Monday, May 31, 2010

Poem: The Guardian does Deserted Village

Poem of the week: The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith by 

Oliver Goldsmith uses an array of little details to breathe life into the political purpose of his nostalgic long poem

Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village is both a marvellous descriptive poem and a powerful political essay. Polemic comes alive when it is grounded in detail, and Goldsmith conducts his argument using an expansive array of vivid supporting material – topographies, interiors, and sharp human portraits. The passage chosen for this week's poem is the best-known of those portraits. It provides an affectionate, humorous moment of respite from the surging emotions that carry the poem on its flood-tide of nostalgia, lamentation and invective.

Goldsmith's "Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain" is fictional, or at least a composite. The poet is blending recollections of the Irish village of his boyhood, Lissoy, and the fruits of his more recent travels through the villages of England, which had undergone similar enclosures and depopulation. Goldsmith's political argument is also a moral one, and the "shapeless ruin" he sees in the landscape reflects the decadence produced by the pursuit of luxury. The enclosures are aggravated by what might be called "privatisation by life-style", as "The man of wealth and pride / Takes up a space that many poor supplied; / Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds, / Space for his horses, equipage and hounds."

So, in the second line of the extract, we have the telling description of the furze blossom as "unprofitably gay". The school-master is a partly comic figure, but he too values something besides profit: learning. We are invited to see him through the villagers' eyes. The parson probably considers him a windbag. Others naively admire him for unexceptional skills such as the ability "to write, and cipher, too". However, some of those listed qualifications are practical and worth passing on, and there seems no irony in the claim that "Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage." He amounts to more than a pedant.

The next section introduces the village pub, and its details are recounted with much charm. Like the school-house, this building is described as a "mansion" (although now a tottering one), signalling the reverence for communal values. These shared places are the real wealth of the country, not the private estates. Of course, the poem is selective and village life idealised, even if the ideal is attainable compared with that of conventional pastoral. Conversely, emigration is viewed thoroughly negatively as a horrible journey into wilderness. But then, this is a poem of exile – written by an exile. The loss of the connective tissue between a land and its people was also Goldsmith's personal, individual experience. He struggled for survival in England and remained impoverished until the end of his life. The only way home was on that twin-rigged sailing ship of his imagination.

The Deserted Village

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And even the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,
For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumphed is forgot.
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the signpost caught the passing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,
Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired,
Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place:
The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;
The chest contrived a double debt to pay, – 
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;
The hearth, except when winter chilled the day,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay;
While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,
Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.
Vain transitory splendours! Could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Got Gulf Oil? Call for Submissions

Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the Gulf Oil Disaster of April 20, 2010, one of the most profound man-made ecological catastrophes in history. Former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky describes the popularity of poetry after 9/11 as a turn away from the disaster's overwhelming enormity to a more manageable individual scale. As we confront the magnitude of this recent tragedy, such a return may well aid us.
The first law of ecology states that everything is connected to everything else.  An appreciation of this systemic connectivity suggests a wide range of poetry will offer a meaningful response to the current crisis, including work that harkens back to Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing regional effects. 
This online periodical, Poets for Living Waters, is the first in a planned series of actions.  Further actions will include a print anthology and a public reading in Washington DC. To submit work for consideration, e-mail 1-3 poems, a short bio, and credits for any previously published submissions to 
Editors: Amy King & Heidi Lynn Staples

Friday, May 21, 2010

May Final Friday features 2010 ABQ Slam Team

The when and and where of it all: May 28, 7 p.m. (sign-up at 6:30) at Winning Coffee Co., 111 Harvard SE (3 doors down from The Zone, across from UNM). Hosted by Jazz Cuffee. Music by DJ Smartiepants. Free ($5 donation requested).

Who and what: The newly minted 2010 ABQ SLAM TEAM (Hakim Bellamy, Christian Drake, Damien Flores, Jessica Lopez and Joe Romero) will be debuting some of their group work as well as performing solo poems. This is the also the CD/DVD release party for the "Live at the Outpost 2010" DVD and CD that captured the 2010 GRAND SLAM where the team was chosen. The CD is $10 and the DVD is $15, both for $20. Then we'll have another specialty slam - THE NEW STUFF SLAM, where poets will be performing all new work! This event is hosted by Jasmine "Jazz" Cuffee with music by DJ Smartiepants. Finally, there will be an extremely limited open mic, 5 minutes or 1 poem. 

Final Friday is sponsored by ABQSlams, Essential Elements, Winning Coffee Co., Warehouse 508 and Hasting's Books & Music.

  • Friday, JUNE 25 -- THE DRAG SLAM (both drag queens and drag kings) and other surprises.
  • Friday -- JULY 30 -- Send off for the 2010 ABQ SLAM TEAM before the Nat. Poetry Slam.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten Questions on Poets and Technology

The internet, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, iPad, iPod, podcasts, digital video and who knows what else. What do they all mean for the poet? For Poetry? 
A new Ten Questions series on Poets and Technology starts this week, kicked off by Amy King:

Best wishes, Nic Sebastian,

from The Poetics List, moderated & does not accept all posts. Check guidelines & sub/unsub info:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ditch Rider's Sunday Poem: Tamra Hays

From Duke City Fix:

Tamra Hays, that wonderful poet from Mountainair, continues to write with simple elegance in brilliantly chosen metaphors. She finds her way so deftly from first word to last. You will enjoy this short, personal reflection.

