Monday, May 31, 2010

6 Straight Lines, Gaza

The absence of sense depends on cultural ball bearings where and how they fall/

to determine relative logic of putting one foot forward in longitudinal march to border lands/

where a country’s laws meet powerful competing demands of moral and international norms/

where six boats on the high sea must be given free passage and are not subject to fits of national/

madness leading to death even death has no logic except to draw attention to continued crime/

of blocking access to cumin and cement, among other necessities, for population of Gaza City.

Indran Amirthanayagam, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Antesala de Medellin, el 26 de Mayo, 2010, Lima

Si andas por el centro de Lima este miércoles 26, a las 7 pm, para un rato en el Centro Cultural Inca Garcilaso, Ucayali 391. Ahí voy a leer con el poeta Renato Sandoval en " La Antesala de Medellin". Sandoval y yo nos reuniremos de nuevo en la vigésima edición del festival de poesía de Medellín en julio.

Los poetas Renato Sandoval (Perú) e Indran Amirthanayagam (Sri Lanka) ofrecerán una lectura de sus poemas, como antesala del XX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Colombia. El evento, al que ambos han sido invitados, tendrá lugar entre el 8 y el 17 de julio.

Fecha: miércoles 26 de mayo

Hora: 7 pm

Lugar: Jr. Ucayali 391, Lima.

Entrada Libre

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Mark Pawlak's Jefferson's New Image Salon Matchups & Mashups

Once in a while, perhaps every day, as in an endorphin-releasing morning walk, let us extract ourselves from pressing matters of family and state and delight in the splendid anti-oxidants of association. Mark Pawlak’s Jefferson’s New Image Salon Matchups and Mashups offers us this divertissement. It tells us to look once at the subject name and to stare wide-eyed at its predicate as in “Lincoln Hat Supreme” or “Washington Rib & Chop House”,” Roosevelt Costume Shoppe,” or in the link that gave Pawlak his title “Jefferson New Image Salon.”

I have never read a poetry collection like Pawlak’s latest. This is anti-poetry in the spirit of Nicanor Parra’s drawings with lines attached, as in Parra’s cross where the moniker says “Voy y Vuelvo” ( I will be right back).

The beauty of Pawlak’s book is that he has done the associating from found materials, everything here picked up by an observant and intelligent citizen, member of the community. Pawlak, the peculiar poet, has taken on the role of acute observer and subsequent assembler of tomfoolery and gimcrack and wonder. Like Shelley from our Romantic Poets class, “the unacknowledged legislator,” here is an avatar, resident in Cambridge, Massachusetts and frequenter of “Leda Foods” and “Helen’s Leather Shop” (from “Greek & Roman Mythology in Massachusetts.”)

Pawlak draws his arc wide across the canvass, from the Greeks and the Bible to Shakespeare and the New World. He includes British Authors and European Composers and North American Tribes. This assemblage comes certainly from New England, from associations linking European settlers and America. I have begun to daydream about other associations, perhaps from the West Coast, Chow Fat Salon, or Good Luck Cleaners, or perhaps a Hawaii specific set, Diamond Head Grill, Waikiki Flip Flops, But the universal begins of course in the particular and New England culture and its attendant parts merit a feast day and a fine poet of found materials, a Bauhaus-type, a wit with shapes of words, Mark Pawlak.