O, Miami Chapbook Workshop 2017

31 Oct

Spread over 8 weeks in the months of Sept. and Oct., the O, Miami “Write and Publish Your Own Chapbook” workshop explored the chapbook in all it’s forms, gave participants a chance to generate poetry with thoughtful prompts and readings, and time together to workshop poems in preparation for publication.

Literally, the moment I found out about the O, Miami Chapbook Workshop, I signed up. I have been thinking about publishing a chapbook for a long time now. I have several groups of poems that I have already written, and ideas for poems that I could write, to potentially include in several different chapbooks. This workshop helped me dedicate time and commit to making one chapbook a reality. That in itself was priceless.

Our instructor, Caroline Cabrera, did an outstanding job of leading us down a path to learning and understanding what our chapbooks could be- one major facet of our workshop was that by the end of the 8 weeks we were going to have a 12-page chapbook, printed and bound, all of our very own.

The workshop gave us the opportunity to not just generate new work, but also workshop our poems with the other poets in the group. We each workshopped three poems, one every other week. Discussions were lead by Caroline, who was an excellent moderator and helped guide us as we discussed each poem. Thankfully, we really gelled as a group and learned a lot from each other. All of this unleashed a wave of creativity and inspiration that I think we all felt – every night after class I got back home and wanted to write and read poetry all night long, my brain firing in all kinds of creative directions.

Another excellent aspect of the workshop was the ability to focus on one idea or theme in our poetry, and begin to carry that through to a finished product.¬†Beginning with the first week of the workshop, Caroline brought her personal collection of chapbooks to share with us by lending them out. Seeing how different poets approach this medium is fascinating and liberating. A chapbook is a world unto itself- a journey into the mind of each poet. I wish I had more time to read more of them ūüôā But my takeaway was that I could envision my chapbook as it’s own little world, and that has translated into a laser-like focus that I am still learning from.

There truly is nothing like holding a book of your own words in your hands. Our finished products were designed by Phil, Caroline’s husband, who took great care and creativity in laying out the covers and pages. It’s one thing to run copies of your own poetry off of your printer, but it’s a totally different experience to see them laid out, looking book-professional and official. Thank you, Phil!

We each produced 10 copies of our finished product. Since our chapbooks are part of a series for our class, we decided to call it the Category Six Chapbook Series (thanks to Hurricane Irma which hit during the second week of class). They are similar in cover design, but we were encouraged to embellish them in any way we want to. From seeing Caroline’s collection of chapbooks, I knew that I wanted a little color and some more tactile elements, so I included some end papers and a ribbon bookmark in mine. In several of my poems I use the phrase green-gold, so my end papers are gold vellum, and my ribbon bookmark is thin green satin. I think they look beautiful!

This workshop was one of the best experiences in my entire life. It jump-started my chapbook, which eventually is going to grow into a book-length collection of poems. That is so exciting to me!

plein air ecstatic poetry

Creek Lover – my 12 page chapbook of plein air ecstatic poetry.

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Across (a cento)

15 Jun

ACROSS

Leaping-
free fall, airborne

suspended
reckless, open innovation

that mysterious thing
opening and closing.

Scenes, lying there
waiting, not explaining.

An insatiable fascination
with language,

selfless reverence
to make it come alive,

my palm
against her palm.

A post shared by Lupi (@thenewjerseygirl) on Jun 4, 2017 at 6:30am PDT

Sunday morning, June 4, 2017 was the first official day of the Bread Loaf Translators Conference in Ripton, VT. Our very first craft lecture was by Idra Novey, and this poem is a cento from her lecture. Idra is a poet, novelist, and translator from the Spanish and Portuguese. Her lecture was a perfect beginning to the conference, because she encapsulated exactly what it feels like to be a translator, with humor, insight, and heart. Thank you, Idra! On a side note, she is also super cool and fun to hang out with, and I wish I got to hang out with her more ūüôā

Bread Loaf Translators Conference 2017

19 Mar

I submitted my manuscript of translations of Mario Benedetti’s poems and got accepted to the Bread Loaf Translators Conference this year. I am super excited, and cannot wait to be in Vermont this summer. In addition to the joy of being accepted, I was also¬†honored with a Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship.

