Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Enitharmon Press Launches 3 Poetry Collections; Connotation Press Call for Submissions; Plum Tree Books’ Children’s Imprint; interNational Poetry Month celebrations… and more…read on…

KUDOS FIRST Terri Stewart has been selected to present a first person monologue at the Network of Biblical Storytellers Conference in Los Angeles in August. She was also selected to teach a workshop titled “Developing First Person Monologues with Integrity.” She will be the keynote speaker at the United Methodist Women’s (Pacific Northwest) conference in October. She is speaking there on Creating Safe Space.

interNATIONAL POETRY MONTH is coming to an end. We recreated this annual April event, which is national in Canada and the United States, into an international celebration inclusive of everyone in our collective and consistent with our philosophy. Poetry – as all art – knows no borders.

What a good time we shared with readers and writers as we enriched one another’s lives. We published ten poems on the blog, were introduced to the lives and work of two poets, the Bulgarian Blaga Dimitrova (courtesy of Blaga Todorova) and the American Chirlane McCray (courtesy of Jamie Dedes), and sponsored two reader-participation events: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday hosted by Victoria C. Slotto and A Poem in Your Pocket hosted by Corina Ravenscraft.

We are pleased to share the news that Elegy to Damascus from the exquisite pen of Algerian Imen Benyoub garnered much attention, including two re-blogs and nearly fifty Facebook “Likes.” The poem is very much in the spirit of Bardo.

WHO IS POETRY FOR? This coming Wednesday as we put closure on poetry month – but not poetry – we share an essay from Bardo friend, Myra Schneider, who is much appreciated for her work as a poet and teacher, a consultant to Second Light Network and for her encouragement of others to read and write poetry for well-being. Myra asks, “Who is Poetry For?” and invites suggestions on how we might widen the audience for poetry. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments section whether you are invested in this art as vocation or avocation or as an enthusiastic reader.

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK‘s next issue of ARTEMISpoetry is due out in May. The network’s anthology Her Wings of Glass is forthcoming this October. On Wednesday a review of the November issue by Jamie Dedes will post on The Poet by Day. Note: Second Light Network was founded and is based in England but its membership is open to women world-wide. See the site for more info on membership qualifications, membership costs and benefits.

PLUM TREE BOOKS (PTB) Niamh Clune announced this week that PTB had a face-lift. “We are focussing on DR. NANA PLUM’S AMAZING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN and have updated our web-site accordingly.”

The launch of the new web-site is on Saturday 3rd of May. “We hope you will join us then for story-telling and more.” Niamh has invited us to visit, so do save the date and lend your support. For a taste of what’s to come, visit Dr. Nana Plum’s Story Corner.

PTB Anthology in the works: Niamh reports thatwe have received some wonderful poetry submissions and art for our Mother anthology. There is still time to send in yours.”

BRAVO! A pat on the metaphorical back of Jamaica, which just this month named its first National Poet Laureate in fifty years. Read all about it HERE.

YOUTH POET LAUREATES: Los Angeles County Youth have until May 19th to submit work to Urban Word, which will name one talented person (aged 14-19)LA Youth Poet Laureate. Details HERE.

In January at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inauguration, New York’s Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana, read her poem entitled New York City, a poem dedicated to Mr. de Blasio.

YOUTH CORNER: The Bardo Group is still looking for a youth – aged 19-24- to run a Youth Poetry Corner. Email us at bardogroup@gmail.com if you are interested.

ENITHARMON PRESS: The media team at Enitharmon Press alerts us to the publication of three new books of poetry in May with announcements of book launches in London for those in our collective who live or are visiting the area.

BOOK LAUNCH INVITES, 1, 13, 22 May 2014

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SOME LETTERS NEVER SENT by Neil Curry ~ “Deceptively relaxed in tone, these verse letters – sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical – are addressed to such figures as Angelea Carter, the Venerable Bede and from Odysseus to Gilbert White’s tortoise, on topics as diverse as smallpox and the paintings of Vermeer, landscape-gardening, the King James Bible and Eddie Eddi Stobart’s lorries on the M6. There has not been a collection of verse letters of this nature since the Epistles of the Roman poet Horace and, fittingly, it is to Horace that the final letter is addressed, partly by way of apology.”

SOONER OR LATER FRANK by Jeremy Reed “Sooner or Later Frank finds Jeremy Reed optimising his London quarter of Soho and the West End, its outlaws, opportune strangers and rogue mavericks condensed into poems coloured by an imagery that pushes pioneering edges towards final frontiers. Right on the big city moment, and with an eye for arresting acute visual detail, Reed makes the capital into personal affairs. His characteristic love of glamour, rock music, seasonal step-changes, and a Ballardian preoccupation with the visionary render this new PBS Recommendation, in John Ashbery’s words on Reed’s recent work, ‘a dazzling tour de force.'” You’ll find the poem that lends its name to the book HERE.

