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Time to say goodbye

This is the end. As Jorge Manrique said in his poems, everything has to pass in this life.

No se engañe nadie, no,
pensando que ha de durar
lo que espera
más que duró lo que vio,
pues que todo ha de pasar
por tal manera.

But let’s don’t do a world about this, ok? I hope that you have enjoyed reading my posts as well as I have enjoyed writing them. We weren’t alone in our first meeting though. We were with Bécquer, Lorca and the rest. We also admitted a new member in our club, saying Welcome Mr. Facebook. Then, we started to know each other better, that’s when we really knew David Ruiz: Naturally perfect. We were so amazed with him that we wanted to say to him O Captain! My Captain! But, the real goal of our meeting was to discover Precious web resources in poetry, and precious events, things that struck as Like a Rolling Nobel Prize.

Now that all of that is over I can say that I have discovered a world that I don’t want to forget. It has been difficult for me to write in English, the first posts above all. Trying to find the right language, the right tone, the precise words to describe the things I wanted… But I think I have done well. It was easier to understand and adapt to this blogworld with the guidance of the teacher on how to use hyperlinks and how to make you, readers, kept interested in what we were writing. But this isn’t the end of the way, the end of the camino!

“I’ll be back” like the Terminator said. But now, it’s time to say goodbye (yet another poem for you to now, this time in italian).

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One Last Time

The only way I could start this blog was, obviously, quoting George Washington on my title (or at least George Washington’s character on Hamilton). One Last Time is a heartbreaking song where the presidents “teach[es] them how to say goodbye”. In case you want to check it, I am nowhere close to Washington’s greatness but his words are very compelling and appropiate  for what we are facing.

I guess you know by now this a goodbye entry. I have enjoyed working on this blog so much about a topic I love so much, it is actually hard for me to say goodbye as well. Through all of my entries (Of Poetry and Blogs, The Blog Where It Happens, Can’t Do It Alone, Juana de América, Doing It For the Likes, [She Is] The Dragon Breathing Fire, Beautiful Man, and now this one) I have been able to express myself and to defend something I strongly believed needs to be defended: poetry as a necessity for the human soul. I have enjoyed these few weeks more than you can imagine and I have learned quite a lot as well.

There is only something left for me to do to say goodbye: show a poem where somebody who writes better than me can explain that exact feeling sometimes is hard to describe. Dear fellows, a brief fragment from A La Inmensa Mayoría by Blas de Otelo:

Aquí tenéis, en canto y alma, al hombre
aquel que amó, vivió, murió por dentro
y un buen día bajó a la calle: entonces
comprendió: y rompió todos su versos.

(here you have, in song and soul, that man who loved, lived, died inside and one good day he came down to the street: then he understood: and he ripped all of his verses).

 Have a good day.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” 

I decided to name my last entry after the song “Closing time” by Semisonic; because, as we have seen with my fellow bloggers’ posts, music is also poetry. And also because, in this case, the song portraits perfectly the situation we are facing: it is time to say goodbye.

I had always been curious about what having a blog would be like, and wondered if I would be able to pull it off if I tried. So for me it was a very enriching experience to be forced to do something I was afraid of trying before: putting myself out there. It was a leap of faith, but today I’m glad to say that it went way better than expected. Having to take care of the blog taught me 2 things mainly: discipline and trust.

Discipline, because every Thursday I had to sit down and break my head trying to come up with something to write that had to do both with poetry and the weekly topic. But also trust, because I had to come to terms with the fact that, even when my English is not perfect and I may get information wrong, I should not keep myself from trying. Sometimes I will have mistakes, and it’s alright; I just have to correct and learn from them.

But overall, it wasn’t at all boring. Even if at times it was challenging, my Thursday afternoon was usually the part of the week I looked forward to. The fact that your homework is to write about something you love always makes things easier and better. I wrote 7 blogposts in total: My first rhyme, A Modern Poet, Dissected Poetry, En perseguirme, Mundo ¿qué interesas?, Poetry for the world, and Who wins?. It was awesome to realize that some people out there actually were interested in what we had to say. We had visitors from the US, Mexico, Australia, India, UK, and Spain; and some of them were kind enough to leave comments or like our posts.

For all the things I stated above, it is heartbreaking for me to say farewell. I think it is more than stated that I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience with blogs. So with nothing else to say, I leave you one last piece of poetry, this time written by me. Hope you like it.

Y de pronto quedó la nada

Donde alguna vez existió todo.

No más sueños de día,

no más realidades de noche.

Se desplomó.

Se desplomó como se desploman las utopías,

Como se desploman las cosas que no se crean ni se destruyen.

Se desplomó para transformarse,

Como la energía.

