WE SALUTE THE ARGENTINE POET and SOCIAL ACTIVIST, JUAN GELMAN, who died on the 14th in Mexico City where he moved after his exile and lived for the last twenty years.
A bird lived in me.
A flower traveled in my blood.
My heart was a violin.
Gelman was revered in Latin America and in Spain for his work against the junta of Argentina, his subject matter largely addressing injustice and oppression, but he was renowned the world over for his excellence and his ethic. He became a symbol of the “disappeared,” when he began a search for his granddaughter after his son and daughter-in-law were disappeared and killed. If you don’t know his story, you can read it HERE.
Shelley wrote that poets are the protectors of moral and civil laws, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Gelman certainly wrote in just such a spirit.
Professor Ilan Stavens (Amherst College) reads Juan Gelman’s poem End.
Photo credit ~ Presidencia de la Nación Argentina under CC A 2.0 Generic license.
OUR YEAR-END REPORT FROM WORDPRESS: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2013 there were 354 new posts. There were 412 pictures uploaded, which is about a picture per day. The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 524 views. [LAUNCH AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa – unfortunately the two videos that were included in that post are no longer available for review.]
MORE ON CREATIVE COLLECTIVES: In another Bardo News post we wrote:
We are nurturing a growth that goes beyond the simple idea of “connectivity” to a more productive virtual “proximity” … think in terms of artistic gatherings – not always formally organized – that you’ve read about and perhaps loved – Bloomsbury in England or the cafe gatherings of the so-called Lost Generation in Paris of the 1920s or even the Algonquin Round Table in New York, also the 1920s, though we will forego the pranks and practical jokes of the latter.
We received a response to that from a Bardo friend who wishes to remain anonymous: “I had developed some additional thoughts or elaborations I’m passing on to you.
“Prior creative and intellectual movements benefited greatly from geographic proximity. It wasn’t enough to be part of community, but that the community shared and debated some essential values and were in constant contact. The idea is that fervency, serendipity and discovery arise out of actual physical proximity.
“This is why artists still flock to cities. Despite the Internet, we still go to Mecca.
“Connecting technologies have always strengthened the bonds between people with like-minded interests (letter-writing, magazine letter columns, BBS, chatrooms, message boards, social networking, etc), fostering community. But, in the last 40 years, I haven’t seen technology yet truly replicate the creative synergy that occurs with physical proximity.
“Which led to my conclusion: any creative person who is working via connected technologies (Internet, etc), needs to focus on how they can go beyond mere community and replicate the qualities caused by physical, geographical proximity.
“I think those qualities, include:
1. regularly scheduled contact
2. opportunities for random contact
3. an agreement on the values under discussion (not necessarily in agreement on the rightness or wrongness of the values themselves).
4. diversity of interest and perspective on those values.
“Several recent groups are decent examples (these are not necessarily endorsements), including:
• The Beats (rather amorphous really, but SF, NY, and Tangiers at various times)
• The Objectivists (in NY, prior to the broader expansion)
• Maybe, the “Fog City Mavericks” in film; Lucas, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coppola, Kaufman, Zaentz.
• The Inklings
• The Futurians
“Of course, as I read this, I also recognize that the ultimate failure of these groups and collectives was often caused by a descent into orthodoxy that stifled creativity and diversity.”
INTRODUCING JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words): Joe joined us as a member of the core team late last year. He is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. Many of his poems and stories are inspired by his almost 400-year-old hometown, but most spring from his many travels between his right ear and his left ear. A former journalist, he’s written for a living more than thirty years, but only recently convinced himself to rediscover the writer he once thought he was. Five years ago, he began to write short fiction. Two years later, in a serendipitous response to a blinding case of writer’s block, he wrote his first poem…ever. He hasn’t looked back.
Since then his work has been published in journals and anthologies coast to coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words (http://athingforwordsjahesch.wordpress.com/). An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, he was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”
INTRODUCING LIZ RICE-SOSONE a.k.a. RAVEN SPIRIT (Noh Where): Liz is probably the most long-standing friend of Bardo. She guested here on several occasions and late last year joined us as a core team member and as the point person for our Voices of Peace Project. Liz began writing when older and housebound due to illness. HIV/AIDS work was the most rewarding work of her lifetime. Her animals are the loves of her life. Her husband is her best friend and also the love of her life. She received a master’s degree in 2008 in gerontology and creative writing at the age of 62. She started her second blog Noh Where in 2012. She has a deep connection to all things Corvid.
- The City of Ultimate Bliss, one girl’s faith in the magic of her city to bring her a singular precious bliss.
- The Time of Orphaning, “It’s tough when your’e orphaned at seventy,” says the narrator.
- Señora Ortega’s Frijoles, a woman shares the dichos (sayings) of her foremothers with her daughter.