Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday May 1: 2011 ABQ YOUTH SLAM-OFF

A fitting last day of National Poetry Month: looking ahead to the future, reminding you that poetry in not limited to just one month of the year. Tomorrow, youth poets from all over the Albuquerque Metro area will converge on the National Hispanic Cultural Center for their poetry slam championship, 2 to 5 pm. (NOTE: Due to circumstances beyond our control, we'll be starting at 2 pm, not 1 pm, as previously announced). Even if you can't attend, please support the team by helping them get to California. See the bottom of the page for details ~ and watch this blog because this won't be your last reminder.

Duke City Youth Poetry Collective (DCYPC)

The ABQ Youth Slam-off is an open poetry slam for poets, MCs, and spoken word performers of all stripes ages 13-19. Co-produced by Warehouse 508, the DCYPC (Duke City Youth Poetry Collective)
 and the NHCC, the event is sponsored by the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Interested performers and poets should arrive early as there are limited spots available. Sign up will start at 1 pm. Admission to this event is FREE!

The ABQ Youth Slam-off will pick the top five ABQ Metro-area youth spoken word performers, who will then represent Albuquerque at the international BRAVE NEW VOICES poetry slam conference in San Francisco in July 2011

The slam will follow all standard slam rules except time limit – poets must recite original poems in each round (up to three rounds possible). Poets cannot use props, music or costumes. Poets have three (3) minutes to do their poem plus a 20 second grace period. After that they will be penalized half a point (0.5) for every ten seconds they go over time. Five judges will be chosen randomly from the audience and judge the poems on a scale of 1-10. The high and low score will be dropped and the other scores combined for a final score.

The ABQ Unidos team also needs to raise $5,000 to pay for the trip to California to Brave New Voices. Tax-deductible donations can be made by contacting Kenn Rodriguez, Programs Coordinator for Warehouse 508, at 505-353-2231 (call or text). For information on the Youth Slam-off, call/text Kenn Rodriguez at 505-353-2231 or email kenn@warehouse508. org.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Langston Hughes's "Daybreak in Alabama"

Weather makes the news more often than poetry. In recent storms across southern states, Alabama has been the hardest hit, 2/3 of casualties, extensive but random damage (typical of tornadoes) in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham

For Alabama and before NPM is gone, poet, translator, musician, essayist, novel and short story writer Langston Hughes's "Daybreak in Alabama." View on the Knopf Poetry site. 

Pastel drawing of Hughes by Winold Reiss, on Modern American Poetry

Looking for more Alabama/ poetry connections: Alabama State Poetry Society; football poems (which I confess to not exploring); Alabama Song (1927) lyrics by Bertoldt Brecht, also known as "Moon over Alabama" or "Whiskey Bar," music by Kurt Weil, recorded by Lotte Lenya, The Doors and David Bowie ~ all on YouTube.

More on poem and author:

Go to the Poem-a-Day website to comment on this poem, share it on Facebook, and peruse other poems.

Learn more about The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

Buy the Book

Excerpt from COLLECTED POEMS. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Poem-a-Day | Knopf Poetry

Random House, Inc., 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poetry International Web: Poem of the week

Photo  Blessing Musariri
Blessing Musariri's relationship with poetry began in junior school after signing up for speech and drama lessons that she continued for six years. During this time, Blessing learned and recited poetry every year at the Allied Arts' Eisteddford Festival and was examined by the Trinity College of Music Board (UK) in 1988. This exposure to poetry inspired her to begin writing her own poetry.


She knows everyone on the way to Monk's Hill,
stops to ask for mangoes – they are growing everywhere
it's almost a crime to pay.

At the overflowing bridge, men wash pink-skinned sweet potatoes
while the river has steals a few,
she hollers hello and lets them know, tells me, they'll fetch them later.

Stopping for ginnip breeds nostalgia
of her childhood in Guyana –
plantain, sour-sop, breadfruit –
always free, from neighbours,

says her brother doesn't believe in apples;
he's never seen an apple tree, so doesn't trust the juice.
But her nephew, he eats strawberries in
banana cake and doesn't know the difference.

She careens through mud; a carefree cowboy, calling out the sights,
arms wrapped around her waist, I am a jockey without her reigns,
holding on to every word, bracing at every hurdle.

St. John's, Antigua, 30 May 2010 © 2010, Blessing Musariri
Poem of the week / Blessing Musariri page, Zimbabwe

If you aren't one already, become a PIW-follower on Twitter and Facebook!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Poetry Everywhere

Yusef Komunyakaa



Just in time for National Poetry Month, The Poetry Foundation (Chicago) announces a new season of Poetry Everywhere which consists of short films of poets reading. These will be shown on PBS but to see them all in streaming video, just go to the link below. It takes a minute to load and the start arrow to appear on the screen. Poetry lovers are sure to find a number of their favorites here.

