Barcelona Castling

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The city comes to snap the castellers
dressed red and white, black bands around their waists.

We’re here to watch them lose themselves for us
into a tower swaying in the square.

The marriage of the flute and of the drum
mark each new step and every motion up.

Atop, a child is raised by stranger’s hands
to raise four fingers up, four lines of blood,

and when the flag is waved, the tower drops
and bones and ligaments reclaim their selves.

Magazines, magazines, magazines ….

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Reading Best of the Best American Poetry, I found this wrenching poem by Rodney Jones about the last days of William Carlos Williams. In the process of looking for it online, I discovered that The Atlantic Monthly has a large archive of poetry read aloud which you can access here.

 

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Pank Magazine where was I found this amazing prose poem on childbirth by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, and these two poems by Robin Lamer Rahija in text and read aloud.  They have an archive stretching back to 2008.

 

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Thrush Poetry Journal is a site I have been visiting recently. It has lots of great poetry including this one by Tawnysha Greene, as well as an archive going back to 2011.

 

 

 

Choice of poison

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He wears his helmet like a second head
set up to fall. His bike is all he loves
except it can’t love back, so in love’s stead
he rides, and riding, smokes his fag to stubs.
He thinks a life of cuss and crotch and spit
okay, that broken is a state of grace
not shame, that he knows where the money is
right now, that life’s a shop-bought masquerade
of face and name and word. He doesn’t doubt
the what he’ll have to do to make it work,
or run. He doesn’t know, but he’ll find out,
along the road where monsters pray for dark.

 

Picture featured in this post is Beinn na Caillich. Author – Neil Moralee. Source – Flickr
License – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

 

 

Five years of blogging

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It’s been quiet on the blogging front because I have been trying to get material ready for submission.

Every week that goes by without blogging I feel like I am killing it off which isn’t too strange when you consider I’ve been blogging for five years. Granted, there was one year when I did little or nothing but writing was always going on in the background.

You see, blogging has become part of my life, and I can’t believe how many changes have taken place since the blog’s inception. In the first year, I felt like I was embarking on an amazing journey, though now it feels more like a cul-de-sac. WordPress was new back then, and I had friends with blogs like my own. We were all along on a great big fun adventure. Like all great adventures though most of it was just happening in my head.

Then came the years when I clocked up posts, and checked the stats like I was about to hit the oilman’s big gusher. Full of energy, I went at my goal head on. I talked of what I read and where I was going with friends and strangers like my name had a meaning, like I was a future someone. I thought I was one more story away from being good. I went to writing groups, and I felt secretly like I was cock of the walk. I worked on short films as a translator, actor, and animator. I went to an award ceremony for a short too.

Then there was the year when I started posting images of my plasticine sculptures on the blog. Every time I put up a post it was like I was stepping out into the limelight. I did MOOC courses. I still do MOOC courses. I was rebuilding myself better than the million dollar man.

The blog is connected inextricably with my life living and teaching in Barcelona. The blog represents all the energy of those first few years. I guess I have moved out of Barcelona in a sense. I no longer live in the centre. The world I lived in has changed, as I am changing. Many of the original motives I had for writing a blog have disappeared. The family circle has got bigger and smaller. Friends have mainly gone. Businesses have hit the wall thanks to the crisis in Spain. Right now, it’s like I am living the full stop but even that will change. Everthing will change.

The writing continues as always. Long before the blog, I wrote but it was private. I used to type up what I had written, print it out, and store it in sleeves to return to later. Long before the blog, I had a mental checklist of books and authors I wanted to read and used to hunt down in second hand bookshops. I still love reading. Amid all the change, I take comfort in the constant.

There are very few constants though. I am a different person from the person who started the blog. I guess I can but hope that being a parent will allow me to offer even more. Who knows? Maybe, 2014/2015 is the time. I will give my best. Maybe, I’ve failed in my original goals. There isn’t any shame in that failure. I try to applaud the success of others (not that they value my applause especially). And I pick myself up, and I dust myself off, and I start all over again :)

 

Archives, archives and more archives

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If you click on the photo, you can discover what Poetry Archive has to offer. I advise going for the celebrity guided tours to begin with. The recordings by individual poets are extensive, and really enjoyable, and can be purchased as an album.

 

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This ever-growing collection of recordings on PennSound is a lot more eclectic. As always click on the link to find an example of one of the many poets  they showcase. This is definitely one for exploration with an open mind. The Penn in PennSound is the University of Pennsylvania which also runs a Modern American Poetry course on Coursera for those who are interested.

 

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Explore … explore … explore names, forms, and occasions. I like this one though it needs time to make the most of what it has to offer.

And, of course,

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When I am trying to write a poem, I look back at other examples of form in the past. Sometimes it helps and other times it doesn’t. I can’t say that searching for these sites was a great pleasure. It wasn’t. There are so many poetry communities, but in all honesty, I prefer solitude to what is on offer. There is a sterility in archives that make me prefer sleep. There is a richness of choice that makes me prefer pulp novels. There is a school-teacherly tone in many of the best websites that leave me with the impression that poetry is how you train sprogs to sit still and be quiet for long periods of time. Mostly, I dive into these sites, write down what pleases me, and then I head off.