Poetry Life and Times An Interview with Prabhu Iyer

Prabhu Iyer

POETRY LIFE AND TIMES AN INTERVIEW WITH PRABHU IYER

by Sara L Russell for Poetry Lifetimes & Poetry Life & Times

Brief biographical sketch

Educated in India and England, Prabhu Iyer writes contemporary rhythm poetry. He counts the Romantics and Mystics among his influences. Among modern poets Neruda and Tagore are his favourites for their haunting and inspirational lyrical verse. He lives and works in Chennai, India, where he has a day job as an academic scientist. Some of his poems can be found athttp://hellopoetry.com/-prabhu-iyer/. In 2012, he self-published ‘Ten Years of Moons and Mists’ at Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Prabhu-Iyer/e/B008F8M0JS. Reach him at twitter @iyerprabhu, facebook.com/prabhuiyerpage

The Interview – as recorded in November 2014

Sara: What first made you start writing poetry, Prabhu?

Prabhu: Firstly, I wish to thank you and PLT for featuring me in your widely regarded journal, I’m very grateful for this indeed! Coming to this question, I have to answer in stages. It all began years ago as a child, when I read the English Romantics at school – Tennyson, Wordsworth, Keats. At home, education was highly regarded and both parents were particular that we learned the languages, particularly English, well – my mother’s prized possessions included an old bounded Oxford English Dictionary and a Wren & Martin Grammar which her father had used. My father is a great admirer of Wordsworth and ‘Daffodils’ is his favourite poem, which even today as he fondly recollects, he narrated to an audience when he was still at school! The ecstatic works of classical Indian poets, were an early influence too, chief among who was our national poet, Kalidas, whose transformation from an illiterate shepherd to the most revered poet in Sanskrit language by the grace of the Goddess was often told and retold. Popular poetic hymns by mystical philosophers were recited in our family on all occasions.

In this atmosphere, I took to poetry almost naturally, as a way of expressing myself. The idyllic surroundings I had the blessing of growing up in (Hyderabad was a small town in the 80’s and my father’s official accommodation provided an island of peace, nestled in fields, gardens and open spaces) deeply inspired me. Later in teens and early twenties, poetry was my way of capturing all the angsts of growing up – from first crushes to rebellion and all sorts of emotional fluff. In recent years poetry has also become the vehicle to manifest my inspirations, quest for beauty, and activism
on various causes: sustainable development, condition of women, and freedom of thought and religion. Although English was and remains the main medium in which I write, when I started, I would also write in some Indian languages, including Telugu and Hindi.

Sara: Who are your favourite poets of the past?

Prabhu: To start with, English Romatics influenced me the most – I really enjoyed reading poems by Kipling, Tennyson, Wordsworth. These poets seem from an era so different now, but their work is refreshing till today, even considering the sentimentalism they often displayed. Who is not fond of quoting Keats as ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever…’, and although I majored in science, I cannot recollect something more vividly than studying ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ and ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ at high school. Perhaps my fascination for these figures is tied culturally, as the Indian poetic tradition itself is quite often lyrical, sentimental – even melodramatic – and mystical.

Among the Indian mystical poets, I really admire the moving compositions of Meera, the medieval Rajput saint-princess. Through Whitman, Frost, and (Ogden) Nash, I discovered the American moderns, and later, Plath and Bukowski. Of late, I have been studying the work of the avant-garde poets, Ezra Pound, Rainer Maria Rilke, the poetical cubism of the French poet Pierre Reverdy and the mystical future-poetry of Sri Aurobindo. My all-time favourites though, are Pablo Neruda and Ranindranath Tagore – and whenever I am down I get to reading ‘20 love poems and a song of despair’ or ‘Geetanjali’, books that I think will remain timeless for their stirring, evocative lyrical style.

Sara: What contemporary or classic style do you tend to use the most, in your poetry?

