Death! Gotham! Masks! Devil! Ravens! Bells! Sleepy Hollow!

Don’t we all love explorations of the mysterious, of the uncertain of nature? It’s theundeniable mark of the human being: wonder and fear. Last year, I really enjoyed reading speeches, pamphlets full of dreams and power. But then, drifting away from the raising political USA I found the more romantic, folkloric USA, the one we learn the least about. And I am here to talk about Washington Irving,  William Cullen Bryant, and Edgar Allan Poe. I’ll be honest: I’ll say nothing new about Poe.

With no doubt, Irving caught me with three stories. I am very sure you’ve heard of the Sleepy Hollow, perhaps Rip Van Wrinkle and The Devil and Tom Walker, the first two of which are adaptations of German folk tales to his immediate context, New York (wait! did you know he popularized the word “Gotham” to refer to New York, and that’s the origin of the name of the city in Batman?!). What I like the most about his writing is that even though he might seem to go into psychological characters, he doesn’t. He doesn’t try to reveal ONE character, but rather aspects of humans in general through one character. The Devil and Tom Walker, a story where a man encounters a devil in the swamps of Manhattan, talks about the guile for power and goods. Sell your soul to the devil has never been old, and will never get old.

The Devil and Tom Walker by John Quidor

The Devil and Tom Walker by John Quidor

Now, Willian Cullen Bryant marks the beginning of Romantic poetry in the US, moved by what he considered the connection between the self and the universe, a source of poetry directly linked to God that was part of everything. It is all about the power of human imagination to unveil mysteries of nature. Here are some verses of Thanatopsis that reflect on death:

Thine individual being, shalt thou go/ To mix forever with the elements/ To be a brother to the insensible rock/ And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain/ Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak/shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.

 

Last but not least, Poe.The horror, the wit, the transformation of natural phenomenons into supernatural ones…!Story after story, poem after poem. No questioning his mastery and his legacy. I read him until I got sick of him: after a while, his techniques get repetitive, but that doesn’t take any of his credits away.  The one shocking thing is that sometimes he seemed too self-indulgent. Example: in Descent into the Maelstrom, the main character, a fisher with little or no academic background comes up with mathematicky terms right in the middle of the whirlpool. He justified it saying some scholar had taught him the words. Poe knew that vocabulary wasn’t realistic, but his smart, intellectual buttocks couldn’t avoid pouring all that geometry and logical thinking into the story. He just couldn’t. But that’s alright, he’s that awesome. If you haven’t read The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven, The Bells, and some others, your life isn’t complete. You think it is, but it really isn’t. You can find the ebooks online for no cost, they are public property!

I’d better stop this because I have accumulated about eight more authors… See you soon!!!

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Who is like God?

I sense the man

but defining him is the art

of interring bullets into a wall

of feathers

of mingling the air within their barbs

until one grasps his breath

and observes his essence:

are you like God or aren’t you?

If I were inhaled into your awoken tissues

and BloodBalled the wall,

If every quill were an idea

dormant at the threat of bloom,

could we lie on them on broken night crystals?

If time branched among sheets of ice

and on millions of instants I learned your body,

If lying on each other networked every neuron and thought,

could I yell Eureka?

If you weaved medullas and pierced tongues

to a domain-range sonata

doodling axes through sweaty umbilici,

fluttering under curves around limits through

the inflections of silence

Will I find proof of divinity?

Poema de no amor

 I don’t know if I saw you
If I would kiss you or kill you.
Bob Dylan

Hay ese cliché
y no en vano.
Aún con ese tu rito de masticar cayenas
sobre mis pechos
y el recuerdo de la niña en eNagua
vaciando el Atlántico con una cuchara,
no te toca amor en poema.
A ti te dedico mi suela perdida de inviernos
y la sábila que baja
dentre mis piernas,
el tenedor que clava la mano del ladrón
para regresar a mi lengua,
la pesadilla dentro de la pesadilla
en que alacranes se suicidan aunque ganen.
-No hay rosas rojas ni finas yeguas-
aunque solo desee tus manos en mis costillas
te regalaré orejas,
un océano nauseabundo de cartílagos
y un pincel para juegues con sus cenizas.