Right now I am looking for new poetry to translate from either Spanish or French. I am particularly interested in translating poetry from unknown or lesser known South American poets who are suffering from Chavismo in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. If you know of any poets, please share their names/work with me.

The Wind Shifts

21 Oct

Come, thief
whispering to fool the wind
invitation to a secret feast
power & possibility.

The unfolding center,
divine nothingness,
domain of perfect affection

If one of us should fall
faster than light
don’t let me be lonely.

I spent a lot of time browsing the pop-up poetry bookstore at the Dodge Poetry Festival, both yesterday and today. One of my favorite things is to read and collect the titles of poetry books, and then try to assemble them into a poem. I walked around with my notebook and jotted down the titles that sounded interesting to me. This poem is the product of that exercise.

My sincere thank you and apology to those poets whose book titles I skimmed with my little net.

She Said

9 Sep

She said:
Hello, compadre
You have taught and changed me,
or should I say,
you have made me see something else
in myself.

Thank you. I appreciate your efforts.
Although, you can make a person sad,
you know?
You? Oh yes.
I know that you are sad, too.
But you see
we do not speak the same language.
You’re a man
and I’m a woman.
You understand that; preservation of the ego.
It really is important, though.
It protects us from knowing.
Well, Goodbye.
I have a feeling that you,
even though you have already experienced a lot,
have learned something, also.
You have learned
what you want me to learn.
Well, goodbye again.
I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve done all the talking.
It’s difficult to untangle words and acts.

wpid-wp-1428443982409.jpeg

This poem was written 45 years ago by my father, Al Eyde. It was found on a type-written page¬†among my mother’s old photos and papers. He wrote¬†poems to her while they were apart for a few months, one cold winter in 1970.

My parents met in Guayaquil, Ecuador where my mother was a senior at the Catholic University. My father was a professor of English at the university, and my mother was his student. They knew each other for a about a year before they began dating, and were married in 1970. My dad flew back to the US and a few months later my mother joined him.

My father passed away 8 years ago, on Sept. 12th. Every year I try to remember him in different ways. I had never read any of his poetry or even knew that he had written any, so this year’s memorial is seeing him in a new light.

Epilogue

28 Jul

Truly, this: My thoughts
of you won’t leave the worn paths
carved within my heart

Our eyes, our mouths, locked
invisible caresses
skin to skin, linger

I meant everything
my silent lips have said
and more. Yes, there is more.

 

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Sometimes there is no clear path. There are many things I want to express, but at the same time I have to question myself: to what end?

Mincing words almost always leads me to haiku. This is a series of three haikus. Together they are but a scratch along the surface of everything I keep inside.

The last haiku is 5-7-5, but for aesthetic purposes I dropped the 7th syllable of the second line down to the last line. So, instead of a haiku, its a my-ku ūüėČ

Ode to This Moment

16 Jun

I cut my teeth
on the excuses made
for lack of performance

I cut my tongue
on the words
I never took the chance to say

crystallized thoughts
fiberglass shards of words
difficult, even though

all I want to tell you is
always, forever, and again
your pain is my pain

your joy is my joy
my abounding enthusiasm
quivers in your hands

your hands
your hands
your hands

Morning Pages

26 Apr

Writing morning pages
is cream skimmed off the top of
my thoughts, or pond scum.

Writing morning pages
is the pool boy, whose long net
catches leaves and dead bugs.

Writing morning pages
is your hands cupping my face
your eyes deep in mine.

Writing morning pages
is the clack clack of these thoughts
Ding! then hard return.

image

A flock of haiku for the home stretch of National Poetry Month.

