21/02/14 Poetry

February 21, 2014


Do you know how long it has been since a moral choice presented itself

and the wrong choice was made

not two minutes

why is it not quiet between lightning and thunder as if someone were asking

do you have other articulable feelings  if so express them now

tragedy ensues

with a laser blast from the cockpit

the dangled finger of God makes contact


JANE MILLER (1949 – )

February 20, 2014

O Fio das Missangas

 A missanga, todas a Vêem,
  Ninguém nota o fio que,
em collar vistoso, vai compondo as missangas,
Também assim é a voz do poeta:
um fio de sîlencio costurando or tempo
    .    .    .    .    .


The beads, all to See,
No one notices the wire,
in dressy collar, composing the beads,
So also is the poet’s voice
  it is a wire stitching silence or time


– MIA COUTO (1955 – )
Winner of the 2014 Noustadt International Prize and recognized as the first Mozambican writer to receive it.
Winner of the 2014 Noustadt International Prize and recognized as the first Mozambican writer to receive it.

Upon hearing about his win, Couto responded, “This award is timed perfectly, as Mozambique is about to go through a difficult time. For me personally, this award is certainly a relief, a ray of sunshine, at this sad national moment.”

The Neustadt Prize is awarded every two years and represents the only international literary award for which novelists, playwrights and poets are equally eligible. Often called the “American Nobel” because of its connection to the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Neustadt Prize is considered to be one of the most important literary prizes in the world. Throughout its history, the Neustadt has boasted 30 laureates, jurors, or candidates that have gone on to receive the Nobel, including Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Orhan Pamuk, Mo Yan, and Alice Munro, among others. 


February 19, 2014

The Book of a Thousand Eyes [ A dream still clinging like light to the dark, rounding]

A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding
The gap left by things which have already happened
Leaving nothing in their place, may have nothing to do
But that. Dreams are like ghosts achieving ghosts’ perennial goal
Of revoking the sensation of repose. It’s terrible
To think we write these things for them, to tell them
Of our life—that is, our whole life.
Along comes a dream Of a machine.
Why? What is being sold there? How is the product emitted?
It must have been sparked by a noise, the way the very word “spark” emits a brief picture. Is it original? Inevitable?
We seem to sleep so as to draw the picture
Of events that have already happened so we can picture
Them. A dream for example of a procession to an execution site.
How many strangers could circle the space while speaking of nostalgia
And of wolves in the hills? We find them
Thinking of nothing instead—there’s no one to impersonate, nothing To foresee. It’s logical that prophesies would be emitted
Through the gaps left by previous things, or by the dead
Refusing conversation and contemplating beauty instead.
But isn’t that the problem with beauty—that it’s apt in retrospect
To seem preordained? The dawn birds are trilling
A new day—it has the psychical quality of “pastness” and they are trailing It.
The day breaks in an imperfectly continuous course
Of life. Sleep is immediate and memory nothing.
– LYN HEJINIAN (1941 – 1888)

February 18, 2014

The Dance of No Hard Feelings 

“I used to have the shampoo”

I used to have the shampoo

by the balls but the wind hurt my hair so.
I can’t get over that retarded girl on the trike,

can’t find the apes in the apiary
can’t get hard for the hardtack

and the cannery is closed.
Well, this is just a trumped-up way of saying

your haircut is among the finest in Wyoming.
From the brightly arranged parlors of San Francisco

to the uncompromising river, beside which, huskily, we sang,
you can modify an adverb with an adverb–they do it all the time in France–

but I have not left my room in thirty years.
My life is shrinking like a desiccated organ,

wilted japonicas drenched in wine.

– MARK BIBBINS (1968 –  )

February 17, 2014

The Narrow Road to the Deep North (excerpt)

Autumn moonlight—

a worm digs silently

into the chestnut.

Matsuo Bashō  (1644-1694)

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