May 20, 2014


Many thanks to poet Alberto Garcia-Teresa for inviting me to the writing process blog tour.  You can read his own response here.

1) What am I working on?
My most constant project is that of translation, translating poetry from Spanish into English and vice versa. At the moment I´m working on an anthology of contemporary Spanish Poetry: Poetry of Conscience Criticism and the translation into Spanish of the forgotten Beat Poet, Bob Kaufman.
At the same time, recently, I have been working on two things: a series of short little things, which I have been writing with Fridge Magnets as an exercise in creativity and as part of the group #TheLovers which is attempting to free verses from their chains and let poetry run like wild animals through the streets. The freed verses can be seen in twitter: @arteenlazanja and are called #VersosLiberados.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess the big difference with my work is that even though my native tongue is English, I am only able to write in Spanish, my creativity and curiosity of language came to me when I began to learn Spanish at the age of 20.

3) Why do I write what I do?
                The topics of what I write about come from my personal experience of living divided between two languages & two cultures: “Bilingualism: lexical schizophrenia where the patient suffers from multiple languages.” I´m a student of poetry and enjoy reading, it is obvious that what I´m reading at the moment and translating becomes part of my expression, “I am not a poet/ merely a thief/ not one of grandeur/ a simple picket pocket/  snatching out of/ pockets and purses.”

4) How does your writing process work?
                One of the things that shocked me when I arrived in Spain was all the accounts of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, I have never seen the virgin but after beginning to learn Spanish, verses would show themselves to me.  When these apparitions occur I jot them down and then later go back to them to see if they are a complete message, most times when I revisit them they are ideas which inspire me to write something else.

Dira Martínez Mendoza (Venezuela)
John Martínez Gonzales (Perú)

Dira Martinez Mendoza (Venezuela).
Internationalist graduated from the Central University of Venezuela with specialization in Advanced Studies in Latin America from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has participated in various national and international poetry festivals and workshops. Her poetry collection (N)aves was published by Pirata Cartonera Editors and a big selection of her work has been included in diverse Latin American anthologies. She is a regular contributor to literary magazines and fanzines. Since 2009, her poetic proposal includes the intervention of bodies, seeking for places of encounter outside ideologies and recognizing poetry as part of everyday life. Body: the beginning / the end. Soul, the eternal flame, infinite.”

John Martínez Gonzales (Peru)
Has published the poetry collection "Collage de viaje", the plaquette "Doblando" and the book of poems "El Elegido". He has also made the video/poetry work of: "Un cuerpo tallado a verbos" and "Extremidades/raices."
 And is one of the producers of "5th Lima Poetry Festival” that will be taking place in October of this year.

May 5, 2014

JOHN GALLAHER--My Writing Process--Blog Tour

Many thanks to poet G.C. Waldrep for inviting me to the "My Writing Process" inquiry.  You can see his own response here.

Questionnaire: WRITING PROCESS

1.  What am I working on?

Today is May first, 2014, and yesterday I finished an April poem-a-day project that I’m afraid to look at.  I still have the one I did last April that I haven’t looked at either.  I’ve no idea what I’m doing.  maybe I’ll put them both together and call them Aprils.

I’m always working, it seems, but never really ON anything.  That’s not really true, though, now that I see it written out, as sometimes I AM very much working on something.  I guess I just don’t like to think of it that way.  During the early 2000s, I wrote a lot, and though I published some individual poems, no published books came of any of it, so I have a little stack of these manuscripts.  Because of that, I’m thinking right now, to think of myself as “working on something” now fills me with dread, the feeling that I’d be adding things to that stack.  Currently, I think, my count of unpublished books stands at six.  They even have titles: Guidebook, America Is, Finally the Festival Will Pay for Itself, Radio Good Luck, Everything We Can’t Touch Is Vaguely Unreal . . . it goes on.  Aprils!

The year before last, 2012, I think it was, I got sick of all these unpublished things, and went on a year-long exile from writing poems.  In that time I worked on editing (typing, selecting, researching) the work of Michael Benedikt, who died in 2007, which became Time Is a Toy: The Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt that Akron put out at the turn of 2014. 

And now I’m in the proofing stage of my next book, In a Landscape, which will be coming out this fall from BOA.  I was wanting to call it non-fiction rather than poetry, but poetry it is.  It’s interesting, proofing this book.  It’s a much closer proofing than I’ve ever done before on one of my books.  Perhaps that owes itself to the “non-fiction” nature of the work.  There are more style issues, more quotations to get right.  It’s a fun experience. 

