"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday

In memory of a dear friend who's birthday would have been today. You died too young and you're missed every single day. You were a shining light and the world is a far darker and drearier place without you.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,

Whilst some of their sad friends do say,

"The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"

So let us melt, and make no noise,

No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

'Twere profanation of our joys

To tell the laity our love.

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,

Men reckon what it did and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion.

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two:

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

To move, but doth, if the other do;

And though it in the center sit,

Yet when the other far doth roam,

It leans, and hearkens after it,

And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,

Like the other foot, obliquely run;

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.

The roundup is over where it began at Big A, little a. Thank you for hosting Kelly!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was going to post about raulsalinas, who died a few days ago and reference some of his marvelous Chicanindio poetry but I remembered that I did post about him when I learned that he had he died and I stumbled onto this while looking for something else and, well I just had to post it. It made me laugh out loud when I was feeling very sad about the loss of a great poet like Raul. The wry sense of humor in the poem that chose me for Poetry Friday reminded me of my grandfather and his jokes and I thought to myself, "this is perfect for today."

My Affair with Rumpelstiltskin
by Ina Loewenberg

He wasn't really bad to look at
if you don't mind your men so short.
His head was disproportionate
but forceful, and his neck was taut,
his eyebrows were pointed and curly
and of course his black eyes burned
with mad glee, his arms were fully
muscled, his booted feet neatly turned.

He made his offer, good as gold,
so confident I would accept his special skill
to save my skin, but I, surprisingly bold,
countered with the skin itself, the heart, the will.
The straw was scratchy but the man was smooth,
he brought down pillows to cushion our elation;
I slept then while he labored to produce
the glitter that insured my royal station.

Read the rest here. The round-up is here at Hip Writer Mama's. Thanks for hosting!

Cybils Award Winners Announced

The 2008 Cybils Awards were just announced. I had the honor of serving as a panelist in the graphic novel category and am excited to Artemis Fowl in the winners list.

You can view all the winners here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

raulsalinas has died

The great Xicano poet, writer and activist Raul Salinas, known as raulsalinas died last night in Austin. I, along with many others are saddened by the loss of this amazing and enduring spirit of a man.

Descanse en pas hermano.

raulsalinas was a longtime fixture at South Austin's La Resistencia Bookstore. He wrote several influential books of Chicano poetry, including "East of the Freeway: Reflections de mi Pueblo," and "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail y Otras Excursions."

His most recent book, "raúl salinas and the Jail Machine: Selected Writings of raúl salinas" was published in 2006 by University of Texas Press.

To learn more about raulsalinas, you can check out his website.

Raul will be greatly missed.

A BIO OF RAUL SALINAS (quoted from the announcement I received this morning)

Raúl Roy “Tapon” Salinas was born in San Antonio, Texas on March 17,
1934. He was raised in Austin, Texas from 1936 to 1956, when he moved to Los
Angeles. In 1957 he was sentenced to prison in Soleded State Prison in
California. Over the span of the next 15 years, Salinas spent 11 years
behind the walls of state and federal penitentiaries. It was during his
incarceration in some of the nation’s most brutal prison systems, that
Salinas’ social and political consciousness were intensified, and so it is
with keen insight into the subhuman conditions of prisons and an inhuman
world that the pinto aesthetics that inform his poetry were formulated.

His prison years were prolific ones, including creative, political, and
legal writings, as well as an abundance of correspondence. In 1963, while in
Huntsville, he began writing a jazz column entitled “The Quarter Note”
which ran consistently for 1-1/2 years. In Leavenworth he played a key role
in founding and producing two important prison journals, Aztlán de
Leavenworth and New Era Prison Magazine, through which his poetry first
circulated and gained recognition within and outside of the walls. As a
spokesperson, ideologue, educator, and jailhouse lawyer of the Prisoner
Rights Movement, Salinas also became an internationalist who saw the
necessity of making alliances with others. This vision continues to inform
his political and poetic practice. Initially published in the inaugural
issue of Aztlán de Leavernworth, “Trip through a Mind Jail” (1970)
became the title piece for a book of poetry published by Editorial Pocho-Che
in 1980.