Prabhu: I mainly write rhythm poetry, where any traditional elements such as rhyme or alliteration come about as natural features of the verse. More often than not I tend to follow a free rhythm structure, and this to my surprise I’m discovering, is again a feature of much of Indian vernacular poetry. Lyrical poetry is closest to my style although I’d like to call this abstract impressionism, (after the impressionist movement whose leading figure was Monet),
in the tradition of Tagore and Neruda. Here’s an excerpt from the poem, ‘Why shouldn’t I’, illustrating my writing in this form:

… Dawn mingles with your ruddy cheeks;
Peasant woman, I read the language of toil in the wrinkles on your brow.
Why should I love you? I ask of myself.
This is the constant soliloquy of the monsoon rain in empty valleys.
What do you brood over on sultry noons?
But then, why shouldn’t I? Winter’s witheration is everybody’s lot. …

This is the particular style that readers have appreciated me most for. I’m also keenly interested in the poetical meanings and interpretations of other art movements such as cubism, surrealism, and magical realism – exploring them as suited to different purposes. I find Surrealist techniques to be a wonderful way of introducing a sense of mystery, marvel and disjointedness into poetic settings: here is an example excerpted from my poem, ‘The edges of awareness’, where I’ve used Montage:

How do I know. Splattered across. Misty spiral halos. Dark dark dark. I drew a handful. I saw stars. Gone –
ancient light. Who is the witness? Canvas of life painted.

Cubism provides a template to throw intense light on a subject, bringing in various shades of meanings and ideas, helping to deconstruct and allow the reader to re-synthesize something deeply meaningful and symbolic, as for instance in my take on the death of Indian cities:

The urchin banging at the windscreen on rainy nights,
The old house down the road making way for another high-rise,
The cobbler at the corner store smiling away toothless
The now-glorified mausoleum of the rebel from past -
The aquarium where water dried up and all the fish died;
I am the city that you don’t see dying, obsessed with ‘progress’.

Being the major art and literary movement of our generation, represented by such powerful voices as Rushdie and Marquez, and carrying a powerful resonance for post-colonial native cultures, Magical Realism of course has a major attraction. I find this to be one of the most
difficult genres to write in, but a good grasp allows a superlative use of allegory and fantasy too create really intense experiences for the reader. An example excerpted from the ongoing series, ‘Mr K’s Life’:

…In the morning, he worships the Eye in his shrine. Upholding traditions, one must get ahead in life. Half-believing, within ‘Bounds of reason’ tepid; The Eye sits observing him: sometimes, staring from the sky above, and some times, through
the eyes of the beggars lining the temple street. Irāvāṇ laughs as Mr. K walks past the totem pole.

I also like to experiment on the lines of the avant-garde poets, especially, Ezra Pound’s ingenious use of irregular spacing (for ex: see Pound’s ‘In a station of the metro’) to convey an unsettling view (excerpted from my recent poem, ‘Escape, refuge’):

      On a shore flooded in the tide. Now        on a          flitting log:
      Rain,          trying to      fill up the ridges         white, that,        I,        along with
      crabs, snails and          tiny          starfish,      are ambling to escape from.

Sara: I saw that you have a new book on amazon; “Ten Years of Moons and Mists”. Is there a special theme running through this book?

Prabhu: Thanks for asking, this was an anthology of poems I collected and published (with illustrations by my wife Tamaswati Ghosh who is also an avid photographer and artist) during a break in the summer of 2012. It was a culmination of a decade’s journey, and as such a very important for me, as it allowed me to collate, summarize and set aside work from that period and then move on to newer ideas, themes and projects.

The over-fifty poems in this book chronicle the journey of my growth and self- discovery through my twenties, and are organized into three sections, ‘Love’, ‘Despair’ and ‘Light’. In a way the title foreshadows this, the moon standing for both love and light, and mist for the many challenging times when these are blocked from our vision. Each section starts with a piece which I thought would capture the essence of the mood best, after which poems are presented in the chronological order in which they were first written. This I hoped would allow readers to relate to and locate the changes
taking place through my journey over the decade. This book records some of my first love poems, disappointments at difficult moments, ruminations and visions.

Sara: There are many love poems in your book that particularly appeal to me, such as “At the Altar of Love“; also “Accept in Return” and “Unusual Gift”. How much has love influenced your poetry over the years?

