Poetry at the Post: #twitterpoetryclub —A Peak at Chika Sagawa

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa,* as translated by Sawako Nakayasu

"1.2.3.4.5" by Chika Sagawa
“1.2.3.4.5” by Chika Sagawa

Today I was stumped so I did not write a poem for NAPOWRIMO—or 30 poems in 30 days. My work around was to participate instead in the Twitter Poetry Club.

“What’s that? Well, it’s a sort of loose project in which, on selected days, people take photos of poems (from books or printouts or what-have-you) and post them to twitter with the hashtag #twitterpoetryclub…if you search twitter for the #twitterpoetryclub tag, you’ll find oodles of new poems.

sagawa 2

While in Minneapolis last week for #AWP15, I stopped by Canarium Books’ booth and picked up a copy of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa. Chika Sagawa? Who was she? As I learned from the book’s introduction, Sagawa is considered to be Japan’s first female Modernist poet who tragically died in 1936 at the age of 24. As translator Sawako Nakayasu points out, she has been referred to as “everything from a ‘minor Modernist’ to ‘everybody’s favorite unknown poet.'” So, what would I think?

Back from the crush of AWP and settled in my studio outside Marfa, Texas, I have had some quiet time to read and reflect on Sagawa’s poetry. Its sparseness and space complements the full emptiness of this remote area of the country. A lovely and profound work by someone so young—an old soul, perhaps.

Canarium Books is offering The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa for only $8—now through April 16th. Get your copy today!

Poetry at the Post: Exploring Macaronics

White Knight Syndrome by Antoine Cassar

Ribussa ai miei pensieri un desiderio d’ieri,
chagrin malin d’amour, a cold and burning bliss,
mil noches sin dormir, il sogno in cui non c’eri,
u f’qalbi llejla jriegħed, niftakar f’ħarstek biss …

Translation:
White Knight Syndrome

Knocking on the door of my thoughts comes a desire from yesterday, malign grief of love, a cold and burning bliss, a thousand sleepless nights, the dream where you were not, and in my heart tonight it thunders, as I remember no more than your look…

Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e. Dr. Beak] (a plague doctor in 17th-century Rome) with a satirical macaronic poem ("Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel")
Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e. Dr. Beak] (a plague doctor in 17th-century Rome) with a satirical macaronic poem (“Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel”)

Poetry Month continues and today is Day 14 of NAPOWRIMO—30 poems in 30 days.

Today’s challenge is “to write a poem that takes the form of a dialogue” but I got a bit diverted with the idea of macaronic language, or the mixing of languages within the same conversation. So, here’s my take on a macaronic poem in dialogue.

In Pursuit of an Errant Act by Alice-Catherine Jennings

That is when I understood the magical meaning of the circle. If you go away from the row, you can still come back into it. A row is an open formation. But a circle closes up, and if you go away from it, there is no way back…I left the circle and have not yet stopped falling. (Milan Kundera)

Me parece:

macaronisch marxista mop
macilento mephytic monk

me pareció:

mythopoeic maan
morfien mood

Translation:

Methinks:
macaronic marxist mop
macilent mephytic monk

Methought:
mythopoeic moon
morphine mood

Moonrise over Mano Prieto  photo courtesy of John M. Jennings, 2013
Moonrise over Mano Prieto
photo courtesy of John M. Jennings, 2013

Poetry at the Post: Dreaming in Calligraphy

Dream of Ink Brush Calligraphy
BY KAREN AN-HWEI LEE

In prayer:
quiet opening,
my artery is a thin
shadow on paper—

The Georgian calligraphy is centuries-old tradition of an artistic writing of the Georgian language with its three scripts."მარიამისეული ქართლის ცხოვრება" by Buba Kudava - Georgica.ac.ge. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The Georgian calligraphy is centuries-old tradition of an artistic writing of the Georgian language with its three scripts.”მარიამისეული ქართლის ცხოვრება” by Buba Kudava – Georgica.ac.ge. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Day 13’s prompt for NAPOWRIMO, or 30 poems in 30 days, is to write a riddle poem. I’m not a fan of riddles although I do love calligraphy, or the art of writing—especially scripts that one cannot “riddle out.”

