Poets & Writers

Compendium Monday

From here on, I am going to make a 'compendium' post every Monday that lists films and readings I enjoyed the previous week. I'm doing this so that I have one place where all the things I've enjoyed are logged and easy to return to, but also because there might be somebody else out there who actually enjoys some of the same things I do, and happens to enjoy something new because they found it here. 

Enjoy, or not.



This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. I've just finished this one. It's not often that I get pulled along by a reading as with a melody, but Diaz's stories prose is so captivating that I couldn't help but to push back my bedtime to get to the end. Now I wish it weren't over.

A favorite passage from the section titled Otravida, Otravez:

"...Ana Iris is thin and worn. Her hair has not been cut in months; the split ends rise out of her thick strands like a second head of hair. She can still smile, though, so brightly it is a wonder that she doesn't set something alight."


Ecstatic Encounters, by Marci Shore, featured in the January 10th edition of the Times Literary Supplement. Really interesting read if you're at all interested in the French and Czech surrealists and the effect of Communism on arts and culture. 


Rethinking Restriction: Creative Limitation as a Positive Force by M. Allen Cunningham, found in the most recent issue of Poets & Writers.

In this article Cunningham quotes Zadie Smith:

"Magical thinking makes you crazy--and renders everything possible. Incredibly knotty problems of structure now resolve themselves with inspired ease. See that one paragraph? It only needs to be moved..."

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith



While making my way through the latest issue of Poets & Writers, I came across an article about a collaboration between filmmaker Angela Kassube and poet Todd Boss which sprung in 2008 from a project they worked on together using Boss's poem "Constellations" and Kassbe's animation, called Motionpoems. You can read the whole article HERE but what interested me most about this was not the products themselves, although they are both innovative and moving, but the impetus behind the project. The two identified a 'distribution problem' with poetry--unless you're already an avid reader of poetry, it's unlikely that you'd happen across Mark Strand's latest collection by accident. But what if it's more than a poem? The addition of a visual story line makes these poems accessible and interesting even to folks who might not typically seek poetry out.

In this day, with a decreasing number of bookstores, and an increasing number of digital outlets for access to literature (which don't make reading an act of discovery--you often have to know what you're looking for, unlike wandering into a bookstore where things might catch your eye), the creation of projects like Motionpoems is going to be pretty important to carry all types of literature through the industry's rapid transitions.


Check out the article for yourself, and make sure to visit the Motionpoems site for lots of beautiful pieces, but in the meantime, here's something to wet your appetite... 

A collaboration between poet Éireann Lorsung, Director Pablo Delcán, and artist Brian Rea:



On another note, my mom told me I had to come to her storage unit to get the last of my things from childhood. I headed home today with boxes full of drawings and writing from elementary school. It's strange looking back at all of this. Here are two pieces to share with you from my eight year old self:

'The Brave Buffalo' 


Once upon a time there was a brave Buffalo, her name was Maria. Maria was brave because, when Maria saw Indians trying to stick bow-in arrows at her she would go right over to the Indian and it's horse, stick her hind-egs out and she would kick them off thier feet and out of thier witts!! 


'The Magic Mirror'  


If I had a magic mirror, I would say, Magic Mirror on the wall make my wish came true. My wish was to be invisible.