With the assistance of several professors and students at the University of
Washington - Seattle, Salinas gained early release from Marion Federal
Penitentiary in 1972. As a student at the University of Washington, Salinas
was involved with community empowerment projects and began making alliances
with Native American groups in the Northwest, a relationship that was to
intensify over the next 15 years. Although Salinas writes of his experiences
as a participant in the Native American Movement, it is a dimension of his
life that has received scant attention. In the 22 years since his release
from Marion, Salinas’ involvement with various political movements has
earned him an international reputation as an eloquent spokesperson for
justice. Along the way he has continued to refine and produce his unique
blend of poetry and politics.

Salinas’ literary reputation in Austin earned him recognition as the poet
laureate of the East Side and the title of “maestro” from emerging poets
who seek his advice and a mentor. While his literary work is probably most
widely known for his street aesthetics and sensibility, which document the
interactions, hardships, and intra- and intercultural strife of barrio life
and prison in vernacular, bilingual language, few people have examined the
influence of Jazz in his obra that make him part of the Beat Generation of
poets, musicians, and songwriters. His poetry collections included
dedications, references, and responses to Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac,
Charles Bukowski, Charlie Parker, Herschel Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles
Davis, for example. Academics have primarily classified Salinas as an
important formative poet of the Chicano Movement; yet, while he may have
received initial wide-scale recognition during the era, it would be unfair
to limit a reading of his style, content, and literary influence to the

There were many dimensions to Salinas’ literary and political life.
Though, at times, some are perplexed at the multiple foci of Salinas’
life, the different strands of his life perhaps best exemplify what it means
to be mestizo, in a society whose official national culture suppresses
difference: his life’s work is testimony to the uneasy, sometimes violent,
sometimes blessed synthesis of Indigenous, Mexican, African, and
Euro-American cultures. Salinas currently resides in Austin, Texas, were he
is the proprietor of Resistencia Bookstore and Red Salmon Press, located in
South Austin. Arte Público Press reissued Salinas’ classic poetry
collection, Un Trip through the Mind Jail y otras Excursiones (1999), as
part of its Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic Literature Series. He is also
the author of another collection of poetry, East of the Freeway: Reflections
de Mi Pueblo (1994).

Salinas resided in Austin, Texas, were he was the proprietor of Resistencia
Bookstore and Red Salmon Press, located in South Austin. Arte Público Press
reissued Salinas’ classic poetry collection, Un Trip through the Mind Jail
y otras Excursiones (1999), as part of its Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic
Literature Series. He is also the author of another collection of poetry,
East of the Freeway: Reflections de Mi Pueblo (1994).

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Poetry Friday - Post Annies Round Up

My apologies for the delayed round-up. As indicated in the previous post, I was crazed getting ready for the Annie Awards, the animation industry's biggest night. It was an amazing night too. The food was great, Ratatouille and Brad Bird won just about everything there was to win, one of my favorite shows El Tigre and it's creator Jorge Gutierrez won awards and I met and saw lots of interesting and fun people. I thought you'd might like to take a peek at the dress I ended up with so I'm tacking in a picture. There's this kind of weird guy in between me and my date, maybe you'll recognize him. He's a really nice guy.

I apologize if I didn't get to comment on your poems, I'll be swinging by throughout the week to do so. I did read them all and they were wonderful and I've so many new poets to add to my list.

On to the round up, I really enjoyed making these mashed up nonsensical story poems of our postings so I'm going to give it another shot.

It began in Frenzy over at the little house
Where Billy, charming Billy was looking for a pearl.
At the Wild Rose, there's everything from Lincoln to Moses, so why dream?
"Well" said The Blue Rose Girls, "how about a love poem with toast?"
Each of us has a name given by God, even when the clouds come.
The red wheel barrow puzzles us while the mother in the refugee camp
breaks out hearts and Lady Macbeth reminds us to be ourselves.
Wherever in the wastes of our days, there should always be time for haiku
At the very least poetry in 15 words or less
or things like painting in the sweet spring.
In every heart there is a room still and quiet
when it is peace.