Follow on Facebook, download on iTunes, get the iPhone app....

 Thanks to Elaine Schwartz for this one



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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bravo to John Crawford, West End Press

This year a long overdue (IMNSHO) Creative Bravo goes to JOHN CRAWFORD  -  publisher, west end press  -  For thirty years, John Crawford has published the voices of multicultural, feminist, and new writers through his independent Albuquerque publishing house, West End Press. From 1975 to today, Crawford's unique vision for West End Press has resulted in hundreds of award‐winning books of poetry, fiction, and memoir, and critical acclaim in Publisher's Weekly, the New York Times, and other publications. West End was also the first publisher of poets who are now among the most recognized authors of our time. West End's New Series, which seeks to present the work of new poets in inexpensive, full‐length volumes, has also had great success in introducing new writers and poets. Beyond his innovative book publishing program, Crawford is founder of the Albuquerque Cultural Conference, bringing together writers, artists, and activists from around the country who care about community and social issues for a weekend of readings and performances and panels, on topics as diverse as trauma and performance, prison writing, digital media.

Footnote: This award particularly delights me: John and I were colleagues at UNM-Valencia, trading asides on which Circle of Dante's Inferno to place administrators and faculty turncoats but ultimately falling prey, along with others, to unwarranted administration paranoia over organizing a Valencia campus AAUP chapter. Currently, I am a founding member of and serve on the national board (as well as designated social media content manager) for the New Faculty Majority Coalition, a national adjunct faculty organization. Yes, we learned our lesson ~ just not the one intended.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

One Day Poem: Extreme Visual Poetry

Jiyeon Song has created this cool dome shaped contraption.

Using a complex array of perforations, the pavilion's surface allows light to pass through creating shifting patterns, which-during specific times of the year-transform into the legible text of a poem. The specific arrangements of the perforations reveal different shadow-poems according to the solar calendar.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Windy Day Poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day

is Today ... do you have one? A poem for your pocket on Poem in Your Pocket Day

The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem In Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or let us know how your plans, projects, and suggestions for Poem In Your Pocket Day by emailing

Can we pocket more poems if they are short? A herd of haiku? Perhaps one for each pocket.  Load a poetry app on your mobile. Possibilities seem endlessly. A traditionalist,  I plan to cheat by slipping a dog eared paperback in my pocket when I go out. Or would but the wind cancelled my outing, not best conditions for passing out farmers market flyers and information handouts in front of the Post Office. 

Virtual pockets, anyone? 

A few days ago, I wrote about collecting and posting wind poems inspired by and acknowledging Mountainair's windy season. The wind is especially fierce today, so here are wind poems from my virtual pocket to yours (if you go out, put a few rocks in your pocket too so you won't blow away). First, Emily Dickenson:

There came a wind like a bugle;
It quivered through the grass,
And a green chill upon the heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the windows and the doors
As from an emerald ghost;
The doom's electric moccasin
That very instant passed.
On a strange mob of panting trees,
And fences fled away,
And rivers where the houses ran
The living looked that day.
The bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings whirled.
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the world!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sat Apr16: 25th Poetry Open House

More #NMPoetry for NPM. 1:00 - 4:30 pm, Saturday, April 16 at Billy Brown's & Sandi Blanton's home, Billy writes to extend an invitation to all ...

Poets and Poetry Lovers,

We are pleased to invite you to our home for the 25th Quarterly Poetry Open House ...  beginning our 7th year of these lovely events! Hope to see you on Saturday!
Yours for powerful poetry, Billy Brown, cell: 401-8139


Poetry Open House, 1:00 - 4:30 pm,  Saturday, April 16, 2011

Billy Brown's & Sandi Blanton's home. 2909 Monterey Ave  SE, Albuquerque (3 streets south of Coal, 3 houses east of Girard)

Read your own poems, or poems by other poets or just relax, listen, and enjoy the magic of poetry. We provide the tea. OPTIONAL: You may bring a snack to share ~ NOT required! Please invite/bring friends.

Please RSVP only if you PLAN to attend, so that I can accommodate the number attending. (If you happen to change your mind and decide to attend at the last minute, PLEASE do come ... you are welcome, even if you do not RSVP ... :-)

REMEMBER: This is an "open house" so you can come and go as you please ...
please just be quiet as you arrive, so that you don't disrupt the poem being read at that time ...

