decolonial Imaginary, as going ‘into the margins, to argue or expose that which no one will risk.’ MFP’s mission [then] recognizes this space and embraces this rupture through poetry.”

 

ElizaGOur first poem is from Eliza A. Garza, who besides her poetry is also known in family education circles for her Tercets blog.

Mucho Cuidado

Father is leaving for work. Mother is home
because of the new baby. I watch him
on the couch while she irons shirt after shirt.
Hanger in her mouth like a giant fish hook,
she buttons them up, one by one. Father kisses her
on the cheek after looking at the baby
and Mother says, mucho cuidado. 341_500_csupload_39899147

This was my daily lesson on affection,
back when my parents still loved each other.
Today, a man I barely know said this to me,
mucho cuidado, and affection pricked my heart,
his good-bye probing sharp and hot.

From the car, I wave…

FULL TEXT AT DIAGRAM

Purchase Entre la claridad here

Also available by Eliza is Familia.

 

 

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Next up is the prolific Amalio Madueno with an excerpt from a collection put out by Wild Embers Press. Spider Road is his latest from Mouthfeel.

from Part One of Lost in the Chamiso

1
His mother was a green bouquet of kelp. She bore him over a period of three days down by the shipyard. The harbor was a flotsammed, jagged place for an alien kid to play. He ignored the many just like him trying to find a way to shallows, sandbars, and shoals. On the silver strand, he noticed how the shorebirds skimmed for succulent tips and spears as they cruised the crashing waves, the spreading spume and foam.

Tortillas
I
God is a kilo of steaming tortillas that does nothing
but make a sphere of aroma .
I’ve studied the ancestry of corn, sought out the madre
de maiz, chewed the juice of teosinte.
It is on no page in any tome,
finds no place on any page
Given this reality the princessas, the jovenitas,
the viejitas churning out,
Patting out, cranking tortillas forever lookindex
very important, very serious.
No Ave Marias prayed to heaven solve the mystery,
Save me from tilling rows,
Hauling water, squashing the worms, spraying
the fungus, driving the dusty
Afternoons of August wildly to the horizon.

Winters I’ve often thought of sacrificing to the goddess,
But could not hold the thought of her pure being long enough.
Forever young, fertile girl with silky hair.
Se’s there. The corn & I follow her commands . . .
I will go as far as I can believing these things.

II
I unfold the wrapping and think:
I’ve eaten more tortillas than anyone I know
Hot cold rolled flat fried steamed flamed burnt181_258_csupload_48353293
Plain or with butter balony salami tuna
peanut butter salsa guacamole
Walking out of the tortillaria in Tijuana
Put your nose to the wrapping paper
Forget the corn shortage, the field…

FULL TEXT HERE

Purchase Lost in the Chamiso.
Purchase Spider Road.

 

Pielicious POETRY LAB & ‘Milking Your Food’ Mini-Contest

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A Piece of the Pie--C.A. LaRue

“A Piece of the Pie” Collage by C.A. LaRue

 

The image above is a pared-down version of a collage that I created for a “Women and Food” issue for a UK magazine.  Women, especially it seems, have a complicated relationship with food. Much of our self-image is inextricably tied to it, and beyond that, our concepts of family and home.

Recently, I was moved by New Orleans “native,” Kim Sunee‘s writing on the subject.  Both her diary/cookbook Mouthful of Stars and Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home  bring up much deeper issues of identity and love. In Mouthful (channeling that other great food writer M.F.K. Fisher), she says

So, in many ways, food is never just about food, is it? Lunch is never just lunch. And supper is more than the sum of its parts.  And so, as we travel and cook and share the gifts of the table, we are also wondering, imagining, answering and asking questions of ourselves and of one another.

Regardless of gender, this week I would like you to take a closer look at your own attitudes towards and issues with food and to respond in the form of a poem. This poem can be tied to the collage above or go off in its own foodist direction. Go with your instincts here.

Either way, those who submit poems (no more than two via the comments section of this post) will have a chance at a space in the virtual arm of the JAMBALAYA POETS WORKSHOP starting September 17 and running through April 22.

Participants in the group will meet two Wednesdays per month (with the exception of December), and along with its virtual arm, will discuss contemporary poetry and work through much of the exercises in Diane Lockward’s fantabulous The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop In addition to these exercises, there will be some light journaling and podcasting opportunities.

Diane has graciously agreed to make herself available at some point during the workshop with details to be provided at a later date. We are also awaiting word from a local sponsor for help with the purchase of materials for those participating from the local community.