Though I am old with wandering
(welcome Laurel!),
I imagine children's faces are replacing flower pots
in a fabulous March to the Sea.
Oh to be of use!
Beetle-bop, beetle-bop!
The mouse of Amherst calls
It's time for Langston's train ride.
There's a conference you see, on the neuroscience of Mother Goose.

In the land of Nod
there is a fury of overshoes
Death's second self, the Armadillo is preening
as much as the books that fillt it.
A clear midnight, in an Irish winter
they are getting ready as if for a Bronx masquerade
He is already beside me, that honeybee
and if you will be my valentine
and write me epyllions of love
then i will stop forcing spring

Climb inside a poem

puppy poems
are good to start with.
This little bag of poetry is becoming heavy
or maybe it's just that
I'm tired.
Defenseless under the night,
the blind men and the elephant dream
of Snow White and apples, while
Miss Lee and Mrs. Fuller end Poetry Friday.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Poetry Friday Hosting

I love hosting Poetry Friday. It's something that I am quick to sign up for and eagerly look forward to as well as every Poetry Friday whether I am hosting or not. This month is crazier than usual in my insanely paced life.

February is here and with it the heavy convention season begins for my company, of deals, heavy workload, trying to find rooms at Comic Con (come on San Diego be a little more organized will ya), trying to keep my food blog updated, starting up my book reviewing again for BOTH AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos along with my regular duties of being a grandma, trying to have a social life, trying not to be a total laptop hermit when I get home and just darn cleaning the house.

Before I even realized I was hosting sometime in February, my trusty Blackberry calendar pinged at me and told me it was tomorrow. TOMORROW!!! Holy crap! Tomorrow is the Annie Awards and I'm going crazy. I have to find a dress, decide on shoes, get my hair done, get my nails done, get back home and get ready by 4:00 p.m. To add to my stress, I have a date. My first real date since the ex who shall be nameless and I broke up. I haven't dated in 12 years! ACK!

My frenzy reminded me of a poem I've always loved by Anne Sexton, (one of my favorite poets) and I thought I'd share it and ask the Poetry Friday question, what makes you frenzied? What helps to ease it? For me, it's the realization that it always turns out right in the end and if not, well there's always poetry.

I'll be out and about tomorrow getting early Saturday getting my hair done, etc. then I will be at the awards ceremony till late. I'll be checking in and putting up your posts as much as I can, but the round-up will be most likely be a separate post as always and it will be up on Saturday morning. Leave your lovely offerings with Mr. Linky and do remember to stop back to see what poem we collectively come up with in the round-up on Saturday. Don't forget to leave a comment. Happy Poetry Friday everyone!

Anne Sexton - Frenzy

I am not lazy.
I am on the amphetamine of the soul.
I am, each day,
typing out the God
my typewriter believes in.
Very quick. Very intense,
like a wolf at a live heart.
Not lazy.
When a lazy man, they say,
looks toward heaven,
the angels close the windows.

Oh angels,
keep the windows open
so that I may reach in
and steal each object,
objects that tell me the sea is not dying,
objects that tell me the dirt has a life-wish,
that the Christ who walked for me,
walked on true ground
and that this frenzy,
like bees stinging the heart all morning,
will keep the angels
with their windows open,
wide as an English bathtub.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Poetry Friday

I found this and thought it was lovely. The round up is over at Karen Edmenstein's shockingly clever blog.

On Speaking French after Twenty Years by Catherine Jagoe

for Massan

Strange, these words in my mouth—
the disappeared returned.
I am no longer agile,
but I offer them hamfistedly to you,
new to America from Mali,
your print skirt
the cloth of my childhood in west Africa,
the tongue between us
the green summer
I spent in France feasting
on freedom and being

Strange, what is still here
and what has been removed
to somewhere deeper.
Tomorrow and today are here
but yesterday is gone
as is the verb for missing.
Low is here, but high
has vanished.

Read the rest of the poem here.