Para renacer,

Como el fénix de la mitología,

Se desplomó.

Y de pronto quedó la nada,

Donde alguna vez existió todo.

No más sueños de día,

Ni realidades de noche.

Una fortaleza,

derrumbada por los hechos.

Una construcción,

devastada por la rutina.

Pero de entre las ruinas,

Y de las carbonizadas cenizas

Emergió otro intento.

Ana Salas

Who wins? 

This week I’m going to talk about outstanding poems in 2016. You may think that poets are scare in today’s society. Hence, my work here will be hard to accomplish, and this blogpost brief. However, dear reader, if you are thinking this you are wrong. 

Poetry, as everything else in the world, is evolving. I have mention previously the emergence of Spoken Word and some significant figures of this type of poetry, such as Sarah Kay. Also, I recently wrote an entry on how poetry is present in social media, which have contributed to massive sharing of content. So perhaps poetry isn’t as it used to be in the 18th century, and the publication of poems has surely changed as well. But truth is that today  we have infinite material to work with per month, let alone per year. When I looked on Google “poems 2016”, 8 500 000 results appeared. So with so many poems written and publish in the passed ten months, how can anyone decide which is the best poem in 2016?

The answer is: you can’t. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s the truth. Poetry is relative, and you may like one type of poetry more than another one; but that doesn’t mean that it’s actually  better. And of course there are competitions, which have winners (obviously). That’s the case of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, event that takes place in de US once every two years. Last festival was in 2015, and the champions were a group called Philly Youth Poetry Movement. But this competition was only for Slam Poetry. What about the other types of poetry? 

There are other competitions such as the Oxford Brookes University International Poetry Competition. Yet, they face the same problems. They simply cannot include all poetry in one event. Poetry has come a long way; it has developed and changed. It can’t possibly be judge as a whole anymore. 

Nevertheless, as I don’t want to leave you empty handed, here are the two poems that won in the competitions I mentioned before. This one is called “Today Cromer is Moscow” by Christopher James, and it won the 2016 edition of Oxford Brookes University International Poetry Competition:

Seagulls preside on the spires

and onion domes of Cadogen Road.

There are snowdrifts in the belfry

of the parish church. In the Hotel de Paris;

they’re serving Rassolnik soup

and vodka so cold it makes your glass

smoke with ice. In an upper window,

the ghost of Galina Ulanova looks out

across the waves balanced on a single toe.

At the end of the pier the oligarchs

are watching The Tremeloes sing Kalinka

while on the seafront, crab fisherman

dance the troika in their wellingtons.

Ice-cream men wear bearskin hats

and play Stravinsky to summon

the children from their homes,

because today Cromer is Moscow.

In the lighthouse they’re reading

Pushkin and playing chess to pass the time.

Down on the beach old cosmonauts

skim stones into the sea while

beneath their feet, the faces

of the tsars are imprinted in the sand. 

———
And I will leave a video of the slam poem “Glory” which was presented by Philly Youth Poetry Movment, winners of the Brave New Vocies Festival in 2015. Hope you enjoy. 

Ana Salas 

[She is] the dragon breathing fire, beautiful man.

The main medium used by poetry this year has been… you guessed it! Music. This have been an amazing year for the music industry and there is still much to come. I’m going to focus on the work of one woman who is “back by popular demand”: Beyonce. It is kind of confusing that Americans dropped tea on the ocean to get rid of the monarchy only to claim Beyonce as their queen now, but it is kind of understandable as well.

Beyonce released her new album, Lemonade, on April 23, 2016 – you can listen to the whole album on her web. You may or may not like her music style, but there are some things that cannot be dennied included, per example, the outstanding reception it has had. And this is because, regardless of the music (which for some is marvelous at least), this album is probably the most relevant work on poetry made during and for this year. It’s hard to explain it completely, so I’ll do a quick review.

First, this album is co-written by Warsan Shire, a 27 years old poet born in Kenya and raised in London. She is one of the few Young Poet Laureate and she is recognized on the album as one of the main contributors, above producers and such. If this is not the clearest example on why we can call some music lyrics poetry… If you would like to know more about her, here’s Shire reading one of her poems, For Women Who Are Difficult To Love:

Moving on, the second reason I think this poetry work is so compelling is that it has a strong social component. Beyonce is not just singing some catchy pop song (which lots of people, including me, enjoy); she is talking about the deep feelings of an individual, the process of recovery from what it seems to be an infidelity from her husband but that could be as well the process of accepting her own self on the society we live in. This has been said multiple times, but it might not be stressed enough: in this album, Beyonce is unapologetically a woman, and unapologetically black. She reclaims the whole of her blackness and feminity, tearing down to pieces whatever hurts her about the way society understands them and rising powerfully like a phoenix from the ashes. She is an amazing black woman and a wonderful human being, and she knows it. This album is even a call for action not only for social movements like the Black Lives Matter, but for black women to recognize their value because they are black and because they are women. Beyonce has done an amazing activist work here and specially relevant nowadays.