THE ORCHID BOAT by Lee Harwood ~ “A weave of stories: some personal, some historical, some real, some imaginary. Often these stories may co-exist in a poem just as they do in one’s everyday mind, as a collage mirroring our own perception of the world. It is a mix that can include Alexandria or China or Brighton or North Wales. These interwoven stories insist on the acceptance of contradictions and complexity in people and in life; a recognition characteristic of Harwood’s poetry and shaped by his acknowledged influences: Gide, de Montherlant and Cavafy, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara. In Harwood’s poems the richest material and tone is found in ‘the ordinary’, and in The Orchid Boat this focus is thrown into even greater relief as he explores the power and weight of memories.”

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Robert (Bob) Clark Young tells us that, “As the creative nonfiction editor for Connotation Press, I’m always looking for new essays. I invite you to submit nonfiction on a topic of your choice. I’m looking for creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays–with the understanding that these categories often overlap. Up to 10,000 words. Please submit work directly to me at robertclarkyoung@connotationpress.com. I look forward to reading your work.”

Bob was a guest writer on Bardo. In his piece, Escape from the Nursing Home, he shared his story – and the rewards – of caring for elderly and infirm parents.

SAVE THE DATES

From Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and the Arts Council of England

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From The Bardo Group: While we don’t have a striking poster such as the one above, we do have some fun and interesting virtual events coming up:

  • WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY prompt hosted by Victoria C. Slotto is scheduled next for May 28th.

  • VOICES FOR PEACE PROJECT in concert with 100,000 Poets for Change (Michael Rothbenberg and Terri Carrion organizers) is hosted by Liz Rice-Sosne and scheduled for September 27, 2014. We are officially partnered with 100,000 Poets of Change as of April 10, 2014.

Join us on our Facebook Page

BARDO NEWS: Thanks to everyone who contributed today’s news. The next news day is May 25, 2014 and the deadline to get your news into the next post is Friday, May 23, 2014.

Email: bardogroup@wordpress.com.

If you missed the deadline for this post, please feel free to share your news in the comments section.

– The Bardo Group

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

The Burden of a Shared Name

571px-Blaga_Dimitrova_YounI used to hate her, foolish, a teenager’s hate that can only be explained in a parallel universe where logic doesn’t exist. I was a sixteen-year-old girl in a class with additional studies of mathematics. I was supposed to have the sharp brain, the emotion-free behavior required for someone who was a shining star in solving mathematical problems. Then suddenly there it was: the literature lesson about her and one of her poems I don’t even remember. The teacher decided that I was the one who should talk about her that day because of the first name we shared. 41GHNKWJ10L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

It was a disaster! I hadn’t read a word from what was written in the school books about her and her poetry. When I was asked the question ‘What do you think Blaga Dimitrova’s poem symbolizes?’ all I could think about to answer was, “The only person who really knows what the words in a poem meant is the author herself. We, as readers, can interpret as we feel right and only hope we’ve reached close enough the thoughts of the writer.’ Wrong answer! A bunch of literature critics that wrote the school book of literature, had already decided what her poetry signified, just like they had decided what every other writer we had studied represents with their work.

I got a bad mark that day and I had come to a conclusion that no one should want to be a poet in a country where we are told what to think. The bad mark wasn’t the worst. After the lesson everyone started calling me Dimitrova. I didn’t like it, I could feel it was meant to be a joke with my personality; to label me with the weakness of feelings only poetry could carry because this is what I used to think about poetry and poets – weak people spilling their weaknesses… Ridiculous, isn’t it? And who knew that I would become one of those weak people. Who knew that one day I would learn  to squander my emotions elegantly on a piece of paper and love doing it too?

At the same time Blaga Dimitrova was vice president of my country, Bulgaria. That was another reason to dislike her. I didn’t dislike her because she was in politics. Who was I to judge someone I have seen only on tv? I disliked Dimitrova because I couldn’t understand why a sane person would stand to support the President we had at that time, and I just couldn’t understand why he was elected. I didn’t know him either. I was way too naïve and young to have the maturity to understand the political situation, but on his face was written all over “I’m capable of nothing.”

When a year later Blaga Dimitrova resigned from her post as a Vice-President due to a disagreement with the President she gained my respect and with that come the urge to re-evaluate her poetry. It was a shock to find that I actually loved her style, her words. The first poem I read and understood from her was:

Tag

I keep forgetting my clock
to escape the time.
But it catches up with me and I whirl
with the whopping, falling leaves.

