Saturday, November 19, 2016

Welcome back to 1974

The most lucid (but probably outdated) definition of poem I got is from an old 1974 book  by David Swanger called "The Poem as Process." (which I've been reading in bits instead of doing my homework)

He writes: "It is poetry because it is excited, precise, presentational, and evocative; as such it encourages meaning-making by the reader and engages him as co-poet in the act of empathetic re-creation." (p.144)

"But how do we know when a poem achieves precision? ...when it elicits the desired range of responses from the reader. Precision in poetry links the poet to the reader and consists in the effect a word, a line, a stanza, the entire poem, will have." (p. 13)

 "...[P]oetry can no more be wholly presentational than it can be wholly discursive. It must be both, but its discursive function must always be supportive of its presentational, never supersede it." (p. 153)


"The poet collaborates with a linguistic culture in the first instance simply by writing in a given language." (p. 164) ---which makes me want to write more Tagalog poems.

Now I feel as if very little of what I've written does justice to that definition.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Random quotes from “Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile” by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Retreat under roof of self. Under vault of ribs and spine.

My blood creeps along a dark endless track. On quiet feet.

Unbury myself.

Such a bulk of being to regulate. Disorder stalks then day and night. They stalk it back.

My shell never slips askew. Pupil never dims… Yes, the mould sometimes clings to my back as I rise in April. Yes, I carry the dishabille of earth for a time.

Shadows thicken under shrubs…

Walk through the holes in their attention.

So it is with humans. Quickness draws their eye. Entangles their attention. What they notice they call reality. But reality is a fence with many holes, a net with many tears. I walk through them slowly. My slowness is deceptively fast.

Because I have slow animals and the earth on my brain. 


Anak ng pusa
Anak ng putakte
Anak ng tipaklong
Laman, loob, lupa
Sa putik ka gumulong

Son of a cat
Son of a snail
Son of a tadpole
Muscle, core, earth
In mud you roll

Note: Just experimenting with translating myself. Some things cannot be carried over. Like the "laman-loob" meaning innards/guts and "lamanlupa" is a term for gnome that dwells under a mound of earth. Also you won't get the euphemism unless you're familiar with the Spanish/Tagalog word for whore (puta). Aside from cat/pusa & snail/putakte I also use mud/putik as a "cleaner" substitute. As for the tipaklong, it's just something I say to myself, a second-layer euphemism since it follows the rhythm of putakte in my head.