Call for Poets: United States of America Poet Laureate Constructing Una Casa de Colores
Juan Felipe Herrera at Poets Forum of the Academy of American Poets.
Herrera calls on poets to invite three poets to submit to Casa de Colores.
From Juan Felipe Herrera’s Facebook page
Hope you holidays were warm and groovy -- and continue to be so. Here is an update on Casa de Colores - House of Colors online web project I started as part my Laureate work at the Library of Congress:
CASA DE COLORES update & Call:
We collected a good number of poems for the first theme on Family. Thank you so much. I was very inspired by the the bilingual entries! Beautiful and most moving, real poems. The second theme on Migrant Portraits and Friendship was magnificent as well - from so many countries and states in the USA! Please keep them coming!
We have a challenge: There is so much more to say (and for people to hear you):
Casa Pep Talk:
We need many more peoples to enter poems. And more people from more states. By the way we have many from Texas. Hoorah! Come on California, we need you - and Alabama, Montana, Georgia, Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Indiana, Idaho, Ohio -- Hey Alaska, I am waiting for you. Come on Wyoming.. hand me the baton with your poems in it. More representation from all states. I know we are just on our third theme, third round of poems -- Language Weavers. It is a chance to be your all-out bilingual self - let people hear you, the real you.
If each one of us invites 3 people to enter 1 short poem, we are on our way.
I am calling on you to be a Casa de Colores - House of Colors Ambassador Recruiter, Mover. Our goal is 10,000 by the end of this year (it is a long- long ways from what we have...I say 10,000 because we can do it -- just invite 2-3 each...Yes).
Read some entries to get your vegetarian menudo cookin' -- La Casa website: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/casadecolores/ (Click the links on the page)
I want to thank you ahead of time -- you are busy. Let's bash on, roll-up your tortillas, unfurl your cilantro - let your voices and the voices of our communities come out, be national and available wherever there is an internet connection, be global. All you gotta do is tap in with your voices - which are Beautiful.
I met a mother in Miami a few days ago. She was frustrated. She had no where to run because she was looking for books for her son. Nothing was available, she told me. Very little at best. I told her I was going to do something about it. Casa de Colores is it! This is why I am asking you to write and recruit others: so her son and so many other children and young people and all of us can read the voices of the people - you.
Gracias so much!!!
Casa de Colores -- is for you, for all. Poetry hugs, JFH
Thanksgiving Give-away Follow-up
No, Mr. Carlson, turkeys cannot fly. However, other annual promotions for el día de acción de gracias mean good eating for lucky winners.
Rarely, however, do everyday gente get noted in the news. Instead publics are treated to fotos of celebrities serving down-on-their-opportunity poor and homeless. Thus, La Bloga welcomed a follow-up report from a Southern California news company’s food and fun sharing program.
For newspaper coverage of the events haz klik aquí para Excelsior, and here for Register, and for more fotos of happy gente taking thanksgiving together, here.
December On-line Floricanto
Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas, Jan G. Otterstrom, Lara Gularte, María Dolores Bolívar, Armando Guzman
The Moderators of the Facebook poetry community, Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance, nominate five poets for this year’s final La Bloga On-line Floricanto.
"Refugee / Syriana" by Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas
"Disquieting" by Jan G. Otterstrom
"Don't Scorn the Dead Who Are Ourselves" by Lara Gularte
"Donaldo Trompas/Donald Trump" por María Dolores Bolívar
“Blood and Bones” by Armando Guzman
Refugee / Syriana
by Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas
Look at his voyage of one million hymns of evacuees;
my brother, trust me; he feels your agony.
To see the olive tree that his father planted collapsing in the vastness.
To wave good bye at the crumbling panorama of his childhood
Would he ever feel the shadow of the tree and the tender song of home?
He mourns quietly with you; under his tent, during his prayer
Looking at his people moving like songs of peace;
some falling prey to the evils of terror and insecurity
away from extreme malice; from blasts, from assaults
along the valley where the God of humans and spirits wept.
To pick the body of his little brother ashore floating likes a small flag
To see the song of his sanctuary destroyed like a resuscitating prayer
To see the famishing eyes of his wife like the eyes of Gods imploring for peace
To see the limping souls of his songs like the future speaking to your humanity
To walk down the street with a beaten hopefulness like rising after too many falls
To look where the sun raises and sets; yearning for a moment in the cycle of peace.
My brother: he has too mourned moments of uncertainty.
Besides the blue shorelines of one thousand prayers
By the white savannas and deserts, gravel and streams
Along the red of excruciating history frozen in his gasp.
My brother: trust me, he feels your agony.
Look with the eyes of your soul
We too, have escaped the malice and the smell of putrefying terror
They are refugees, we are émigrés; tu me comprendes.
