Category: salem writes

De Las Lumbres

por Arturo Sarmiento                                     I Abatidas las campanas, Sus repiques se amotinan en la medianía del espanto. El fuego no afina su mirada, dispara a la montaña. Su arco un dolor atravesando la boca del estómago, Sus dardos, Afiladas llamas que no entienden la aflicción de la implorada cordura. El bosque estalla. La lumbre vuela liviana y multicolor. En roja en las entrañas del árbol caído y arrinconado, Azulada en la mañana sumida en el estertor del agraviado paisaje, Pardo como los cardos que incitan a resistir. La lumbre asciende siniestra. Rabia bífida de la naturaleza, Construyendo sus propios torres paralelas. Con gravedad estrujante, instiga: “Ascendamos a la cubre verde. El nuevo Tezcatlipoca viste hoy sus obscuras galas. Unjámoslo como el Dios nuestro aliado,             Ahora que el tiempo precisa una corona de humo” Sus palabras se encajan en el pecho del crepúsculo, Como aura crespa y sediciosa. Mis pies no se mueven. Ya no son soldados para esta guerra.                                       II El fuego revuelca la esperanza. La arrastra por candentes cuestas para que no despierte. Escuchamos el sufrimiento humeante de aquellos riscos. Chillan como animales de matadero, Se...

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18th Annual SILVERTON POETRY FESTIVAL February 23-24-25, 2018

Rain today, then sun, then hail enough to whiten fields plowed for wheat. For an hour I dug the row of raspberry canes – roots so exuberant they tunnel in every direction… Lately we’ve restricted our intake of news…                                                                                                                             – Lex Runciman You may hear this whole poem, “A Letter to Our Daughters,” at the Silverton Poetry Festival. All events (except the $5 children’s workshop) are free and open to the public.   SCHEDULE of EVENTS Featured Poets Reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House Oregon Gardens, Silverton Friday, February 23, 7–9 pm Take this opportunity to enjoy poetry in this beautiful and historic venue, as poets John Brehm and Emily Ransdell open the festival. Refreshments served. Favorite Poem Project & Open Mic Saturday the 24th, 10:30 am–12:00 pm Silver Falls Library 405 South Water St Listen in and to share a favorite poem. First hour:  Read a poem by a favorite poet. Second hour: Read your own original poem.    Kids Poetry Writing Workshop: “My Goldfish Stole the...

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Richard Wilbur: Dervish and Poet

Commentary by R.S. Stewart One of the pleasurable highpoints of my writing life was receiving a personal letter from Richard Wilbur dated September 12, 1988, from Cummington, Massachusetts, in response to a packet of poems I had sent him a week earlier. In the letter Wilbur calls himself a cautionary “seasoned reader” who found my poems filled with “felicitous turns.” That letter takes its place with similar ones from William Stafford, Ursula LeGuin, and Joyce Carol Oates. Wilbur died on October 11 at the age of 97 and leaves behind him a body of work that includes not only two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Book Award for poetry, but also several books for children and a translation of Moliere’s Candide, including the libretto for Leonard Bernstein’s musical version for playwright Lillian Hellman’s script. In 1987 and 1988 he served as United States Poet Laureate. Richard Wilbur wrote his first poems at the age of eight and then again while in the Army during World War II and had one published in the Saturday Evening Post while still on active duty. Perhaps his most famous poem is “Love Calls Us to the Things of this World,” which gives laundry on pulleys outside an open window in fresh morning air a spiritual jolt–with bodiless bed-sheets, blouses, and smocks experiencing “the deep joy of their impersonal breathing.” In “Juggler” he presents...

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The CaveTransparent A poem in terza rima

By Tim Pfau Perusing a National Geographic article about cave pictures in France and Spain, poet Tim Pfau read that the Stone Age artists sometimes signed their work with outlines of their hands, and that the shapes of these hands suggest that most of the artists were female.    This finding intrigued Pfau, leading his imagination from bison and horses and hunters’ arrows to the delicate hands of the artist.        How to share this image in a poem?  The antiquity and venerability of the subject led Pfau to consider a formal poetic structure.  He decided to try terza rima, the form that Dante Alighieri introduced to the world in the Divine Comedy.    The pattern is notated as aba, bcb, cdc, et cetera. The rhymes, so fluid in Italian, often give way to near rhymes in English.  For an example of the form, here is a tense moment in the hunt in Canto XIII of the Inferno – Robert Pinsky’s translation: A hunter mindful of the wild boar and the chase Suddenly hears the beasts and crashing brush. There on our left came two at a desperate pace, Naked, torn, so hard-pressed they seemed to crash Headlong through every tangle the wood contained. The one in front cried, Come now, come in a rush… Pfau explains his choice of terza rima: “Dante’s form lends itself to...

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How Poetry Makes Sense of Science

Poems by Alvaro Rodriguez Someone asked me not long ago about the source of my inspiration and I couldn’t answer that question until I sat down and reflected on my poetry. Poetry has many shapes and forms. We give the gift of poetry to the world after we release our words. My inspiration for poetry changes day after day. It is fueled by the interaction with the world. My journey is my inspiration because I talk about my experiences in life, but the real muse is love, passion and admiration. In April this year I was invited to read during the open mic section of the Salem Poetry Project at Barrel & Keg on Thursdays. The girl that invited me was the muse for many of my poems. I found the voice inside me to give my poetry to the world. I am sharing my favorite poem below.              Wednesday I still don’t know who you are I have many questions I ask and wonder Why is not Wednesday, the day I can see you? Fiction and reality collide Are you a middle-of-the-week vampire? Simply gone and absent for me to see Darkness and blindness are not my allies Letters, words and phrases are built on Tuesday Filling the avenues at dusk Piling up and waiting To be recorded and delivered Can it be...

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