Details of the virtual “hookup” will be provided by the local community college prior to the September meeting.  Both local and virtual participants will have access to forums and email exchange, and there is a big surprise on for the wrap-up in April (National Poetry Month).

As for the “Milking Your Food” Mini-Contest, those looking for inspiration beyond the photo prompt above should consult the poetry sections of the journals listed in Becky Tuch’s article Yummy! Lit Mags Seeking Food& Drink Writing and/or the Food Memoir list at The Literary Foodie website.

And as always, poets with collections or chapbooks who would like some free exposure should submit details to bonesparkblog@yahoo.com for possible inclusion in the next 2sDay Poems feature.

Ok, people, don’t just sit there staring at my pie, get on with the writing already!!! You are going to want a spot in this group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Case for “Modern” Native American Memoir with Recommended Reading List

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–from the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Ours has been called “the age of memoir,” and particularly in America, the genre has been labeled “the central (literary) form of our time.” But at the same time that the publication of personal narratives has soared, critics and some readers have chastised its writers for being voyeuristic, self-indulgent or worse. Then there is the dreaded ‘nostalgic’ label, which still has at center stage, the author’s bright and shining face.

Native American or American Indian (NDN) cultures, on the other hand, value community over the individual and are deeply rooted in both the land and in a contiguous past and present. Readers who have soured on “standard” American memoir, might find storytellers from Indian Country’s broader landscapes a refreshing change.

If you want to dive into the sub-genre, I suggest that you start with N. Scott Momaday‘s The Names and then work your way through the following list according to interest:4186SXQ737L._SL110_

 

~RECOMMENDED READING LIST~

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1.  The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko

 

 

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2.  Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

 

 

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3.  Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir by Deborah A. Miranda

 

 

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4.  Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of My Ancestors by Louise Erdrich

 

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5.  The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich

 

 

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6.  The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir by Linda Hogan

 

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7.  Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter by Janet Campbell Hale

 

 

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8.  Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival (American Indian Lives) by Allison Hedge Coke

 

 

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9.  Muscogee Daughter: My Sojourn to the Miss America Pageant (American Indian Lives) by Susan Supernaw

 

 

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10.  Take This Man: A Memoir by Brando Skyhorse*

 

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11.  Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir (Sun Tracks) by Ernestine Hayes

 

 

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12.  Maria Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief

 

 

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13.  Choctalking on Other Realities by LeAnne Howe

 

 

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14.  Talking Indian: Reflections on Survival and Writing by Anna Lee Walters

 

 

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15.  Skeleton of a Bridge by Robert Mirabal

 

 

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16.  FALLING INTO PLACE: A MEMOIR OF OVERCOMING by Hattie Kauffman

 

 

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17.  Rez Life by David Treuer

 

 

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18.  Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

 

 

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19.  Spirit Car: A Journey to a Dakota Past by Diane Wilson

 

 

To purchase all titles together or to view updates to the list CLICK through to LISTMANIA!

2sDay Poems: International Poets Tackle Windows

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This week our first poem is from the controversial film director and Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad.

 

Window

A window to lookForugh_Farrokhzad1
A window to listen
A window that reaches the heart of the earth
like the loop of a well at its very end
and opens towards the expanse of
this constant blue benevolence.
A window that fills the little hands of loneliness
with the nocturnal bounty of generous stars,
and it is from there that one can invite the sun
to the nostalgia of candelabra flowers.
One window is enough for me.

I come from the land of dolls,9781557288615_p0_v1_s260x420

From beneath the shade of paper trees
in the garden of an illustrated book,
From the arid chapters of barren experiences
of friendship and love
in the earthy lanes of innocence,
From the blooming years of anemic alphabet letters
on the benches of a tubercular school,
From the moment that children
could write the word of ‘stone’ on the blackboard
and the starlings fluttered away from the elderly tree.
I come from within the roots of carnivorous plants,
and my brain is still brimmed over
with the fearful calls of a butterfly…

FULL TEXT HERE

SIN: SELECTED POEMS OF FOROUGH FARROKHZAD is from the Univ. of Arkansas Press.

