On bedside table: Artists For Democracy: El Archivo de Cecilia Vicuñia. Even though I’ve known Cecilia, one of our truly great poets/performers/artists, for over 20 years, her early history as a radical in Chile has always seemed more myth than history. But here it is, beautifully documented, footnoted, Truth — how her book of love poems was banned and became a centerpiece for the revolution, how her art developed was part of actual demonstrations, how Cecilia remains a guerrilla poet of spirit, joy and wisdom, makes a compelling story.
2 or 3 nights running
yellow green dim tobacco shop
t-shirts, rain, hair
stair leads both ways
arms inflect raking pulling
lips to say linoleum delirious
naked smoke the language
of kiss tear desire
One section of “The Unspoken Word” are dance poems, including three written for Molissa Fenley. Here’s a piece of one:
A spot where you can change
The effortless Groucho and the slow Hangman’s Walk into the mirror
O! birds of heavenly delight, Tweet your polyrhythmic antiphonal strophe down on me!
A foal jumps, like on TV. The hands placed over the head – a shaking leaf.
When it’s pure dance it’s pure faith in the balletic leap twirl right
Outta there. Like a kid on a mission
Language Matters because the language that your great-grandmother sang to yr granny is still part of your DNA. Language Matters because it’s how we understand the world.. Language Matters because how we say things tells us who we are. Language Matters because how we talk is more who we are than what we look like. Watch “Language Matters w/ Bob Holman” on PBS. January, 2015.
Coming to the US this fall is Ali Cobby Eckermann, incredible Australian aboriginal poet and memoirist. I hope the US is ready to hear her story of the collision of the indigenous and the contemporary as lived by a single person. Her memoir, “Too Afraid To Cry,” mixes poetry and prose brilliantly and boldly. I was lucky to be able to spend time at her Aboriginal Writers Retreat in Koolunga. Welcome to these shores, dear Ali!
On my bedside table is A Book of Glyphs by Ed Sanders. When not writing the history of the United States in verse and other chords, Ed has been drawing in colored pencils contemporary versions of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. These visual elements in his poetry are poems themselves, beautiful art singing with wisdom. “Only so long / You can weep / Til the salt grass / Is crinkled / With her / Shell-brine sandals.” An extraordinary edition from Granary Books edition.