Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bluebird Poets. June's Second On-line Floricanto.

Bluebird Poetry Reading Series Returns to Avenue 50 Studio

Michael Sedano

One of the featured poets was delayed, allowing lots of time for poets to contemplate their upcoming reading. Each individual has a personal method of getting ready. Poets chat, review their text, visualize their performance, or perhaps stew in their own juices, dreading that moment when the emcee calls one’s name.

Reading your own stuff aloud can and should provide a joyous, moving interaction between writer, words, and audience, and that should be true all around. Audiences will be incredibly forgiving. Understanding this, writer-readers are free to allow themselves to work on making each word carry its weight.

The readings Sunday at Northeast Los Angeles’ Avenue 50 Studio shone with moments of elegance where word, body, voice, setting captivated a roomful of listeners. Then, too, came moments when writers allowed the rhythm and structure of their lines to take over, lending a predictability to the pace, placing emphasis at the end of lines instead of upon ideas and images, chanting instead of meaning. Performers who provide enough shining moments earn forgiveness for those periods of neglect.

As the portraits below illustrate, Sunday's June Bluebird Reading Series offered a goodly share of the sublime. The experience offered, as Ceballos observes in her farewell remarks, “what poetry is supposed to be.”

Though we’d not met prior, Ceballos and I are Facebook friends. I asked Avenue 50 Studio director Kathy Gallegos to introduce me to my friend. 

Poet Jessica Ceballos organizes these 2d Sunday afternoon readings, along with an ambitious program of poetry readings in public spaces, Poesía para la gente, such as a recent Home Depot parking lot reading

La Bloga will have details on the August event Ceballos is planning now. 

Today’s Bluebird Reading Series program spotlights four poets, Tara Evonne Trudell, Karineh Mahdessian, Kim Young, Gloria Enedina Alvarez. There’s Open Mic time to follow and a goodly number of seats fill with a collection of regular contributors and first-timers, the ones with time on their hands.

Outside, Bluebird Reading Series organizer Jessica Ceballos waits, watching hopefully toward Figueroa and chatting with poets. I ask her about running the event on CPT, chicano poet time. “Chicana poet time,” she corrects.

The four featured poets take fifteen minutes out of our lives to present a variety of perspectives on mujerismo, from the theoretical to the hilarious from the bitter to the better off. Moreover they present with energy and emotion molded to their words. That makes it more worthwhile because we'll never get those 15 minutes back.

Jessica Ceballos cues the musical accompaniment then begins her reading.
A good reading offers a writer a way of honoring her labor and her art, while creating an ethos that enlarges her persona’s voice. Interpreting, not acting, gesture not stage business, movement not acrobatics, thought not meter. The sublime finds its moment, and in it, an audience locates the significance of a poet’s voice.

While these are big ideas, they are fit to big expression, like poetry. If the poem is worth bringing to a public, the poem is worth bringing effectively. That, happily, was the outcome at Sunday’s Bluebird Reading Series.

After the CPT start, Jessica Ceballos hews to the schedule. Ceballos says that she normally doesn’t read and emcee on the same program, but with such an outstanding lineup, Jessica carpe diems and joins them for this audience. Technology can be a bugaboo. She miscues her musical accompaniment and has to start twice. The audience doesn't notice.

The lead-off reader is Tara Evonne Trudell, an up-and-coming Oakland poet out of New Mexico, or a New Mexico poet by way of Oakland. Mejor, a poet. Trudell does art the hard way, and for sure on her own terms.

Trudell’s work pivots around twin themes of mujerismo and nature. After one audience member remarks that Tara is touring with three children on the road trip, I feel a twinge of guilt when I affirm the achievement.  I remember Tara Evonne Trudell is a single mother returned to college and doing arte. She’s not going to send the kids off to Interlochen while she tours.

Trudell’s tour pursues a dual course, sharing her love of poetry and marketing her recently completed documentary of her beautiful poesía in random places project.

