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Katlin Profile
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Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.


Issa, trans. by Robert Hass

Jane Hirshfield in an interview:

You asked if I ever deliberately try to change my poems. Mostly, no. Mostly
I write as a path toward discovery, toward the almost inaudible stirrings of
my life; writing the poem is the way I can hear who I am, learn who I am,
learn what I am pondering and feeling in the underground rivers of the self.
Very, very rarely though, I notice something, and then I don't exactly
deliberately change as a writer, but do something that feels more like
putting in a request to the muse. "Muse," I murmur, "is there any chance you
would like to get, well, more strange?" And over the next few years, my work
becomes more strange. Then I might notice something else. "Muse," I then
murmur, "might you be interested in making a few more direct statements? In
shorter sentences?" And then I discover myself writing a poem like the one
you first quoted, "The World Loved by Moonlight," which has shorter,
declarative sentences, and says something directly. For some reason I find
these direct statements very frightening--literally, frightening. But I also
want to make them, to peel off the protective camouflage and say what I
think, what I feel. I think we are often drawn to what is difficult for us:
the rich challenge, the step that needs to be taken. Poetry has always been
that for me: a way to challenge my innate reticence and come into the world
of knowing and (still difficult for me) being known.

 [sign in to see URL]

Muse, is there any chance you’d be interested in sending me some NaPoMo poems? If there is, I’ll be here in this little corner shop, listening.



Last edited by Katlin, Mar/21/2013, 11:07 am
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Re: Don't Worry, Spiders: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


quote:

I think we are often drawn to what is difficult for us:
the rich challenge, the step that needs to be taken. Poetry has always been
that for me: a way to challenge my innate reticence and come into the world
of knowing and (still difficult for me) being known.



Incredible. Maybe a reason for a long hiatus in my writing in the past. Reticence/hiding. Not quite fear but, as Hirshfield says, that difficulty "being known." Here's to coming "into the world of knowing" through writing, or by any other means.

Thanks for this excerpt, Kat. Hope your muse answers the call and have fun with NaPoMo! xoxo
vkp
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Re: Don't Worry, Spiders: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


The following is from a translation thread, Hafez "Advice to a Young Poet", posted by Michael Justice at Eratosphere:

(From the Persian of Hafez)

Original phonetic text:

Ay dust del az jafa-ye doashman dar kesh
ba ru-ye neku sharob-e roashan dar kesh
baa ahl-e honar gui gariban bogshai
v'az na ahalan tamam daman dar kesh

The great Dick Davis, who introduced me and several others to this piece, provided both his literal translation and his literary translation.

Literal:

O friend, from the cruelty of the enemy (enemies) withdraw your heart
with fine face(s) drink shining wine
with the intimates of art-speaking loosen your collar
from the non-intimates completely your skirt withdraw

Dick Davis literary:

My friend, hold back your heart from enemies,
Drink shining wine with handsome friends like these:
With art's initiates let down your hair--
Stay buttoned up with ignoramuses.


[url][sign in to see URL]

Years ago I had a dream in which a male voice said to me, "Follow in the shoes of Hafiz." This surprised me because although I knew Hafiz was a Sufi poet, at the time I was not familiar with his poetry. Rumi I had begun to read but not Hafiz. Since then, I have read several translated books of his poetry but had never tried my hand a translating one. Given such a prompt as the above along with Juster's own translation (follow the link), how could I resist?

I also came across this essay by Dick Davis,"On Not Translating Hafez":

[sign in to see URL]~poems/[sign in to see URL]

FWIW, I found Juster's poem one dimensional. The Davis version was better, IMO. I did enjoy the way both poets brought the material into very readable, modern day English. I tried to do that more in my second version below. The first version is the one that came from the heart.

BTW, some folks write Hafez, others Hafiz. I'm not sure what the difference is. I have a book, The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, lectures by Inayat Khan, translations of the poems by Coleman Barks, which uses Hafiz, so that's what I'm going with.
 