After teaching in the Duke City for over 20 years, Tamra Hays and her husband, Michael, began to teach in international schools. They now split their time between Istanbul, Turkey and Mountainair, New Mexico.

Both Sides of the Tracks

Like the farmer who tends this bit of railway easement,
I am of two minds.

On the steep side, rampant blackberries scramble up the bank,
poke their thorny fingers through and over the concrete picket fence,
a gray and uniform device, tough as rails and ties.
What a thicket of danger and desire.

On the level side, tiny shacks—one for tools, one for chickens,
one for baskets and barrels—bound orderly plots
of winter vegetables—cabbages, artichokes, hardy greens.
All prudence and planning.

--Tamra Hays

Friday, May 14, 2010

GOOGLE EARTH, poem from current PIW

Because we are all immigrants....

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling, 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven.  
Theseus from A Midsummer Night's Dream 
(Act V, Scene 1) by William Shakespeare
We started in Africa, the world at our fingertips,
dropped in on your house in Zimbabwe; threading
our way north out of Harare into the suburbs,
magnifying the streets—
the forms of things unknown,
till we spotted your mum's white Mercedes parked
in the driveway; seeming—
more strange than true,
the three of us huddled round a monitor in Streatham,
you pointed out the swimming pool and stables.
We whizzed out, looking down on our blue planet,
then like gods—zoomed in towards Ireland—
taking the road west from Cork to Kinsale,
following the Bandon river through Innishannon,
turning off and leapfrogging over farms
to find our home framed in fields of barley;
enlarged the display to see our sycamore's leaves
waving back. Then with the touch of a button,
we were smack bang in Central London,
tracing our footsteps earlier in the day, walking
the wobbly bridge between St Paul's and Tate Modern;
the London Eye staring majestically over the Thames.
South through Brixton into Streatham—
one sees more devils than vast hell can hold
the blank expressions of millions of roofs gazing
squarely up at us, while we made our way down
the avenue, as if we were trying to sneak up
on ourselves; till there we were right outside the door:
the lunatic, the lover and the poet—peeping through
the computer screen like a window to our souls.
© 2010, Adam Wyeth
Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Las Cruces, Wayne's List

Tuesday, May 18, 7:30 pm Open Mic at Palcio's Bar (the Patio) on Avenida de Mesilla. Host: Michael Mandel.

Currently - Jun 30th: Sin Fronteras Journal is accepting submissions. Send 4-5 poems or 1-2 short stories or works of creative non-fiction (no longer than 10-pages total), between April 1 and June 30 to Sin Fronteras PO Box 3416, Las Cruces, NM 88003. 

Include SASE for reply, a cover letter, short bio, phone and email address. All manuscripts will be recycled at the end of our reading period. Final decisions are expected in mid-September. 

Las Cruces poetry news and announcements from Wayne Crawford, Lunarosity, Las Cruces

Joy Harjo at the Outpost

Performance Friday, May 14 & Sat. May 15, 7:30pm at the Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale SE. Don't miss Joy Harjo's Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light with Larry Mitchell. 

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke-Creek Nation) is a musician, poet, and playwright. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she currently lives in Honolulu performing internationally as a soloist and with her band, Joy Harjo and the Arrow Dynamics Band, in which she sings and plays saxophone. Her poetry has garnered many awards including a Lila Wallace-Reader' s Digest Award and the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. She has released three award-winning CDs of original music and received the Eagle Spirit Achievement Award for overall contributions in the arts from the American Indian Film Festival. 

Joy's most recent project, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, is a unique, genre-bending one-woman play featuring her own original music. The score has been pushed and molded by Grammy award-winning record producer Larry Mitchell, who performs in the show with her. The piece is a journey of struggle, displacement, self-discovery, and healing in which Harjo has combined character-driven narrative with tales inspired by the traditions of her native people. It has been workshopped and performed in NYC at the Public Theater's 2007 Native Theater Festival, as well as with Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles.

Artistic Director, Randy Reinholz, described the piece as "the heart of theater-a heightened ceremony, a broad intersection of art forms, an intimate act that celebrates the beauty and investigates the inherent paradoxes of the human condition. Joy is fearless, bringing all of her many talents to bear in this tour-de-force performance." 

The Outpost Performance Space, (505) 268-0044, http://ampconcerts. org

Originally posted by Hakim Bellamy to NM Slam; links and images added by Poets & Writers Picnic

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Todd Moore Memorial Gathering May 22nd

from Dale Harris, reposted from NM Slam (a Yahoo group)

Saturday May 22, 2010       
3 - 6 pm
Harwood Art Center, 1114 7th Street, Albuquerque 87102
Please join Todd's wife Barbara and their sons Jason & Theron at this celebration of Todd Moore's life and work. His many friends from the poetry community are welcome to come and share their memories of Todd.

