microessay & microfictions!

Just a quick post to share the publication of my microessay “One Broken Line at a Time: Notes on Poetry and Migration” featured at Letras Latinas earlier this week.

During the month of March, Poetry Coalition members CantoMundo and Letras Latinas are partnering to present guest posts by CM fellows at Letras Latinas Blog that will include essays, creative non-fiction, micro reviews and dialogues between writers as part of the project Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration (#WeComeFromEverything).

My essay brings together ideas on the poetic form haibun and the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe into conversation, along with some reflections on both from my personal experiences.

Special thanks to Barbara Curiel & Francisco Aragón for including my work in their project!

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I also wanted to announce the release of the latest issue of Star 82 Review, which features three of my microfictions: “Over the Sink” “At the Table” & “Pallbearer.”

This issue includes work by Devon Balwit and Natalie Campisi amidst some other stellar writing. A warm thanks to Alisa Golden for featuring my work!

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See you Friday!

José

* new work up at star 82 review!

Just a quick post to announce the release of Star 82’s Special Flash Issue which includes my piece “Prayer Box” along with an original ink sketch!

This special issue consists of 50 poets writing flash pieces of exactly 5o words each. Stellar work by Todd Mercer, Kate K Lore, and Autumn Stephens among others are included. Check out the rest of the issue here.

Special thanks to editor Alisa Golden for putting together a great issue and for allowing us to share original artwork!

See you Friday!

José

* a revisit, prose poem thoughts, & thanks

Footnote – James Schuyler

 

The bluet is a small flower, creamy-throated, that grows in patches in New England lawns. The bluet (French pronunciation) is the shaggy cornflower, growing wild in France. “The Bluet” is a poem I wrote. The Bluet is a painting of Joan Mitchell’s. The thick blue runs and holds. All of them, broken-up pieces of sky, hard sky, soft sky. Today I’ll take Joan’s giant vision, running and holding, staring you down with beauty. Though I need reject none. Bluet. “Bloo-ay.”

Tiny_Bluets

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about James Schuyler’s “The Bluet” which he references in the prose poem above. I just discovered the above poem in a prose poem anthology I’m reading for my exams. I marvel at how much of Schuyler’s human fascination comes through in both his poem and “footnote.” The added information here, both of pronunciation (I’ve been saying it “blue-it” as in I really blew it with that pronunciation) and of Mitchell’s artwork, adds layers to Schuyler’s ongoing meditation on the bluet. Both in lyric and in prose, the flower is turned over, “running and holding” for both Schuyler and reader.

Earlier this week, I posted about the release of my collection Everything We Think We Hear (available for purchase on Amazon). In discussing the project with friend and poet John Sibley Williams on Facebook, I found myself realizing something about the ambition of the project in its turns between prose poetry and microfiction. At one point, I wrote:

So much of what we do in a poem, prose or lineated, is about what’s unspoken, while microfiction lends itself to more narrative completion. The most apt metaphor I can think of at the moment is those jeans and hoodies that come pre-scuffed up and torn, a narrative holding but frayed.

There’s a great quote from Robert Frost about poetry books where he says that if a book of poems has 25 poems, the book as a whole should stand as the 26th. This quote has long been an inspiration behind the strategies I use in putting a manuscript together. This quote also points to the way projects can have pockets of the same idea, varying shades of the same color. In the spirit of Schuyler’s takes on the bluet, I hope variations in form and intent work out an added layer to the reading experience in Everything We Think We Hear.

Thank you to all who have reached out with kind words and good wishes on the recent publication! Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy or plans on doing so (you totally should)! And lastly, thank you to John for getting my brain thinking 🙂

Happy bluet-ing!

Jose

P.S. After all that, it’s still a painting command in my head: “blue it!”

* beginning with juan felipe herrera & some news

This week’s poem by Juan Felipe Herrera (recently appointed as the first Chicana/o U.S. Poet Laureate) caught me towards the end the first time I read it. The way the details come together. The turn and return at the end to the image of something dark around the neck. Each reading of it since that first helps me appreciate the lyrical nerve at work.

The words about the grandmother had me in my memories of my own grandmother who passed when I was nineteen. I’ve been in a similar space as the poem describes, “inventing her memory.” For me, “black sparkles” is ink, each word more of the “leash” the poet writes of.

