World Poetry Day is HERE!!

Hats off to Colleen, Ladies and Gentleman (this is Kerri speaking).  Not satisfied with ONE major spring poetry event (National Poetry Month, coming in April), Colleen wanted to dive in to World Poetry Day as well.  That’s TODAY, March 21.  And boy am I glad she did.  Look at these fabulous poems from all over the world–Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Slovenia…..  And by some YARN alums and faves as well, like Rich Larson, Anna Levine, and our very own Lourdes Keochgerien.

They are all writing on the theme, “Measuring the World: the Geography of Poetry,” inspired by the ancient poet Eratosthenes.  If you want to read the original call for submissions, click here.

So settle in with your yummiest international beverage of choice (watermelon fresca?  jasmine tea?  cotes du rhone?) and enjoy these poems that illuminate our world through poetry (OBTW, the poems appear in alphabetical order by poet’s first name).  Thanks, Colleen!  And THANK YOU to these seven amazing poets!

**NB: Please note that the italics below refer to the Wiki page about Eratosthenes, the “shared text” of all these poets.

 

By Anna Levine – Israel & Canada 

On This Map of the World

Image courtesy of Jamie Anderson (flickr.com)

I am unfilled
color-less space
waiting for some hand—your hand?
to shape me.

Map my meridian arc.
Imagine the zenith,
dependent
upon the ebb
and flow
of time
and tides
Give me contours.
Chart mountains and valleys.
Insert legends.
Use all colors of the spectrum.

Create of me a continent.


 

By Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu – Japan & USA

The Discipline of Geography

Image courtesy of scotthyndman (flickr.com)

Will me there
and I will be
in the white shadows
of the rising sun

before time
and color
are cast

across sphered measurements

that do not parallel
the latitude of our intersection

I reach you,
the fourth direction
of the ten
I traverse,
without pole
needle

nor constellation

south

of the zenith
I bathe
in the tides
your body offers,
warm in the light of your eyes,
and lullaby in the arc of your lip

in each breath
I am there

in each breath
I am home

You are the measure of the world

We, the angle of elevation


By Leticia Teresa Pontoni – Argentina

Reach the Rainbow

Image courtesy of Brocken Inaglory (Wikimedia Commons)

Like a big comet
that plows the sky,
there you are.

A mellow breeze
caresses my face
like a small colored
painting that is
left to us after
a storm.

And suddenly, you’re there,
showing the magnificence
of God. Try to reach it!
It isn’t impossible.
Try to see it!
Don’t lose it from your sight.

If you reach it,
you can enjoy
all the happiness
you will ever need.

If you lose it, you may
never see
its brightest colors.
If you watch it and
admire its lovely colors
all could change.

Celestial distances between
the sky and the land.
A summer solstice is here.
An instant of time.

Like multicolored blossoms
the rainbow grew so close to me.
I could almost touch it.
Red glistened mid-air, as if
waiting for the world to start.

The others followed transparent,
then translucent
I reached out
wanting to bring colors
into my soul, but grasped elusive
air. The arch began to
dissipate, to fall apart like
dreams that almost,
but don’t, come true.


By Lourdes Keochgerien – Uruguay & USA

Life Tremors

Botticelli Armillary sphere

Image courtesy of The Yorck Library (Wikimedia Commons)

the armillary sphere of my life
was comprised of many rings
(hispanic, american, nerd, women)
which avoided collision.

Until

these lackluster, neglected circles
toppled into one another without
order or end
onto unknown lands.

now novel observers measure this unraveled world
better than Eratosthenes
with just a glance,
a question,
a nod.

but assembly without instructions
will rebuild my brass world
with more layers
(uruguayan, ex-pat, explorer, human)
and more endurance.


By Maja Vidmar, translated by Tomaž Flajs – Slovenia

How You Fall in Love

Image courtesy of Mr Senseless (Wikimedia Commons)

When you fall in love
With your dog,
You put on his
Little yellow paws
And with his
Swift heart
You start running from
A friend to
A friend, from
A neighbour to
A neighbour, from
A stranger to
A stranger.
After you have drawn
The picture of
All his paths,
You may lay
Your tired head
On the doormat
Of the healed world.


By Rich Larson – Canada

Other Astronomical Distances

Image courtesy of Omer Unlu (flickr.com)

If I could remeasure the globe,
I’d tighten latitudes and
Crush down longitudes,
I’d roll up the Tropic of Cancer
And shuffle those tectonic plates.

I would carve away continents,
Drop cities into the sea,
Scratch out every good and bad place
We once wanted to go,
Leaving only one rocky island,
Gnashed by waves
With enough space for the pair of us.

Then I’d stand on this side,
You on the other,
And after days, maybe weeks,
You’d have nowhere else to look
But into second best eyes,
And you’d know that I lied
When I said that you leaving
Was not the end of the world.


By Terry Farish (USA) with Suzan William – South Sudan &USA

Wherever You Are

Image courtesy of Thomas Hawk

A Degas girl with your arms unfurled,
or still as the sun at solstice noon,
wherever you are is the center of the world.

Try to toughen your skin and when you fail,
say hello to your own skin to the skin you’re in.
A Degas girl with your arms unfurled.