Advice to a Young Poet

(version 1)
Friend, don’t expose your heart to foes.
With those who know, whose faces you
can trust, drink pellucid wine and loosen up.
With all the rest, stay fully dressed.

(version 2)
Friend, don’t expose your heart to a foe.
With handsome folks who are in the know,
drink lucid wine and loosen up.
With all the rest, stay fully dressed.


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/21/2013, 2:48 pm
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Re: Don't Worry, Spiders: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


Hey vkp,

So happy to see you stop by this thread and to know the Hirshfield quote rings true for you too. Not sure how many NaPoMo verses will come my way, but I remember last year setting up a space with that intention and an invocation. Wanted to do that again this year. Here are two small poems that came with the Hafiz translation:

What Sufis Teach

mystery is what
I reach for
what clings to me

faces in a vase:
new age lament


runes & tombs
& cobalt blooms
what I understand
no longer
interests me


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/25/2013, 8:30 am
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Re: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


This poem is based on vkp's prompt to write a poem that incorporates a few words or a line or two from a song (or two or three!) that may have gotten stuck in your head. It's short, but then most of my poems are.

Pas de Deux

I blink to sleep in the nightlight’s nimbus,
writing poems and thinking of you. Send

me, won’t you, the poems that you dream
on, so darling I can dream on them too. . . .




Dan Fogelberg, Dancing Shoes:

[url][sign in to see URL]

The Everly Brothers, Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On:

[url][sign in to see URL]

Sam Cooke, You Send Me:

[url][sign in to see URL]


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/31/2013, 2:10 pm
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Re: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


Kat, So cool. As you once suggested, I do think I'll pursue a series of poems from that prompt during the cruelest month, for my own edification but I'll put them up in a thread here if I'm brave enough. I've got some songs waiting in the wings....
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Re: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


Excellent, Kat. Your second version of the Advice poem I think nails it, carries Hafiz across.

Tere
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vkp,

Songs and poems waiting in the wings sounds good. As for posting them: Please do!

Thanks, Tere. The first version of the Hafiz translation is the one I wrote first, off the top of my head and from the heart. Kind of a baseline. The second version is the rewrite, geared for a contemporary audience beyond myself. More deliberation went into it, but it's still from the heart. I'm sure I've mentioned this before: the Sufis consider the heart to be a thinking organ. The feeling heart for them is also a thinking heart.

Muse, I'd love to have more Hafiz translations to work on--such good fun.
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About a month ago I read a poem titled "Dynamos of the Mind" by pheonixwise on another board. For some reason that poem triggered a responding poem in me. I tweaked my poem this morning and decided to post it here:

Catsup/Dominoes of the Mind

57 delirious feelings, groovin’
on the soul’s p(ar)lay. Raffled
beyond nothingness, the plain hills
of existence. Found poems/found
criticism. New feelings persist
but yesterday’s linger, mighty seeds
of merriment, the how-tos &
wherefores of a dynamic euphoria.
Fast forwarded high times
to the spindrift of drifters.
57 chances to (p/)yonder
one laughing ticket to why.

If you are interested in checking out the inspiration poem, go here:

[url][sign in to see URL]

Last edited by Katlin, Mar/25/2013, 6:29 pm
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Re: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


hi Kat,

I've been following along and love what you're doing here--incorporating and synthethesizing.
Not narrowing and closing in on...

thanks for this,

Chris
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So fun. "One laughing ticket to why." Awesome!
vkp
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Hi Chris,

I like your framing: "incorporating and synthethesizing.
Not narrowing and closing in on..." I hope I can continue on in that vein.

I've discovered there is something called "patchwriting", and I figure that my song lyric poem is an example of it:

This is something known as patchwriting—a way of weaving together various shards of preexisting texts into a tonally cohesive whole and presenting it as if it's original. It's a trick that students use all the time rephrasing, say, a Wikipedia entry into their own words. And if they're caught, it's trouble: In academia, patchwriting is considered an offense equal to that of plagiarism.