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I started to answer this question and then just devolved into repeating the word YIKES over and over.  I believe very much in this question, though, because it’s a helpful question for poets (and artists in general).  People are always saying what things are LIKE, what poets one writes LIKE, that this other movement, this movement of difference and (one would hope) novelty, are often secondary, or not mentioned at all.  Maybe that’s because most of us really don’t differ much from others in our genre.  That’s not a good thing, though not everyone can be original, I know all too well.  Difference is important, though, to imagine for oneself, even if it’s partly (or mostly) fantasy. 

I love those moments where I complete brand new things, where I feel I’ve stepped through some veil or something woo-woo like that, and then someone reads it, and says something like “Hey, more John Gallaher poems!” where I thought they were going to be more like “no way, did YOU write this?  It sounds SO different!” 

When I was younger, I believed more in the inventive side of the imagination, and these days, I’ve gotten more interested in the organizational side of the imagination.  I think the poems reflect that, as something of a shift.  If that’s different from the poetry of others, though, I don’t really know.  I hope that the finished things don’t just seem to be reflections, one always hopes to have at least a modicum of projection there as well. 

3.  Why do I write the way I do?

I don’t feel that I have all that much of a say in how I write.  I’m always kind of wildly throwing everything I can at the page.  Sometimes that turns out to be a mess of language, and sometimes a more spare mess.  I guess it’s like cooking.  Sometimes it’s soufflé night.  Sometimes it’s salad and a roll.  I really like Miles Davis’s response to the question, “What are you going to play tonight?”, where he said, “I’ll play what the day presents.” 

4.  How does your writing process work?

I always write from a title.  And then whatever comes to me next, I write down.  Sometimes it’ll be thoughts on the title, sometimes it’ll be other things I’m thinking, that, for whatever reason (I hope there is one, even if subterranean), happens next.  I really like the kind of art that leaves it all on the page, where everything that happens in the moment of writing the poem is IN the poem. 

When I get to a moment where nothing comes, I have this decision: does this mean the poem is finished, or does this mean that whatever has propelled me forward is finished.  If it’s the first, simple enough, but if it’s the second, then I go to my little notebook of scraps and ideas, or to whatever’s lying around (magazines, the Internet, etc) and cruise a bit, and either the poem grabs me back, or something I come across presents itself as a possible way forward. 
- - - -

John Gallaher is the author of The Little Book of Guesses (2007, Four Way Books), winner of the Levis Poetry prize; Map of the Folded World (2009, University of Akron Press); and co-author, with G.C. Waldrep, of Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (2011, BOA Editions), as well as co-editor of Time Is a Toy: The Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt (2014, University of Akron Press).  His poetry appears widely in such places as The Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Field, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, and Pleiades, and in anthologies including The Best American Poetry.  Gallaher is currently associate professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University, and co-editor of The Laurel Review, and The Akron Series in Poetics. 

ALBERTO GARCIA-TERESA--My Writing Process--Blog Tour

Many thanks to poet Iulia Militaru for inviting me to the "Writing Process" blog tour.  You can see her own response here.


1) What am I working on?

I have two writing projects open at present. Both fall upon long structure, as one unique expansive poem, and they are about the world state: nature degree, injustice, poverty, hyper-consumerism, alienation, wars, abuse of power, hypocrisy... One of them, “El alba se asoma entre los cerrojos” ["The dawn is peeking through the locks"], also uses irrationalist imagery in expansive verses. It’s about the instant exactly before a change is made in all the areas of life, the things and the structure of the world (the political view is obvious). I try to continually investigate how language can maximize the complaint and show the horror and the contradictions of our society, how “Progress” inflicts human, social and nature destruction. I am still looking for poetry that can help destabilize all the construction that capitalism ideology has created to hide the ongoing iniquity and mind control.

Also, I’m working on a few projects about “critical poetry” (contemporary poetry that takes the social and economic problems as focus of its perspective): two different anthologies and some meetings and street-plays.

