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The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.

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From May 31 to June 9  the poet Sharon Dolin (author of five books of poetry and winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry) will be running a poetry workshop exploring the visual art and culture of Barcelona.

Based in the Jiwar residence, a heritage house in the Garcia district of Barcelona, a group of 8-10 participants will have the opportunity to discover the city’s historic and contemporary art scene while creating poetry in reaction. The group will visit must-see attractions such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum as well as take part in cultural activities that aren’t plastered in any guidebooks. The group will gather everyday for 2 ½ hours to discuss and revise their poems while building a sense of artistic community with the city and with each other.

The total cost of the writing workshop and admission to museums and cultural events rounds out to $1000 while housing preference in the Jiwar residence is decided separately. There are also discount opportunities: bring a friend and receive 15% off on workshop fees; Romemu Members receive a 10% discount; AWP Emerging Writers Grant of $500 (apply through March 31st); one scholarship based on need (25% tuition break).

One of the best ways to figure out Barcelona, or any city, is through the art it produces. Engaging with these works through the medium of poetry will give students a solid appreciation of the Catalan culture as well as inspire new ideas in their craft.

This is an opportunity not to be missed!

For more information visit Sharon Dolin’s website: http://www.sharondolin.com/barcelona-workshops/

 

To check out the Jiwar residence click here: http://jiwarbarcelona.com/

 

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Published Mar 20, 2015 - Comments? None yet

Shelly Hubman

 

The myriad conflicting desires, impulses, drives, and fantasies that propelled me day to day led me places I wasn’t sure I wanted to be.”

Shelly Hubman’s short autobiographical piece, ‘Adrift’, has been nominated by the Board of Contributing Editors for the 40th edition of the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Congratulations, Shelly!

‘Adrift’ features in the latest issue of Drunken Boat (Issue 20) and details Shelly’s experience as a twenty-two year old intern at DC’s National Rehabilitation Hospital. The piece is lucid, unflinching and explores the explicit minutiae of patient/carer relations. Shelly focuses on Chuck, an elderly patient who caught TB from his father when he returned from the Second World War, causing his spine to curl. After surgery, he becomes paralyzed from the armpits down.

Struggling to find a place to stay for her internship, Shelly agrees to look after Chuck so she can stay at his home, yet his paralysis is deeply debilitating, slowly corroding his dignity and her patience to nothing. Who is the hostage here? For all her irritation and disgust, Shelly writes with humour and pathos, never quite departing from a singular vein of compassion toward her patient.

Reflecting on her Pushcart nomination, Shelly says,

“I wrote ‘Adrift’ because I wanted tell Chuck’s story (what I know of it) and also to explore what helping means.  I have spent the bulk of my life exploring the human condition, which is why I have always been drawn to reading personal essays, memoirs, and profiles.  I like peeking into people, to see who we are, what drives us, why we do what we do, how we do it, and how each of us responds to the circumstances we find ourselves in.  I’m curious about what informs the decisions we make and what drives our actions.  ‘Adrift’ was the first in a series of essays that comprise a sort of combination Bildungsroman and portraits of people who had a significant impact on my life, whom I didn’t want to be forgotten.”

Shelly is a translator and has previously written ‘Home of the Ancients’, which was published in Crab Orchard Review and nominated for an Illinois Arts Council Award. She is currently translating a book on meditation, The Mind Illuminated, by Upasaka Culadasa (John Yates) from English into Spanish.  Once she has finished her book, she would like to return to writing essays.

 

 

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Published Mar 20, 2015 - Comments? None yet

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Let your thoughts drift away as you allow yourself to be absorbed into today’s mesmerizing vintage piece. The psychedelic pink bursts of David Hirmes’s “5 Meditations on a Pink Sun” were published previously under the “Web Art” category of DB 5, Winter 2002-2003. Get your zen on as you take another look at this intriguing collection and let your worries fade into the background.

David Hirmes has been exploring the many possibilities for web-based artwork and other projects since 1993. He is also talented in the areas of book-making, 3-D printed sculptures, erasure poetry, flash and java, and musical experimentation. For more of what he’s been working on, visit his website at hirmes.com.

Click here or the picture above to view “5 Meditations on a Pink Sun”

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Published Mar 19, 2015 - Comments? None yet

Wet Land, Lucas De Lima. The book’s first sentence: “These poems mythify the alligator attack that killed my dearest friend in 2006.” On the same page, de Lima provides the haunting voice of Edmond Jabes; alligator blood as antidote to HIV; alliances and self-sacrifice. And this is only a sliver of de Lima’s range of obsessions. Meanwhile, the book’s language creates a momentum that climaxes later in the book when de Lima writes, feverishly: “I DON’T WANT TO GET MARRIED, I SING ALOUD.//I WANT TO CONSTELLATE IN BLACK BLOOD WITH MY CO-STARS.//TO BLOT OUT THE ORANGE SUN//WE’LL BURN IN THE NOVA OF A DETONATING BREAST.”

 

Picasso’s Tears: Poems, 1978-2013, Wong May. May was born on mainland China in 1944 and raised in Singapore, where she received an English degree from the University of Singapore. She published her first book in 1969, followed by two others in 1972 and 1978. Fast forward to 2014 when the geniuses at Octopus published this tome. May also paints under the name Ittrium Coey, and her works have been shown in Grenoble and Dublin. People are always talking about Picasso’s eyes! How they must know “beauty” so idiosyncratically. In the book’s title poem, May writes, “Now what is that to do with//Beauty?/You can’t separate.//Beauty de-capitates.”

 

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, William Shakespeare. I’m not sure many people know about this book. I just taught this (again!), and each time the play transforms into something entirely new. This time (reading the Folio version, instead of Quarto 2) I was struck by the fact that Shakespeare cut Hamlet’s soliloquy in act IV. I’m sorry, but does anyone else think this was a tragic mistake!? It’s almost like Hamlet’s brooding infected Shakespeare to such a degree that the Bard started making bad decisions about what to keep and what to cut!

 

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard. I also just taught this (immediately after Hamlet). While I’m always partial to (anything) Beckett, Stoppard’s play is delightfully labyrinthine in the aftermath/context of Hamlet. I love the ambiguity and differences in the “fates” of each of the main characters; Rosencrantz leaves the stage by his own “free will” (before the lights dim), while Guildenstern holds firm, center stage, against the mutability’s immanent threat.

 

The Carpenters (and Other Strangers), Brandon Shimoda. This “book” is actually a record. Most of the poems and songs were performed by Brandon Shimoda, with whom I once co-hosted a radio show in Missoula, Montana. The vocals you’ll hear on this album come from somewhere near the earth’s core, which is made of 10,000 X chromosomes.

 

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Published Mar 18, 2015 - Comments? None yet

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Another glorious Throwback Thursday is upon us, and this time it is Jeffrey Thomson’s artfully composed poem, “Telegraph Ghazal,” that takes the stage. Today’s vintage pick, published in our 11th issue, Winter 2010, is written in the ancient form of the ghazal, a series of couplets and a refrain that mimic the composition of a telegraph while decrying modern forms of communication.

“At first you might suspect news of an unstoppable
Gold rush in the South Dakota hills.  But that’s not it.” 

Jeffrey Thomson is a poet and author of four books of poetry, including his most recent, Bird Watching in Wartime, which received both the 2010 Maine Book Award and the 2011 ASLE Award in Environmental Creative Writing. He currently works at the University of Maine, where he teaches poetry writing and contemporary literature. To find out more about Jeffrey, visit his website at www.jeffreythomson.com.

Click here to read “Telegraph Ghazal”

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Published Mar 12, 2015 - Comments? None yet

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