highlights from Pretty Owl Poetry’s #takeovertuesday

This week, I had the awesome opportunity to participate in a #takeovertuesday on Pretty Owl Poetry’s Instagram account. I posted a series of “a day in a poet’s life” posts in their stories as well as held a poetry reading via Instagram live. I also had the opportunity to field some questions ranging from the writing life to astrology.

I share the question and answers below in the spirit of community. Thank you again to the editors of Pretty Owl Poetry! Thank you as well to everyone who shared space with me on Tuesday, either by asking questions, attending the reading, or simply viewing the stories. In these times where so much of life is affected and different due to the pandemic, I am honored to be a part of such a thriving writing community!

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Image description: A man drinking coffee while sitting at a table with the following question and answer imposed: What kind of question should I ask you? Answer: IDK. I know a tad about astrology and tarot. And poemtrees. And surviving systemic oppression. Y’know, light stuff.
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Image description: A stack of books with the following questions and answer imposed: What is inspiring you lately? Where do you seek inspiration when you feel uninspired? Answer: Community. As an introvert, I’ve learned to redefine socializing. For me, a book review is social, a way to center community. Here are some important anthologies for me right now. On top is a book of aphorisms. I like reading and writing in fragments as silence, too, inspires.
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Image description: A couch pillow which features a skull wearing a flower garland with the following questions and answers imposed: Can ghosts have astro signs? Like if a Scorpio died in Pisces season would they change or synthesize? Answer: After conferring with my astro-colleague, I’m thinking, yes – one’s passing instigates a “death chart” parallel to one’s birth chart and interacts with it much like an Instagram filter.
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Image description: A journal set atop a set of loose pages with a pen laid across and the following question and answer imposed: What do you consider your best practice in revising your own poetry? Answer: My process is to fill up journals and then leave them alone for a year or two. Then I revise by hand, editing down. From there, finally, poems are typed. Once typed, poems might be revised depending if I’m working on a project or submitting. I’m not done with some poems until they’re in a book.
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Image description: A collage photo of two men and two women with the following question and answer imposed: And who is the poet that you most look up to and want to emulate? Answer: Obvs couldn’t pick just one. Here are some folx who for years have been lights to follow: Bert Meyers, Juan Felipe Herrera, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sharon Olds.
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Image description: A meme half consisting of Winnie the Pooh in a red shirt next to the word “apostrophe” and the other half consisting of Pooh in a tuxedo next to the words “top comma” with the following question and answer:  Fav meme template? Answer: On the spot, the Tux Pooh one is canon.  Here’s one I came up with based on something the amazing @hcohenpoet tweeted about an inventive response when not remembering the word “apostrophe.”
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Image description: A book held open to a page where some pen marks have been made on the printed words with the following questions and answer imposed: How do you know when you’re ready to share a piece of work? How do you know when it’s done? Answer: With most poems I’ll feel I’ve given everything I had to it, seen all I can. So I send it out or share it as part of testing that feeling. Sometimes I’ll just leave a poem alone for a month or so. Time is the great reviser. The final feeling of being done sometimes doesn’t happen until a poem is published (but as seen here that’s not always the case). I encourage y’all to have a fluid relationship with your work, to show it and yourselves kindness.
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Image description: A book laid on a table next to a mug with a skull on it, all with the following questions and answers imposed: What are you reading now? What new book do you recommend? Answer: I wrapped up a review of this new poetry anthology from @orisonbooks! I’ll be reading a poem from it tonight along with poems from the other anths from previous stories.

 

poetryamano project: june 2017

This week I’m sharing another installment archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled @poetryamano (poetry by hand). This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are highlights from June 2017. This month found me going further with erasures. Along with continuing to work out of a true crime book, I also did three tarot-themed erasures.

Be sure to check out the previous installments of the archive – and if you’re on Instagram, follow @poetryamano for the full happenings.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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[On the above two pictures: The Hanged Man was the first card I felt connected with in tarot. My wife drew it for me before a trip during a difficult time in my life. I was to be on my own, and the card asked me to ground myself (thaw out) in my writing. It was a powerful experience.]

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[On the above picture: Found poem made, literally, by hand (my hand’s blocking the rest of the text).]