¡POETRY! Call for Goodreads' June Contest

Reposted from Poetics list: Goodreads and the ¡Poetry! group have partnered to create a contest to select a new poem each month for the Goodreads newsletter. 
  1. Post your best poem (*one poem per person*) as a "comment" to the "call" post at the ¡Poetry! group discussion on Goodreads. CLICK HERE to post your poem 
  2. Goodreads and our three judges, Wendy Babiak, Andrew Haley, and Ruth Bavetta, will select six poems as finalists to be voted on by the Goodreads community.
  3. ¡Poetry! group members will vote for the poem they like best (one vote per member). The poem with the most votes will be published in the Goodreads' newsletter – distributed each month to more than 2.5 million people! 
** If you have been a finalist more than three times in a year, you may not enter a poem for one year.

Good luck & please post your best work!

Amy King
¡Poetry! Moderator

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hakim Bellamy profiled in Creative Albuquerque

If such #NMpoetry profiles are going to be a regular feature on Creative Albuquerque,  I'll have to keep an eye my out for them. Perhaps submit an offering on the Picnic if profiles include events as well as individual artists. In the meantime, consider subscribing. You can also view the complete issue online.
Creative Communiqué  
creative community members open up about their creative pursuits, professions and passions

Hakim and Son

Hakim Bellamy
(and son)

Performance Poet, Hip Hop Artist, Father, Community Programs Coordinator for the New Mexico Office of African American 

All forms of Art, All forms of Music, All forms of Culture, Social Justice, Soccer, Ethnic Cuisine, People

As a Philadelphia/South Jersey transplant, I come to self-identify as a poet in a different way. I see the poet as a 'jack of all trades' in the artistic realm. And though I try my hardest to be a 'master of some,' I think poets are so ever-busy redefining themselves and the world around them that time becomes the worst enemy of some of our best ideas. So necessarily, I have evolved back to where I came from.

"My affair with performance poetry has allowed me to challenge myself and grow my art across the blurred borders of poetry into the realms of theater, film and music. Once you think in narratives and messages, I think you become very enchanted in the different ways in which you can share those ideas. Where I grew up and returned to after college, there was no poetry slam (the community I most certainly emerged from and credit for encouraging my artistic growth). Poetry was never independent from music, comedy, theater, performance, activism even. It was all seen as part of the same current, or energy or cultural underground.

"Though I am currently on the 2010 Albuquerque Slam Team that is in 'boot camp' getting ready for the 2010 National Poetry Slam in St. Paul, MN in August, I have taken a step back from competitive poetry slamming to pursue my musical learning curve as a writer, vocalist and emcee. I have also taken the time (and will continue to do so at the end of the summer) to put the polish and promotion on my 90-minute experimental hip-hop poetry show titled Urban Verbs: Hip Hop Conservatory & Theater, which I co-created with my partners Carlos Contreras, Colin Diles Hazelbaker and Mark Archuleta. 

The Albuquerque premiere will take place late summer 2010, however our world premiere at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York was met with much acclaim. This is exciting for my own ambitions of wanting to pursue my art full-time and I feel like the genre-bending collaborative climate of the Albuquerque arts community is what gives local artist like myself, the community support, confidence and tools to pursue artistic endeavors that don't fit so neatly into our institutional boxes. Obviously, supporting the local artistic economy is one way to feed an artist 'for the price of a cup of coffee' on a daily basis. But in my opinion, the cross pollination of talent and audiences is what really allows artists out of their comfort zone, to contribute something uniquely Albuquerque to the sometimes static artistic landscape."

Click here to email Hakim directly.
And here if you'd like visit his website.
And here to learn more about/lend support to the ABQ2010 City Slam Team.

The Amazing Poet-Bot on poetry as employment

Replacement by 

Savage Chickens - Replacement

More Poet-Bot.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reading for the Santa Fe River

Join us Wednesday, May 12th, 5-7 PM at the Santa Fe Community Gallery for a reading of poetry, prose, and historical writing about the Santa Fe River featuring contributors to the forthcoming collection

The Return of the River: Writers, Scholars, and Citizens Speak on Behalf of the Santa Fe River. (Sunstone Press, 2010.)

The Santa Fe Community Gallery is at Southeast corner of the Convention Center building, 201 W. Marcy

People protect only what they love and they love only what they know. For too long the Santa Fe River has existed almost invisibly within the busy city that it nourishes—and it has been neglected and ignored. Now comes a group of activists, community elders, historians, and poets who, by joining their testimonies in this heartfelt volume, aim to restore the river to visibility and to its centuries-old identity. The Return of the River will delight and amuse you, and through it you will come to know the Santa Fe River.

–William deBuys

This reading is a part of a group visual arts show sponsored by the SF Arts Commission and the Santa Fe Watershed. Meander: Works inspired by the Santa Fe River will be showing until June 6th. For more information on the exhibit and related events, visit

reposting Reading for the Santa Fe River from Miriam's Well 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...