Prabhu: I would say, very strongly indeed. There was in my poetic journey, a time where I wanted to make my poems more grounded in everyday experience and widen their breadth and appeal. Ultimately I discovered, and perhaps most poets do too, I had to mine my own experience and distil something of that into my verse – this is what Neruda and Tagore did. As the great American realist artist Edward Hopper observed, ‘Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world’ [see ‘Statement’, 1953, Reality journal]. Unless an emotion experienced is real, and makes an impact on the inner life of the poet, it cannot be captured and conveyed perfectly enough. And love is an emotion we all experience – that’s how I began to consciously write love poems; but then I also discovered, there are many shades of love, and not just a monotone of mush. I wanted to capture this, and took notes as I went along.

And thus the poems in the collection came about: there are here, some of my favourite romantic poems – quoting from the poem “At long last”:

…It rained as we sat down under the shelter of tall, loving, wise trees,
The drizzle still managing to get us from the sides:
We shrunk our clothes for warmth, but
You still held your hand out for me to see what fate had in store for you.
Unknown to me, she had slipped past into my heart and whispered from there,
And I wanted to say, ‘fate says you are mine’. …

As are some feisty pieces, quoting for example, from ‘I know you are angry’:

…There is mellow love.
There is also a searing love, fierce like red clouds
In the black winter evening sky…

Some dark, wistful ruminations, for example, from the poem ‘Does it matter?’:

You die every day, like this: you choose a life of slow
death: through long nights, you burn away
like the slowly fading lamp
mourning some sombre memory,
does it matter to know, you love me?…

Then, there’s mystical love too, for example from ‘the Lamp of hope’:

…I have adorned the insides of this my small hut,

With flowers of best fragrance: this day, like on
So many past ones, I plucked ‘em finest, from
Love’s labour, in the garden of life; longing for Kanha:
When will he come drive this unreal light away? …

And of course, plenty of lyrical poetry, for example, from ‘She has no name’

…I became one with fallen leaves and rustled in wind
on lonely summer afternoons when death visits life
I became the mynah and sang back to the cuckoo
with crickets and allied insects for chorus
on tired evenings, mad in their unquenchable quest
I became birds that dart to the setting sun…

Sara: I enjoyed reading your poem “St Paul’s Cathedral”. You write of it with great warmth. Did you spend a lot of time exploring national monuments while you were living in London?

Prabhu: Yes, in general I admired the way Britain has tried to preserve her heritage. Every listed monument or site is well-kept, visitor-friendly and welcoming, and resources and information are shared in dedicated online pages. I visited sites in London many times over: British Museum (and also the Science and Natural History museums), Trafalgar Square, V&A, Royal Albert Hall, the Tower of London and London Bridge and the other bridges over Thames. Often there is some bit of Indian history connected to many of these places and
that was also of much interest to me – for example, among the Royal Jewels displayed at the Tower of London is the Koh-i-noor, a diamond that was originally mined in Hyderabad. I would always cast a brooding glance at the column dedicated to Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar Square when passing by on a bus or walking, as this is connected to Waterloo and Napoleon Bonaparte (who is looked at somewhat favourably in some Indian historical traditions).
Whenever I had friends or family visiting – and someone or the other was always visiting London for the first time – I would insist on taking the open-top bus tour together with the brief journey by motorboat at Embankment. Madame Tussaud’s and the London Eye were particular favourites, along with Buckingham and Princess Diana’s palaces. In addition to these, I loved the Hyde Park and the Serpentine Lake, as they were just a small walk from Imperial (where I studied), and which I frequented almost daily for quiet musings.
England and London have influenced my poetry deeply, and the London Eye, Hyde Park and Gunnersbury Park (at Ealing) and Thames at the Embankment are themes that I often revisit in a symbolic sense in my verse, here are some examples: From ‘Where the Lee bends’, inspired by memories of a walk by the Thames:

…landing now by the memory lane:
by the Thames, holding a palmful by the bank,
saying, this river is named after you:
she has a dimpled smile;…

From ‘Hidden doors’ written after viewing ‘Hortus Conclusus’ by Peter Zumthor at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, London

