recent publications

Quick post to share some recent publications both poetry and essay, online and in print!

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of colorHappy to share that my essay, “Becoming the Weather: Reflections on Poetry as Cultural, Political, and Spiritual Act,” has been recently published in Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making ~ An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics (The Operating System, 2019).

This anthology includes work by 15 wonderful poets, including Ocean VuongCraig Santos PerezSasha PimentelChing-In ChenKenji LiuKhadijah QueenTim SeiblesAbigail LicadAddie TsaiRemica L. Bingham-Risher, Wendy A. Gaudin, Melissa Coss AquinoTony Robles, and Ernesto Abeytia.

I’m grateful to editors Luisa A. Ingloria & Amanda Galvan Huynh for including my essay in this necessary and engaging anthology!

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unboundIn further anthology news, I’m happy to share about having work featured in the following two anthologies:

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Lastly, I am proud to share that 8 of my poems are featured at The Zen Space as part of the Spring 2019 Showcase guest edited by Daniel Paul Marshall. Special thanks to Daniel for showcasing these particular poems!

* a bit of memory lane with ted kooser

Ten years have passed since I read Ted Kooser’s essay “A Poet’s Job Description” (in The Poetry Home Repair Manual) and yet I am compelled by much of what he says. He is casual, generous and warm throughout, all while dishing out truth bombs like “Poetry is a lot more important than poets.”

In the essay, he shares the following poem, a poem that has stayed in my memory and yet feels new as I reread it this week. The connections throughout between physical activities builds up slow, but merge completely in the last line.

* baby it's grey outside *
* baby it’s grey outside *

A Rainy Morning – Ted Kooser

A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain,
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.

***

Happy turning!

Jose

*[Image by RidiculousDream at DeviantART]

* update & holiday greetings

This week on the Influence: an update!

I have been busy the past two months applying to PhD programs.  The past two weeks especially were a crunch.  Preparing writing samples, writing soul-baring personal statements that also sound professional and career-oriented, the GREs – all of that plus the daily back and forth in my head about whether this is the right thing to do with my life and so on…

For these reasons, I’ve taken a more personal approach to the Friday posts during this time.

Expect a more familiar post next week.

For this week, here is my poem “These Streets” originally published in Tiger’s Eye Journal, the good folks who publish my chapbook, “The Wall”.

This poem is the first solid poem I wrote when I landed here in Oregon back in 2007.  You can see the young Jose face to face with the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

It’s also a ghazal, a form which you can find more about here.

Check it out:

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These Streets – Jose Angel Araguz *

I know I am not the first to walk these streets;
Why, then, do I feel alone when I walk these streets?

Leaves shuffle and whisper overhead, trash cackles in the gutter;
What cold things would they say if they could talk, these streets?

The river roils against black, stripped banks;
What do they take, shift, shame and rock, these streets?

There are colors and lines that show the way for cars;
Why, then, my unmarked path? I, guideless, stalk these streets.

José — why shed questions like tears about these streets?
Sorrow, like oil, leaves its stain; blackness and iridescence mark these streets.

***

This past Wednesday I wrapped up the last of the applications – and suddenly it’s Christmas.  I’ve been to two holiday parties so far this month, which should have been a clue as to the time of season.  In the holiday spirit, here’s a sweet photo:

double shot of yin & yang
double shot of yin & yang

That’s me and my girl at a coffee shop.

As you can see, I’ve very much warmed up to the Pacific Northwest.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

– jose

* originally published in Tiger’s Eye Journal.