Internet magic

Almost two years ago, I posted about Roberto Chavez’ show at the Autry Museum in LA. As part of the post I mentioned that over 30 years ago, a gallery owner had sold a wonderful self-portrait of Roberto with a lime-green background that we had loaned to the gallery for the show. Even though it was not for sale, the unscrupulous gallery owner sold it, and although Roberto gave us another painting in its place, I never really got over it. Continue reading “Internet magic”

Poetry Monday

troy_jollimoreYes, I know, it’s Tuesday again. What can I say? As always, life before poetry.  But today I have a poem by Troy Jollimore, a recent Squaw connection, whose book Tom Thomson in Purgatory, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. One section of the book has poems that give a nod to Berryman’s Dream Songs. Troy’s alter ego is not Henry, but Tom Thomson. Here’s one of my favorites:

Tom Thomson in Retrospect

He had a good run. Ran like hell, in fact,
toward the wisdom and away from pain.
(Except he got them mixed up, it turned out.) Continue reading “Poetry Monday”

Poetry Monday

I get a lot of poems online, various sources. Once in awhile, I like one.  This one is by Gretchen Primack. You can read more by selecting the link below:

city streetAvenue

I’m tired. Men can Hey baby
all they want. A station wagon
shudders into reverse,
a plum wrinkles
its skin; three nurses
walk their smoke break,
a bird decides no,
paper bag tumbleweeds
tumble. Too much
hangs on a doorknob.
Too many choke
the awnings. Tired water
holds itself up by the curbs;
all that grows in the hardy
filth of the avenue
holds itself up; the dirty hands
and minds, someone
hollering about grace.
Look at that bucket of carrots
outside the deli, glowing
like a lampshade. How can that man,
peeling them in another language,
bear it?
Beside him, pyramids of citrus.
Rows and pyramids and buckets:
all that bounty at eye level. Up above,
nothing at all, as if the sky
has always been imaginary.

Gretchen Primack


Cliff DeYoung and Beckett

Cliff DeYoung in MollyAn intriguing poem about stones at the recent Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop reminded me of this wonderful monologue from Molly. Cliff DeYoung performed this monologue at Cal State LA as part of a tribute to Beckett on his 100th’s birthday. I don’t think it could be done better! Continue reading “Cliff DeYoung and Beckett”

Translation and a poetry reading

Forty-five years ago, I began translating Russian poetry. Okay, I was a strange young adult. But this year, a book of my poetry translations was finally published, Poems from the Stray Dog Cafe: Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Gumilev. Here’s one of the poems:

StrayDog-679x1024_optНо я предупреждаю вас,
Что я живу в последний раз.
Ни ласточкой, ни кленом,
Ни тростником и ни звездой,
Ни родниковою водой,
Ни колокольным звоном –
Не буду я людей смущать
И сны чужие навещать
Неутоленным стоном

Ah, but I am warning you
This life’s the last I’m living through.
Not as a swallow, or a poplar
Not as a reed or a star,
Not as water from a well
Nor a bell’s hollow song—
I won’t return to trouble men
Or visit stranger’s dreams again
With my unquenchable lament.

Anna Akhmatova,  1940

If you like this, you can hear more at the Center for the Book in San Francisco (an interesting place to visit) this Friday, August 9, as part of a reading of Littoral Press authors:

Susan Gangel l William A. Henkin l Karen Lee Hones l Rick Kempa l Kit Kennedy Stephen Kessler l Joe Lamb l Bill Mayer l Meryl Natchez l Steven Rood

Friday, Auqgust 9, 2013 at 7 p.m.

San Francisco Center for the Book, 375 Rhode Island St. at 16th, San Francisco, 415-565-0545

Or you can buy a copy of the book (listed on page 4).