Here is my only attempt at a poem that contains a riddle.

After Gerard Manley Hopkins* by Alice-Catherine Jennings

Look at the ant! Look down at the earth!
O look at the anthills, perfectly round, nary a square!
Tiny insects leave their scent trails, here, there.
They follow their leader in tandem, hard at work.
The pale purple butterflies so full of mirth
Wings beat kindly on desert poppies rare.
They sip water off petals damp, devoid of care.
All is well! Days to death unknown at birth.


On Calligraphy by Mi Fu, Song Dynasty
On Calligraphy by Mi Fu, Song Dynasty

“After Gerard Manley Hopkins” first appeared in Pyramid, January 2010

Poetry at the Post: Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce or In Search of Heat After #AWP15

Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce by Alice-Catherine Jennings
(a found poem based on a recipe by Chef Eric Simeon of Grace Restaurant in Portland, Maine)

"Bhoot Jolokia ( Ghost Chili pepper )" by Vikramjit Kakati - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA
“Bhoot Jolokia ( Ghost Chili pepper )” by Vikramjit Kakati – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA

Warning!

Ghost peppers are hot,
the hottest in the world.
(This is a scientific fact.)

When you cook them
be careful.

Use tongs, gloves
& do not inhale
the steam.

The recipe is simple:

Slice
Boil
Blend
Bottle:

paprika peppers
shallots
sun-dried tomatoes
ghost peppers
salt & apple cider

Recommended for:

Minnesotans
Those in need of an elephant repellent

Source: Come in, We’re Closed by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy, Running Press, 2012.

Poetry at the Post: A Palinode by Sasha Steensen

Palinode
BY SASHA STEENSEN

What form bounds forward from behind but The Atlantic Railroad Coastline Co.?

The whole Roman Empire was sold by ascending auction in 193 A.D.

Landscape resulting from the ruina montium mining technique at Las Médulas, Roman Spain, one of the most important gold mines in the Roman Empire photo: courtesy of  Rafael Ibáñez Fernández  CC-BY-SA-3.0
Landscape resulting from the ruina montium mining technique at Las Médulas, Roman Spain, one of the most important gold mines in the Roman Empire photo: courtesy of Rafael Ibáñez Fernández CC-BY-SA-3.0

Today’s NAPOWRIMO prompt is to write a palinode—or a reiteration for a previous poem written. Hmmmm… this is going to take more time than I have this morning as I pack up and head to the airport for #AWP15 Minneapolis. This will be a good project for the plane ride.

Poetry at the Post: Talking Money with Howard Nemerov

Money
BY HOWARD NEMEROV

an introductory lecture

This morning we shall spend a few minutes
Upon the study of symbolism, which is basic
To the nature of money. I show you this nickel.

Portrait of Luca Pacioli, the Father of Accountancy
Portrait of Luca Pacioli, the Father of Accountancy

As I follow along with NAPOWRIMO-or 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Month, here is today’s prompt:
So today, I challenge you to write about money!

The Art of Accountancy by Alice-Catherine Jennings
“Oh don’t bother me!” said the Duchess. I never could abide numbers.
—From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

At his oaken desk, Luca Pacioli sips
a Tuscan wine, rich and red.
The sounds of a sonata linger
in the background. Its lively finale

in binary form strikes a cell—
a climacteric moment. Ah, yes
Pacioli sighs as his quill quivers

a slight second before he records:

assets = liabilities + equity.

___________________________________________________
Man should not sleep at night until his debits match his credits

So—keeping in mind the above saying, I’m dedicating myself to the business side of poetry a la Jessica Piazza’s Poetry Has Value. Making room for money…..need a job. Any ideas?

Poetry at the Post: Aubade for the Monday Morning After Easter

One Morning
BY EMMY PÉREZ

Yellow pines No ever no green except
where stems brown needles green I walk

morning in Far West Texas photo courtesy of John M. Jennings
morning in Far West Texas
photo courtesy of John M. Jennings

It’s Day 6 of NAPOWRIMO and the prompt is to write an aubade, or morning poem. I looked to Emmy Perez with a hint of Jack Spicer for inspiration.

