* monopoem giveaway winners!

2016-12-08-10-06-12Just a quick post to announce the winners of the current Mosca Dragón monopoem giveaway: Laura Kaminski & Jennifer Met!

Both Laura and Jennifer were kind enough to share some poetry in their comments:

Laura shared these lines filled with stunning imagery:

the wing patterns of white-tailed dragonflies are tai chi fish
in flight: where his wings are burnished brown, hers are
transparent and in the spaces where his are so clear they’ve
become invisible all that he is missing can be found in her

And Jennifer shared the following haiku whose imagery becomes technical and personal in a short amount of time:

mating dragonflies—
my overuse
of dashes

(Aubrie Cox, Muncie, Indiana, Frogpond 35:2)

Both winners have been contacted and will have a monopoem sent their way shortly.

Should anyone else be interested in receiving a monopoem, feel free to send me an email [ thefridayinfluence@gmail.com ] between now and next Monday, and I’ll have one sent your way.

See you Friday!

José

* in memory of francisco x. alarcón

The X in My Name – Francisco X. Alarcón

the poor
signature
of my illiterate
and peasant
self
giving away
all rights
in a deceiving
contract for life

alarcón4The death of Francisco X. Alarcón earlier this month has been on my mind as I wrap up my 3rd year reading and work through exams this week. Reviewing his book, Canto Hondo/Deep Song was a revelatory experience for me. Through following and engaging with Alarcón’s singular minimalist poetics, I learned a lot about precision with the line as well as how much weight can be carried via emphasis. But it was his commitment to representing and singing for those who suffered that moved me the most.

His death remains a constant source of conversation in the Latin@ literary community, mourning and celebration following each other in a complex cycle that would’ve pleased el maestro. As shown in the poem above, Alarcón was well aware of the contradictions to be worked with in being a Chicano; even an X in a name can be a metaphor for the multifaceted tension of identity and self.

I write this post the night before my final 3rd year exam. Diving into my own sense of tradition and identity in Latin@ poetics has been an emotional journey. I have had great community throughout – from my CantoMundistas, to readers of my poems and books, as well as those of you who stop and read these Influences. Thank you. Thank you as well to the great teachers I’ve had, in the classroom and on the page.

“Mexican” Is Not a Noun – Francisco X. Alarcón

  to forty-six UC Santa Cruz students and
   seven faculty arrested in Watsonville for
   showing solidarity with two thousand
   striking cannery workers who were mostly
   Mexican women, October 27, 1985

“Mexican”
is not
a noun
or an
adjective

“Mexican”
is a life
long
low-paying
job

a check
mark on
a welfare
police
form

more than
a word
a nail in
the soul
but

it hurts
it points
it dreams
it offends
it cries

it moves
it strikes
it burns
just like
a verb

*

Happy verbing!

José

p.s. Here is Rigoberto González’s tribute to Alarcón.

* happy crow-lidays via claribel alegria

Ars Poetica – Claribel Alegria

I,
poet by trade,
condemned so many times
to be a crow,
would never change places
with the Venus de Milo:
while she reigns in the Louvre
and dies of boredom
and collects dust
I discover the sun
each morning
and amid valleys
volcanoes
and debris of war
I catch sight of the promised land.

crow

Keeping it short this week with this favorite from Claribel Alegria. The directness of the lyric, how it dives straight into its metaphor and subverts the jab of “crow” into something powerful, never fails to give me hope and animo.

Also, any excuse to sketch up a crow, no?

I wish everyone a safe holiday!

Stay tuned for the End of Year Reading next week in which I’ll share audio excerpts from Everything We Think We Hear (available on Amazon )!

Happy discovering!

José

 

* 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