In a fitting confluence of ideas, of woman, motherhood, poetry, art, listening, identifying, Trudell’s youngest, 6 year old Jackson, joins mommy on stage. Going into second grade, the boy exhibits admirable patience, quietly finding mommy's hand allowing Tara to read the poem into the moment.

I did not document what Tara is reading here but how appropriate if she's reading
you are woman
opening hearts
fearless loving

The second featured poet, Karineh Mahdessian seizes home base. She does the photographer in the front row a huge favor, moving the stand off to the side and committing herself wholly to her work and the reading. Using the full technology of the body helps a reader learn to achieve a completely satisfying performance while making the audience experience just as fulfilling.

Karineh Mahdessian
Mahdessian reacts to the two cameras, hexing the guy in the front row with crossed fingers. I hold my lens at knee level and capture her animated, energetic reading looking up. Poets and photographers benefit from playing to the camera now and then, instead of shying away or scaring them off.

Kim Young
Kim Young weaves stories around her selections. It's an engaging patter that relaxes her and when she seamlessly segues into her work her familiarity and conversational ease flow with the reading. Young gives a highly animated performance, matching her vocalics with gesture.

Gloria Enedina Alvarez
Alvarez shares a rich variety of work, from intellectually charged scenes to light-hearted hyperbole with a sharp point. She projects and commits herself to vocal variety, honoring both word and intent, while gathering and holding attention.

Open Mic readers got three minutes. Amazingly, everyone who read respected the limit and used the opportunity to read their best stuff. Some Open Mic readers use, or signed up with, only their first name. Leave a Comment below if your foto is here but not your correct name.

Wyatt Underwood reads from his iPad
Jack Cooper
Conney Williams
Kat Morozova reads an 
impassioned piece struggling with
a tiny screen. Paper is your friend.
Alex Hohmann
Carolyn Ziel
Jamie Planells
The first-named poet, Joseph, reads passionately and comfortably while using all his space. He might enjoy putting down the paper, divert some of this energy to working from memory. It would be interesting to see him read a gentler piece alongside this one.

Lalo Kikiriki

Emilio Sotelo
Flor de Te 
Flor de Te engages her listeners with movement and careful articulation of key terms and phrases. Her frenetic  presence tends to serve its own end, as if Flor de Te's a dancer who recites poetry. Her delightful style evokes elocutionary training. Adding to this audience's delight or relief, she performs her piece first in Spanish then English.

In past years, May month I've been invited to coach reading your own stuff aloud to the writers at the NHCC's National Latino Writers Conference. Since I'm not engaged in that this year, I miss working with writers to get a text into personal best readiness. I'm considering hosting a summer series on reading your stuff aloud. If you're in the LA/Pasadena area, leave a Comments below if you'd be interesting in joining.

The greatest benefit of technology is it brings together gente who'd never otherwise have the opportunity to meet. And every once in a brown moon, you get to meet them in person.

As with Jessica Ceballos, I’ve been Facebook friends with poet Tara Evonne Trudell for years. I’d forgotten she was on the roster, so when I looked across the room and spotted her it was a double delight. This was my only time off this week, so serendipity carries the day again.

Northeast LA's Avenue 50 Studio convenes the Bluebird Reading Series monthly, the second Sunday. La Palabra, a second reading series hosted by Luivette Resto, comes the fourth Sunday of the month.

La Bloga On-line Floricanto for June Eleven 2013
Mario Angel Escobar, Iris De Anda, Frank de Jesus Acosta, Jonathan Heimarck, Anne Elizabeth Apfel

"For London and for Boston" by Mario Angel Escobar
"Manos a la Obra" by Iris De Anda
"The Sacred Place of Dreams by Frank de Jesus Acosta
"what do you bear" by Jonathan Heimarck
"SacRed" by Anne Elizabeth Apfel

For London and for Boston
by Mario Angel Escobar

Me despierto y siento la oscuridad del futuro
Un mundo donde la muerte tiene horario abierto
Testigo es un simple sustantivo sin acción ni contenido
Los lamentos son incontables
como los decretos de Dios en un mar de sordos
El hoy flagela el futuro para ser lo que soy:
un neurótico pesimista que pide a gritos
el silencio del mundo.