[sign in to see URL]

Hi vkp,

"Catsup" is really an exercise poem, an attempt to prime the pump, to have some fun, play with words and not take the writing process so seriously. I don't know if the poem will ever move out of exercise mode, but maybe I can use a line or two from it somehow someday.

I've been thinking about my poem above "new age lament" which I retitled "faces in a vase/new age lament" and which I now want to retitle again. The poem is my first attempt at what Jane Hirshield calls "pebbles":

They are not haiku, but they are short, slightly intransigent poems that require some response in the mind of the reader before they are finished. . . .A pebble isn’t just a “short” poem, and while it resembles other brief poems, it’s not quite the same thing as an aphorism, a haiku, an epigram. They have their own flavor, for me.

[sign in to see URL]

I'm not sure I've succeeded in writing the kind of short poem Hirshfield has conceptualized, but the poem does require response or shift in the reader's mind:

Rubin’s Vase:
new age lament


runes & tombs
& cobalt blooms
what I understand
no longer
interests me


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/28/2013, 11:58 am
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Ambiguity. It's seductive....

As is the pebbles idea though it strikes me as harder than it may at first appear. I like the Hirshield one in the link about the mountain and mouse.... I also like your Rubin's vase new age lament poem with closing thought that captures the path of the seeker....
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Re: Kat's 2013 NaPoMo


Sangria Shimmer*

I put away black winter boots
with a gray fur lining;

take out espadrilles & slingbacks,
flip flops & t-straps;

contemplate in the equinoctial dusk
what signature shade--Cantaloupe,

Deep Capri, Tigerlily--might polish
up these diurnal, vernal toenails.

  
*The poem formerly known as High Maintenance Decadence.


Nail polish names lifted from here:

[sign in to see URL]



Last edited by Katlin, Apr/1/2013, 4:10 pm
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Christine98 Profile
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Wonderful poem, Kat. At first I thought "Polish
names" was a reference to nationality, as in: Stanley Kowalski.

Anyway, you've captured the season and those nail polish names make a terrific prompt,

Chris
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Oops! Thanks, Chris. I've edited my post to prevent further confusion. I also went back and used a first person narrator, which is how the poem was originally written. I don't actually paint my toenails, or fingernails for that matter, but the imaginary prospect of doing so prompted a lighthearted response in me. emoticon
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Wonderful and whimsical! I use a polish called "That's Berry Daring" on my springtime toes. My mom actually had a job once where she made up lipstick and nail polish names for L'Oreal. It's a dirty job and somebody's gotta do it....
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"That's Berry Daring" is too funny, vkp. I love it and may have to steal it. emoticon


Now for something very different. I suppose I need to give a bit language warning on this one.


 c-words

no more cussing
& cursing

no more cutesy
& curtseying

no more cutting
vaginas no no more

v-jayjays gone google
goo-goo & gaga

no more underage pussy
a-go-go & gashes of gore

no more s(p)licing
& dicing

DNA stored in lockers
pubic bones found in ditches

no more sex slaves
& clitorectomies

no !@#$ more

plus ça change,
plus c'est la même chose
?

you hate mourning
& all the warnings

way down on the list,
mon ami: sound off

like a woman
they call you the c-word

c’est la vie or c’est la guerre
if you prefer

no more





Last edited by Katlin, Apr/5/2013, 1:11 pm
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Kat, YES yes yes. Excellent!

Your poem speaks in a broad sense to something I read this morning and cannot get out from under. It has me in its horrible grip. I don't think it appropriate to put it here on your wonderful thread, but I will place it in Discussion. Thank you for this language rich poetic rant. I love it.
vkp
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Powerful, Kat: sound off/like a woman/they call you the c-word

Chris
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Hi you two, thank you both. This poem was and is a challenge to me. I can't say I'm comfortable with it or that I like it. It's not a poem I intended to write. I'm not sure how to approach certain topics poetically. Or if one can or should even try. Who cares if the N of the poem is offended, overwhelmed, sad, angry--or silent, numb and sometimes oblivious? Ranting in a poem is not something I feel comfortable doing. I sometimes rant in RL to a few people I know and trust will listen. Mainly I take a deep breath and swallow the words.

