* tanka, update, & news

after the discharge orders
we idle
at a stop sign
I haven’t heard
the birds til now

— Jose Angel Araguz

*

Just a quick post to update on life as well as to share news of a sale.

Update: I am happy to report that I was discharged from the hospital Friday afternoon and have been recuperating nicely. I even taught yesterday. I made sure to tell my students that I was happy to be in front of them again.

Thank you to everyone who helped me get through the difficult week/weekend. All the kind words and ‘likes’ of my previous post meant a lot to me.

*

Sale: Just got word from Flutter Press editor Sandy Benitez that all FP titles are on sale at 40% off including my own Corpus Christi Octaves.

This is significant on two levels: 1.) It’s the first time a chapbook of mine has been on “sale” (eek!), and 2.) This month marks the one year anniversary of Corpus Christi Octaves and the three year anniversary of my first chapbook The Wall.

I plan on sharing some readings from my recent trip to Texas to celebrate later this month. For now, check out the Flutter Press sale – including chaps by Dale Wisely, Howie Good, and Rachel Adams – here. 

The sale ends on July 13th.

*

See you this Friday!

Jose

* 2014 End of Year Reading

Seeing as we’ll be in 2015 by next Friday – life happens that quick! – I thought I would do something different to wrap up 2014.

Below is a short reading from my chapbook Corpus Christi Octaves done on the banks of the Ohio River earlier this week. Note the heavy fog on the river: by the end of recording, we were halfway in fog ourselves.

Special thanks to my wife, Ani, for going above and beyond the call of duty in the name of poetry by both recording this reading as well as providing the cover art for the book:

* bien hecha *
* bien hecha *

The collection deals with the passing of Dennis Flinn and Christine Maloy, poet friends from my hometown Corpus Christi, Texas. The poems read – “Sky,” “Stage,” & “Snow” – are written in an eight line form, each with its own syllabic measure.

Thank you to each and every one of you who stops by and reads this blog. My goal when I started was to have a forum in which to send a little positive poetry-centric energy out into the world. Through your readership, I feel that energy to have been returned many times over.

Enjoy the reading – awkwardness, fog, & all! Good writing and reading to you in the new year!

See you next Friday!

Happy fogging!

Jose

* new chapbook: Corpus Christi Octaves

* new chapbook! *
* new chapbook! *

I am happy to announce that my new chapbook – Corpus Christi Octaves – is officially available from Flutter Press! Purchasing info here.

This collection is made up of two elegiac sequences and an interlude. My goal with the two sequences is to honor my friends both for what they meant to me but also for the poets they were. In discussing Donald Justice’s championing of Weldon Kees recently with a friend, I found myself saying: “We gotta keep each other alive somehow.” There’s some of that in these sequences. My model in the spirit of the poems is Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, whose eloquent series on the poet Cavafy never ceases to amaze me in its ability to pay tribute both to the poet and to the craft of poetry. The interlude delves a bit deeper both into the setting, South Texas, as well as my own role of poet/elegist. The poems here meditate on different facets of the themes brought up in the sequences.

Another thing that marks this collection is the use of syllabics. In each of the eight-line poems, I work out a syllabic pattern, the jolt and jar of which allows for surprises as well as a sense of brevity and preciousness. This project took me back to when I was in 2nd grade and someone had showed me the 5-7-5 count of haiku, which then started me on the path of sitting in silence, wagging fingers in the air, doling out each word.

Here’s a sample:

Snow

The snow today brings back the first snow,

     white like this, at turns pristine,

     then bitter like this, broken

by steps whose depths can’t be guessed like this.

 

We’ve treated one another like snow,

     watched each other fall and drift.

     You have come today like snow,

and made me pause. And like snow you leave.

***

Special thanks to Andrea Schreiber for the remarkable ink painting commissioned for the cover. She did a great job of capturing a Corpus Christi icon, the miradores which line the sea wall:

* life imitating art *
* life imitating art *

Special thanks also to John Drury, Daniel Groves, and Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua for their wonderful comments on the back cover.

A very special thanks to Sandy Benitez, editor of Flutter Press, for helping me find a home for this project. Flutter Press is a micro poetry press that utilizes print on demand (POD) technology to publish modern, beautiful chapbooks, 6″ x 9″, with glossy covers. They have published collections by Howie Good and Dale Wisely. Find out more about the press here.

And thank you to everyone who has supported me along the road of doling out words!

See you Friday,

Jose