You might look up, see blue sky forever.
Beyond the sky, you can’t imagine.
Wherever you are is the center of the world.

Grow sleek and slide into the flyways of birds,
taking a measure of the earth’s circumference.
A Degas girl with your arms unfurled.

With a scrap, sculpt a chalice. Tilt the chalice
to your lips. Let everything you eat be sacred.
Wherever you are is the center of the world.

Give the chalice to a child at solstice noon.
She, too, is the center of the world we’re in.
A Degas girl with your arms unfurled.

Wherever you are is the center of the world.

–By Terry Farish  with Suzan William and her wishes for her one-year old child to have a life of health.


 

Bios & Pics

Anna Levine was born in Canada, Levine has lived in Israel for over 20 years.  Levine’s latest novel, “Freefall” was published with Greenwillow/Harper Collins. She has also published with Front Street/Cricket Books, and Karben Publishers. She has published award-winning poems and short stories in American children’s magazines. Levine has lived in Europe and the United States. This summer she was a guest on a Writer’s Retreat in Val David, Quebec, Canada, working on her next novel. When not on a retreat, Levine is at home in Israel where she lives with her husband and two sons. For Anna’s ideas on how to start writing, her life in Israel, and her travels with poetry http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/anna-levine-israeli-author-western-audience/

Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu writes poetry, short stories and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in HungerMountain among other publications. She was the winner of YARN’s second annual Candy-Cookie Poem Contest and is currently revising a middle grade verse novel set in Japan 2001. She maintains a photoblog about Japan, www.hereandtherejapan.blogspot.com.

In Annie’s words: I have always been a student of the way cultures divide reality. I grew up in Texas but have lived in France, Malaysia and Japan. I have lived half of my life outside my own culture sometimes feeling somewhere betwixt and between; neither here nor there. A perfect place for a fledgling poet.  This poem was written across an expanse of time and place. Years ago when I was a university English instructor in Texas, one of my Thai students raised her hand in class and asked what the word for the fifth direction was. The center point of direction. It was a starting point for a poem idea. Early drafts of the poem included the line, “I will reach you…the fifth direction”. YARN’s poetry exercise and link filled in gaps, but also provided the impetus to find a better-known reference for direction. Science actually defines a fourth direction. It fit perfectly.

Leticia Pontoni is an Argentinean poet, translator and illustrator. Her blog for children’s poems and stories in English and Spanish can be found at laflacaquevuela.blogspot.com. She puts her heart into all her imaginative work for kids.

 

 

 

Lourdes Keochgerien is YARN’s YA Consultant and Reader, and has been with us since Day One. She now lives in Montevideo, Uruguay (her parents’ native land), where the lucidity of the stars at night remind her how far away and how near she is to a place called “home,” whatever that entails. For a more detailed bio, see her info here.

 

Photo by Tone Stojko (cropped by YARN)

Maja Vidmar was born in 1961. She comes from Nova Gorica and lives inLjubljana (Slovenia) as a freelance writer. Her latest book of poetry, to be published this spring, will contain the original version of this poem; the English version is available exclusively on YARN. Vidmar contributed this poem to our World Poetry Day event because it paints a picture of dog (as a metaphor) who is drawing the map of love all over the world.

Vidmar has published five collections of poems including At the Base – Ob vznožju, Nova revija, 1998, and Rooms – Sobe, Apokalipsa 2008. Her book Prisotnost won the award Jenkova nagrada, the award Nagrada Prešernovega sklada and the Wiena scholarship within the frame of Grosser Preis für osteuropäische Literatur. She won the award Premio Letterario Internazionale Trieste Scritura di Frontiera dedicato a Umberto Saba 2007 and her book Sobe won the award Nagrada mreže gradova književnosti 2009. Much of her poetry has also been published abroad.

Rich Larson is a 19-year-old student living in Edmonton, Alberta. His novel “Devolution” was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. His work appears or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, and The Claremont Review. When not writing, he is a productive member of society. More of his works can be found on Figment.

 

 

Photo by Sofia Piel

About Terry Farish and her collaboration with Suzan William, in her own words: I write children’s book and books for teens and adults. My newest book is called “The Good Braider.” It’s a novel in verse set in South Sudan and Portland, Maine, about a teenaged girl’s experience of war and dreams and survival and the African art of braiding hair.

Photo by Kate Philbrick

I wrote the beginning of the poem “Wherever You Are” on the train from Boston to Baltimore. I was going to Baltimoreto see Suzan William who was a teenager in Portland when I was researching The Good Braider.  She is from South Sudan and I spent two years hanging out with her and her friends and family and collecting oral histories.  Now Suzan is married and a young mom with a 14-month old daughter. She contributed to this poem that is about hopes for a girl.  Suzan’s greatest hope is that her daughter would have pure, natural food and grow up healthy. Another piece of the poem comes from a calendar with a Degas painting, “The Ballet Class”, that is on the wall over my desk. I’d also just been to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and saw a Degas exhibit so the image of dancers with arms open came in my mind as I wrote, as well as Native American and Buddhist ideas of life.   Find out more about Terry at www.terryfarish.com.

 

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