Behind the apparent hues of violet and pink
And many shades of green:
Magical doors to distant places in happier times;
I jumped in and leapt out as a child…

From “At long last”, inspired by a memorable incident at the Gunnersbury park:

…The shades of white which the birds that accompanied us
As we walked past that pond by the temple to the Deity of Love
On that serene mid-October Sunday morning sported;
It rained as we sat down under the shelter of tall, loving, wise trees…

From ‘Takeoff’, a surrealist poem based on many visits to the London Eye:

…Giant eye of the fair: the same phantasm
emerging, enlarging, dimming, receding;
Hall of dreams in a castle of darkness:
waves of events playing out again and
in smoke and shadows amid resounding…

I visited the National Arts Gallery at Trafalgar Square often and enjoyed learning about the history of art and art movements. Tate Modern at Southbank was another venue that I liked to visit, and there I learned much about modern art movements, and also at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. A visit to Tate Modern prompted me to create my first art- poem exploring the theme of concept-art (quoting from ‘Modern Art’):

Half-a-commode….
salvaged from
construction-site debris, in an enclosure;

Corrugated tin…
inverted containers,
shop-floor seats, hollow from the inside;…

Outside of London, Windsor was one of my favourite places to visit, and along with being the seat of the Royal Family, the Castle was also of interest to me as there are on display there, some relics of Indian kings including Tipu Sultan of Serigapatnam. I’d visited other places of historical interest such as Dover Castle associated with the D-Day landings and medieval Cathedrals and Castles at many English towns and cities such as Cambridge, York, Derby etc. Visits to the Roman complex at Bath, the Stonehenge and viewing a copy of the Magna Carta at the Salisbury Cathedral were memorable experiences too.

Sara: In the section of the book called “Despair”, your poems are more wistfully reflective than self-pitying; which I like. In “Late Summer Evening”, for example, you write of the landscape around you, as well as your own emotions. Were some of these sadder poems difficult to write, in terms of emotions you felt at the time?

Prabhu: Indeed, some of them were very difficult to write. Often, poems were just lines recording the raw emotions of the time, picked and pruned into verse much later. Others arose by way of reflection on events of the past – maybe I’m given to morose self-reflection somewhat like the evening sky in London! – but it was important for me to record the moments. I used to keep a journal for many years recording happenings of the day, every day.

Sara: Do you feel that poetry can sometimes be therapeutic, in exorcising the demons of sorrow and despair? Or can it sometimes intensify negative feelings as you read it back to yourself?

Prabhu: Absolutely! To me the poems were a record of an inner journey. In some meditative practices we are encouraged to reflect on the events of the day every night and think of how to improve ourselves. To me, this poetic reflection has similar purposes and effects.

Almost always, putting down the feelings in word at the experiential moment helps to assuage and soothe the heart. And revisiting them later has a cathartic effect. In fact re- examining old maudlin verse also helps gain an objective view of emotions, for example when you record something like this: (from my poem, ‘On the shores of my inner life’)

On the shores of my inner life I kneel
Unable to stand anymore, unable to stand
Waves of remorse, boisterous seams,
Hit harder each time

…and you look back years later, you wonder how you were this much of a wreck back then! This too is a form of healing – realizing the transitory nature of emotions. As they say, we have to be able to see that both pleasure and pain are emotions, and in the ontological sense, they are on equal footing, as experiences imposed on the experiencer. Pain affects us deeply, because we don’t want to experience this emotion – we are naturally conditioned to avoid this, but it is indeed a natural process to experience it in life as are other emotions. Coming to terms with, expressing and reviewing such emotions is certainly therapeutic.

Sara: Have you ever made, or thought of making poetry videos, perhaps reciting in the background of a film of a landscape, or speaking to web cam at home?

Prabhu: Actually so far I have not explored performance poetry. I’m still camera-shy and worry about proper punctuation, intonation and recitation. Having said that, I have in recent years seen poetry performances from you and other poets on the PLT network and this is inspiring. The poet may be the person best placed to read out her work, as she is aware of the emotional journey the words have taken. Pauses and punctuations acquire more meaning when recited directly by the creator of a work.