We didn’t come for glory; we came to survive
We are here to plant this emblem of harmony…
Nous sommes ici pour planter cet emblème de l'harmonie ...
by Jan G. Otterstrom
Disquieting to think, question
reasons why, politicians talk
of peace a lie, bombs, bullets
industries of bloody destruction
calamity, murder, self-defense
missiles, rockets, ships, subs
electronic gear need demand
to keep factories running, jobs
secure, freedom drones elicit
terrorist response, vicious circle
cycle of terror, fattens moguls
prices for shares, collateral
deaths far from home, sides
justify their crimes, as needed
for peace, monsters, criminals
keep their critics in check
media cheers fear, vengeance
vigilance as widows mourn, bury
their dead, cries drowned out
by promotional rhetoric, displaced
immigrants left with one recourse
take to roads as borders close
innocent casualties of evil men
profiteers drugged, aphrodisiacs
of arrogance, power and greed
kind of men, a world does not need.
© Jan G. Otterstrom F.
November 18, 2015
I am living in Costa Rica since 1989, a retired lawyer but writing poetry all my life. I have 10 published books to my name. Information about them can be found on my page janotterstrom.com and at Amazon.com
I am 71 years old so I have the accumulated experience necesaary for poetry, also a love of language and the works of my peers in art. In the 1980s I was active in Native American causes in the Northwest. I was also recognized in Cuba where two of my books were published. My book TELAR, a book in spanish is in its second addition in South America. I have a new book ready of about 200 poems in which DISQUIETING is included. I am looking for a new commercial publisher.
Estoy viviendo en Costa Rica desde 1989, un abogado jubilado pero escribir poesía durante toda mi vida. Tengo 10 libros publicados a mi nombre. Información acerca de ellos se puede encontrar en mi página janotterstrom.com y en Amazon.com soy 71 años, así que tengo la experiencia necesaary acumulada por la poesía, también el amor por la lengua y las obras de mis compañeros en el arte. En la década de 1980 que estaba activo en causas de nativos americanos en el Noroeste. También me reconocí en Cuba, donde se publicaron dos de mis libros. Mi libro TELAR, un libro en español se encuentra en su segunda adición en América del Sur. Tengo un nuevo libro listo de cerca de 200 poemas en los que DISQUIETING (inquietantes) incluido. Estoy buscando un nuevo editor comercial.
DON'T SCORN THE DEAD WHO ARE OURSELVES
by Lara Gularte
Nights I wait for signs of her coming,
a face in half-light, pale tissue of heartbeat.
Perhaps the orb moving past me in the hallway,
the air scented with the dying curl of Jasmine.
I wait for the clock to fall exhausted into dream state,
finally close my eyes in sleep.
A hole of light pours through the ceiling,
and my future visits me, a specter
in a grainy black and white vision.
I stare into her phantom face,
and see myself as I will be.
She slumps into my arms like a limp pieta,
body translucent, cool to touch.
I spread my arms open,
and fall awake.
Years ahead of us move in parallel worlds,
Someday, not yet, a crossing over.
First published in “The Bitter Oleander.”
Lara Gularte was featured in the Autumn 2014 issue of The Bitter Oleander with an interview and 18 poems. Her poetic work depicting her Azorean heritage is included in a book of essays called "Imaginários Luso-Americanos e Açorianos" by Vamberto Freitas. Her poems can be found in The Gávea-Brown Book of Portuguese-American Poetry. Gularte earned an MFA degree from San Jose State University where she was a poetry editor for Reed Magazine, received the Anne Lillis Award for Creative Writing, and several Phelan Awards. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Bitter Oleander, California Quarterly, The Clackamas Review, Evansville Review, Permafrost, The Monserrat Review, The Water-Stone Review, The Fourth River, The Santa Clara Review, and she has been published by many national and regional anthologies. She is an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine.
por María Dolores Bolívar
Este racista ambicioso
de hispanos se hizo su taco
nos devaluó el mentiroso
mi testimonio destaco…
Un muro piensa erigir
por llanos, desiertos y ríos
no acierta él a colegir
tan tamaño desafío…
Déjenlo que lo construya
digo yo que si conozco
que se chamusque en las dunas
con el pelo hirsuto y hosco
Por los rápidos del Bravo
zozobre tan triste pájaro…
ah qué prole de a centavo
que sigue a tan triste ácaro…
Como táctica asegura
tremenda tarea se augura
este negociante avaro…
De aprendiz la hacía hace poco
dueño de universidad patito…
el final ay se los debo
pa’ la elección de al ratito…
Las encuestas encabeza
este odioso comediante…
el cabello ya se entiesa
bajo la gorra el magnate…
Y Jorge Ramos ya va
demonios para mi cortejo…
En español lo entrevista
a ese monolingüe viejo…
Hable American Trump increpa
jua, jua, jua, jua, ra, jua, jua…
¡Ya ni a Vespucio respeta!
