On Being Asked To Write A Poem Against The War In Vietnam
By Hayden Carruth
Well I have and in fact
more than one and I’ll
tell you this too
I wrote one against
Algeria that nightmare
and another against
Korea and another
against the one
I was in
and I don’t remember
how many against
when I was a boy
Abyssinia Spain and
and not one
breath was restored
mans womans or childs
not one not
but death went on and on
never looking aside
except now and then
with a furtive half-smile
to make sure I was noticing.
First of all, let me say that I know I’ve let this blog fall by the wayside a bit. I just started with my last semester of college, and I’m knee deep in classes like Communication Law and Theory–not to mention interning and running another blog for a local economic development council.
So, busy as a bee, that’s me! Too busy to even think of a less cliched metaphor. However, I fully intend to start keeping up with this blog again, especially because I’ve found some recent inspiration for posts. But first, one of the topics I promised you weeks ago: The Asia Project.
"My father, the long-winded student with a penchant for sexual innuendo, meets Reiko Hori, a well dressed banker who forgets the choruses of her favorite songs. Twelve years later they give birth to a lanky light bulb." - Phil Kaye, Teeth
I have found the love of my life. No need to look any further, because I know who he is, what he does and how lovely his poetry sounds.
Okay, maybe that’s a tad much, but listen to this guy! His name is Phil Kaye, and he is actually quite good friends with my other favorite spoken-word poet, Sarah Kay. No relation, but the two are both Japanese American and Jewish, and they have the exact same type of loveliness. Seriously, look at these two together!
I didn't realize that combining Japanese heritage with Jewish heritage made THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE EVER.
They’re such good friends, in fact, that they sponsored Project V.O.I.C.E. together. Phil and Sarah go around the country spreading spoken-word poetry to people who may not have given it a chance yet. They also teach workshops for aspiring poets. Needless to say, I’d sell my right arm to be able to attend one of these workshops (not my left, though–I’m left-handed).
Seriously, if my obsession with Sarah Kay hasn’t prompted you to at least watch “B” or “Hiroshima” yet, you should give her a listen now. And if you trusted me then and I didn’t fail you, check out Phil. He’s just as talented, his delivery and material are wonderful, and did I mention he’s a-freaking-dorable?
Photo courtesy of Drew Coffman via Creative Commons
Writer’s block! Every writer or poet, no matter how successful or talented, faces the dreaded block at one time or another. It’s like a dam builds up in your brain. You know the ideas are pooling there, waiting to be explored and expanded upon, but you just can’t find them.
No writer’s block can last forever, but when one sets on, we always feel like it will. We know on some level that the muse will return, that one day the dam will fall and the words will come flooding through. But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like an incurable illness.
Here is my list of what to do when you have writer’s block. All of them have been tested by me and have worked wonders.
Hello, all! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
One of my gifts came early, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s a book called “B” by Sarah Kay, who’s a spoken-word poet. It’s a really small book; just one poem of hers. She performed “B” for TED Talks, so it’s one of her more well-known works, and that prompted her to release this illustrated book. I’ve posted Sarah Kay on my site before, so if you watched “Hiroshima” then you’re already a bit familiar with her.
And so… the time has come. I’m posting my own work on my blog for the first time, and I decided to make it my newest one, which I wrote because of a challenge put forth by my family. “Write a Christmas poem!” my aunt said, but I could not think of anything to write about Christmas that hadn’t already been done. So, I decided to write a not-a-Christmas (but really a Christmas) poem. Enjoy!
My name is Kelsey, and I’m a writer. It almost sounds like a 12-step program, doesn’t it?
“It has been a week since I last wrote a story, but I think about it every minute of every day.”
I’m a print journalism major, English minor, and I’m about to graduate and sink deep into the real world. Terrifying thought, I know. Writing is something that I just have to do—I never really had any choice. I love finding kindred spirits who understand the gritty hard relationship writers have with their writing. We will never be completely satisfied with anything we do, no matter how much the world shakes at our words. So agrees poet Sarah Kay, who says, “My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth.”
Kay is a stunning spoken-word poet, and in the same poem she talks about how people were disintegrated to ash during the bombing of Hiroshima. Watches and diary pages were the only surviving mementos of these people. So, despite her insecurities (which exist in every writer, ever) she says she keeps writing because, if she ever crumbles and slips like dust through slats in the floor, she wants to be proud of the piece of paper bearing the poetry she leaves behind.
My poetry professor tries to convince us every chance she gets not to be writers. She scares away the ones who don’t really need it, who don’t feel the vibrating echo of words deep in their souls. The die-hards, though, we just suck in our complaints and write anyway, which is what she expects us to do. She knows that real writers never had any choice. We want to leave something behind.