This poem was triggered by reading by Vanessa Place's "No More" (none of which I followed):

 [sign in to see URL]

and by recalling this thread I started several years ago:

[sign in to see URL]

Also by remembering some of the work by a few feminist poets ("mon ami") I've personally known over the years.

TMI? Probably.

Last edited by Katlin, Apr/2/2013, 11:17 am
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Smart phone on lunch break and a poetry check. Your last poem hurts and it should. Can't remember who said it. Maybe I did. Words can become symbolic action. Hateful, hurtful words and names are just that. Hurtful. Intention of violence always the motivator. I know there are some women who think owning a word like !@#$ is empowering somehow. Or liberating. I do not. The practice simply feeds into the violence. Reinforces it symbolically. There are some words that I consider taboo for just this reason. Lenny Bruce argued that words do not have the power to hurt. I disagree. Not critting your poem Kat. I get what you are after. Just reflecting on what it all means.
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Hi Tere,

I hear what you are saying. I debated over whether or not to use the c-word in the poem. My inclination was not to, so I didn't.

BTW, I was also remind of a thread libra started a few months back:

Imagine a billion women dancing together, dancing to end violence against women. Or as the organizers of “One Billion Rising” put it: “One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a Revolution."
 
[sign in to see URL]

and of the accompanying "Break the Chain" dance video, which is terrific:

[url][sign in to see URL]

When I am confronted by a statistic like "One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime", I feel like a bird that flies into a plate glass window and falls to the earth, stunned and disoriented. I know that women as a group are strong and resilient, but how is it that so many women feel isolated and alone in their "personal" violations?
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I know Kat. It is often overwhelming. My blood boils when faced with another such account.

Tere
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Katlin Profile
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Yesterday I mentinoned not knowing how to approach certain topics poetically, and then I ran across this article and wanted to include it here as food for future thought:

How to Write a Good Rape/ Suicide/ Break-Up/ Genocide Poem, or Lightness as the Necessary Companion to All That’s Sad and Disturbing by Hannah Gamble

[sign in to see URL]


My poem for today is a small one:

Gangster Critic’s Rap

Take that
and that.

Rat-a-tat-tat!

You call that
a poem?
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Katlin Profile
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Today's poem comes from this prompt: Take the last line of a poem you like and turn it into the first line of a new poem:

Eve on a Rope
(for Raphael)

All I hear is an afternoon’s worth of never
when you recount Easter brunch with your mom.

It's like the time a healer told me, You’ll become
just like your mother, if you’re not careful.

Bitter fruit of a gnarled tree that blocks the sun.
But I won’t. Nor shall you. We forbid it!

If only grafting was as simple as sugaring apples—
applesauce, apple cake, candy apples.

Friend, let’s plan ahead
to the apples of the apples of our eyes.

I hear an afternoon is all the worth of never.
The worth of an afternoon, I hear, is never all.


first line taken from Eavan Boland's “The Long Evenings of Their Leavetakings”


Last edited by Katlin, Jun/29/2013, 2:17 pm
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This is beautiful. The first line, All I hear is an afternoon's worth of never, has such mystery and resonance. I wonder if starting with a finished first line (talk about grafting) sets up a reverberation that carries through what [sign in to see URL] the thought stream, so to speak.

So many ways to improvise,

Chris

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The month seems to match up with something inside. Clearly on a roll.

Tere
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This is absolutely one of my favorite of your poems. It is gorgeous. The last four lines just sing and sear. Thank you so much.
vkp
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Thank you all so much. Chris, I didn't realize it, but, yes, the poem is a kind of graft isn't it? Here is the Boland poem I drew from, which is also about a mother/daughter relationship:

[sign in to see URL]


Today's offering:

While Reading Some Poems

—trivia & traumas
travail & baubles—

the ten cliché fingers of death
ringless & tapered

& proffering a paper
mache parting gift

shoos & shushes
me today
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