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[On the above two pictures: Continuing with the tarot-themed erasures, here is IX The Hermit. I’m connected to this card in three ways, and its message of being a beacon for others means a lot to me, especially during times where I find myself naturally at a distance from others, or simply not fitting in. My wife took the card photo in answer to the question “Which card would you date?” Bless her for hanging out with me on the mountain. Also: My big ol’ noggin is in caricature in the background of the second pic! ]

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[On the above two pictures: Another tarot-themed erasure, this time focusing on the Chariot and the idea of motion in my writing. That each poem is a response to a belief, in the word and myself.]

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Happy amano-ing!

José

poetryamano project: may 2017

This week I’m sharing another installment archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled @poetryamano (poetry by hand). This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are highlights from May 2017. This month found me going further with erasures. Along with working out of a true crime book, I also began finding poems in a novel written in Spanish.

Be sure to check out the previous installments of the archive – and if you’re on Instagram, follow @poetryamano for the full happenings.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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Happy amano-ing!

José

writing prompt: shape tracing

This week I’m introducing a new type of post focused on writing prompts! These will come in part out of my teaching background and will also be informed by work I’m currently exploring.

This week’s poem, “have I mattered to my / phone…” in particular involves a visual component that doesn’t travel well to Instagram. For those of you following my poetryamano project, you know the writing I post there tends to be short, brief lyrics. The poem below is longer and engages with shape in an integral way so that even breaking it up into pieces across photographs wouldn’t work.

The prompt: Draw a shape on your page and then proceed to write a poem inside it. Don’t worry about line breaks, rather, focus on filling the shape with narrative, image, and whatever else pops up while writing. The kicker is that you’re limited to the shape you’ve drawn.

A variation on this prompt – and one that I follow in my poem below – is to trace out the shape of an object and then write about the object. What I did was trace the outline of my cell phone. It ended up looking like a crude soap bar, probably because of the protective case it’s in, but the shape worked for the exercise nonetheless. I then focused on the phrasing that came immediately to mind.

The world of phones these days is stigmatized in ways that are unfair to artists and people who do everything from conduct business to engage the world through apps that make their lives more accessible. With these thoughts in mind, the idea of mattering seemed like an apt thing to invoke. I have transcribed the poem below the photograph in case my handwriting is hard to read.

Let me know if you try your hand at this. As always, the Influence is open for submissions. Enjoy!

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“have I mattered to my / phone…” – José Angel Araguz

have I mattered to my
phone to where my fingers
swipe where my print has
slicked swirled been
singled out and suddenly
swept away have I mattered
to the oil and grease at
the side of my thumb the
flab of index the edge of
each fingernail have I
mattered to this space where
words appear under my
skin words flicker under
my pulse have I mattered
without metered thought
measured instead in mine
own mouth and malleability
have I mattered in matter

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Happy shaping!

José

poetryamano project: april 2017

This week I’m sharing the fourth installment archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled @poetryamano (poetry by hand). This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are highlights from April 2017. This month found me going further with erasures. I was working out of a true crime book, hence some of the more grisly poems, ha.

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I made a PowerPoint. Don’t hate.

I’m especially excited to share these this week as I’ll be presenting a workshop entitled “Reverse Tetris: Erasure Poems in Contemporary Times” as part of the Oregon Poetry Association conference in Eugene, Oregon. I’ll presenting work by @blackoutbiblepoetry, Isobel O’Hare, @kenyjpgarcia, @colette.lh, and @makeblackoutpoetry along with my own work. Participants will get a chance to work on their own erasures as well.

Be sure to check out the previous installments of the archive – and if you’re on Instagram, follow @poetryamano for the full happenings.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

 

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Happy amano-ing!

José

poetryamano project: march 2017

This week I’m sharing the third installment archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled @poetryamano (poetry by hand). This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are the highlights from March 2017. This month found me moving from handwritten poems to erasures. Can’t believe I’ve been at it for over a year.

Be sure to check out the first and second installments of the archive – and if you’re on Instagram, follow @poetryamano for the full happenings.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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3 word poems: An idea picked up from Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives.

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One of my first erasures, trying to work out a surreal image.

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Happy amano-ing!

José

poetryamano project: january 2017

This week, I begin archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled poetryamano (poetry by hand) here on the Influence. This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are the highlights of when I started the project in January. Every few weeks, I will be sharing another round of highlights as I continue to archive.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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My first post was this translation of a line from Antonio Porchia. I felt like it was a statement on the, ahem, influence of social media on our lives. Mainly, though, I thought the line was neat.

