Hello, beautiful poets!
My name is Aynsley, and I have recently become one of the officials on JP. I will be taking over for the incredibly amazing and talented Jamie Dedes whose beautiful brain came up with the idea for Sunday Rally Dispatch. I can never hope to be as good as Jamie ever was, but I hope that in spite of a recent changing of the guard, you will still like what you see here and continue reading. Thank you all for all your support and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy what you read. As Jamie once said to me, "Happy Poeming!"
Today, we have the joy of celebrating the birthday of Catalan Poet Salvador Espriu. For those of you who don't know where Cataluña is, it is one of the many provinces (states, areas, regions…?) in Spain, near the Spanish/French border. Cataluña has a unique language that is similar to Spanish and French and Italian and Portuguese, but also very different, Catalan. But enough about where he came from, let's learn about the poet. Espriu was born in Santa Coloma de Farners, Cataluña, but spent most of his time back and forth between Barcelona and Arenys de Mar. At the age of 16(!), he published his first book, Israel (come on, poets! Most of us are slacking off!), which was written in Spanish. He studied Law and Ancient History at the University of Barcelona, and later traveled to many of the places where the myths that he studied originated, like Egypt, Greece, and Palestine. These countries and myths later became a great influence for his work.
During the Spanish Civil War, Espriu worked as a military accountant, but was still able to publish a book of prose and a play.
He is highly recognized for his work, and won several awards including the Montaigne prize (1971), the Award of Honor of Catalan Letters (1972), the Ignasi Iglesias prize (1980), the Barcelona prize (1982), and the Gold medal of the Generaliat de Cataluña (1982). He was given honorary Doctorates degrees from the Universities of Barcelona and Toulouse. He died in 1985 and was buried in the Arenys de Mar Cemetary, which he wrote a poem about:
Cementiri de Sinera
Quina petita pàtria
encercla el cementiri!
Aquesta mar, Sinera,
turons de pins i vinya,
pols de rials. No estimo
res més, excepte l'ombra
viatgera d'un núvol.
El lent record
que són passats per sempre.
And, for those of you who don't speak Catalan, but do speak English:
What a little homeland
surrounds the graveyard!
This sea, Sinera,
hills with pines and vineyards,
dusty lanes. That’s all
I love, that and the drifting
shadow of a cloud.
The slow memory of days
gone by forever.
And now for the recent news in the wide world of poetry. Star of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and "The One" from the Matrix, has written a book of poetry. Yes, that's right, Keanu Reeves, has written a book. Of Poetry. I cannot lie to you, when I first heard that I honestly thought I had clicked on the website for the Onion, or another phony news service, and I could not suppress a giggle (well, really, a laughing fit) seeing as he was named in a local student newspaper (and aptly so, I believe) as one of the top 10 actors to make fun of. But no, the rumors are true, a book of poetry has been written by this actor. After several tragic incidents in his life, Keanu Reeves was dubbed "Sad Keanu" and spent a lot of time wallowing. He and his friend, Janey Bergman, had a long-running joke about sad music, wallowing in self pity, and poetry, and as a joke, he wrote down lines to a poem that fit the mood of sad music that was playing on the radio while talking to Janey. They had a grand old time laughing and joking around, and the poem became quite lengthy. Well, Bergman has a friend in Los Angeles who is an illustrator by the name of Alexandra Grant. Bergman showed the poem to Grant, asking her to illustrate it so that she could give it to Keanu as a gag gift. Well, Grant did illustrate it and it became what Reeves is calling "a grown up picture book." There is one line of the poem per page (with forty pages… come on, I believe in your math skills!) With a simple inkblot picture illustrating each line. This dynamic duo took it to a publisher in Germany, and with only 4,000 total copies in print, each with it's own slipcover and on very nice paper, while supplies last, you can buy "An Ode to Happiness" for $55(!).
A short excerpt:
I draw a hot sorrow bath
In my despair room
More relevant poetry news coming…. NOW!
Greetings from Hyderabad!
Muse India Issue 38 (Jul-Aug 2011) is now released and can be viewed at www.museindia.com. Read delightful folktales in the section on ‘Indian Folk Literature’, compiled and edited by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, and transport yourself back to your golden years! The Issue carries a special feature on ‘Siraiki’, an ancient language widely spoken in the region around the Indus, that has had a chequered history last century. The section is put together by Dr Anjali Gera Roy of India and Dr Nukhbah Taj Langah of Pakistan in the first such collaborative effort for Muse India. We thank all these guest editors for their painstaking work.
A highlight of the Issue is a comprehensive discussion on matters literary between Menka Shivdasani, a noted poet and one of the founders of ‘The Poetry Circle’ of Bombay, and Charanjeet Kaur, our editor for Literary articles. The Issue also has a rich and engaging mix of fiction, poetry, reviews and essays of literary criticism.
Next Issue will bring focus on a language that is very close to Siraiki, that is Sindhi. Menka Shivdasani will edit this. Another interesting feature will be the coverage on ‘Literature of Young Adults’, a theme not usually looked at critically. The section will be edited by Deepa Agarwal. Further details are available in the link to ‘Forthcoming Issues’. Contribute to these sections are most welcome.
Muse India National Literary Awards
I am happy to share that our announcement regarding institution of Muse India National awards for Young Writers (for poetry this year) and Translators has been enthusiastically welcomed by all, and we have started getting entries from across the entire country. The announcement is available on the homepage of Muse India.
May I request all our members to share this as widely as they can and encourage talented youngsters they may know of to submit their entries? In the same vein, if they know of significant works of translations from any regional language into English (published since 2007), please bring it to our notice so that we can contact the author or the publisher. Do look up the details of the announcement.
Hyderabad Literary Festival 2012
After the successful conduct of the inaugural edition of Hyderabad Literary Festival in Dec 2010, it is now decided to conduct the next edition on Jan 16-18, 2012. Detailed planning is in progress and will be shared with all of you soon and also posted on the site. This is an early intimation so that those of you who would like to attend may start planning suitably.
Onset of the romantic varsha ritu all over the country should have brought relief from the simmering summer. Now is the time to relax and enjoy. I sign off here, wishing all of you a wonderful season ahead.
GSP Rao, Managing Editor, Muse India
O.K. I am not actually sure if copyright laws allow me to have this just copied and pasted right on here… could somebody let me know if that is legal? If it isn't, any copyright police out there, I am so sorry, I did not know, I'll take it off right as soon as somebody lets me know what I did wrong. Until somebody tells me that I have just ruined the space-time-copyright continuum, I will leave this bit up here so that you can look at the exciting new contests that you can join and the link to the brand new fresh issue of Muse India. And, by the way, the link does work, I just tested it out! There is some really interesting and informative and superfun stuff on that site, everybody!
Check it out! www.museindia.com (just in case the first link happened to decide not to work). Folklore is the big word on the newsletter today, lots o' fun! So, my friends, cuddle up with a blanket! It's story time! It's a really cool site with an awesome issue this month! Come on, just click on the link. Some peer pressure is bad for you, but this is very, very good. Click. Click. Click. www.museindia.com Click. Click. Click. NOW!
Finally, to honor the changing of the guards, I thought it only apt to interview my poetry hero, and recent JP official, Jamie Dedes. However, I am an idiot and not as on top of things as I should be, so I did not get her interview out on time! I hope you all will extend to me a little bit of grace this time…
Thank all of you handsome poets for the time that you have spent with me today! I hope that you have enjoyed what you've read.
Warm wishes, and happy Sunday!