Archive for December, 2008

I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.

I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!

I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind—
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that’s in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrades,
The road to find.

-Langston Hughes

HAPPY NEW YEAR from NinaAlvarez.net. May 2009 be the year we each find our road.


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1. Ithaca

2. Dirty Poem

3. Love Me Like You Never Loved Me Before

4. The Pumpkin

5. I Walked a Mile with Pleasure

6. The Lost Son

7. The Gashlycrumb Tinies

8. Poem-Video of Ithaca

9. Lucinda Matlock

10. A Rabbit As King of the Ghosts

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I’m excited about the wonderful community I am connected to through NinaAlvarez.net. Here are my plans for the coming year:

  • Another “Send me a poem, I’ll send you a book” contest
  • Author interviews
  • Friday night writing/publishing discussion series
  • And of course, the poems I love and a couple of my own

Let me know if you want to share anything, see anything, or say anything.

Thanks for visiting!



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asan3Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

-Clement Clarke Moore

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Canto 1

And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us onward with bellying canvas,
Crice’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.


-Ezra Pound

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Words Without Borders

The Online Magazine of International Literature

Even Small Donations Make A Big Difference at Words Without Borders
December 17, 2008

Dear Friend of Words Without Borders,

Thank you for your support of Words Without Borders and its unique role in bringing literary voices from around the world to English-language readers. It has been an exciting year. As the premier forum for literature in translation, we marked our fifth anniversary with bold efforts to expand our circle of talent to include more professional staff dedicated to strengthening the organization and enhancing its offerings, more volunteers, more educators enriching the minds of more students, more active board members, and most important, more involved readers!

Please join us in our continuing efforts to publish and promote the world’s best literature through a highly accessible and completely free online magazine, public events, education initiatives, and print anthologies. In 2008, with tremendous support from our donors, WWB:

  • Published 139 works translated from 30 languages by authors from 47 countries, including Horacio Castellanos Moya (Senselessness), Nobel Prize winner J.M. G. Le Clezio (Étoile Errante) and Brazil’s Jabuti Prize winner Cristavão Tezza (The Good Son).
  • Published an important selection of Chinese poetry and prose never before seen in English and co-presented a panel discussion on Chinese literature with two of its most prominent figures, dissident writer Ma Jian and writer/filmmaker Xiaolu Guo.
  • Presented a discussion in NYC with the Grand Prix in Angouleme winners (the most prestigious award for graphic novels) Phillip Dupuy and drawing partner Charles Berberian.
  • Curated, with the help of a highly competitive grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, a five-part discussion series on contemporary works of international literature featuring award-winning translators and writers, including noted writer Francisco Goldman and Natasha Wimmer, translator of Roberto Bolaño’s posthumous masterpiece, 2666.

We have even bigger plans for 2009. We will co-publish a special issue on international nature writing with Orion Magazine; publish an anthology and issue celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; expand our education initiatives; provide in depth coverage of world literature through our blog; and curate more events both in and outside of New York City.

But to do this we need your help. We must continue our work knowing dedicated readers like you expect it and appreciate and understand its importance. A gift at this time, no matter the amount, will make a significant impact on our small organization and will contribute to creating a global community that is based on mutual understanding and respect. We look forward to hearing from you.

We wish you a joyous holiday season!

Warm regards,

The Staff and Board of Words without Borders

First Person Arts – Philadelphia

Three ways to enrich yourself in 2009
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Put in your 2 cents

Fill out a survey about the 2008 First Person Festival!
Your feedback helps us plan the 2009 Festival and deliver compelling memoir and documentary art that YOU want to see. Plus, it doesn’t even really cost you 2 cents, and, when you fill it out, your name is entered into a drawing for a pair of StorySlam or Salon tickets!
2008 divider

Be a Joiner
The First Person Arts community depends on your continued financial and participatory support. Help us continue the tradition in 2009:

  • Become a Member of First Person Arts. When you do, we’ll hand-pick a memoir and send it to you!
  • Buy a six-pack of StorySlam Tickets. They make a great gift at just $40.

Get in the Act
Find creative outlets in artistic communion with like-minded lovers of memoir and documentary art.

  • Present your work of memoir or documentary art at a Salon.
  • Tell your 5-minute true story at a StorySlam. (You know you want to!)
  • Apply to be a First Person Arts Intern!

…and have a lovely holiday season!

Your friends at First Person Arts:
Vicki, Dan, Eva, Nick and Andrew
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Whole countries hover, oblivious on the edge
of history and in Cleveland the lake
already is dying. None of this matters
to my mother at seven, awakened from sleep


-Lynda Hull

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When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

-Kahlil Gibran

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In a Country

My love and I are inventing a country, which we
can already see taking shape, as if wheels were
passing through yellow mud. But there is a prob-
lem: if we put a river in the country, it will thaw
and begin flooding. If we put the river on the bor-
der, there will be trouble. If we forget about the
river, there will be no way out. There is already a
sky over that country, waiting for clouds or smoke.
Birds have flown into it, too. Each evening more
trees fill with their eyes, and what they see we can
never erase.

One day it was snowing heavily, and again we were
lying in bed, watching our country: we could
make out the wide river for the first time, blue and
moving. We seemed to be getting closer; we saw
our wheel tracks leading into it and curving out
of sight behind us. It looked like the land we had
left, some smoke in the distance, but I wasn’t sure.
There were birds calling. The creaking of our
wheels. And as we entered that country, it felt as if
someone was touching our bare shoulders, lightly,
for the last time.

-Larry Levis

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I have a new method of poetry. All you got to do is look over your notebooks… or lay down on a couch, and think of anything that comes into your head, especially the miseries. Then arrange in lines of two, three or four words each, don’t bother about sentences, in sections of two, three or four lines each.” -Allen Ginsberg

On November 23rd, I asked readers to try the exercise above and send me in their results. Here’s one from Muriel Inniss.

all red,

the life i dread,

stolen bread,

left for near dead,

blood in my head,

salty tears shed,

enough said

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