Sara: Finally Prabhu, what are your ambitions for the future, in terms of writing?

Prabhu: Thanks for asking this, I guess answering this question will also help me in sifting and organizing my plans and goals for myself. In the immediate sense I would like to further hone my skills in poetical and literary techniques that can convey a more enjoyable, dramatic and tangible experience to the reader. Feeling, imagination, inspiration and ekphrasis are perhaps very important parts of this process. For instance, I would like to create more works such as this ekphrastic piece I wrote just recently (from ‘Ekphrasis on a Monet’) using a poetic interpretation of the Surrealist Montage method:

                    boatman       Purple haze
      contemplative pouring
      the sky as lone
            rides the horizon.
        islanding
      into the lake,

Going forward, I want to complete some of my pending writing projects – I’ve been working on my first fictional novella and also collecting poems for further volumes of poetry. I dream of melding poetic and prose styles of description within the framework of magical realism. ‘Moons and Mists’ also perhaps requires a revision and a second edition is due and I hope to release it on other platforms such as Lulu – a print edition would be wonderful too!

In the longer term, I wish to emerge as an authentic voice of the people in the way that Tagore and Neruda were, and be able to create poetry that people can relate to and is meaningful to their lives. In a sense this is also very challenging today, as the world has become very different – life runs at breakneck pace, and there is hardly any time to parse and
digest ideas, memes and concepts. I identify myself as a poet first more than as a story teller, but I am often told, even by friends, ‘I’m not into that (poetry)’. Also, today the world is in strife, with violence and extremism on the rise, but we don’t have answers. Ideologies and creeds have failed and people are searching for meaning.

I want to take stirring, dramatic and lyrical poetry with meaning, to the people, but wonder how I could do this in an era of instant consumption and vanishing attention spans! Maybe all poets of this generation face this challenge and perhaps we have to use creative routes to achieve this. Visual and performance poetry, lyrics for songs and popular music (some of the best loved songs are also great poems) could be an important channel. Perhaps gaining a name in prose writing can help in appealing to people’s interest in the author’s other writings such as poetry. Perhaps minimalist poetry in styles such as the Japanese Haiku and Tanka have a better chance of gaining access to the distracted mind and then plant a seed for further discovery. Let me end this conversation with a Haiku I wrote recently:


In autumn’s decay,
beauty, constant companion,
and in springs of hope.

Sara: Thanks very much for the interview, Prabhu.

Prabhu: Thanks indeed for speaking to me and giving this wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts and work! I’m very grateful to you and PLT, and express my appreciation for the invaluable service you are doing to the cause of poets and poetry through your journal!

Firelight. A Poem by Marion Grace Woolley

flicker-of-smoldering-embers- jpg
 
flicker-of-smoldering-embers-lay-in-ashes-by-shuttershock
 
 
Beneath the bedded ash the ember curls and dies
Its memories drift towards the sky, reaching grey fingers
Up the blackened grate towards the early morning stars
 
Within the silent room the ghost of whisky lingers
Its breath testament to those who drank there earlier
Sharp warmth waiting to greet the breakfast comers
Searching out fresh fat to chew,
Crackling beneath the griddle.
 
What memories fold and steel towards those stars?
Whispered over tumblers in the late hour of the night.
Our minds’ stained glass distorting light behind our eyes,
Colouring opinion, casting motes of floating
Dust adrift upon the ebb and flow of our remembered history.
 
Between those whispered words, hushed tones,
Cracks of lightning laughter quick to smite,
Comes the ticking of the clock
Measuring out both time and truth,
Illusive in the midnight hush:
 
No longer rights or wrongs but
Wicked witches casting spells
Against which we pitch ourselves
the heroine.
 
No longer simple kindnesses bestowed
But kingdoms and vast fortunes gifted
Whilst ungrateful greedy hands would
Snatch from us our mercy, offering only
Empty embers’ ashes in return
 
Our youth no longer ordinary but
Fraught with Hogarth’s excesses
Of hedonistic, narcissistic, nihilistic
Indulgent pleasures
 
First kisses love stories, first cuts a battlefield
Bled out over a lifetime, mingled with gin and
Absinthe, as absent hearts refused to return
And those that did grew fat and unforgiving
 
Ah! Such heady thoughts of heady days.
 
