Monthly Archives: April 2009

Poet Craig Arnold is missing in Japan

“Poet Craig Arnold has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan while on a creative exchange fellowship.  Craig, an experienced explorer of volcanoes, never returned to his inn after leaving alone to research the island’s active volcano for the afternoon.  The authorities are on the third day of searching for Craig, and are scouring the small island (of only 160 inhabitants) with dogs and helicopters.  If he is not found by the end of the day, the authorities will call off the search.
We need your help to insure that the search will continue.  The island and areas surrounding the volcano are small enough that an extended search will surely lead to Craig’s discovery.  We need people to contact their local congresspeople and senators to pressure the Japanese State Department to continue the search.  We also need help sparking media attention for this story, which we also hope might increase pressure on Japanese authorities to find Craig.
If any of you have ideas or know people who might be able to help, we’d appreciate hearing from you.  Please, though, take a minute to contact your senator and congressperson via telephone or even email to explain this problem and insist on their help.”
To find out how you can help, read Don Share’s full post on the Poetry Foundation’s blog.
News release from the University of Wyoming.

Sweet and savoury poetry

Thirteen Ways with Figs‘ is included in a list of poem links on foodie blog, Hugging the Coast: A Daily Updated Celebration of Coastal Food.  If you’re into sweet and savoury poetry, you’ll find nourishing lines here by Charles Simic, Joy Harjo, Myesha Jenkins, Miroslav Holub, Kim Addonizio, Lucille Clifton, Margaret Atwood, Ted Kooser, Howard Nemerov, C D Wright, Cesare Pavese and Carol Muske-Dukes, among others.

The Palestine Festival of Literature

From the Press Release:
The second Palestine Festival of Literature is taking place from
23 to 28 May 2009.
Because of the difficulties Palestinians face under military occupation in travelling around their own country, the Festival group of 17 international writers will travel to its audiences in the West Bank.  It will tour to Ramallah, to Jenin, to al-Khalil/Hebron and to Bethlehem.  To mark Jerusalem’s status as Cultural Capital of the Arab World for 2009, the festival will begin and end in Jerusalem.
Michael Palin will be taking part in the festival this year together with:  Suad Amiry, Victoria Brittain, Carmen Callil, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Jeremy Harding, Rachel Holmes, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Brigid Keenan, Jamal Mahjoub, Henning Mankell (accompanied by his wife, Eva Bergman), Deborah Moggach, Claire Messud, Alexandra Pringle, Pru Rowlandson, Raja Shehadeh, Ahdaf Soueif and M G Vassanji.
For the full programme of events please visit the website.

Katy Evans-Bush

When asked what advice she would give a young poet, Katy said:
“I’d say, with Henry James:  “try to be one of those people on whom nothing is lost.”
Read Katy’s post, ‘advice to a young poet, reprised’, at her blog, Baroque in Hackney.

Bob Hicok

“I don’t think about “my” audience … I don’t know how anyone could write with a group of people in mind.  It’s difficult enough to rummage around in my own head, let alone estimate how my words will enter another life.  Writers should be good at sensing where readers will be more or less confused, angry, emotionally or intellectually involved, in evaluating the content of their writing in general terms.  But to think about readers while writing is to invite the hypothetical into the process in a way that stops me from being open to the actual, to myself.”
– Bob Hicok

Pablo Neruda

“It is well, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at rest.  Wheels that have crossed long, dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable burdens, sacks from the coalbins, barrels and baskets, handles and hafts for the carpenter’s tool chest.  From them flow the contacts of man with the earth … The used surface of things, the wear that the hands give to things, the air, tragic at times, pathetic at others, of such things – all lend a curious attractiveness to the reality of the world that should not be underprized.”
– Pablo Neruda

The Opposite of Cabbage

The Listeners
Rob A. Mackenzie
The thrill of the fair is not in the glamorous machinery
and its spin, or in the clamour of infants longing
to be heard, but in the hour when music stops
and lights blink out, when a man threads a dark path
among greyer darknesses of once-bright carousels,
and becomes, with them, a bearer of absence,
night’s counterpart, impossible to bring to focus.
The stars have plucked their eyes from the world,
which has become a mirror of blindness, blind
also to itself. Only the man’s uncertain steps alert
his listeners to its presence. So when they screw
open a cheap Cabernet and lose track halfway
through his walk from Waltzer to Big Wheel
and dawn spills out like an over-familiar friend,
they feel grief that the night is unrepeatable
as its secrets, as footsteps that leave no echo.
First published in Magma magazine and included
in The Opposite of Cabbage (Salt Publishing, 2009).
Read more about Rob and The Opposite of Cabbage here.
Visit Rob’s blog, Surroundings.

J G Ballard, 1930 – 2009

“J G Ballard, the author who has died aged 78, was best known for his two fictionalised autobiographies, Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women; the former, which told of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp outside Shanghai, became an international best-seller and was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg.”
Read J G Ballard’s obituary in The Telegraph.

Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights

Blue Room
Belinda Subraman

Wildlife flickers above the fan.
A hummingbird approaches.
A plane lands on the wall.
A lace wedding cake flutters in the breeze.
Buddha appears with light and stone.
Ashes surround the pagoda.
A book and father lie waiting.
The fame of love is framed
above a door’s encryption.
A camel prances with a prince and a woman.
Flowers are mistaken.
A change of season brings armies and storms.
A tall thin bookcase holds
a Moroccan rug down.
An Italian bed holds up the dog and pillows.
The TV is blind without birds.
Tiny life takes over.
A thousand calls of night paint the moon.
Thin caskets of words and sound
slide into frames.
Neon sculptures dip down from the ceiling.
A hum of blades disturb the throat.
Hands tilt upwards.
Nothing can be said that is news.
A corner is filled with mosaic nakedness.
Santa sits near a fairy and a beer
above a steeple in a bookshelf of dreams.
A folding angel hovers over flowers
and a sweet but angry man.
Kleenex unfolds and catches.
The pink column of myth and wood
supports air and possibilities.
A tree lamp grows under mirrors.
A woman meditates, floating.
Her breast wears hats from many lands.
Her crotch is laid with red tile.
Moths thump the beaded sameness
of a hat-framed lamp.
A purple dragon across the room
shines with amethyst eyes.
Bugs and the dog fade as soon
as light turns inward.
A change of season brings armies and storms.
A thousand calls of night paint the mood.
Nothing can be said that is news.
from Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights
by Belinda Subraman (Unlikely Books, 2009)
Visual art by César Ivan.