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Articles tagged "Poetry"

The City and the Writer: In Beirut with Hala Alyan

Image: Hala Alyan. Photographed by Luc Kordas. If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Beirut as you feel/see it? Beirut is a place trying to escape its past. A decade and a half of civil war (and years of sectarian conflict since) has left the city scarred—from the...

From “The Ringing of the Rain has a Forgiving Grace”

11-14 A tangerine sun gave my birdcage a ripe rinsing Its spacious temporary closure is uncommonly loud and clear Dead ringer for a dime   12-25 Fingertips are spark-tinted. Their milk contains one-percent fat Slow results. Delay dowager’s hump. Low-lying pain. A leaky fist. I am willing to carve you a ten-second slice of winter. 嘹亮的雨水有原諒的美 © Ye Mimi. By arrangement with the author....

We Deliver More Than We Promise

Everything but everything was just so sweet To cater to his every wish To allow him to do exactly as he pleased with me To sacrifice the self I’d lost completely Entirely to him It was all so trivial it’s hardly worth mentioning But it shimmered with light I’m a pig, he said, isn’t that right? I’m the pig, I said, you’re just an idiot We were like vodka with a vodka chaser and a litter of kids who were just like honey Our kids will never forget vodka...

Coral Reef

Imaginary distances part from this spot, mirages which tell of the true distances between us. A man planted in front of the window is a ghost of himself suspended by improbable lines and colors. We are him and he is all of us as if we were yet the city around him. We are him and his slumped shoulders. We are him and his face gnawed by fish. We are him and the narrow streets that cut across him and stick through him like poles shackles and other senseless forms of nostalgia (like all forms...

ithaca

if you want to journey to ithaca call ahead because it looks like everything in ithaca is full restaurants, bars cheap hotels pricey hotels you can't travel to the ionian sea anymore  without reservations  and the ten-hour trip feels like ten years stopping in egypt? don't even think about it and the duty-free shops are full of perfumes you can buy with a credit card. your whole life you've wanted  to visit greece it was a childhood dream conceived in adulthood...

Ephemeral Invention

After Ferreira Gullar It’s this body through which I discern myself a body made of flesh and desire of limestone and fuel of sap and ecstasy of clay and wind carbon fiber and shit. This body which, prone to dejection, at times boasts such grandeur such nobility a window onto my own illusions that, as I walk the streets, others anoint with the same name my mother gave me the one the notary public recorded in his notepad. A body —head torso and limbs skin guts smiles and...

Trilingual Day of Rain

stone over stone s i l e n c e   il pleut aujourd’hui au Fort Chambly il pleut exactement comme il pleuvait il y a 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 1 400 ans il pleut comme il pleuvait il y a 11 400 ans 11 400 années de pluie as rain falls this afternoon a man in wet clothes stares at stone over stone the low clouds, the rain in s i l e n c e   Louis XVI reinaba en Francia en Nueva Francia llovía sobre las piedras y los bosques sobre la piel del...

The Flowers of War

the flowers of war open at night on boulevard Saint-Laurent a line from Lorca a word from Castellanos a body unharmed by the siege of Sarajevo a bomb that didn’t explode in Hanoi or Baghdad and the sweet lips of women in winter are enough to make dawn bear fruit on this corner on boulevard Saint-Laurent best if you don’t know who you are best if you don’t know where you’re from best if you don’t know where you’re going the boulevard’s flowers in...

The God of Tar and Bone

a man standing on the tracks stares at a train as it advances with a moan of metal and night the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts the siren wails the feverish headlight lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest but the man stays still before the apparatus still ten meters left and he just stares and stares at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him he lacks no strength or ability     to thrust his body to one side he can jump run dodge save...

WWB EVENT — (In)verse: Poets Translate Each Other

To celebrate National Poetry Month, on Wednesday, April 27, Words Without Borders and Poets House present an evening with three poet-translators featured in the April issue of WWB. Flávia Rocha and Idra Novey will read in Portuguese and English, and Melcion Mateu will read in Catalan. The reading will be followed by a discussion led by Catalan and Spanish translator Mary Ann Newman. The event is free and open to the public (please register here). A...

Pizarnik’s “Extracting the Stone of Madness” & Dabral’s “This Number Does Not Exist”

The Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik is not well-known outside of Latin America. In her own short lifetime, she associated with the writers of the Latin American “boom” movement of the 1960s, and achieved modest fame (Octavio Paz, as well as Julio Cortazar, sang her praises), but she never really made it in the English-speaking world. Now New Directions is set to release a collection of Pizarnik’s middle and later poems—Extracting the Stone of...