Conversation, like the fire, soaked up fuel
Grew higher.
Spat a little, blushed red hot
Smoked, smoldered and raged
Before dying.
 
Topics exhausted and sapped to ash
Colourful opinions drained to grey
As the bottle emptied
And the clinker built
As the dawn broke
And nought more
There was to stoke
From the gaping
Drooling
Drooping
Jaws of two tired friends.
 
To bed, then.
 
Let the last breath of whisky haunt the hearth.
 
Let the stars claim their stories from the grate.
 
Let a hundred more stories await us
 
For the telling.
 
 
Marion 5 L
 
Marion Grace Woolley studied at the British Record Industry Trust
(BRIT) School of Performing Arts, Croydon. After obtaining an MA in
Language & Communication Research from the University of Cardiff, she
declared that she’d had enough of academia and decided to run away to
Africa.
 
Balancing her creative impulses with a career in International
Development, she worked and travelled across Africa, Australia,
Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’. In 2009, Marion
helped to oversee the publication of the first Dictionary of Amarenga
y’Ikinyarwanda (Sign Language) in Rwanda, where she currently lives.
 
The same year, Marion was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for
New Writers. She is an associate member of the Society of Authors. Her
latest release, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, is due out with
Ghostwoods Books in February 2015.
 
RH Draft Cover
 
Marion Grace Woolley, Literary Vagrant
www.authormgw.co.uk / @AuthorMGW
Blog: www.deckledged.blogspot.co.uk

 
robin@artvilla.com

www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes

www.artvilla.com/plt


Poverty’s Army. A Poem by RC de Winter

 
 
i remember the bodies
filthy
unwashed
everything accruing to them in layers of rags
beaten brown bags sagging with defeat
sometimes an empty bottle as still life decoration
completing the sad tableaux
 
i remember stepping over them
around them
as i hurried through grand central
on my way to an expensive entertainment
heart heavy with pity but also with fear
wondering how in the land of milk and honey
so many could be disenfranchised
 
they cleaned out the station
eventually
no more reminders of what can befall
the best of us
the worst of us
I don’t know where they exiled them
but next trip they were gone
 
the wheel has turned as it always does
no longer society’s ghosts
the once-invisible army
has returned with a vengeance
too many conscripted
too many to hide
we know these people
 
destitution is an equal opportunity recruiter
no longer satisfied with broken men
the ranks swell with women and children
with the corporate cast-offs
of a world burdened with too many drones
not the ones that kill
but the ones who would work if work could be found
 
and now i
once a card-carrying member of the comfortable
walk the knife-edge of poverty
around every corner i turn
waits a death’s-head recruiter
with a paper bag a shopping cart a dumpster
how long before i too wear the uniform of the lost?
 
 
© 2014 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved poverty’s army

1A SPRING EASTER TWIT AVI

RC deWinter is a writer, digital artist, photographer and musician currently living and working in Connecticut. Her art and poetry have appeared in print, notably in the New York Times, Uno: A Poetry Anthology, Pink Panther Magazine, Arts Creation Magazine, The Sun Magazine, The 2River View and The American Muse as well as in numerous online literary publications. Five artworks were licensed to ABC-TV for use as set decor for “Desperate Housewives”. Ms. deWinter is honored to be the first digital artist invited to exhibit her work at a four-week October 2011 solo show at the Arts of Tolland Gallery in Tolland, Connecticut.

robin@artvilla.com

www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes

www.artvilla.com/plt


Submissions

pltat

We accept submissions of poetry from all over the world. We read year round and publish as they come in and are accepted.

We require and accept
1. A formal submission giving us permission to publish.
2. Submissions via email only
3. A short bio
4. We reward contributors with a link to their site
5. We prefer an image, a pic of the poet or some image that represents the poem. The image too must be original.