I am always inspired by the wonderful poetry read here. Thanks to over 100 people who have participated so far. Many people who have attended say that this is among their favorite formats for reading and sharing poetry, taking turns reading one poem each, and then moving on to the next person. We usually complete 4-6 rounds of reading, separated occasionally with breaks for snacks/beverages.
You may read your own poem, or a poem by someone else. I have a large library of poetry books and periodicals, from which you may choose poems to read, if  you like. Please feel welcome to sing your poetry (called a song) or have someone accompany you with an instrument. (These modes do not happen often, but when they DO happen, it is wonderful!)

I hope that you can make it. If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this message
or to call me at my cell: 401-8139. If I do not answer, please leave a message with your name and a phone number where I can reach you, and I'll get back to you ASAP!

Remaining 2011 Poetry Open House dates, same time, same place:
  • Saturday, April 16, 2011
  • Saturday, July 16, 2011
  • Saturday, October 15, 2011
 If you cannot make it to this Saturday's Poetry Open House, please consider adding these future dates to your calendar!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poetry Reading - 7 pm Wednesday, 4/13

.... at Page One - Kenneth Gurney, Stewart Warren, Tani Arness

I may already have posted something, if not here them possibly on Facebook. In case not (and better two than none), thanks to Billy Brown who reminds us, 

Friends ~ It is National Poetry Month, and of course there are more poetry events than one can possibly attend ... YEAH! But THIS one should be very special.
Kenneth Gurney and Stewart Warren are two of my very favorite Albuquerque poets, and although I've never heard Tani Arness read, in that company, I am certain she will be fabulous. 

Not only are both Kenneth and Stewart inspiring poets; they both are also very involved in providing opportunities for many, many other poets to be heard and to be published.
Kenneth just released his second issue of Adobe Walls, an anthology of New Mexico poetry. Stewart is a key member of the team that will soon publish the first Fixed and Free Poetry Anthology, containing 80 poems from 80 poets who are associated with the monthly Fixed and Free poetry reading, nearing its 3rd anniversary.

All these poets deserve our gratitude and support, so why not join me in hearing them tomorrow night at Page One?
Yours for powerful poetry, Billy Brown

10K Day: A Writing Challenge

No, not poetry ~ even if this is National Poetry Month (and I do have posts in mind, some waiting in queue waiting to be clicked off into cyberspace). That would be a challenge of literally epic proportions. Of course, poetry dominates the plog, April or not. Shifting that emphasis to cover other writing and the Writers part of our name is on my list of makeover goals. Consider this, written for and x-posted the Manzano Mountain Scribes writing group (minus this lead in) a start.

Live in the area? Scribes meets 2nd and 4th Saturday mornings  at 10 am at the Alpine Alley coffeshop in Mountainair, North Summit (NM 5). Email Ben Steinlage for more information or just come on. Scribes are online too for the convenience of those unable to make meetings: email me about joining that one. 

Back to the challenge: more like a marathon or an extreme writing challenge I'd say! "Science or Magic," a post on 10K Day showed up in my feed reader today, . Intrigued, fascinated and not a little horrified, I went a-googling and came up with the articles liksted below. There were more, most from the Fear of Writing blog.

There are writers who do - or attempt - ome a month, posting updates along the way. It's either the ultimate blocked writers high colonic or aversion therapy. Recalling page based (pre Word Count tool) rules of thumb for student papers (heaven forfend anyone write a word more than required), 250 words is the standard count for a double spaced paper in a standard font such Times or Arial. If a four pager = 1,000, then 10K = 40 pages, 20 if single spaced. All I have to say is EEK!

I bet this would be a walk in the park for Ben, but I don't think I'm ready to try it just yet, not this month (not unless I can count daily blogging output for a dozen blogs and clutch of Facebook pages... tweets thrown in for free, like after dinner mints), perhaps not even in this quantum universe. Still though, it's filed away for another time.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Belated NaPoWriMo: NPM Poem a Day Challenge

graphic courtesy of Houston's Writers in the Schools (WITS)

Is late better than never? I recall the occasional classroom martinet who would lock the classroom doors, smugly announcing "better never than late." As someone who entered a UC Comparative Literature PhD program at 50, I beg to differ. If you must argue the point, I can always inflict dss chapters on you in cyperspace at 20 paces.

When ReadWritePoem folded its tent, taking its daily NaPoWriMo prompts with it, I missed coming up with another daily poetry writing challenge to plog for National Poetry Month. The daily challenge in The Writers Digest poetry blog, "Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer, was in my feed reader but overlooked the whole time. That will happen with a McGee's closet among feed readers, eclectic and overflowing. 


Another problem may have been that I started and stopped searching too soon: check out NaPoWriMo Net + FAQ page. Instead of submitting or posting poems to the mothership, register and link your blog. Kudos if you start late and catch up. So what if you don't: 20 or 21 poems in as many days ain't shabby ... or even if you just read the poems and think "I could do that, maybe next year."  