Cimabue, Goya, Beginnings – Juan Felipe Herrera

I carry a dark necklace around my neck.
It’s painted on.

No one has taken notice.

They think it’s an outline or an odd shadow.
No one has stared longer than a few seconds.

I’ll tell you.

I didn’t know where to put all the fragments of the novel
that family never finished. It had such sweet beginnings,
but it grew umber with a one-eyed madonna hovering
over the lampshade.

So many years, I whispered to her
come to me,
listen to me
I understand.

She would appear to me with gold-leaf
around her braids and seven daggers erect over the heart;

perhaps the last desire; the first real words
escaping from my grandmother’s grave, trying to touch
my hair as I sat at seventeen, writing,
inventing her memory.

Her voice was so loving,
now, all that remains is this broken leash
of black sparkles.

Frescoes in the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi, southern transept, scene: Apocalypse, Detail by Cimabue
Frescoes in the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi, southern transept, scene: Apocalypse, Detail by Cimabue

I’d also like to announce that my full-length microfiction collection Everything We Think We Hear has just been accepted for publication by Floricanto Press!!!

This manuscript has gone through several incarnations since 2012. The move towards microfiction happened in the last year. Something conceptually clicked about these pieces as I was working with FutureCycle Press on the finishing touches of my recent chapbook Reasons (not) to Dance. FutureCycle’s belief in one project breathed life into another.

I’ll be sharing more updates on the project as the book comes together.

Happy everything!

Jose

 

* another excerpt from Reasons (not) to Dance

* holy dancin' castles *
* holy dancin’ castles *

As promised, here is a second installment celebrating the release of my chapbook Reasons (not) to Dance!

Above is another of the ink paintings by Andrea Schreiber that was nominated as a possible cover. This ink painting was specifically inspired by the piece “Spinster,” the text of which is below.

Enjoy!

Spinster – José Angel Araguz 

You want me to tell you about life here. There was a castle where a woman was buried within a wall as a sacrifice. They knew nothing about her except she loved to dance. Later, there was a law against dancing. You knew when someone was breaking the law because the castle would begin to shake. Mother called the woman a saint: only someone who was pure could root out those who wronged. The night my father left, the castle crumbled down. Granted, this is only partly true. It was told to me and I tell you, not because I believe in dancing castles. I believe you have come here wanting stories, and all I have learned are reasons not to dance.

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Copies of Reasons (not) to Dance can be purchased here.

Happy (not) dancing!

Jose

* new work up & forthcoming news

Just a quick post to share the news of two recent publications.

First, this weekend marked the publication of Right Hand Pointing’s Issue 87 “Alabama,” a states themed issue. I’m happy to have been allowed to do my part to rep both Oregon (here) and Ohio (here). Special thanks to the RHP editors!

* twitch hitter *
* twitch hitter *

Also out this week is the latest issue of The Citron Review which includes my microfiction piece “Twitch.” Read it here.

 I’m especially excited about this piece as it is part of my forthcoming chapbook “Reasons (not) to Dance.”

Intrigued? Me, too.

Mas news about this soon, promise.

See you, Friday!

Jose

* microcuentos, new work & augusto monterroso

The Dinosaur – Augusto Monterroso

When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.

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* what hitting snooze can get you *
* what hitting snooze can get you *

The above, by the Honduran writer Augusto Monterroso, is credited as being one of the world’s shortest stories. Monterroso is one of my favorite writers in the Latin American microcuento tradition.

When I first read him, I was amazed at how much spookiness can happen in a short amount of prose. The form – which in English goes by various names: flash fiction, prose poetry, short shorts, microfiction, etc. – allows for a certain kind of sensibility to play.

Myself, I find a complicated humor in the form at times, as can bee seen in two new pieces published in Star 82 Review’s Issue 2.4.

Check out “Wisp” and “Brown” here.

Happy wisping!

Jose

* new short (short) fiction at Star 82 Review

Just a quick post to announce the release of the Issue 2.3 of Star 82 Review featuring my short piece “Clams.” Read it here.

I was excited to find this review. The generous spirit of its content – from short (short) fictions to erasures, art, and translation – had me interested right away.

Check out the rest of the new issue here.

See you Friday!

Jose