 
 
robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com

I think it will be winter when he comes. Poem by Dufflyn Lammers

 
 
I think it will be winter when he comes,
 
 
not that anyone can feel it in Los Angeles.
It will be winter and I will know this
because there will be less traffic
and everyone wears pants.
He will come from a long way off
but I will know him
by his shoulders, by his chin
by his shimmering.
He will smile when he sees me
the smile I knew so well once
that I inspired so many times
stretching across the years like a bandage.
We will open our arms
without thinking about what we have carried
for so long and it will drop from us. Spinning
like clouds into each other, we will make
 
something new.
 
Dufflyn_1
 

Lammers co-edited the spoken word anthology CHORUS with Saul Williams, from Simon & Schuster (Sept., 2012). She writes for www.thefix.com, the world’s leading website for addiction and recovery. And she also has a blog for actors in Los Angeles: www.thelaactorsblog.com Her poetry has been published in journals as varied as Iowa Woman and The Museletter of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. Lammers is anthologized in SLAM: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry, 2000, Manic D Press. Recently, she wrote, produced, and starred in the short film RAVEN co-starring Deezer D (ER). RAVEN won best experimental picture at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival, 2011. Lammers appeared on “Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO”, in “Criminal Minds,” “Entourage,” and in the films BELLY and PROUD AMERICAN, among others. She has also toured Universities from Smith College to UC Irvine with my spoken word poetry show and competed in the National Poetry Slam for five years running.

robin@artvilla.com

www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes

www.artvilla.com/plt


Methuselah Speaks. A Poem by Joan McNerney

 

Living in shadows I scarcely stir.

Each motion brings pain with fear

of falling, breaking brittle bones

or bruising my spider web skin.

 

I see so little. Sunlight blinds my

rheumy eyes. Night dims my world

leaving just vague outlines.

 

Food is stale, bitter. Thirst savage.

No liquids quench me. My bodily

functions often fail befouling me.

 

All these years weigh down my soul.

Hearing faded, everything in whispers.

My breath is raspy, without strength.

 

My mind dull with defeat. I count only

my losses and remember nothing

but the dead. My memory is pain.

 

I cannot celebrate births. My great

grandchildren died so long ago.

Why must I always wait here?

 

God, have you forgotten me?

 
 

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has three e-book titles.

Vivitar

 

robin@artvilla.com

www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes

www.artvilla.com/plt


MI CORAZON ROMPA. A Poem by Robin Marchesi.

Me33

 

My eyes have eaten the Morna Valley in a feast of sight.
The sweet pine and thyme scented airs fresh from the seas
have reached my nicotine stained lungs.
 
I have stood privileged to hear flocks of birds chattering in shrubbery
or to watch a falcon riding the swirls of wind before diving,
like a panther, for its prey.
 
I have witnessed the vast skies of night that dwarf humanity with constellations,
solar systems, planets, moons and universes.
 
I have sensed shadows stalking my footsteps; felt the pull of lunar tides,
on my own tides, as fascinated; I’ve watched its penumbras and changes,
its cycles, in our petty breaths.
 
I have held cloud-induced commentaries with God and in the vast silences of my daily time;
I have spoken to the dead, lulled by their camaraderie, comforted by their presence.
 
No doubt, peaky and press-ganged, at some future date,
wandering down Ladbroke Grove in London, I might remember this intelligence,
amongst my city-influenced companions.
 
My heart breaks
‘Mi corazon rompa’
For you,
 
Ibiza,
 
The nearest place I found
To home…


 
Me
Robin Marchesi, born in 1951, began writing in his teens, much to the consternation of his mother, the sister of Eric Hobsbawm, the historian.

In 1992 Cosmic Books published his first book entitled “A B C Quest”.

In 1996 March Hare Press published “Kyoto Garden” and in 1999 “My Heart is As…”

ClockTowerBooks published his Poetic Novella, “A Small Journal of Heroin Addiction”, digitally, in 2000.