Juar, juar, juar, jua, rar, juar, juar…
by María Dolores Bolívar
This determined racist
falsified for might…
Served Mexicans to his guests
my testimony I highlight…
A wall he counts on building
through deserts, rivers and plains…
In details he is failing
such challenge to ascertain…
Let him build that wall
say I knowing the terrain…
In the dunes he’ll see burn
his coarse and bristly hair…
Through the rapids of Rio Grande
I wish this sad bird’s demise…
Little followers of this debutante
are the kind to follow mite…
As a tactic he’s pledged
all Mexicans he will deport…
What a task alleged
for a stingy-businessman’s report
Not long ago an apprentice
owning a university scam…
The great finale still pends
the election not far…
The polls place him on top
this hateful baboon…
His stiff hair will rot
in his role of tycoon…
And Jorge Ramos goes
a demon in the procession…
In Spanish he dialogs
at the monolingual demonstration…
Speak American Trump babbles
Babble, babble, babble, babble…
The name of Vespucci he gabbles!
Gabble, gabble, gabble, gabble….
María Dolores Bolívar is writer, journalist and lecturer of Interpretation and Translation and US Mexican Border Studies. She lives in Southern California. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California in San Diego. She is the author of Ciudad que se me escapa, De espaldas al mar, Éxodos de ida y vuelta, and La palabra (H)era, 1st place in the 16th Chicano Latino Literary Prize, Unversity of California Irvine. As an essay and chronicle writer she is the author of Zacatecas polvo y luz; and as a script writer she is currently promoting the screenplays Francisca and Rosario–fictionalized stories of Mexican woman born and raised in 19th Century California- and Corral de Tierra, based on the fictionalized account of the outlaw Tiburcio Vázquez.
The style of writing verses in the form of octavillas (or eight syllable lines) is an old tradition that stretches back to the times when people reported events orally, while reciting poems. I wrote this poem in Spanish. Translating words and ideas is no easy task, let alone translating humor and the between-the-line messages that go with complex political issues. I had fun writing this poem/calavera. The times called for me to write one on this Donaldo Trompas/Donald Trump. The word “trompas” is here quipped as having a big mouth, in the figurative sense of using coarse speech, and a baffling lack of diplomacy to express. I also wanted to stress the irony of names –untranslatable- particularly when it comes to “American”, coming from the name of the Florentine Explorer Amerigo Vespucci, and used by Trump and his friend and cohort Sarah Palin, to incorrectly designate the English Language spoken in the US.
Blood and Bones
by Armando Guzman
Nos quieren enterrar.
They want to bury us;
erase any remains,
and deny our birthrights.
Siembran nuestros huesos;
fosas comunes y ocultas.
They plant our bones;
mass graves and silence.
Esta tierra es nuestra libertad.
This land is our liberty.
La sangre derramada no se esconde.
Los ríos corren con lágrimas y sangre..
You can not hide the spilled blood.
The rivers run with tears and blood.
Calaveras. Calacas. La huesuda.
The Calaveras will rise for justice.
Buried skulls will serve as testament;
forgotten bones carry the truth.
Esta tierra es de nosotros.
Este pueblo será unido.
This land is our own.
With blood and bones we will rise.
Armando Guzman is a poet born in Nogales Sonora Mexico. Pueblo entre los cerros that is divided by steel and concrete. He has written "60 Miles From Heroica" and is releasing another chapbook entitled "Burque Soul" with Marcial Delgado of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
Casa 0101 Hosts December Benefit
Among Boyle Heights' most interesting cultural spots is Josefina Lopez' Casa0101. Featuring professional teatro, Casa0101 sponsors numerous art exhibitions and youth-oriented dance and acting classes, along with some for adults.
Maintaining an active cultural locus is expensive. Admissions in a small house don't cover all the bills. And free or donation-based classes bring in only emotional capital.
To help Casa0101 make ends meet such ambitious programming, Casa is hosting a fundraiser on December 5, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. around the themes of Prayers From Los Angeles and Our Voices Through Art and Music. The long-range goal is to make the event annual sharing.
In time for holiday buying, the 11:00 opening features an Art Benefit Marketplace/Sale. On display and sale are the art of such luminaries as Margaret Garcia, Heriberto Luna, Shea Stella, Rodrigo D. Manzano, Javier Herrera, Brett Doran Photography, & the Circle of Women Artists of the Stamp Project: Creating Cultural Currency.
The 4:00 p.m. concert spotlights Latin Grammy nominated Demain Galvez of Centavrvs & Los Dorados, Sound Ministry Gurus music production collective w/ Derek O'Brien & Stan Dewitt, Extra Fancy (Acoustic Set) w/ Brian Grillo Songs by Corrina Carter, Nataasja, & glam folk songwriter Jellykka. Production & documentation by Loaded Bomb Records & Productions. Graphic Art by Green Lion Design Studio's Martin Gonzales.
More information here: