Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sonnet 56 (Los Angeles: Les Figues Press)

Here's the Small Press Distribution description of my new book, Sonnet 56, parts of which I've placed on this blog over the last year. What a beautiful book Les Figues Press created; I'm delighted with it. The image above includes the front and back cover. Many thanks to Ian Monk for his introduction to the work. The official book party will be at Moe's Books of Berkeley on October 20, 7 p.m. (with Norman Fischer). The book contains only a handful of sonnets, such as "Noun Plus Seven" and "Homosyntactic Translation." The rest are in other forms, including the villanelle, tanka, haiku, blues, qasida, and crossword puzzle.
The Small Press Distribution order page is: http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781934254127/sonnet-56.aspx?rf=1/
The Les Figues order page is http://lesfigues.com/lfp/199/sonnet-56/

Poetry. Paul Hoover's SONNET 56 mixes Love, Poetry and Shakespeare in a marvelous grab bag of form, wit and playfulness. Starting with Shakespeare's sonnet 56--"Sweet love, renew thy force, be it not said / Thy edge should blunter be than appetite"--Hoover writes 56 poetic variations, turning Shakespeare's sonnet into a series of new (and traditional) forms, including: "Villanelle," "Noun Plus Seven," "Limerick," "Blues," "Course Description," "Flarf," "Imagist," "Tanka," "Answering Machine," "Rilke," "Morse Code" and "Bad Writing." The result is tender portrayal of love and an excellent survey of the possibilities within contemporary poetry. SONNET 56 is published as part of the TrenchArt: Maneuvers Series, with an Introduction by Ian Monk and visual art by VD Collective.

Author Hometown: MILL VALLEY, CA USA

About the author: Paul Hoover is the author of eleven books of poetry. He is the editor of the anthology Postmodern American Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1994) and, with Maxine Chernoff, the annual literary magazine NEW AMERICAN WRITING. His collection of literary essays, Fables of Representation, was published in the Poets on Poetry series of University of Michigan Press in 2004. He teaches at San Francisco State University.

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The New Talkies: Neo-Benshi at the deYoung

You are invited to a unique program of narration and film art in the poetry series I curate at the de Young Museum of Fine Art.

Friday, September 11, 2009, 7 p.m.
The deYoung Poetry Series
de Young Museum of Fine Art
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Free to museum members; $5 at the door for all others
Parking is available in the museum garage; enter on Fulton

An Evening of The New Talkies (neo-benshi): live film narration introduced by Konrad Steiner

In the past six years a new application of live poetic art has emerged in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. This event will include poet-performers who have written scripts to re-narrate scenes from well-known films. With the sound muted, the images from the films are freed to reveal hidden subtexts and meanings which these writers draw to the surface or forge anew through the simplest means: a text, a commentary, a ventriloquist's dream to re-voice the silver screen and tell you what might have been really going on in those films we've all long checked off our Netflix queue.

From Jay Ward's 1960s TV show Fractured Flickers to Situationist Ren Vinet's 1973 film Can Dialectics Break Bricks?to Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the 1990s, the latter-day art of re-narrating a film has always been in the shadow of the original benshi (Japan) and pyonsa (Korea), the film-tellers who were stars in their own right during the silent era, explaining and voicing the action on screen from just off stage to huge admiring crowds.

The recent re-emergence of this live form is due in part to Korean scholar Walter Lew, and Japanese benshi, Midori Sawato, who herself continues to tour and educate audiences in this lost art. Poets appearing tonight who have taken up the challenge to reinvigorate the form for a new era include Andrew Choate, Jen Hofer, Douglas Kearney & Nicole McJamerson from Los Angeles; Rodney Koeneke from Portland; and Jaime Cortez from San Francisco. Local filmmaker, curator and writer Konrad Steiner will introduce the program.

Neo-Benshi text by Konrad Steiner; photo by PAH.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Letras Libres Agosto 2009

My poem, "The Mill," which appeared in Poems in Spanish (Omnidawn 2005), is one of several works translated by the Mexican poet María Baranda. The August issue of Letras Libres, published in Mexico City, features the poem, along with poems by the distinguished Mexican poet Eduardo Lizalde. It was also an honor to read my work in August with Eduardo Lizalde and Ana García Bergua of Mexico, Amalia Bautista of Spain, Enrique Hernandez D' Jesus of Venezuela, and Rae Armantrout of San Diego at the international poetry festival "Letras en San Luis" in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Enrique Hernandez D' Jesus is also a wonderful photographer. San Luis has a beautiful new art institute established on the grounds and in the redesigned cell blocks of a huge prison of the 18th century. One of its most fascinating features is the guard tower, or panopticon, set at the center. And the willow trees and light sculptures that stripe the prison walls are beautiful in the evening. I'll add a photo of it later.

El molino

Esta es la tarde cuando un pájaro anida en un sombrero
dejado en la calle por un hombre que vuela, un hombre de mundos y pasión, de niebla y vitela
y de esculturas que acechan cuando no estamos mirando, esta es la tarde.

Este es el momento cuando pasa el tráfico tal y como he pensado que pase,
porque he aprendido la manera, este es el momento.

Este es el sitio donde fue inventada la nieve.
Este es el pueblo sobre el que cae, hay tres casas
con luces de plástico a la entrada, un hombre que toca a su mujer
como a ella le gusta ser tocada –no importa qué cálido, siempre neva–
y la mano que hace girar el mundo, este es el sitio.

Esta es la vida que me mantiene despierto por la noche,
su piel y sus distancias, y este es el tiempo con su pie en la grieta,
incapaz de moverse aunque esté pasando, esta es la vida.

Esta es la hora en que el crimen fue cometido:
este es el primer motivo que observa. Este es el río que ahoga
y esta una sombra corrupta que lava sus manos, esta es la hora.

Este es el pez pequeño que se come al grande. Este es el hombre
que vive junto a las vías del tren; y este es el tren pasando.

Este es el molino donde el grano era convertido, este es el grano
inacabado, y este es el lecho vacío del arroyo
que antes hacía girar la rueda del molino, este es el molino de la ausencia.

Traducción de María Baranda

The Mill

This is the evening when a bird nests in a hat
left in the street by a flying man, a man of worlds and heat, of vellum and fog
and sculptures that lurk when we're not looking, this is the evening.

This is the moment when traffic passes as I have taught it to pass,
as I have learned the way, this is the moment.

This is the place where snow was invented.
This is the town it falls on, consisting of three houses
with plastic lights in the doorway, a man who touches his woman
as she likes to be touched--no matter how warm, always snow--
and the hand that turns the world, this is the place.

This is the life that keeps me awake at night,
its distances and skin, and this is time with its foot in a crack,
unable to move yet passing, this is the life.

This is the hour when the crime was committed;
this is the first cause watching. This is the river drowning
and a filthy shadow washing its hands, this is the hour.

This is the little fish eating the big one. This is the man
who lives by the railroad tracks; this is the train passing.

This is the mill where grain was turned, this is the grain
unfinished, and this is the empty bed of the stream
that used to turn the wheel, this is the mill of absence.

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