Charta Books published his latest work entitled “Poet of the Building Site”, about his time working with Barry Flanagan the Sculptor of Hares, in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

He is presently working on an upcoming novel entitled “A Story Made of Stone.”

http://www.amazon.com/A-Small-Journal-Heroin-Addiction/product-reviews/0743300521

http://www.illywords.com/2011/09/down-the-rabbit-hole-a-glimpse-into-the-wonderland-of-barry-flanagan/
 
 
robin@artvilla.com
www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes

in an odd state of melancholic un-belonging. A poem by Richard Lloyd Cederberg

IN A ODD STATE OF MELANCHOLIC UNBELONGING

So it was for them,
and for countless others,
as they grew and struggled
in a soulless-system, seeking-out
their identities, their paths, their purpose,
their successes, as captivating circumstance cajoled
(each) with a fool’s panacea. People much like cold calderas,
once bold and forceful, now, sadly subject to
the chronicles of yawning indifference.
~
A cop’s wife beat
down {oppressed}
seeks retribution in her world
of make-believe.
A sister’s husband beats her; it
rewires her heart and mind; cursed,
he dies soused in a head-on,
leaving her and an
(only) son alone
unloved.
Years go by…
EVER deprived of model,
the son loses his bearings, angry,
arrogant, aggravated, he curls inward,
embraces his wounds, weed, alcohol, pills,
ends up wayward, darkened, lessened, a miscreant
seeking refuge in a Wiccan’s ramshackle garage
where he drinks and smokes himself numb,
and lines the framing with hundreds
of empty bottles he pretends are medals
~
These accounts
proliferate like weeds,
in every city and township
the wounded (financially solvent
or in straitened circumstances) exist in
an odd state of melancholic un-belonging,
souls seeking freedom, wings, peace,
meaning, as opposing forces
relentlessly push back
with impudent vigor
ugly converting
influences
staunch
unbending
unwavering
deceptive assuredness
vomiting multiple sides of
similar theories simultaneously
caught betwixt shadows of indifference
as side by side miseries annihilate
meaningful purpose
~
And they persist,
like wildflowers and weeds, a
pandemic of fraught souls struggling,
(employed or destitute)
surviving alone,
unloved in a soulless system,
scorned, segregated, separated,
alone dreamers dreaming dreams of
beautiful things that remain [for them] unrealized …

richard lloyd cederberg

___________________________________________________________

AUTHOR PIC

A new hard-fought adventure/thriller, BETWEEN THE CRACKS, was completed March 2014 and will be available summer 2014. August 2007 Richard was nominated for a 2008 PUSHCART PRIZE by the Mississippi Crow Magazine. Richard was awarded 2007 BEST NEW FICTION at CST for his first three novels and also 2006 WRITER OF THE YEAR @thewritingforum.net …
Richards work has been featured on Poetry Life and Times, Artvilla, The Taj Majal Review, Hardy Alpha 1, ChristianStoryTeller, The Mississippi Crow Magazine The Path Magazine, and in varied anthologies, compendiums, and e-zines. Richard’s literary work is currently in over 35,000 data bases and outlets. Richard’s other novels include: A Monumental Journey… In Search of the First Tribe… The Underground River… Beyond Understanding. All four are in the Monumental Journey Series.

Richard has been privileged to travel extensively throughout the USA, the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan in Canada, the Yukon Territories, Kodiak Island, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Petersburg, and Glacier Bay, in Alaska, the Azorean Archipelagoes, and throughout Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Holland… Richard and his wife, Michele, have been avid adventurers and, when time permits, still enjoy exploring the Laguna Mountains, the Cuyamaca Mountains, the High Deserts in Southern California, the Eastern Sierra’s, the Dixie National Forest, the Northern California and Southern Oregon coastlines, and the “Four Corners” region of the United States.

Richard designed, constructed, and operated a MIDI Digital Recording Studio – TAYLOR and GRACE – from 1995 – 2002. For seven years he diligently fulfilled his own musical visions and those of others. Richard personally composed, and multi-track recorded, over 500 compositions during this time and has two completed CD’s to his personal credit: WHAT LOVE HAS DONE and THE PATH. Both albums were mixed and mastered by Steve Wetherbee, founder of Golden Track Studios in San Diego, California. Richard retired from music after performing professionally for fifteen years and seven years of recording studio explorations. He works, now, at one of San Diego’s premier historical sites, as a Superintendent. Richard is also a carpenter and a collector of classic books, and books long out of print.


 
 

  robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com