I wake up and feel the darkness of the future
A world where death has an open schedule
Witness is a simple noun without action or content
The complaints are countless
as the decrees of God in a sea of deaf
The now flagellates the future to be what I am:
a neurotic pessimist
crying out for the silence of the world.

Mario A. Escobar is a US-Salvadoran writer and poet born in 1978. Although he considers himself first and foremost a poet, he is known as the founder and editor of Izote Press, the first Central American publisher in the United States. Escobar was born in La Union (El Salvador) on January 19, 1978. Escobar has stated that his exposure to “poetic sounds” began during his childhood and that his foundation in poetry stemmed from what he witness during the Salvadoran Civil War. Escobar began his writing career by the age of 13 as a poet. He cites Roque Dalton, Tato Laviera and Jaime Sabines as some of his early poetic influences. Escobar’s work has been feature in UCLA’s publication Underground Undergrads which recognizes the poet as an activist for the undocumented Student Movement. In 2004, Escobar was placed under arrest and was scheduled to be deported. In 2006, Escobar won his case for political asylum making him one of the last Salvadorans to win a political case fourteen years after the Salvadoran Peace Accords were signed in 1992. Escobar currently lives in Alhambra. Escobar has been featured in documentaries like Mimoun en Mario, studenten met een missie and in The healing Club. Some of Escobar’s works include Al corre de la horas (Editorial Patria Perdida, 1999) Gritos Interiores (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), La Nueva Tendencia (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), Paciente 1980 (Orbis Press, 2012).

Manos a la Obra
by Iris De Anda

muchas manos poco trabajo
los de arriba mas arriba
y nosotros abajo
la ley del obrero
trabajar para comer
comer para trabajar
salir a buscar jale
cuando el sol sale
la fortaleza de nuestros abuelos
presente cada momento
vivir vida digna
luchar por el pueblo
la circumstancia hace al hombre
y este sistema a nosotros
hay que seguir con honra
hasta lograr mas que sobrevivencia
la luz es de los que la reflejan
juntos hermanos crecemos
valientes y con esperanza
por un mejor mañana

Iris De Anda is a writer, activist, and practitioner of the healing arts. A native of Los Angeles
she believes in the power of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, and dreams.

She has been published in Mujeres de Maiz Zine, Loudmouth Zine: Cal State LA, OCCUPY SF poems from the movement, & online @ La Bloga.

She is an active contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070. She performs at community venues & events throughout the Los Angeles area.

She hosted The Writers Underground Open Mic 2012 @ Mazatlan Theatre & 100,000 Poets for Change 2012 @ the Eastside Cafe.

Follow her story @ http://irisdeanda.typepad.com/la_writer_underground/

The Sacred Place of Dreams
Frank de Jesus Acosta

Last night I dreamt of you so vividly
In the us that was and is no more
Gone were the flowers, ocean-scape, or moonlight
Absent the sanctuary of your presence
Only joy in the bustle of the life and living we chose
We pause our rushing to no place in particular
Returning to a time of laughter and tenderness
A spirit child was present with your eyes and my smile
Suspended in that sanguine moment of ardor
Such is the precious temporal buoyancy of dreams
We are free again to touch and taste what was, but is no more
In my dream I was aware that my rapture was built on memories
Yet I danced on the thorns and thistles that scarred us in flesh
A dream reminded me all malevolence was scattered dust
Allowing me to dwell in the sweetness of passion’s lingering warmth
Knowing peace you dwell elsewhere in a preponderance of caring
A sacred dream returned me to a place our love remains eternal

Frank de Jesus Acosta is a writer and the principal strategist of Acosta & Associates, a California-based consultant group that specializes in community change ventures facilitated by non-profit management, organization capacity-building, fund development, project research/planning/development, and initiative management activities targeting philanthropic, non-profit, government institutions. Acosta is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Acosta’s professional experience includes serving as a Sr. Program Officer with The California Wellness Foundation, as well as executive leadership tenures with the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Downtown Immigrant Advocates (DIA), National Center for Community Change, and the UCLA Community Programs Office. In 2007, Acosta authored a book published by the Arte Publico Press Hispanic Civil Rights Series, University of Houston, “The History of Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos, Cultura Es Cura, Healing Community Violence.”

