Cold Borscht chilling in the fridge made with beets, leeks, dill, lemon juice, vinegar, chopped hard-boiled eggs, salt, pepper, chicken broth, and sour cream.
Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks, read by my mom aloud before we began Christmas Night dinner.
I’m teaching a “slopo” season course this winter/spring 2020 for Coursera and Al Filreis’s Modern and Contemporary Poetry class. You can jump in at any point, but you’ll need to register (for free – and the class is free) to get to the course page. The course officially runs from February 8 – March 4 but discussion can continue on afterward also.
This year’s class will be focusing on non-European traditions and emergent poetries in or translated into English, using Jerome Rothenberg’s anthologies of translation, especially the American-Indian-based SHAKING THE PUMPKIN, as a starting point. We will interrogate Rothenberg’s concept of “ethnopoetics” and consider the quandaries of putting oral tradition and place-based performance onto the printed page. We will look at the current work of Ofelia Zepeda, who writes in both Tohono O’odham and English and created the first Tohono O’odham dictionary. We will read, listen, and watch poetries of the Caribbean, especially focused on Jamaica, Kamau Braithwaite and Louise Bennett-Coverley. We will consider immigrant poetries that refuse to adopt Western convention, trying our hand, for example, at the ghazal form popularized in the United States by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.
I’ve been gathering audio files and learning new tricks over the past many weeks, and the result is the very first FENCE podcast, essentially an audiobook of the entire current issue. FENCE is published twice a year, and so this will become a biannual free offering for your listening pleasure, but in between issues I will be posting shorter singular podcasts — I’d like to break new ground, so, if you are at work on an idiosyncratic audio project, or think it might be cool to report on the poetry scene in your town, know an elder with a fascinating story to tell, have access to a fascinating soundscape, or have some other ideas for musical or other sonic collaborations, do not hesitate to get in touch with me via facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you go to this link, please be sure to click on “Chapter Markers” for the Table of Contents.
This is my favorite moment from the 2016 election, three years later.
The Clinton Foundation has a major initiative to stop elephant poaching. If you have two minutes, just listen to this story, and pretend for a moment in your imagination that 2016 turned out differently. It’s soothing to do so, then the shock of the real.