I enter the sea with the clock on my wrist
to drown the time.
But it slaps me in the face
with the bells of the foam.

I’m not counting the beats of the pendulum;
I want to put the time away.
But it lands right on my nose
with the first snow.

At night I don’t set the alarm
with the hope the time will stop.
But it’s waiting for me in the cold bed
with love already gone.

– Blaga Dimitrova

Then I read her novel Journey Toward Myself.  It’s a book about a girl who tries to escape her past, which is not an easy task in the years of communism, especially if you were born in the wrong family. The message is rather strong and easy to apply to anyone of us. No matter how much we travel and how much we search for the person we are supposed to be, sometimes what we are meant to be is right there where we started our journey.

My favorite quote from Blaga Dimitrova’s book is: “I blessed him with a smile. It dissolved him completely. There was no need for words. I should have tried with a smile at first. I tend to forget that this is my most faithful weapon. I have never thought what impact a smile can have. Only here in the land of rocks and coarse people I found the strength of my smile. It’s worth to travel so far for such a discovery of your own possibilities.”

It’s somewhat hard to explain Blaga Dimitrova’s work and to try to extract a short conclusion that could fit into one review. There is always that special feeling left in the heart after you read her. Maybe that’s why I grew very fond of her poems and stories over the years and maybe that’s why it’s really difficult to fit everything I want to say about her in one blog post.

I can tell you that she comes from a family with professional parents. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a lawyer. She attended a roster of prestigious schools and gained an education that supported her talent. She was honored with many literature awards.

One of her books, Avalanche, was made into an acclaimed movie,  one of the best Bulgarian movies ever in my opinion. Some of Blaga Dimitrova’s work was forbidden in the 80s, because of the strong anti- communism touch. I could tell you that some people liked her and some not. Be it for her political views, be it for her writing, it doesn’t matter to me. On the 2nd of May in 2003 after a long battle with cancer, Blaga Dimitrova died. She was eight-one years old.

I believe on that day Bulgaria lost a great talent. Many years have passed. I am no longer the sixteen-year-old girl who didn’t know how to appreciate the good things in life. I have left Bulgaria for my own reasons and maybe I am still traveling towards myself to find who I really am. It hurts sometimes when I go back home to see that nothing from great people like Blaga Dimitrova was passed on to the new generation. Sometimes I still feel the burden of the shared name with the poetess, not because I am embarrassed to be connected to the weakness of poetry, but because I am afraid I will not be able to stand up worthy of the name Blaga like Ms. Dimitrova did with her talent. I love so many of Blaga Dimitrova’s poems, it’s hard to choose the best, but this one I had written on my wall in the room where I was living during my years at University. It is the one I cherish most.

Lyrical

In the sunset of every love
occurs pain and sadness.
After sunset every night
comes darkness and silence.

When somebody leaves you,
you don’t have the strength to stop him.
When you see that love dies
you can’t die along with it.

You understand that the dreams have never been real
that you have loved, but there wasn’t love,
that the memories are a pain that has fled already,
that you were happy, but you didn’t notice it.

– Blaga Dimitrova

For everything I have translated in this post, there probably could be a better translation. I’ve said it many times, some poems are best to be read in the language they have been written, but I did the best I could. My thanks to The Bardo Group for the opportunity to share the story and poems of a great Bulgarian poetess with readers here in honor of interNational Poetry Month.

© 2014, essay, Blaga Todorova, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ Merolina under CCA-SA 3.0 Unported license via Wikimedia Commons

unnamed-6BLAGA TODOROVA (Between the Shadows and the Soul) ~ was born in Bulgaria, lives in Greece and doesn’t stop dreaming about finding new country for herself. She doesn’t consider herself a writer, but just someone who sometimes is lucky enough to be at the right place, with the right person, with the background of the right music that will bring the right words. Blaga has been blogging for many years now and has won the friendship and following of other poets and writers for her insights, humor and sense of romance and of justice. English is not her first language, but she uses it well and it is her favorite language for her favorite artistic pursuit, writing. She has a novel in progress. She is also a rather accomplished photographer.

Posted in Bardo News, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

BARDO NEWS: April celebrations of poetry and poets, a shared heritage that knows no borders

Quatrain on Heavenly Mtn.
Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain

Both Canada and the United States celebrate April as national poetry month. Since Bardo is an international effort, we will celebrate the month as an international event. Poetry is a shared heritage that knows no borders.

