We have a guest this week! Author, poet, musician, Western Washington University Spanish professor, and host of the monthly Village Books Open Mic Sean Dwyer joins the club today.
Under the microscope are two poems; W.S. Merwin’s Spanish/English translation of Pablo Neruda’s (b.1904-d.1973) “Poema 20” vs. Sean’s translation. Open up the document (attached) and follow along as Sean takes us line by line, explaining the difference between native and dictionary translation, the importance of cultural understanding, the effort to keep the original rhyming scheme, and more.
We packed the presentation and Q/A into one show
Start – 43:00 minutes is a line by line exploration
43:00 – 48:00 Sean reads his translation in Spanish
48:00 – 1:20:00 Group Questions and Answer
1:20:00 – We close with Pablo himself reading the original “Poem 20”
-Thank you Sean for joining us today. It was a delight!
Figure out how I fit in your world as I discover the shape of your heart push me into your foreign form as the chalk line
between us dulls
Memory foam bed faces north in your cold unfinished basement headboard is bare drywall with taped-over nails primer and mud a forgotten chore for another day painted white bricks lined up like soldiers floor to ceiling gray soot stains define few edges
This is our nest our place to incubate
When you touch me it is a fast movement under a silk sheet sparking a mighty lightning storm hair stands on end in anticipation of where your fingers might go legs gently look for arousal as we twist together like snakes
You are a storm you are the ocean pounding at a rocky shore don’t stop until I am sand
This event is an early 5:00 p.m. set designed for you and your sweetie to enjoy a special day together, a passionate spark to get things started. Also, a great time for anyone who is a fan of love and wants to support the Alt Library and local artist. (I think we’re talkin’ about YOU) You’ll hear from poets Eric Kosarot and James Bertolino. The featured poet is Shannon P. Laws who will be reading select love poems accompanied by Greg Sherman on upright bass. This is also the first Bellingham reading from her new book “Fallen”, 2017.
Come early Kathy McKeever, Urban Cauldron, will be available to read your LOVE tarot 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Kathy is a professional, long time tarot reader and teacher of tarot. She is an expert in the art of divination.
Tickets are suggested $5 or donation, tips encouraged for tarot reader Books by authors will be on hand for purchase
James Bertolino’s poetry has received recognition through a Book-of-the-Month Club Poetry Fellowship, the Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Quarterly Review of Literature book publication awards, and the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize for Washington State Poets. He has had 12 volumes of poetry published, the most recent being Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems, 2014, from MoonPath Press. http://www.jamesbertolino.com/
Tongue in Ink
by Shannon P. Laws
The best poems are not written in ink but by the tongue
Spoken into the air never finding paper
Touched by the mist of breath against your neck
Said in the dark rooms where lovers meet
Not at all recorded nor syllables numbered
But art form just the same
Once activated and released the words are all lost
So, how was your 2014? What a mixed bad of nuts, right.
Robots went to Mars, the Rosetta spacecraft‘s Philae probe successfully lands on Comet 67P, the Ferguson, Mo. ruling (WTH?), the die-ins, Russia hosts the Olympics, Pussy Riot spoke out, Brazil puts on a dynamic show for the FIFA World Cup, the TV news world goes nuts over the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the US government continues to play games instead of governing, stunning display of the aurora borealis viewed by people as far south as Seattle, and some dy-no-mite sun activity causing cell/satellite outages. Fun. Fun. Fun. You were there, I don’t need to go into detail, but what a strange, wild, wonderful, and horrific year.
Here at the S.P. Laws office we had a… lets call it “productive” year. Many improvements are in place to help launch us off into an even more productive schedule for 2015. Here is the years recap:
2014 started off on the good foot with a breathtaking announcement in April. A letter came in the mail to officially notify me I was selected for 2013 Mayor’s Arts Award recipient “Poet”, along with many powerful folks in the Bellingham arts community, including my “Writer Idol” Laurel Leigh. Here we are celebrating at The Temple Bar afterwards with productive and energizing writers Susan Chase-Foster and Janet Oakley.