La Muchacha

15 Apr

Gisela la muchacha
called me Ni√Īa Lupita
though she was only
two years older than I

While she cooked and cleaned
I watched TV, after school
learning Spanish from telenovelas
Gisela, watching from the kitchen

Two teenaged girls, learning about life
the haves and the have nots
campesinas longing for joy in the big city
poor girl in love with the patrón, or his son

No one wants to explain
to a 13 year old gringa
why she’s not supposed to befriend
the 15 year-old maid

I knew Gisela had dreams
and they weren’t my laundry
she had no skills, and no money
her prospects were grim

How can you tell a girl like Gisela
get an education, when there’s none to be had?
And grow up in front of them
with a life laid before you?

I still remember Gisela’s¬†shy smile
she’d hide it behind her hand
and after she left,
I tried to understand

to this day I still struggle
with the unfairness of it all
and it’s still hard to not be friendly
with the muchachas

DSCN6459

Guayaquil, a city of over a million people in Ecuador.

Ode to Sr. Mosto

14 Apr

My Algebra teacher
is 84 now, he lives alone
in the house downtown that he grew up in,
his mother and sister long gone

I’d love to sit with him in his parlor
hear him talk about his life
how 50 years of math
brought him purpose and joy

I would rejoice at recalling
his famous sayings, his
booming voice, weaker now
but still full of encouraging authority

And secretly I would hope for a pop quiz,
to prove that, despite years gone by
I still remember his exacting lessons
on how to make sense out of x and y

photos_cuarto_curso_mosto

My Algebra teacher, Sr. Mosto, with me (in the sweater) and tow of my best friends in 1987.

32 years ago, my Dad informed our family that we were moving to Ecuador for two years. He had been recently hired to be the new Director General of the American School of Guayaquil. I had mixed feelings about going, and leaving my Jersey shore world, but then again, I was 12. I asked him what it was going to be like, going to a new school, with all my classes in Spanish. He said, “You are going to have Mr. Mosto as your math teacher. He is an excellent math teacher.” Honestly, at the time, those words didn’t exactly excite me ūüėČ

He was absolutely right, though. Sr. Mosto had a very clear way of explaining math. I still remember the way he formed his numbers in chalk on the board. He had flair, he had presence, discipline, exactitude, authority, efficiency, and an absolute command of algebra. He rarely got angry, and could handle a classroom full of 50 junior high students (yes, 50) AND give them an excellent base in mathematics without ever having to raise his voice. He simply and kindly commanded respect. Although he never received any formal training in teaching, he was one of those people that were born to teach. He taught at the Colegio Americano for well over 40 years, only recently retiring in 2008.

Mr. Mosto never married, and lived with his mother until her death. Now he lives alone, and at the age of 84 has medical issues, but remains alert and lucid. He pretty much has everything taken care of as far as his physical needs go. I know this because just last week, a fellow ex-alum, Tzely Shalev, got in touch with him. As he spends most of his days alone, with a godson helping him around the house, Mr. Mosto told her that he would love to hear from his students, and maybe some could even come visit him. So, she started a Facebook group and within a day had 1,700 members. Barely a week has gone by and now the group has about 2,600 former students, just from our school alone (he also taught evenings at a few other private and public schools).

Mr. Mosto has received hundreds of messages- and best of all- visits from students! On Wednesday a group of friends from my graduating class visited him and even gave him a tablet with data service so he could see all of the messages we had posted on his Facebook group, and set him up with a Facebook account.

When I look back at the teachers I have had that truly formed my intellect and gave me time-tested tools, Mr. Mosto holds one of, if not THE highest spot.

The outpouring of love and sincere desires to help from so many of my fellow alums is absolutely beautiful. What I am most grateful for is that the opportunity to do this has happened while he is still with us, when he truly needs it the most. All of this has filled my heart with indescribable joy.

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