 

Next up is American-born Karina Borowicz, who is known for her own poems as well as her translations from Russian and French.Karina Borowicz

 

The Maintenance of Public Order

The men are always pounding on things. It’s impossible to escape the obsessive whack and thump. Long past midnight a knot of men will perch on the neighboring tin roof and beat it with heavy sticks. They smoke without touching their cigarettes; the smoke invades my room and is backed into a corner by moonlight’s fist. In the morning my eyes are rimmed with salt and my body is bruised, having been batted between one stick and another all night long. Then the men slide off the roof like dirty snow, hoist the long sticks across the backs of their shoulders and hold them in place with both wrists, their smoked sausage hands dangling. At the first kiosk they stumble upon they’ll buy a couple more bottles.

The women-folk walk around. They measure their steps to the beat of the men’s sticks. In summer you can hear…9781934851418_p0_v1_s260x420

FULL TEXT HERE

Her latest collection THE BEES ARE WAITING is from Marick Press.

 

**To have your collection or artwork featured, please email bonespakblog@yahoo.com for more details.

Sunday Sentence #7

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21004709Another contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

Life is full of situations where it is easy to feel creatively trapped.

SOURCE:Dory Kanter‘s non-fiction book Art Escapes.

Galoshes Optional: Rain-Soaked POETRY LAB

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IMG_2742

The Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art. New York, NY. Friday, June 14, 2013.

Anyone lucky enough to have visited the Museum of Modern Art last summer, could have enjoyed its fun Rain Room installation without ever getting wet.  While most of us here in South Louisiana did not have that luxury, we are all very much acquainted with Nature’s slippery friend.  After a few mind-numbing days of downpours, one simply must retreat to the clean, dry page.

Alas, even there rain-themed verse is to be had aplenty. But with the sheer beauty of such lines as “Rain opens us, like flowers, or earth that has been thirsty for more/than a season” from Harjo’s “It’s Raining in Honolulu” (full-text below), who would not want to have a good soak.  Enjoy this poem and the four other selections before we move on to penning our own.

 

It’s Raining in Honolulu
by Joy Harjo


There is a small mist at the brow of the mountain,
each leaf of flower, of taro, tree and bush shivers with ecstasy.

And the rain songs of all the flowering ones who have called for the rain

can be found there, flourishing
beneath the currents of singing.rainh

Rain opens us, like flowers, or earth that has been thirsty for more
than a season.
We stop all of our talking, quit writing or blowing sax to drink the
mystery invoked
by the night rain.

We listen to the breathing beneath our breathing.

This is how we became rain.

Translated, this means a white flower behind your ear is saturated with
faith after the second overthrow.

We will plant taro where there were curses.

 

 

That’s such a gorgeous one. Hard to beat a women in tune with the earth! Next have a listen to Rodney Jones reading “Rain on Tin” (text accompanies). Then peruse:

Lawrence Raab‘s “Why It Often Rains in the Movies” from Visible Signs.

Ofelia Zepeda’s “Pulling Down the Clouds”  from Ocean Power

Kenji Miyazawa’s “Strong in the Rain” from same-titled collection

 

And if that doesn’t get you in the mood to write something slick, trying mixing your own rain tract up over at NatureSoundsForMe. Or for those artists out there, try digging into the Singing and Dancing in Rain art prompt over at Milliane’s Creativity Club. You might like to use some of the images below for something similar to that one, or pull from the Rain art board on Pinterest.

 

But wait, I’m not done yet.  How about a few rain-soaked poetry titles like…

 

Painting Rain from Paula Meehan

Rain When You Want Rain from Betsy Johnson-Miller  OR

Rain’s Eagerness from Jim Sallis

 

 

I even have a draft that I’ve been playing with called “Games that Ogres Play”

 

GamesThatOgresPlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to share your drafts as well. Comments are open, skippy-dee-do-dahs!!

NEW FEATURE: 2sDay Poems

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  imagesCongratulations you survived Monday!!!

Now pull up a stool and knock back some fire-hot Poetry Shots with your pals here at BoneSpark.

We’ll be bringing you two live specimens each week with a brand new feature called 2sDay Poems:

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First up is Donna Lewis Cowan with work from her collection Between Gods (Cherry Grove, 2012)

Cleaning Lincoln Logs

The impossible task:
making our leftovers
clean enough for a daughter.

In my hands the dustbook-cover
patterns like animal tracks,
crosses the abbreviated grooves
worn away by over-love,

the stress of building
and knocking down the structure
too easily, too often.

You empty the scratches
where you etched
letters, initials –

before you knew
how the world
could whittle away
each masterpiece.