Sunrise by Alice-Catherine Jennings

a yellow bathing suit of light

a violin’s song

in the blue endlessness

a breaking lemon

Poetry at the Post: Mash Up with Emily Dickinson on Easter Sunday

Easter Day Thoughts by Alice-Catherine Jennings
April 5, 2015
A take off on “I dwell in Possibility – (466)
BY EMILY DICKINSON

April 5, 2015 Austin, Texas
April 5, 2015
Austin, Texas

It’s Day 5 of NAPOWRIMO and here is the prompt:

“Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!”

The Dickinson children (Emily on the left), ca. 1840. From the Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, Harvard University
The Dickinson children (Emily on the left), ca. 1840. From the Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, Harvard University

Here’s what I wrote on “possibility.”

I dwell in possibility (unless it is raining, which it is today.)
I peer out numerous windows,.
I refuse to believe in impregnable doors.
I spread wide my narrow hands to gather paradise
Which I will not find today as it is raining.

photo courtesy of John M. Jennings   Artist Tom Sachs' "Miffy Fountain," (2008) — at The Contemporary At Laguna Gloria.
photo courtesy of John M. Jennings
Artist Tom Sachs’ “Miffy Fountain,” (2008) — at The Contemporary At Laguna Gloria.

Poetry at the Post: 14 Lessons From a Visit to the House of Terror Museum in Budapest with John Donne

April 3, 2015

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward
BY JOHN DONNE

This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.

"Budapest Haus des Terrors" by Tbachner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Budapest Haus des Terrors” by Tbachner – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

The House of Terror is a museum in Budapest dedicated to the memory of the 50 years of totalitarian rule in Hungary.

Last July, I was in a university program on late antiquity studies and the waning years of the Roman Empire. Hungary had been the empire’s outer eastern limits, or limes. My mind was centuries away from the 20th but as the House of Terror Museum was almost on my doorsteps, I decided to make a visit. One floor is about the Nazis, another the Communists and in the basement are the actual “interrogation rooms” of the Hungarian Secret Police. It’s tough museum to visit.

Today is Good Friday, which in that funny way the mind works, I began to consider “suffering” and those two hours immersed in tales of persecution at this chilling museum.

Today’s NAPOWRIMO prompt is about the number 14 so I wrote a poem entitled “14 Lessons From a Visit to the House of Terror Museum.” Here are the first few lines:

 

14 Lessons From a Visit to the House of Terror Museum
Budapest, Hungary
July 2014

 
2. Peasants

 
anyone could be named a “kulak” —a public enemy,
 
the hunters’ prey

 

 

A portrait of Donne as a young man, c. 1595, artist unknown, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London
A portrait of Donne as a young man, c. 1595, artist unknown, in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London

But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I’almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for mee.

Poetry at the Post: Starry Night or 18 Stars Who Swear by Juicing

The Stars Are
BY SAMUEL MENASHE

The stars are
Although I do not sing
About them—

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Today’s NAPOWRIMO prompt is to write about the stars.

18 Stars Who Swear by Juicing by Alice-Catherine “Star” Jennings

It’s funny, you know, how when you search
for something online, you think you’ll get one
thing but then you get another. I googled “stars”—

thinking constellations: Andromeda, Perseus
or Canes Venatici—the hunting dogs—or even
“Starry Night” by the famous painter but not “18 Stars

Who Swear by Juicing,” or “22 Celebs Crazy for Cross Fit,”
or “25 Stars Who’ve Run a Marathon.” (Guess that’s how
they fit into the “10 Cutest Outfits Worn by TV Stars.”)

Next is the “30 Stars Who Left the Mormon Church.”
Ryan Gosling is one but wait a minute! He’s also in
one of the “51 Movies With Stars Before They Were Famous”

but he’s not one of the “55 Who Love Pot.” Bill Clinton’s
on this list. Didn’t he claim he only tried it once
(without inhaling)? Ah! I’m getting closer to the real

stars or at least the blue sphere of the fixed ones.

Photo: By Claus Ableiter (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0
Photo: By Claus Ableiter (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0