Our featured participant today is The Scribbletorium
Today’s poetry resource is this collection of poetry video recordings from the Dodge Poetry Program.
I started as always with the featured poem, this one very much impressed me. Knowing how hard finding the opposite of everything is and containing an element of sense is a true challenge. Contradicting lines are hard to avoid.
Wake has some great lines:
a dirty eternity for the body to work and hurt, It gives you a loss so familiar, so shallow, it cannot be forgotten in full sleep, The sleeping body with its certainty, ... intact images of the day’s losses
This is a fine mirror poem, as such it chimes in parallel to the original quite closely – which is where I find my wariness in the task itself: when the starting point is someone else’s copyrighted work, of course this is only an issue if you plan to submit/publish your work and a simple solution may be to add an epigraph.
I was very excited to see Dodge Poetry Festival as the resource – another Lockdown discovery – attended most sessions with my anglo-american writing partner at the time, great memories. Although in 2008 I was 6 years rested from my adolescent writing Poet Phase 1 – I had been published in anthologies and magazines for a decade and started A Writers Fountain (as a MSN (who remembers them??) community website – it ran successfully for several years and was ranked #1 on the MSN groups tables. I was 8 years into my teaching career and had little time for anything else. By this point I was stuck in a place I didn’t want to be – but I had travelled to America and Australia and met Mr G. (so it wasn’t all bad)…. I would not find my way back to poetry (or any kind of writing) for another 6 years.
What a resource this is! So many videos. I started at the beginning with Chris Abani Reading in the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival Saturday Night Sampler – 9/27/08
Patterns ~ and the dying of the heart is unshared
Changing Times ~ but I’m learning to taste my life without judgement — I think
I enjoyed Chris so much I watched the next video of his (and the next on the list). Love his mix of humour with deep/ serious subject and the level of brutual honesty in his work.
“Geography Lesson” “The New Religion” and “Histories, #1”
The New Religion ~ This body is a nation I have not known
Or to feel the rub of tired lungs against skin-
covered bone, like a hand against the rough of bark.
Like that. “The body is a savage,” I said.
For years I said that: the body is a savage.
but sometimes, in an unguarded
moment of sun, I remember the cowdung-scent
of my childhood skin thick with dirt and sweat
and the screaming grass.
From Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)
Then I watched Ekiwah Adler Belendez reading at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival
“Topography,” “Haiku,” and “Coyote’s Trace”
Topography – He teaches us how to trace the invisible lines of our memory, can the voice be traced?
the continents of my future
a place where there is no room for the sky
Coyote’s Trace ~ do not speak to me/ speak to what makes me hungry/ follow the traces of what I love.
He was so beautiful to the audience – saying their reaction made the reading ‘all the life breathing in each face … makes this a dance not a monologue’.
I looked up Ekiwah Alder Belendez mainly interested in whether he was still writing – and he is. He was also the youngest poet to appear at Dodge Festival (2010 stats) he was 19 when he did this reading. When I was 19, I was reading in the pubs of Leicester. His first poetry collection, Soy (I Am), was released when he was twelve! I wrote my first poem when I was 12.
My final watch (I could sit here all day), was:
Taha Muhammad Ali (with Peter Cole) reading at the 2006 Dodge Poetry Festival
Reading in Arabic and English, “Revenge”
The whole poem needs to be heard in full.
I’ve written Triolets before – I do find them hard they always sound gong like.
As predicted I think it is a bit of a naff poem. Wonderful subject though!