Monday, February 18, 2013

International Poets Showcase - Wolfgang Kubin

Poet, sinologist, and public intellectual Wolfgang Kubin was born in Celle, Germany, in 1945. While more well-known as a leading figure of European Chinese studies, he is also known as a poet. His poetry was first published in 2000 with the title Das neue Lied von der alten Verzweiflung (tr. The New Song about Old Despair). Narrentürme (tr. Fools’ Towers) was published in 2005, and Schattentänzer (tr. Shadow Dancer) in 2004. Philosophical and political in nature, his poetry reflects on the places he has lived and his travels to Madrid and Salamanca, the US, and, of course, China, which has become a second home. In 2006 he published a collection of short stories entitled Halbzeit einer Liebe (tr. Half-time of a Love). In Kubin’s fiction and poetry, readers recall the impulse behind traveling, the push to discover the distant and unknown, and if not discover, then be closer to it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kate Greenstreet and Quraysh Ali Lansana Links

Fabulous February Poetry Readings - Special Valentine's Day Reading

Kate Greenstreet
is a poet, graphic artist, painter, and the author of several collections of poetry from Ashanta Press, including case sensitive (2006), The Last 4 Things (2009), and, most recently, Young Tambling (2013). Greenstreet has received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and her poems have been published in numerous publications, including Colorado Review, Fence, VOLT, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and other journals. Her videos can be viewed in Medium, Dewclaw, Slope, Trickhouse, Evening Will Come, and TYPO. She lives in Ireland with her husband, Max, but the couple is presently crisscrossing the US. 

You can visit her website where she has tons of poems and audio files at
["The giant takes us"]
Poetry Foundation
 An Interview with Kate Greenstreet
A Conversation with Kate Greenstreet

Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of six books of poetry, most recently his mystic turf (Willow Books). He is also the author of a children’s book titled The Big World (Addison-Wesley, 1998) and a book of pedagogy, and is the editor of eight anthologies, including Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2006). He is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he also served as director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing from 2002 to 2011.

Gerald Stern and Anne Marie Macari

This is a video taken of Gerald Stern and Anne Marie Macari's poetry reading that was held at the Performing Arts Studio, Norman Depot on November 15. The poets read from several of their books to an eager and inspired audience. It was a great night of poetry and literature. Afterwards there was an open conversation between the poets and members of the audience who had questions, a book signing and refreshments.

Macari said she has been with Stern for 15 years. It was so great to have both of them read at the University of Oklahoma and share their stories and poetry. Macari read mostly from her book Gloryland. She also talked to us about the 36 sonnets she wrote in conversation with the "creation myth" and the book of Genesis. Here is a poem she read titled "XXVI - In the Beginning Was the Animal"

In the beginning was the animal
of space licking earth to life, the night sky

lit with great herds of stars, and the paths of planets
growing radiant rubbing each other.

Heaven’s thrust and caress upon us,
green and fertile in the cracks, poultice of dust,

spore, pollen and ash. Creation’s luminous
mouth. In the beginning all that was made

was good because it was made, and what was
made and not-made knew each other, and it

was good. The stars in unending intercourse.
Heaven an amnio sac, the slopping

salty center, from there all the swimmers
breast stroking, diving, all night long, toward earth.

"Creativity is a human right. Art is what we do." - Anne Marie Macari

"While you're here, take everything you can take. Study everything you can study because it's all connected. Everything we do is all connected." - Anne Marie Macari

Macari was asked what her inspiration for writing poetry was. Where it all began for her. Writing poetry comes along differently for everybody. We all have different stories of how and why we began writing, who inspired us and who encouraged us. But one thing that Macari said really stuck out. She said that writing poetry was a calling; that it announced itself to her. I've wondered if that's how it is for all poets, all artists. Macari has a deep connection with her body, memory and consciousness - a connection that can only be explained through her poetry. It fascinates me - the mind of an artist. What they do, what the make, that is a part of them, a symbol, a moment in time, a feeling, and it is poured out in to the world, into existence, in the form of art. We say that art is imitating life, but what makes more sense to me is just the opposite. Life is imitating art. Because art is the expression, the realness, the core of what life is all about. Without art, there would be no life. There would be no emotion, no color. Our lives are our masterpiece. Life is art.

Macari said she grew up in a house with no books, but she has always written. Her piers made fun of her for reading books. But Whitman was her main source of inspiration to be a writer.

Macari also read many poems that had to do with her experience in a cave in Belize. She described the experience as one thing leading to another. There was no safety railing, she was afraid of heights and prone to panic attacks. So she stayed in the cave, in the quiet, by herself. Turning off her headlamp, she adjusted to the dark for 20 minutes and just sat there. She was surrounded by the cave art and felt her body parts just floating around her - she had an amazing out of body experience and wanted to see more...

I really enjoyed Anne Marie Macari's poetry reading. As a woman, I felt a strong connection to the messages in her poetry.


Gerald Stern said that he didn't have a teacher, etc that gave him words of inspiration. His inspiration for writing came from a different place. His sister, Sylvia, died when she was 9 years old. He's written poem after poem after her. He was the only Jew in an anti-semantic neighborhood. But, he said he doesn't know where exactly his inspiration came from... it was just always there... the need to write.

" makes me realize that poetry and life is in the details, so carefully placed in our lives." - Gerald Stern

Stern read from his book Stealing History, winner of the National Book Award. His essay "Demystification" was amazing and one of the best things I have ever read. Listening to him read it was even more awesome. He read many poems, some old and some new, that everyone seemed to find a way in which to connect with.

Here are the poems that were featured in the readings.