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Poem written in my head while talking on the phone with a dear friend.

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Poem thought of after my dissertation defense. Playing off the idea of gate-keeping in academia, I came up with this as a line in a freestyle in my head, then as I came to share it, I found myself writing it down in three lines of three words each. I like it here as the form breaks up the rhyme. I’m hoping to share more random things like this that come up and never land on the page for fear of being too cursi, corny, contrived, or any other alliterative term that comes via self-conscious worry.

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This one came from revising from a series of poems that would have been tanka but ended up way too rambly/brambly.

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In working on this one, “find” was originally “learn.” Yet, I liked the vibe of having “lost” followed by “find.” I couldn’t decide until my wife noted how you must find something first, and only then can you begin to learn it. And so I found this poem, and am humbled to keep learning what it has to say. I also like how the filter blurs the words on the right side.

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HANDS. Note that: 1) the five lines run 2,4,6,8,2 in terms of syllables (cinquain), and 2) the word “hands” is spelled downward in the first letters of each line (acrostic). Formal games like this are my jam.

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Happy amano-ing!

José

Goodreads Book GiveawaySmall Fires by Jose Angel Araguz

Small Fires

by Jose Angel Araguz

Giveaway ends August 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

some influence & book news!

influence news

This month marks five years of blogging on The Friday Influence! Over the years, this space has been a great source of community for me. Thank you to all of you who stop by regularly or just pop in at random looking for a poem. I continue learning much from interacting with you, either in the comments or elsewhere, including my Instagram poetry project poetryamano.

As the Influence enters its fifth year, I’d like to go further and reach out to readers and fellow writers in the hopes of having the blog be a bit more interactive. Above, you’ll see that there is a new “Submissions” tab with information on current calls. You’ll see that there are two specific calls, one for those interested in participating in a microreview & interview, and one for a montly haiku/tanka feature.

For the haiku/tanka feature, I’d like to do a monthly post of a variety of haiku and tanka, in whatever variations you are inspired to write. From traditional, nature-centered three line poems, to one line haiku, prose haiku or tanka, or even a blackout / erasure haiku or tanka. Check the Submissions tab for how to send your words and images.

book news

mask with frameIn other news, we’re about a month away from the release of my next book, Small Fires, which will be published by FutureCycle Press. As a bit of a preview, I am sharing the artwork that will be incorporated into the final cover, an ink painting by Andrea Schreiber.

This painting was inspired by the poem “Luchadores” (originally published in Waxwing) which I share below. Thank you all again for a great five years and stay tuned for the release of Small Fires in May!

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Luchadores

after Cathy Park Hong

They were the only men in the house,
and stood firm, one hand raised
saying farewell, the other idle.
I’d make each bed, wash dishes,
set chairs back in place, then dig
under the sink where their masked faces
waited to be pulled out. I fought
with them all afternoon, took turns
playing villain, playing good,
letting each one win, then starting
over. The light in the garage apartment
turned all summer, flickered
light and dark across the floor
as on the leaves outside.

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Happy anniversarying!

José

 

new prose poems & #poetsofinstagram news!

Just a quick post to announce the release of the latest issue of Pretty Owl Poetry which features three prose poems of mine from a new project. This issue includes stellar work from Ellen McGrath Smith, Chelsea Tadeyeske, and Trish Hopkinson among other great contributions.

Special thanks to Kelly Lorraine Andrews, Gordan Buchan, and everyone at POP for including me in such a great issue!

Check out the issue here.

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Also: The latest and last interview in my #poetsofinstagram series is up now at the Cincinnati Review blog! This time around John Carroll of @makeblackoutpoetry talks about his history with blackout poetry and the hope it inspires in him and others.

I had a lot of fun with these interviews and am considering continuing them on this blog. Stay tuned!

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See you Friday!

José

new #poetsofinstagram interview!

Just a quick post to share my latest interview in my #poetsofinstagram series over at the Cincinnati Review blog! Read it here.

This time around @colette.lh shares some of her stunning work as well as insights into what motivates and inspires her writing.

Be sure to check out my own @poetryamano account, a poetry project focused on poems made by hand. I’ve been working a lot with erasures recently!

See you Friday!

José