Monday, July 18, 2016

Anis Shivani and Jonathan Moody at FPL: August 4

Anis Shivani and Jonathan Moody will be featured poets at our next Off the Page Poetry series on Thursday, August 4 at 7pm. 

Anis Shivani’s books include Anatolia and Other Stories, The Fifth Lash and Other Stories, My Tranquil War and Other Poems, Karachi Raj: A Novel, Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish: Poems, and Soraya: Sonnets. Books forthcoming in 2016 include Both Sides of the Divide: Observing the Sublime and the Mundane in Contemporary Writing and the novel A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less. Anis’s work appears recently in Western Humanities Review, New Letters, Subtropics, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Boulevard, AGNI, Georgia Review, Threepenny Review, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Yale Review, and elsewhere. He is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, graduated from Harvard College, and currently lives in Houston, Texas. 

Soraya is repetition (100 sonnets in exactly the same style) and collage (fragments of verbal fusillades from dictionaries), as is the wont of postmodernism, and it also sets itself constraints (each sonnet has some consistent peculiarities, such as the recurrence of Soraya in the octave and the sestet, the close juxtaposition of certain discourses such as medieval medicine and 20th-century science, etc.) as a way of liberation, which is true of
Oulipo and other ‘mechanically-generated’ poetry of the latter half of the 20th century. But more than that I see Soraya as a specifically postcolonial book; the kind of constraint it operates under is almost a reflection of the constraints imposed upon the narrated self or the colonised subjectivity, and it appropriates the constraints not in a merely parodistic way but as a way of declaring freedom.from


Do you know the right color temperature
to make Colorado and its pathetic fallacy
transparent? Who is patently on our candid
sunbathing side? Visions of sump in which,
Soraya, alienated from the solstice of weight,
the fovea at last perceives the femme fatale,
Fata Morgana in the fat city. Fatimid endpaper
is as good as effleurage to my face.
Soraya (delta rhythms free like cucumber
mosaic) why is sleep our costume of pairing?
In the councils of mutism, the muzhiks’
nausea is nugget of the nuclear age proven
like pseudorabies: rainfall on raking light,
the raised beach at the end of the rainbow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Days: Baseball poems by Chip Dameron

Relay Man 
              Somebody drives
the ball through the gap in left
center, and the shortstop drifts
beyond the infield’s arc, waiting
for the left or center fielder
to run the ball down and fling it
toward him.
                      On the fly or off
a hop, no matter, the thing’s
to time the swing back home,
turning and whipping a hard
overhand to the plate, where
the runner from first cannot slide
out of his pending doom, ball
buried in a leather web, ending
the inning.
                      At short you live
to make the pivot, you trust
your arm to get it right, this
humming toward home, and lordy
do you let it fly.

Game Catch

          The closest thing
to a lie is a moment’s
deepest yes: the perfect
dive for a ball off a bat,
the gloved and echoed sting
verifying every hidden wish,
the shift and fling as true
as summer.
                       The hum we hear
is just the buzzing of the day’s
doings, wind across an infield,
electric lights that click on
and carve out a lifetime,
where line drives up the alleys
can tear holes in the air
that can’t be fixed.

 Chip Dameron is the author of a travel book and seven collections of poetry, including two published in 2015: Waiting for an Etcher (Lamar University Press) and Drinking from the River: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2015 (Wings Press). His poems and essays on contemporary writers have appeared in the Mississippi Review, Southwestern American Literature, San Pedro River Review, Puerto del Sol, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Orleans Review, New Texas, and many other journals and anthologies, as well as publications in Canada, Ireland, Nigeria, India, China, Thailand, and New Zealand. Dameron has co-edited two literary magazines, Thicket and Chachalaca Poetry Review, and served on the editorial board of four others. A two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in poetry, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, and Professor Emeritus at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, he lives and writes in Brownsville, Texas.