Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Links

Kgositsile’s poetry ranges from the unambiguously political and public to the lyric and confessional. A strong feature of his work is the recognition and celebration of his influences, his friendships with other artists, and, in particular, his deep love of blues and jazz. He has written nine collections of poetry including Spirits Unchained (1969), My Name is Afrika (1971), The Bitter End (1995), If I Could Sing (2002) and This Way I Salute You (2004).


mirror of my pain and purpose
this blood we demand
is the flow of life
we must bleed yes
there is no birth without blood
if they call us insane let them
words will not kill us
if they say we are not poets let them
our poetry will be the simple act
the blood we bleed
moulded by pain and purpose
into a simple
do not fuck with me
your shit is going up in flames
here and now.

Kgositsile has worked in various African National Congress departments and structures both above and underground. This poem is from his collection, If I could Sing. Keorapetse Kgositsile remains one of the most prominent South African poets whose protest poetry has achieved national and international recognition.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Myung Mi Kim Poetry Reading

I loved Myung Mi Kim's introduction to her poetry... to her past and to herself... to language. She told us how she first came to Oklahoma from Korea when she was nine years old. This is where she learned English. Thrust into a new culture, she had no choice but to learn the new language - listening, writing, speaking... understanding. Using all her senses to change the way she had once processed information and communicated to something brand new. She spoke of the terror and the pleasure of that experience. Of how she began to connect and link aspects of the language, but still she could not speak it. I can't imagine, especially at such a young age, how difficult that must have been for her, and how rewarding it must have felt to finally break through the barrier. She remembers very clearly the big dictionary that Ms. Beasley gave her to learn from. And now, her Korean is still at a 3rd grade level, as she never had to speak it again. And the thought of "learning Korean" seems weird and almost like a foreign concept to her because in her mind she already knows it, she is Korean, but she never expanded on her own language. Her perspective on language is different than mine. I have never had to master a new language in such a way. When I think about language, I think about words, meanings, symbols, what I can readily grasp and move forward with. I don't think about culture, where the word comes from... I do not think about social or political contexts, but rather stay inside of what those words mean to me personally. I'm sure if I were to really think on and understand these personal connections, I would start seeing outside of myself and link the words to a grander meaning, which would even still relate to myself.

Myung Mi Kim read poems from most or all of her books to show us the differences in progression, exploration and understanding at those specific times in her life. Her books serve as a collective outlet to allow discoveries and a deeper mastery of her consciousness and of her concept of language to flow through.

I do think poetry should be performed and spoken/read aloud by the poet, but I also think it is so important to see the poems on the page and see the space, the breaks, the text. Her poetry did seem very fragmented, and I suppose this was to mimic language and the processes of comprehending it.

"Myung Mi Kim explores issues of dislocation, colonization, immigration, loss of her first language, and the fallout of history in her work. Eric Weinstein, poetry editor for Prick of the Spindle, commented in a review: 'Penury instantiates exactly that: a poetics of extreme and devastating lack, an inadequacy and insufficiency of language designed to mirror the extraordinary poverty of its subject(s).' " (The Poetry Foundation)

We all enjoyed Myung Mi Kim's reading very much. I think this interview http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/kim/generosity.html will really help you understand her foundation and her poetics. Also, buy her books! Also, a video of her reading will soon be posted on the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series Website.

- Morgen Moxley

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Myung Mi Kim Poetry Links

There are many links to Myung Mi Kim's poetry, audio, video, writings and reviews here: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/kim/


Joseph Harrington Poetry Reading

history becomes fate when
it's over with

no more disjunct
than this world

A gateway timeout occurred
The server / is unreachable

History abounds 
a keeling curve
this starts to be how it gets
to keening

love filters : red void

Molly's mussels live-o
while she dies-o
that's the point, see?
A space
is a character too

One remembers that, if not what

The space is more historical
than the stars

From Joseph Harrington's book, "Things Come On: (an amneoir)". Harrington read poems mostly from this book, which links the death of his mother, taken by cancer, to the Watergate scandal.

"Things Come On is a broken and sutured hybrid of forms, combining poetry, prose narration, primary documents, dramatic dialogue, and pictures. The narrative is woven around the almost exact concurrence of the Watergate scandal and the dates of the poet’s mother’s illness and death from breast cancer, and weaves together private and public tragedies—showing how the language of illness and of political cover-up powerfully resonate with one another. The resulting “amneoir” (a blend of “memoir” and “amnesia”) explores a time for which the author must rely largely on testimony and documentary evidence—not unlike the Congress and the nation did during the same period. Absences, amnesia, and silences count for at least as much as words. As the double tragedy unfolds, it refuses to become part of an overarching system, metaphor, or metanarrative, but rather raises questions of memory and evidence, gender and genre, personal and political, and expert vs. lay language. This haunting experimental biography challenges our assumptions about the distance between individual experience and history." (Wesleyan University Press)

We all really enjoyed Harrington's reading, his story, his style. He was intertwining these two events that were happening simultaneously in his life as a young boy, gathering what little he actually remembered, memories with his mother, and the later received realization of certain themes that linked these two tragic events, documentation, research, a collage of artifacts, memories and ideas... a story told by Harrington. His reading did seem a little distant. And why wouldn't it? He was only ten years old. The emotion didn't come from his remembrance, but from another place. I think it came from the not-remembering... the distance. It is a part of his history, but yet, a part of our nation's history. I even found myself snickering in moments of tragedy because of the way he read it, and then I realized, this is actually extremely sad. It was an emotional movement through and around the ups and downs of life. It was a mystery, something Harrington was figuring out and discovering, and the emotions reflected just that. You can see a video of his reading at the MAE Poetry Series Website.