what do you bear
by Jonathan Heimarck

what do you bear
on the wings of others
and what on your own back
terrible as a shell?

the world
resting on a tortoise
could not see beyond its wish
and would not venture love.

if a wish survived
would it be the one you need
that sturdy face you wake to
crashing awful as the dawn?

if time’s ripe carcass
were just the look today
can it save a single life
a little boy from his gloom?

all this water!
I walked you like a curse
in streaks of wintry anger
on shoulders of boundless pine.

Jonathan Heimarck was born in Chicago on September 4, 1959, to Lois & Ted Heimarck. He counts among his influences Emily Dickinson, Hilda Doolittle, Wallace Stevens, and Dylan Thomas—whose poetry his mother Lois read to him aloud while Jonathan was in the womb. He has never pursued publishing his poetry, preferring to share it with poets whose gifts he considers greater than his own. Four of his poems were selected for publication in Four Quarters literary magazine in 2011 or 2012—a river bending sorrow, water strung, morning talk, and the sheet music rain. That is the extent of Heimarck’s previously published works.

Heimarck’s poetry has been variously described as traditionalist, lyrical, and anti-modern. He once described his writing method to friend and fellow poet Marilyn Basel as “taking a bunch of words, like a painter dabs at paint, and rolling them around on his tongue until a line sounds just about right.” As an art form, he sees poetry serving an important function in the human experience—voicing the conscience of each generation in a way unique to the written word.

by Anne Elizabeth Apfel

Our Sacred Trees, Corn, The Honey Bees
Our SacRed Mother....Once Fertile...Lands
Being .....Poisoned as we look away...
Pretending.....We can Live...in the Polluted..
Air and Water...Sun and Snow....
The Mother Laboring....To Breathe..
As we push her to the tipping point....
More Pills....To Cover the pain....we feel
of the Cancers growing in our poisoned body..
Forgetting the Simple life....giving qualities...
Of Life on the EArth...Living With...Her....Story...

Our Sacred Trees, Corn, The Honey Bees
Landing on
Our SacRed Mother....Once Fertile...Lands
Being .....Poisoned as we look away...
Pretending.....We can Live...in the Polluted..
Air and Water...Sun and Snow....
The Mother Laboring....To Breathe..
Heart Beats
As we push her to the tipping point....
More Pills....To Cover the pain....we feel
of the Cancers growing in our poisoned body..
Forgetting the Simple life....giving qualities...
Of Life on the EArth...Living With...Her....Story...

SacRed Being...

a life on earth...
Our Sacred Trees, Corn, The Honey Bees
The kind red soul....
Land-ing on
Our SacRed Mother....Once Fertile...Lands
learning to become
Being .....Poisoned as we look away...
forgetting they don't remember...
Pretending.....We can Live...in the Polluted..
The note say's please help..
Air and Water...Sun and Snow....
She red the...
The Mother Laboring....To Breathe..
help them understand....
Heart Beats
As we push her to the tipping point....
Running out of time...it says...
More Pills....To Cover the pain....we feel
Can you help?
of the Cancers growing in our poisoned body..
I Am...
Forgetting the Simple life....giving qualities...
To Bee
Of Life on the EArth...Living With...Her....Story...
With the Mother....

Anne Apfel is a Poet and Native Flute Player who lives in Buffalo, New York. Her photography, poetry and story have been featured in Yellow Medicine Review. One of her poems Datura can be found in Kim Shucks' Rabbit and Rose. This poem is in a style she has created and named "Two Voices Falling Into One" The writer listens as she writes to the voices in the wind...adding thought responses of the spirit voices speaking back...Listen for them as you read... The poem can be read as one poem or read between the lines as two or even three separate poems....using one reader or three.

1 comment:

Odilia Galván Rodríguez said...

Love the new layout Em! A stunning edition of La Bloga. Saludos y tlazocamati, Odilia