Drying in the sun,
they are………………

FULL TEXT HERE

 

And next up is a video reading of Jillian Weise‘s “Incision” from The Amputee’s Guide to Sex

 

For info on Jillian’s latest collection, The Book of Goodbyes (BOA), check out this interview at Identity Theory.

And remember to come back next week for more 2sDay Poems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

===> Have a collection, chapbook or other work you would like featured on BoneSpark? Please drop us a line at  bonesparkblog@yahoo.com. Special interest in women writers, poet-artists, people of color and international perspectives. Would also like to promote more video/audio features.

Sunday Sentence #6

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imagesAnother contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

It was like love: No sooner had I finished it than a devastating sense of loss always set in.

SOURCE:Susan Jane Gilman‘s novel The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

Thoughts on Classics

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The British poet/novelist/lay theologian, G.K. Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936), is perhaps best known, at least in writerly circles, for his FATHER BROWN mystery series, which chronicles the adventures of a priest-detective in and around London.  Some might know him from his work in Christian apologetics, but beyond that, he was an accomplished essayist with interesting ideas on all the biggies of politics, literature, philosophy and art.

In an essay, titled “What the Classic Writers Knew That We Have Forgotten,” he says that:

The highest use of the great masters of literature is not literary; it is apart from their superb style and even from their emotional inspiration. The first use of good literature is that is prevents a man from being merely modern.  To be merely modern is to condemn oneself to an ultimate narrowness; just as to spend one’s last earthly money on the newest hat is to condemn oneself to the old-fashioned.  The road of the ancient centuries is strewn with dead moderns. Literature, classic and enduring literature, does its best work in reminding us perpetually of the whole round of truth and balancing other and older ideas against the ideas to which we might for a moment be prone.

He then goes on to dissect some of the “modern” ideas of Nietzsche and Bernard Shaw, calling them “broken fragments of the old ideas,” and still further states that one “can find all the new ideas in the old books” and in much more balanced dosages.  He recommends, as a cure for all the ills of modernism, a heaping helping of classics, with specific suggestions on Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil and Dickens as the best models for one’s own literary works.

This, of course, begs the question “What is a classic?,” and introduces the concept of the “Great Conversation.”

Diane MehSmall-Vida-Logota, writing for VIDA, tackled that exact question back in February and defined it in terms of universality before delving further into an examination of the inclusion/exclusion of “women’s writing” in the Western Canon.  She also touched briefly on the idea of a classic as an two-way conversation.

Speaking exclusively of the Western Canon, the concept of the “Great Conversation” goes beyond that limited speech and opens the classic up to a broader dialogue with previous generations of educated thinkers spanning both time and disciplines. I find this ideal both helpful and hindering.

A less Western-centric checklist would define the classic as a work which expresses some enduring, artistic quality of life, truth, or beauty in a universally appealing way. This definition, in one breath, opens us up to other cultures and the female and indigenous perspectives. But it still boils down to a very subjective ideal.

Chesterton, to revisit his earlier statements, reveals much about his character in his choice of mentor texts. His selections suggest  that these “new ideas to which we might for a moment be prone” are probably much more deeply embedded than he believed.  This is, of course, what is at the heart of Mehta’s argument.

Which leads me on to my next point: once an individual settles on his/her own broad standard of a “classic,” that individual’s TBR pile can expand infinitely by whatever level of filtering he/she might choose to set.

C.L. Moore

C.L. Moore

For example, your interests might intersect in say “Sci-Fi Classics by Women”. A google search could then easily produce Fantasy Fiction‘s tidy list Grandmothers of Fantasy.  I’m not so sure about the term ‘grandmother’, but you might want to apply the concept to poetry as well. In which case, you might want to try my foremothers posts.

You can also glean recommendations from my previous postings on Southern novels, Native American writers and Irish pen-wielders. Or for more specific lists, try

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Classics (by women writers)

The Top 100 Books Every Woman Should Read, Part I: The Classics

 

Consider also delving into the canon of other countries.  Suggestions abound at the International Fiction Challenges post. And on that note, I also ran across some interesting debate going on over at Crikey and Stumbling Through the Past about what deserves inclusion in the Australian canon.

Personally, I have also been fascinated recently by the “secret canons” laid bare at the Girl Canon Tumblr. I could spend days poking around over there.

And if you want to go more old-school, I have deep dives into  Dante, Beowulf and the Poetic Writings of the Old Testament.

 


Tell me what classics you’re exploring by leaving a comment.  I love hearing from you.  And as always, Happy Reading!!!!!

 

 

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