Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's International Poetry Month

well, it's at least national in the US and Canada. world poetry day was last march 21 (interestingly, at the onset of equinox). heck, we might adopt it as well.

late post, but well, better late than later. and believe me, this is no last minute april fool's day post--and as far as ivy is concerned, april's full of poetry (corny pun intended), as it is likewise the month for napowrimo, a collective and seemingly herculean task of writing one poem a day for the entire month. whew. i'm not even sure anybody can readily join this "dare", much less finish 30 poems without a dextrose-laden seriousness, Über-focus, or settling for mere drafts. but the idea is really commendable. after all, we all begin as "amateurs".

incidentally, i just found out that the word amateur comes from the French term, "one who loves." and if we do love poetry, eh di testingin na rin natin to. nothing to lose, really, and a whole lotta love to gain. so what do you say? :)

update: this is the link to the official napowrimo (or intpowrimo) site, if you are interested in trying it out.


some quotable quotes from books i'm currently reading:

"It remains true that we attend to the image by focusing on it, and when it falls out of all focus, we cannot attend to it. We get the fringe items by looking out of the corner of our eye; or we turn our eye straight on them, but not for long. Such a technique is probably the one employed by poetry; a way of indirection, but perhaps the only way on earth of realizing the vividness, magnificence, and beauty of the world."

-- John Crowe Ransom from "Poetry as Primitive Language" from The Writer and His Craft, edited by Roy W. Cowden

"In the sense that there was nothing before it, all writing is writing against the void."

-- Mark Strand, quoted by Susan Shaughnessy in her book, Walking on Alligators

"It has to be said that they (The Smiths) were a real group, the only true immortal group of the '80s, but their lyrical vision was of course Morrissey's alone."

--Nick Kent, describing one of the best poet-lyricist ever in the essay, "Morrissey, the Majesty of Melancholia and the Light That Never Goes Out in Smiths-dom" in his book, The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music

"The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers. Divine Attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visit only in season, like Venice or Switzerland."

--Mary Oliver, from her book, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings

"Asking someone what his or her Top Ten books are is a very 21st-century question. Writers from the past were unlikely to be sympathetic to the current thinking that shapes such a question: the desire not to take the time to delve but to know someone at a glance...In the end, the Top Ten list does not give us a full picture of a person, but rather ten slices of his or her life, as viewed optimistically by him or her at the moment of compilation--say, October 1, 2004, at 11:30 A.M."

--Tracy Chevalier, in her essay, "Lying to the Optician" from Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times, edited by Kevin Smokler


now about that poem...


We begin with an empty something.
Call it wall if you want; call it canvas,
vacant and spotless, begging for that first
stroke, somebody carving a deep X on it,
the grave stain of one letter. And we cannot

help it; we are drawn to collaborate,
inputting our own swift curves and lines,
that fine art of intrusion eventually forming
a pattern: We were here, the finished work
insists. Romel went home na. And somebody loves

. There’s no denying it. It is written,
once crude sketches now as final and precise
as the scriptures. No amount of paint can cover
this hallowed assortment of letters, numbers,
symbols. Especially that one oversized heart, dipping

heavily in the middle, occupying the biggest space,
mattering the most. And in spite of the blanket
absence of periods, an I not only knows a you.
The bottom point of the heart is sharp and piercing,
making perfect sense, the perfect finishing touch.