To finish this post, I would like to show you a quite-on-point sketch by SNL that shows an approximate but not entirely exact representation on the impact of Formation, the first single released from the album:

Like a Rolling Nobel Prize

This blog is about poetry. But, as we have stated before in many occasions, poetry must not be the classic sonnet in Alexandrine verse, or a fifteen century romance. We agree that lyrics or haikus are as well a form of poetry. For that reason, songwriters are in a way like poets. And, the singer, composer and songwriter that we are going to see today is definetly one of them. His name is Robert Alllen Zimmerman. ¿Don’t you know him? Oh well, you can also call him Bob Dylan.

bob-dylan-52fe6be6-hero

The reason why I’m writing about him is that he has won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” There has been some controversy about him winning this prestigious award. Some people state that the Academy could have been impressed by a few lines of Dylan’s composition, but giving him the prize was excessive. In general, the public opinion and critics argue that, even that Dylan deserves recognition, the Nobel Prize seems going too far. However, some authorities defend him. The poet Billy Collins, for example, supports that Dylan is not only a songwriter, but also a poet, saying that his lyrics could also be interesting without music. Even the president of the US, Barak Obama:

Beyond the controversy, I wanted to point out the outstanding writing of this songwriter. Come on, tell me that this is not poetry:

BLOWING IN THE WIND

How many roads must a man walk down, before they call him a man
how many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand
how many times must the cannonballs fly, before they are forever banned
the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
the answer is blowing in the wind.
How many years must a mountain exist, before it is washed to the sea
how many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free
how many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn’t see
the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
the answer is blowing in the wind.
How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky
How many years must one man have, before he can hear people cry
how many deaths will it take till he knows, that too many people have died
the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
the answer is blowing in the wind.

Sources: Wikipedia, ElPlural, The Nobel Prize website, This Day Live, Música.com and Metro Lyrics

Welcome, Mr. Facebook

We live in a world in which the word “success” practically rules every action we do in live. “7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Achieve Better Success in Life” or “The 4 Habits You Need to Be Successful”. The final goal of our studies and careers is this abstract state of success that everyone encourage us to pursuit. In addition, capitalism and globalization put you in a world-wide market in which you have to compete with the best people doing the same thing that you are doing, so poetry may appear as an odd, even anachronist way to obtain success in this constant competition. Poetry is not about a man writing down his thoughts to sell as much copies as he can, but more about expressing the troubles and realities that no other discipline can approach such as love and emotions in an artistic way.

 

Given the rise of these thoughts, it might be quite complicated to find someone that would care about this topic. In fact, since the middle of the 20th century, traditional poetry has decreased in its activity. But we can’t say that poetry is becoming dead. Au contaire! I’m here today to talk about the coverage of poetry in social media. My colleagues have discussed before other pages such as Twitter, Blogs, Buzzfeed or YouTube, so in this post I’m going to let you discover some more little sites but still very helpful to the art of poetry. Well, we are going to “expand” the traditional idea of poetry. Let’s consider music as a way of poetry, which in reality it is. Look at Bob Dylan and its recent Nobel Prize. There are lots of forums discussing the lyrics of songs, such as Song Meanings and All The Lyrics, that are encouraging people to go further than listening to a song, but to understanding, which is always done with a poem. Moving onto pure poetry, not sang one, some forums of writing can be found such as Wattpad and Micropoetry. These media give more opportunities to writers to be read, and to be commented. So, even if the commercialization of poetry has severely decrease, there are still some forms of it in the internet which contribute with some new features like easy feedback.

In general, social media has provided a speaker to poetry, it has taken it out of the old drawer in which this necessary and beautiful art was into. So thank you social media, I guess.

Bibliography: Acerca de la actualidad de la poesía

Image: Lit Drift

Must read: Daily Dot article about the renaissance of poetry in social media.

 

Poetry for the world 

Believe it or not, for the past few years social media has contributed to the resurrection of poetry. This art, that seem to be lost for good some years ago, has gained strength due to the new types of media. From the appearance of Youtube to the implementation of videos on Facebook, all those changes have made poetry a little bit more accessible and approachable for people. Moreover, multimedia communication and internet have made possible for amateur writers to be able to publish their masterpieces without the necessity of finding a publisher. 