Also in April I was invited to speak with two lovely poets Jennifer Bullis (Bellingham) and Heather Curtis (Anacortes) for Heather’s book launch “Upon Waking” and for National Poetry Month. I could not be in better company. A fine set of poets.
In June my second poetry book, “Odd Little Things”, was released. Special thanks to my dear friend and editor Denise DuMaurier for her help. I edited my first book “Madrona Grove” by myself, in addition to formatting it. (I’ll never do that again) I learned my lesson. Editors are good people to know & hire. Don’t be afraid to use an editor. My two cents.
“Odd Little Things” is a familiar ride full of piercing moments and wishes. In this, her second book of poetry, Shannon bares all making you feel like best friends at a café sharing secrets. The cycles of life seem to spin like an unforgiving stellar system for this poet. However large or small, everything matters, especially the moments you only share with yourself. Shannon says about her new book, “If ‘Madrona Grove’ is my lover, then ‘Odd Little Things’ is my child.”
BTW: This fall a second edition of Madrona Grove was graciously edited by poet master, retired professor, James Bertolino. Available now at Village Books, click here: Madrona Grove VB
June marked the end of The New Americana Hour’s second season. It was a double punch to the intellect and heart. Such an honor to be apart of this program. I am a volunteer producer for a non-profit radio station in Bellingham, KMRE 102.3 LP, that broadcasts out of the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention.
This season just touched my heart greatly. It was as if the seed co-host, Jon Winter and I planted last year decided to reward us with a bodacious bloom. Musician’s approached us hearing about the show from their colleagues, asking to be a guest on it. TNAH also connected with the Seattle based television program“Band in Seattle”. The success of last years line up and increase of listeners has contributed to two new sponsors for 2015.
September presented two magnificent opportunities to spread some SPL poetry: 2014 Tagore Festival in B.C. and the official book launch of “Odd Little Things”.
The Tagore Festival is always a treat. The music, films, history, traditional Bengal clothing and dance ignites the senses! Carla Shaffer and I were invited to read on the Friday performance.
For my book launch I invited two poet friends of mine to join me. Now, you know I can fill up an hour’s worth of podium time, however, I saw this as an opportunity to share the space with two of Bellingham’s finest: Carla Shafer and Erica Reed. Carla is the long time host of Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, and Erica the host of Kitchen Sessions (2012-14), two inspiring open mics in town. This was the first time, that I am aware of it anyways, where three poetry group hosts gathered to read their poetry for an audience. Thank you Village Books for providing the space and promotion. I believe there was a cross-pollination, an intermingling if you will, of poet circles. Good times.
In September we also hosted the second annual “Poets for Peace, Read-in! Write-on!” event. This year held on a Friday night. The program is simple: opening ceremonies, soup/salad dinner, poets and musicians read and sing about what peace means to them. It ends when the last poet speaks. This is the only peace read-in in Bellingham. I hosted the event along with my Peace Sisters Carla Shafer and author and poet C.J. Prince. Watching members from Seattle to B.C. share their peace poems is like a healing, and good massage, calming down the anxiety of questions regarding humanities future. “World peace starts with me” – peace is to be shared freely.
The last event I was fortunate to be apart of was in November, a fundraiser for the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project. Held at the glamorous Encore Room at the Mt. Baker Theater. The audience was generous and responsive to touching poetry by all artists. Kevin Murphy was the exclamation point at the end of the evening with his bongo poems that everyone can relate to. Man, I love that guy!
What a year. My writing is a great release, and a reward thanks to a responsive writing and book worm community here in Bellingham. Connecting with people, my neighbors, sharing intimate work like poetry, music, a smile and a handshake, is like a great reward, an enrichment to my little life. People are amazing.
This summer I am hoping to expand my readings outside of Bellingham. I’m hoping for an Anacortes reading, perhaps LaConner, South King County and Seattle. Just crossing my fingers that time and money will be available for those events. This December I moved into a tiny apartment. Like Virginia Wolf, I have a room of one’s own (and kitchen and a bath). Here is my launching pad for 2015. I wonder where it will take me?
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” Virginia Wolf