Whatever... just think of all the prompts you'll have for another day. After all, you can never be too thin, too rich or have too many writing prompts.

Today's prompt:
Today, try to write a poem backwards. I don’t mean letter by letter, or word by word, but line by line. Start by writing out an old saying that takes the form of a declarative statement. Like “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “A miss is as good as a mile.” That will be the last line of your poem. 
... and now back to "Asides" PAD Challenge (mercifully brief) prompts:

and today... but you're on your own from here: 2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 9
write a time of day poem.  In fact, make the title of your poem the time of day.  For instance, "5:54 a.m.," 2:23 p.m.," "Midnight," etc.  Then, write your poem.  Of course, different things happen at different times of day.  So have fun with it.

"6:35 a.m."

Or is it 7:35? 
I mean, I know what it is in Austin,
but I'm from Georgia before that
Ohio.  Can't just erase
32 years of Eastern Standard
in one road trip.  Or maybe you can,
but I know I can't.  After all this time,
I suppose I'd need an entire
sabbatical or retreat to truly
feel Centralized, though it's too late now --
now that it's 7:36.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 9: SWW & NMSPS Joint Poetry Reading

That's tomorrow, 1-3 pm, more #nmpoetry. Thought I was through with event plogging for the weekend until I saw this. Joint reading, adding poetry book swap to the table for free and for sale materials ~ what lovely ideas.


SWW (SouthWest Writers) and NMSPS (NM State Poetry Society) Joint Poetry Reading. 1:00 – 3:00 pm  Saturday, April 9, 2011  (But you don't have to be SWW/NMSPS member to read)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 114 Carlisle, SE Albuquerque, NM  (1st block south of Central; enter from Carlisle at street level. Don't climb the stairs)
3-5 mins per poet
~ Donations accepted to pay for venue and for pastries. 
~ Please bring your own beverages.
1.  Fliers/announcements for poetry events welcome
2.  Sale of chapbooks, poetry journals encouraged
3.  Used poetry book recycling: Give a book, Take a book!
For information or to volunteer: Billy Brown, 401-8139,

7:30 pm, Saturday: Eco-Locution at the Outpost

... Lisa Gill writes to invite one and all

... to come out on this Saturday, April 9th, to the Outpost Performance Space 210 Yale SE at 7:30 PM.
Poet Mitch Rayes and I will be joined by two poets who are visiting from LA, Brendan Constantine and Peggy Dobreer. In the first set, we'll be doing straight readings.In the second set, we'll be joined by two musicians, CK Barlow and Joseph Sabella and all of us will be  doing "conducted improvisation" with JA "Dino" Deane directing us. That means: all hand signals for instructions as to when and what to read, all words constructed into musical landscapes with percussion, drums, sampling and live sampling.

The show is pricey $15/10 (members) admission, but well worth it as it's a true labor of love--- (we're all learning handsignals and making scores)..... and with each admission, you get a free copy of my new cd called Flesh Isn't Real Dirt. This was an amazing recording experience that I was honored to be part of: Poetry with three amazing musicians, including CK Barlow and Joseph Sabella, and the mastermind JA Dino Deane.

Hope to see you. Oh and my new book is out! So this will be a release party to boot! Lisa

The plog's Facebook cyberpersona may already have caught this but in case not, better a duplicate post than none at all, even if there are event announcements all over cyberspace already. Nice explanatory write-up in the Journal's VenueSo much for resolving to update calendar ~ that is still in line behind the Mountainair online community calendar. Who'da thunk there'd be so much on it to keep up with... pulling teeth (figuratively of course, at least for now) to get submissions is what takes up the time... 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Call for poetry anthology submissions

Call for poems by NM poets for iCreate anthology commemorating the organization's founder Merris Atman, who had a special interest in creative mentoring of overlooked voices. Submissions from youth, young adults, new and marginalized voices are especially welcome. 

Although not a requirement, there will be an editorial preference for poetry compatible Merris Atman's interest as stated above. Publication will be in electronic format, with links to document files for optional downloading. We are also looking into on demand publishing in ebook format should interest warrant and finances are up to it.

All entries should be compatible with the iCreate mission and not unsuitable for general readership, 13 years of age and older. Translated works, Spanish, Spanish/English macaronic (code switching) verse, song lyrics, corridos, romances or ballads and slam poetry will be considered. MP3 files or video clips may accompany songs, hip-hop and slam entries. Length is not the central issue, though works not exceeding three pages are more likely to be accepted. 

Electronic submission only. Submit up three poems as RTF or Word 1997-2003 documents, double spaced. Text in body of email accepted. Docx and Pdf files will not be accepted. No abstracts or CVs please. 

Deadline is May 24, 2011. Contact with questions or for more information. A  more complete description of the memorial anthology project will be available on the iCreate website,

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