The Watchlist: April 2016

Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of forthcoming titles he's excited about and thinks you should be excited about, too. In honor of National Poetry Month, and in collaboration Colin McDonald—marketing and events coordinator at Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago—who helped compile this list, let us all sally forth into a few new poetry titles worth our good attentions:  From Omnidawn,...

Crow, Wheels

When the city was destroyed, they started fighting over the cemetery. It was right before Easter and wooden crosses over the freshly dug graves put out their paper blossoms— red, blue, yellow, neon green, orange, raspberry pink. Joyful relatives poured vodka for themselves and for the dead—straight into their graves. And the dead asked for more, and more, and more and the relatives just kept pouring. The celebration went on. But at some point a young man tripped over the...

[The whole soldier doesn’t suffer]

The whole soldier doesn’t suffer— it’s just the legs, the arms, just blowing snow, just meager rain. The whole soldier shrugs off hurt— it’s just missile systems “Hail” and “Beech,” just bullets on the wing, just happiness ahead. Just meteorological pogroms, geo-Herostratos wannabes, just the girl with the pointer poking the map in the stomach. Just thunder, lightning, just dreadful losses, just the day with a dented helmet, just God,...

From “Um País”

You undulate, soaked in iodine and sun around the cold outline of a universe: profound, public, oceanic, the mindset of a country: a tank of pleasure, of collective loss, shimmering in different grades of sepia since sepia is the shade of fine sand, and sand             is the color here, and ocean-blue. The night is at rock-height trying to pronounce your name: hot, salty in my mouth. How to explain the heat a language...

From “Clarice: The Visitor”

  I         “At three in the afternoon, I’m the most demanding woman         in the world . . . When it’s over, six in the afternoon comes, also         indescribable, in which I turn blind.”...

Adam Gerber’s Good-bye

I Adam Gerber says good morning:                                                             “Good morning, trees, good morning, sky, good morning, morning;...

Terra Incognita

I plugged my poem into a manhole cover That flamed into the first guitar, Jarred the asphalt and tar to ash, And made from where there once was Ground a sound instead to stand on.   "Terra Incognita" from The Ground by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. © 2012 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. 

Kim Yideum’s “Cheer Up, Femme Fatale” & Oh Sae-young’s “Night-Sky Checkerboard”

While reading these two collections, I couldn’t get LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” out of my head. Like James Murphy’s “kids coming up from behind,” Kim Yideum is a brash, no holds barred poet, unafraid of sensitive topics, though with a poet’s healthy self-doubt. Oh Sae-young, on the other hand, is an older poet whose generation came of age during the depredations of Korean partition and matured under the fractured and...

From “Photograms”

Our country has no more warriors only timeworn fig trees beaten thoroughly by the thousand winds of our plight. The barefooted angels with pathetic faces at the bottom of our ramparts die with each new light. The scent of childhood is now nowhere to be found no chance of nursery rhymes or sunshowers what happened to the hours of ancient romance our dreamy obsession with Al-Buraq’s powers? Oh that horse-woman with the mane flowing longer than the clouds over our houses crumbling...

Anatomy of the Rose

When the rose perceived the distance between itself and the earth, it brought forth its thorns. When the rose realized that a single leg couldn’t take it anywhere, that it was voiceless and mostly had no echo, it thought of fragrance. The blooming petals: a navel. The stem: a rope that binds it to the earth’s deep womb. That rose will be born someday in a lover’s hand or between the shores of a book. © Soukaina Habiballah. By arrangement with the...

The Red Triangle Café

How I adore the café  door             there’s a newspaper             and a seat and, you know, I mean, that means I know             all the latest news. In and out flapping about             Waiter! one Lipton tea and my number . . . I dialed it on my...

They Told You

Stick a toothpick of silence in your mouth! That your word should never bear witness! That your song should never be the echo of fire While a fire is being prepared for you in the afterlife! They told you That your feet should be nailed to the household! That you should never reach a market or a beach! They told you That you are your father’s when you’re young!    That you are your spouse’s when you’re married! That you are your grave’s once...

Chronicle of an Execution

A drop of sky from Paradise streams
 A bud from the bonfires on Hell's branches
 A bundle of black rocks in the heart
 Grateful gifts for the verses that flow toward the moon
 A page of the epics where heroes' corpses lie buried
 The past that advances shouting Charge!
 The odes sung by souls entering and leaving
 to doors opening and doors closing
 Distant graves approaching
 Girls never seen twice and beds seen many...

Against Tradition

At just that moment I was eyemate to a blind one and went among you You must have thought we couldn't see Some of you said you'd show us the house of God, then led us to dwellings you’re still building after centuries We didn't mind Some of you without a second thought told us your diaries and wives were your sacred customs We didn't mind Some of you claimed to speak of love and untied the knots concerning your bodies and tried to pin upon us the flowers that grew...

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