Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poetry Pairing: Technology and Conversation

Captured conversation in a coffee house in San Francisco
Image via Randy Pertiet - Flickr

I'm fascinated by this article from The New York Times: "The Flight from Conversation" by Sherry Turkle about how technology has affected the ways we communicate with each other and what it means for the future of our relationships. Turkle concludes with, "So I say, look up, look at one another, and let's start the conversation." I've been fortunate to have a few of these face-to-face conversations this week and the power of the spoken word versus text amazes me. I have a greater appreciation for those who are willing to forgo a text conversation for an actual phone call lately too.

A few days after reading this article, I happened upon Anna Moschovakis' poem "ninth: a conversation between Annabot and the Human Machine on the subject of overpowering emotion."

From the poem:

ANNABOT: I cannot feel your hand.

HUMAN MACHINE: I cannot feel your heart.


I am going to work on doing more of the above going forward.

Anything else you can think to pair with these?

AND don't forget today's Poem in Your Pocket Day! I've got "Advice from La Llorona" by Deborah A. Miranda in mine. What's in yours?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poetry Pairing: Annabel Lee

Edgar Allan Poe is the first poet I discovered during my elementary school years. I purchased a small book of his poems from the Scholastic book fair held in the library and fell in love, most especially with "Annabel Lee." Who wouldn't want to be loved "with a love that was more than love"? (Oh, I now feel sorry for all my pre-teen and teen loves!) All these years later, this poem still enchants me.

I recently downloaded Stevie Nicks' new album "In Your Dreams" and after the first song I was hooked. After hearing "Annabel Lee" in the lucky number 7 slot, I fell hard. Perfect voice to sing this haunting tale. Listen for yourself:

I was even more thrilled to come across Yusef Komunyakaa's essay on his first love, this very poem by Edgar Allan Poe. He writes: "At nine years old, I knew next to nothing about this kind of love, although I had been lightly touched by an element of it in the blues that drifted out of the radios in our kitchen and living room. To know this great longing through words made me tremble inside my skin, and I believe it helped me traverse some new territory in my imagination."

What poem or story was your first love?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poetry Pairing: The Library as Home

It's National Library Week, so what better way to celebrate libraries and National Poetry Month than with another poetry pairing? And like last week, there's an added bonus.

The New York Public Library put together a powerful video starring a few of it's loyal patrons answering the question: "Where Do You Call Home?"

This video made me think of Charles Simic's poem "In the Library." A few lines from it:

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.

And for the added bonus, you can read Simic's moving essay for The New York Review of Books: "A Country Without Libraries."

How do you feel about your local library? 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Poetry Pairing: The "&"

Ampersand by roseandsigil via Flickr

While reading Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay, I was struck by the use of the & in place of "and" and even more struck when I came upon her poem employing it as its title. I've searched for this poem online to no avail and wish I could share the whole poem with you here, but hopefully this snippet will satisfy:

but even more
giving, you remind us
of the heart & how
the heart would
rather die thank keep
its two dark arms
all to himself;
his life, like our lives,
depends on what is at his side.

In an interview with The Rumpus, Girmay is asked about her use of ampersands in her writing and responds:

"I love the muscle of the "&"-- a muscular shape, a mustache, too. Kind of infinity. But not. A highway...
(read more by clicking on the interview above)

All this led me back to a story that intrigued me a few months back: Poets & Ampersands in Poets&Writers' January/February 2012 issue.

This has evolved from a pairing but I think it makes for an interesting subject! Do you use the "&" in your writing? Why or why not? And what are your thoughts on its use?

And please, feel free to add your own pairing to this!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eating Poetry This Month

Happy National Poetry Month! Not only are flowers revealing themselves and trees beginning to bid with new life, but poetry is blooming too! I hope you'll be eating poetry with me this month as well.

A few ideas for celebrating:

The Found Poetry Review started The Found Poetry Project and made poetry kits for distribution this month. You can either try to find some in your city or you can make your own and get them out into your community! Five of them are going out in El Paso!

Robert Lee Brewer's Poem-A-Day challenge kicked off yesterday. I participated in this last year and found his writing prompts really helped to get the creativity flowing. My advice: Just write, write, write. Use May to go back and revise. Just get the thoughts down on paper (or into the computer)!

Maureen Thorson's NaPoWriMo site with daily prompts is another great challenge as well. I am still trying to decide between the two and don't want to overwhelm myself with both. A friend of mine made a good suggestion: choose one prompt a day from either challenge and write all the prompts down for later.

There are also lots of people holding contests on their blogs for poetry book giveaways this month. Jessie Carty is one you should definitely check out. I've read two of her chapbooks now and really enjoy her work.

It's never too late to give away a book yourself either!

I'm going to do a poetry pairing each Thursday on the blog for April. Stay tuned. I'm excited.

Enjoy April! Andrea

P.S. If you have any other ideas for National Poetry Month, please share with us!