In·ter·punct shares book reviews, art news, lit theory and daily musings from the intimate lives of writers. It seeks to highlight, in an edgy and sprightly fashion, the poetic moments that punctuate our lives.
“After a little bit of tweaking on the bus and a 5 hour wait, I get on the bus with reclining seats that are lightly coated with frost, a surprisingly clean restroom with toilet tissue, and enough room to have my own companion seat. This was very comforting for a polar bear like me. My eye started to feel irritated as the bus pulls away from the Greyhound station and onto the highway. Suddenly my mind, after being awake since leaving Buffalo, goes into rest mode where it reviews what has happened thus far on the poetry tour. I realize orange peels are humorous when suggested as a solution, sleeping under rain clouds makes you look inside the vastness of your own heart, and the meal your best friends send you off with can make you cry. Even now, I can still taste the sweet grease from the fried chicken and collard greens. I feel alone right now (and hungry) without my mp3 player. Good thing poetry is here, keeping me company.”
-Summer of ‘16
When it comes to poetry and road trips, poets from different generations have shared one common thought, “Do it while you still can.” [A road trip] can be very challenging, even when you aren’t traveling at the speed of light. Especially in today's world, we are used easy access to many things in life. But whether it's traveling from New Jersey to Texas or to the corner of your block, the speed in which poetry operates is that of a heartbeat. And that heartbeat usually matches the rate of broken white lines at 65 miles per hour. It is there in a humming unison of breath from body and road, three lines came to mind.
Know your companions. When you are stuck a metal box with other people, take advantage of the limited space and bring about an open heart to learn more about them. Poetry isn’t just the bond found between you and the topic at hand, but also the connection between one another. You will find that not only do you have an opportunity to get closer to your fellow poets, but also gain insight to their poetic process. While we walk our own poetic paths, we have a lot to learn from others.
Experiment with what you don't know. There is a whole hive of reasons how, but here's the three “be's” I found to be most helpful:
Absorb it all, but deal with it later. There will always be moments on a road trip where poetry is waiting to be acknowledged. Breathe it in. Better yet, live in it. Yes we want to write about it, but poetry seems better when we lived through it. Those moments (you will know when it is one) is real poetry.
On the road, poetry is the passenger. We are just driving it between the lines.
8/19/2016 0 Comments
To celebrate Latin American Heritage Month, upcoming in September, I met up at Ashker’s with doula, yoga instructor, musician and songwriter, Sara Rodriguez. She shared with me her experiences in Spain, her life as a songwriter and how that all relates to literature and visual arts.
Rachel: Do you have any stories you would like to share about living in Spain that were awkward or really amusing?
Sara: Funny and awkward at the same time? I had these pair of flip flops that had really slippery bottoms. At night they wash the streets, and I was trying to make it across the street. As the light was flashing, I only had a certain amount of time to cross, and because of these slippery flip flops, I totally wiped out in the middle of the street. Cars were like honking and people were cheering. It was embarrassing, and in the middle of one of the main streets in Madrid, Gran Bia.
R: Oh no! They were cheering? They were like, "Yay, you slipped!"?
S: It was a really embarrassing and awkward moment.
R: And they were honking at you; we’re not gonna help you get up? Wow! Yeah. Living in Hawaii I got stopped by a cop once, and I didn’t realize I was jaywalking. I was just walking across the street, and it’s a small street, and I hear sirens. I’m like what’s going on I’m in the middle of the street. I’m like what’s going on. He stopped me and started to talk, saying. "You're jaywalking," and asked if I have 100 bucks. I’m like, "No, I don’t." Wow, but yeah. Well, did you like living in Madrid?
S: I did. I loved it. Transportation was awesome. Very culturally diverse city, so there’s always something new to do. You go to these palaces you go to these squares that have been around for hundreds of years. So it was just really cool.
R: Were there any fire dancers there?
S: I don’t remember any specifically. I remember more in Paris.
R: In Poland there were some. When I came to Buffalo and they were doing it, I thought that was so cool. When you mean culturally diverse do you mean people from all over Europe?
S: Not only all over Europe but all over South America because it’s Spanish speaking countries and Central America [that are visiting and live there]. Africans too. Chinese [as well,] which was really interesting. Their accents are interesting speaking Spanish. I had some really amazing Chinese food there too.
R: What did you study in Spain?
S: Two semesters Spanish Language and Literature. Literature, art. One of my favorite classes was taking art and museums in Madrid; so we got to go to Prado, the most famous museum there. We got to go to amazing museums every week. Art, literature, more advance grammar, more language in depth working with the dialects. Spain has five languages. Within those five languages, you got different dialects just like the U.S. colloquialisms.
R: When I think of Spain I don’t think of it as big as the U.S., but to know they have different languages is really interesting. Can you tell me about any artwork you really liked?
S: There were a couple pieces. Picasso’s War of Guernica. It’s black and white. It kind of has that cubism to it. When you see it in person, it’s the size of this room. It’s huge and so many parts to the picture. It’s about bombs being dropped on Guernica, which is this town. Seeing that in person is very impressive. I can’t remember if this was in Madrid. This is now ten years ago. Another one right outside of Barcelona is where Salvador Dali has his museum. I love Salvador Dali so I spent hours and hours there. It’s amazing.
R: What do you like about his work?
S: It’s so off the wall. So many little details. Actually my first trip to Spain when I went in high school. I took a picture with my film camera. It was a humongous mural as well. Not as long as the Guernica painting, but it was very tall. A man just his waist up. He has his head down and in his head there’s a crack in the skull. He has abs, but they’re flabby. He has this door in his stomach. It’s so amazing. I still have it in my room. So much to surrealism. It just doesn’t make sense. I'm fascinated by his life because he’s so off the wall. I have a book by him called The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. It was so crazy. I think , "Is this really real?" Every once and awhile I’ll read a chapter. It’s so dense and intense. From Memories as a kid and a chapter on his intrauterine memories where he remembers being in the womb. Reading his book helps understand where his art comes from.
R: I wanted to talk more about Saranaide. What about the title? There’s more than you in the band.
S: It’s primarily my music. It is a serenade. I wanted to spell it and have my name in it. I found an interesting description of naide. In Italian it means six. There’s six songs on the EP. A cool description as well. Naide is numerology for six. These imaginative women: sensitivity, living her dreams, social ambitions, creative, prosperity, business sense, fell in line what I feel myself to be.
R: What does EP mean?
S: Extended Play. Shorter than an album but longer than a song. The reason I was doing it is when I played these songs people asked where they could hear them. People ask me what are my songs like? Back to You is about childhood friends, really great friends. Nothing ever changed.
R: Nice to have friends like that.
Sara is performing at Slyfest and the Serenaide EP Release Party is September 17th from 6:30pm to 7pm at Ashker’s new location, 1526 Main St. Buffalo, NY. $10 Cover.
In·ter·punct shares interviews, expositions, poems and daily musings from the intimate lives of writers. Like the interpunct, which is a middot used to separate syllables, this blog seeks to highlight, in an edgy and sprightly fashion, the poetic moments that punctuate our lives.