If you go to Youtube and you look for the word “poetry”, the list of results that will appear is endless. And if, for example, you felt like looking up “Here I Love You” by Pablo Neruda in Youtube’s browser, you would find a lot of videos in which people are reading that poem out loud. Youtube became this kind of database in which you can find almost every poem in its audio version. However, Youtube also works as the biggest free publisher. Anyone with a regular camera can upload their very own material and become poets, as easy as that. There are many current poets that owe their success and fame to Youtube. Such are the cases of Sarah Kay or Dark Matter. It is also important to acknowledge Facebook’s essential role for poetry today. Facebook, for modern poetry, is like a massive and free advertising agency. The simple way in which a posts can be shared helps the content to reach a wider audience in less time. 

Finally, I would like to mention my blog as a meta-example for this week’s entry. But my blog is only one of thousands; poetry is one of the most frequent topics for blogs today. If you look up “poetry blogs” in Google, Google finds 13,200,000 different results. So, basically, what I’m trying to say is that the there are infinite examples as to how social media covers poetry. A due to the way in which we can interact in social media sites, our love for poetry is easy to spread. We should be thankful. 

(Image from The Oddysey Online)

Ana Salas 

Doing it for the likes

     Well, I’m definetly not doing this blog for the likes: poetry seems such an old-fashioned topic nowadays that it barely has any presence on social media. But… doesn’t it?

     As I have previously stated, poetry is still alive nowadays in ways we would sometimes not even think aboout it. Songs are one way, and songs are all over the internet. From buzzfeed pages that recommend lyrics for when you need an instagram caption (because lyrics -aka poetry- are the best captions); to the fact that virutally every single or song is uploaded on youtube (you can check our early post, most of which include songs/poems from this social media). Just the same way than printing press did more than half a century ago, internet is expanding the horizons of distribution of knowledge and, even though poetry is not “trendy” as such, it still benefits for the easiness of distribution with which internet provides for. Some media, such as twitter, is giving poetry new forms: instead of sonets, we now have 140 characters tweets. The Independent explains how this new form of poetry was born and raised. Twitter is as well, overall, a good channel for the distribution of poetry through accounts such as The Poetry Society (which holds an official status). Was that not enough, I have already mentioned on some previous posts how poetry was meant to be listened to, and for that goal Youtube would be a perfect example of social media where poetry is not only present, but where it can grow to become multidimensional.

     Poetry survives all across social media with and without people noticing. It’s not a fade, it’s not “hipster”, and it’s not only on the hands of a few, cultured people: anyone shares poetry on their social media today… and some of them do it for the likes. Because we do like poetry.

Antonella.

David Ruiz: Naturally perfect

Vocalist and guitarist of the band “La M.O.D.A.” or “La Maravillosa Orquesta Del Alcohol” (The Wonderful Orchestra of Alcohol), David Ruiz is a young poet of only 28 years old. He was born in Burgos and, from his words, he has always love writing. He spent a year in Dublin when he was studying that opened his mind in the music world. When he returned to Spain, he founded a band with some of his friends and since then, they have been more and more famous in the national framework. He is the writer of almost every song in the two albums that they have released until now, “¿Quién nos va a salvar?” and “La primavera del invierno”. Those songs and more poems are registered in the book that David has written, “Nubes Negras”, of which we are going to talk about in this post.

As we said before, David Ruiz is mainly a composer. For this reason, we could think that he can’t make very abstract song, because he risks of losing audience. However, he has been faithful to his normal writing, which has attracted listeners instead of repelling them. So yeah, he has a very abstract style, mixing figures that apparently make no sense together but that become quite harmonious. By his writing, he allows us to enter in his form of viewing the world and experiment the feelings that he gets from the situations he describes. He writes poems of melancholy, social criticism and courage. He also maintains that the world needs more love, but he presents the reality as it is, he is not going to hide something, even if it is not pleasant to watch. Here it is one of my favourite songs of the band:

Amoxicilina

No tengo fuerzas, para rendirme.
No tengo tiempo, para esperar.
No sé si habrá, algún camino.
O si algún día, podré llegar.
Gritar sin voz, por las calles vacías,
mientras quede una nota por tocar.
Las nubes negras, siempre me guían.
A un lugar al que llamar hogar.
He perdido con dos ases,
he soñado con volver.
El silencio no lo llenan,
los compases.
Voy a coger el 6 con destino a mi destino.
Voy a olvidar lo que he aprendido.
En cada kilómetro.
En cada latido.

I decided to talk about this young poet because he is from my hometown, but also because I love his songs, and what is a song if not a signed poem? He is not the best poet in history, but the way he writes is so personal and deep that you can live the reality that he is describing in an incredible vivid way, don’t you think so?

Here I let you some material that could interest you:

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