Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kelly, Lime and Forest

Mud green. Moss green. Fresh-from-the-seed green. Pine, pond and sea-foam. Three hikes in one week: Angel's Rest, Tryon State Park and Falcon Cove. I feel like a forest creature, slicked in mud and swallowed in leaves. Eyes made of wet emeralds. Blood made of bark dust. The clouds float through me and I drink.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good glowing fruit

I can't deny that the relentless wet of May and the cool, damp of June have left me less celebratory than I usually would be this time of year. But then I remembered the strawberries I planted for the first time this spring and suddenly the tiny harvest is beginning to pay off. It's 55 and misty but I just ate this luscious fruit grown in my backyard. Behold the perfect palate cleanser: Bitterness removed. Sweetness restored.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poetry x 12: Belonging

I'm late on reporting on the Poetry x 12 challenge for May. But late for what and for whom? I'm pretty convinced that the vast majority of the hits on this blog are from Japanese pornography spammers (now there's a term I couldn't have imagined using ten years ago.) Oh well. Whose to say Japanese pornographers don't like Iranian poetry.

May's challenge was to read a poetry collection from another part of the world. This was a perfect opportunity to read my former classmate's translation of poetry written by Iranians in exile. Belonging is a beautiful book that offers Niloufar Talebi's translations of three different generations of Iranians all of whom left their country because of the 1979 revolution.

This collection was appealing, in part, because I'm drawn to literature that either evokes a strong sense of place or explores place as a theme. What does it mean to have a home you will never see again? One of the more well-known poets included in the collection, Nader Naderpour, writes in his poem "Conversation in the Dark":

World of swarming crowds,
And of all that avails on the endless horizon,
If we have a destiny, it is our loneliness.

I love Mina Assadi's simple, evocative expression of longing in "Yearning for Saari 1" where she addresses the wet weeds of her homeland:

tell the breeze
that so lovingly passes through you,
someone on this side
of the world is also enamored
of the scent of your bodies!

Loneliness is not the only subject here, but it is the one I was most drawn to. There is actually great diversity of style and subject in this sampling and I was continually impressed with Niloufar's translation abilities. Despite the fact that the original poems accompany each of the translations, it was easy to forget that these were not written in English. This is a great introduction to a world of voices of which we've heard far too little. For more info on contemporary Iranian literature and the other interesting work that Niloufar is doing, check out The Translation Project.

This month's challenge: The classic poetry collection you always meant to read but never have. Coincidentally, I purchased a copy of The Odyssey a week or so ago and have dug in. This is not only in keeping with the Poetry x 12 challenge, but in keeping with my habit of reading large dense books during the summer. I swear, I don't do it on purpose, but clearly my subconscious is in rebellion against the breezy beach book. But more on that another time...

Monday, June 07, 2010

The green fuse drives the flower

More nothing. Just a bit of documentation. Garden as of the first week of June. Now all we need is a respite from the rain for a little while so I can sit out here and watch the crows watch me and watch the squash unfurl oh. . . so. . . slowly from the earth. Green strawberries. Baby, slug-nibbled lettuce. Ugly little Dahlia shoots struggling up into the light.