Anyway, it’s very interesting to see how all this poetry that deals with political conflict is demanded by the readers and (I think this is most relevant) there are a lot of people interested in the social problems but not particularly in poetry; people who are unemployed, who are mobilized in social or political organizations, who are fighting in the streets against this crisis and the capitalist solutions. Many demonstrations, protests or antagonist events call for poets of this trend to recite in their acts. Poetry shows it can be an important tool to dispute the actual organization of the world.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think that we can’t reproduce the Romantic speech this way: all culture is a cooperative work over the ages. One continues the discoveries of the others. There is, in fact, a “tradition of the rupture”, even when we want to break the situation.
In any case, being aware of it, I try not to forget the oral components of the poem, its reproduction in front of an audience. But every poem must be able to withstand a careful reading if it aspires to be a good poem. We can’t forget this.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Literature and Poetry are ideological constructions. They are part of the ideology of the oppressors. But they also can be part of the ideology that aims at another organization of society; another world. Anyway, it’s obvious that poetry can’t change the world alone, but it can change the people who have the capacity and the desire to change the world.

Poetry can be a powerful tool to overthrow Power. One of the manifestations is its ability to reveal, because we can rediscover the world with it. We would be forced to perceive reality differently. Poetry shows new relationships that exist through the links that language allows (comparisons, metaphors, synesthesia ...).

This requires us to have a continual self-criticism to uncover the elements of this ideology of hierarchy that we use unconsciously: language, structure, themes, relations… Only if we are able to think and speak we will be able to build another kind of society.

4) How does your writing process work?

I write by hand, in different notebooks. I have to reread a lot, and I continually revise the texts. Also, I like to read them to an audience before I finish the poems. It helps me a lot, because you need to think a lot again in the worlds and in the situation in the verse. To let them rest from me for a while is also a good way to acquire a proper perspective for review. Then, I type them in the computer, but it doesn’t mean I have finished the writing and rewriting process… Publishing them can stop the process.

                                                                                                                               Alberto García-Teresa



Zackary G. Paine
Zachary Gregg Payne is finishing his PhD in Spanish and Latin American thought at the University Complutense in Madrid, Spain. He divides his time between philosophy, poetry and translation. Currently he is investigating the relationship between the Avant-guard movements (The Beat Generation, the Nadaista Movement from Colombia and Kloaka from Peru). He has published three books of poetry: strangely enough although born and raised in Utah, he is only able to write poetry in Spanish.
When not writing he enjoys translating poetry between English and Spanish.  He has published translations of the Latin American poets Rafael Cadenas, Pablo Guevara and Ruben Quiroz. He also published the first Spanish version of The Abomunist Manifesto by the forgotten beat poet Bob Kaufman.
Here is a link of a piece of his poetry which he performed last Nov: 

Gordana Stojkovska
Gordana Jovic Stojkovska was born in а time of a sublime freedom in a country whose name was virtually erased from the maps. But somewhere within herself, she kept carrying the universe’s message that freedom is the most important, most essential and holy privilege we have gained from humankind. It is precisely freedom that she uses as a motif in her literature. She writes in Serbian and in Macedonian, she translates and investigates in the field of South-Slavic mythology. She is an editor of a literary magazine and of the Slovo Ljubve publishing center. Prose predominates in her literature because she believes that poetry is a magical unity of the universe that can touch the poet only in a few special moments. In her work as a writer, she has published three books of poems and six novels. She is the creator and author of The Dictionary of South-Slavic Mythology, as well as of various fiction and non-fiction translations. She is a member of various literary associations and editorials and her works have been translated into Russian, English, Bulgarian, Polish etc.

MIODRAG JAKSIC MICA, Serbian writer, was born in 1969, in Belgrade, Serbia. He is the founder and chief editor of the Art group "ARTE", which brings together more than 300 artists from around the world. Also he is the founder of the international art colony in Krčedin (since 2007). Editor of colonies in Timisoara, Bazjaš, Topola, Prčanj, Pag, Rtanj... As an architect he has signed around 200 architectural projects, studies and analyses. As a writer--he has published 17 books and has been selected in anthologies and textbooks. As a journalist he wrote more than 1,000 newspaper entries, stories, travelogues, features in domestic and foreign media, and led royalties radio shows. As a publisher, he has released 16 LPs and over 90 books. As a designer--he has designed logos, packaging, books, publications, etc. He was an assistant and deputy minister in the Government of Serbia and member of the Serbian Parliament. For his work he won many awards, not only in his country but around the world. He is a member of the Association of Serbian Writers, Union of Composers and the Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia. Lives and works in Belgrade.

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