12/11 > 12/12 : Highlights Literarios

“Si tú supieras que cada vez que la veo, veo un artista y no pienso en química”, dijo Ivette a Joshabel en mi última visita al Centro Franklin. Ambas han trabajado de cerca durante todas las etapas de mi participación en el programa de intercambio Global U-GRAD. Es por ellas, su acogimiento caluroso, y su solicitud de mantenerlas al tanto de mis actividades extra-curriculares que escribo esta entrada. Sin intención de darme bombos, aquí un recuento de lo más relevante de mi último año de recreo literario.

“You know, each time I see her, I see an artist, I don’t think of chemistry”, said Ivette to Joshabel last time I visited Centro Franklin. They both have worked close up to me during all the stages of my participation in the exchange Global U-GRAD. It is because of them, their warm welcome and their request to keep them posted on my extra-curricular activities that I write this post. With no intention of blowing my own trumpet, here is a count of the most relevant that has happened this last year of literary leisure.

Dic/Dec 2011:
Dos de mis cuentos (“Crónica de dos cuadras” e “Historia sin zapatos”) son publicados en el primer libro del Taller de Narradores de Santo Domingo. Titulado “Santo Domingo No Problem”, todos los textos están basados en dicha ciudad.

Tow of my short stories (“Crónica de dos cuadras” e “Historia sin zapatos”) are published in the first book of Taller de Narradores de Santo Domingo (Narrators Workshop of Santo Domingo). Titled Santo Domingo No Problem, all the texts in the book are based in the aforementioned city.

El primer libro del TNSD.

Invitación a la presentación del primer libro del TNSD.

Abr/Apr 2012:
La única actividad de poesía en la que participé en Bozeman, Montana: Poetry Night en la biblioteca pública de la ciudad, Bozeman Public Library. El diario The ASMSU Exponent, de Montana State University, dedica un párrafo a mi intervención (más abajo).

The only poetry activity I was part of in Bozeman, Montana: Poetry Night at the Bozeman Public Library. The ASMSU Exponent, Montana State University’s Student Newspaper, dedicates a paragraph to my intervention:

MSU’s own Lusmerlin Lantigua, originally from the Dominican Republic, read one of her poems. Titled “Safari” and written originally in Spanish, her poem filled the audience’s minds with wonderful and seemingly random imagery like a “wake of butterflies”.

An article on the Poetry Night

An Article on the Poetry Night by The ASMSU Exponent (MSU).

El Colectivo Literario El Arañazo publica su primer libro Esto no es una antología: palabras que sangran durante la XV Feria Internacional del Libro Santo Domingo. En él, varios de mis poemas.

The literary collective I am part of, El Arañazo, publishes its first book Esto no es una antología: palabras que sangran during the XV International Book Fair of Santo Domingo. In it are some of my poems.

La No-antología de El Arañazo

Blog de El Arañazo : http://elaranazo.wordpress.com

Ago/Aug 2012:
Para la segunda edición de Cien Mil Poetas por el Cambio, un evento simultáneo distribuido realizado en 110 países, El Arañazo coordinó las actividades en Santo Domingo. Lusmerlin organizó el recital poético. Otros miembros se encargaron de los músicos y artistas plásticos.

For the second edition of A Hundred Thousand Poets for Change, a distributed simultaneous event in 110 countries, El Arañazo coordinated the activities in Santo Domingo. Lusmerlin organized the poetry recital. Other members were in charge of musicians and visual artists. 

100 Thousand Poets for Change 2012’s blog: http://www.100tpcmedia.org/100TPC2012/

Sep/Sep 2012:
Participación a distancia en Encuentro de Escritores en Ciudad Juárez, evento también distribuido en aproximadamente 130 ciudades del mundo con el objetivo de provocar la convivencia en lugares de alta violencia. Santo Domingo contó con 13 poetas seleccionados por los organizadores. Un fragmento de Poema Expreso se utilizó para un e-poster.

Remote participation in Encuentro de Escritores en Ciudad Juárez, an event distributed in approximately 130 cities of the world, with the goal of stimulating peace in violent communities. Santo Domingo counted with 13 poets selected by the organizers. An excerpt from Poema Expreso was used for an e-poster.

Dic/Dec 2012 (Upcoming):
1) El recital de cierre de año de El Arañazo.
1) The end of the year recital of El Arañazo.

2) La publicación del segundo libro del Taller de Narradores de Santo Domingo con otro de mis textos(ver invitación abajo).
2) The publication of the second book of the Narrators Workshop of Santo Domingo featuring another of my short stories (see invitation below).

El Fondo del Iceberg