Among the blog posts we’ll publish during this month is a piece by Blaga Todorova (Between the Shadows and the Soul) on the Bulgarian poet and former Bulgarian Vice President, Blaga Dimitrova. Included in our line-up is a memorable poem by New York’s first lady, wife of Mayor Bill De Blasio, Chirlane McCray. There will be a piece on writing poetry by English poet, Myra Schneider (Myra Schneider’s Poetry Website), and an article on the Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran. Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams) will start us off on April 1 with some ideas for celebrating with family and friends.

While we don’t plan to post poems and/or essays on poetry every day, we’ll do so quite a bit. Also, along with the Academy of American Poets, we’ll celebrate A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24, when everyone is invited to share a poem and/or a piece about a favored poet no matter the poet’s time or place. Mister Linky will go up and you can link in your own work or share a URL to work you admire. Or, if you prefer, you can share a poem or comment on a poet in the comment section of that day’s post. Mister Linky will open at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th.

This evening we kick-off poetry month – a day-and-a-half early, yes! – with award-winning Canadian slam poet and writer, Shane Koyczan, who first came to the wider world’s attention with his poem We Ae More at the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver. This video begins with Death Be Not Proud by British poet John Donne (1572-1631) and moves into Shane’s performance of one of his early poems, Move Pen Move.

CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL POETRY MONTH WITH US

“Poets are the unacknowled legislators of the world.” Percy B. Shelley (1792-1822), English Romantic poet, In Defense of Poetry

HAPPY MOTHERING SUNDAY TO OUR FRIENDS IN THE UK

from The Bardo Group

tomorrow’s post by Niamh Clune (Plum Tree Books) will honor the day

and don’t forget to join us on Wednesday, April 23, for Victoria Slotto’s (Victoria C. Slotto, Author/Fiction, Poetry and Writing PromptsWriters’ Fourth Wednesday prompt. Mister Linky will go up for sharing your work at 12:01 a.m. P.S.T. on the 23rd.

Join us on our Facebook page, THE BARDO GROUP

Illustration ~ Fan with quatrain poem attributed to Emperor Gaozong of Song (1107-1187), the tenth Chinese emperor of the Song Dynasty, part of the John B. Elliott Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The photograph is by Neutrality and generously released into the public domain.

– The Bardo Group

Posted in Blaga Todorova, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

I Can Write Another Poem Tonight

450px-Tango-Show-Buenos-Aires-01After Pablo Neruda …

I can write another poem about the distance tonight.
Something about chants over shivering seconds and stolen lights,
about his mahogany eyes and forgotten Milonga dance.

But the night burns with treacherous sparks,
with thousand butterflies over cliffs and tides.

I can write another poem about him, how I craved
his lips, his words, his hands and sometimes he did too.

In nights like this, within crested dreams, he desired me
and sometimes I did too. And how couldn’t I?
The world in his eyes, I was the only one allowed inside.

I can write another poem about love and passion under
the never-ending violin sounds and voluminous skies;

when I know that everything is bound to break,
even the perfect curves chasing the ocean.

To feel that with every crash of the waves I have lost him.
To hear the whispers of his soul, faraway whispers,
even more without him,

when the night ignites under the moonlight and
poetry drops heavily on my heart, just like
the rain that strikes everything dead or alive.

And that’s all there is. In the distance someone plays
Morricone on the piano. In the distance.

My mind does not know harmony. My heart searches for his.
My voice longs for the breeze that would carry my secrets to him;

how I no longer hate the darkness of the night without him,
it’s true, but maybe I still do. Longing comes so suddenly, settles
comfortably in the shape of a precious hug and never dies.

Because in nights like this he always held me in his arms,
through the imaginary miles apart,
while poetry drifted into the distance, silently, lilac like and sad …

– Blaga Todorova

© 2014, poem and protrait (below), Blaga Todorova; photo credit ~ Dancing Tango in Buenos Aires by Jenny Mealing and licensed under the CC A 2.0 Generic license.

unnamed-6BLAGA TODOROVA (Between the Shadows and the Soul) ~ was born in Bulgaria, lives in Greece and doesn’t stop dreaming about finding new country for herself. She doesn’t consider herself a writer, but just someone who sometimes is lucky enough to be at the right place, with the right person, with the background of the right music that will bring the right words.

Blaga has been blogging for many years now and has won the friendship and following of other poets and writers for her insights, humor and sense of romance and of justice. English is not her first language, but she uses it well and it is her favorite language for her favorite artisitic persuit, writing. She has a novel in progress. She is also a rather accomplished photographer.

Although we believe Blaga was named for a relative, it is interesting to note that she shares her lovely first name with Blaga Dimitrova, the Bulgarian poet and former Vice President of Bulgaria (1992-1993) who was the inspiration for John Updike’s short story, The Poetess. We have invited Blaga Todorova to write about Blaga Dimitrova and hope to present that work on The Bardo Group blog one day.

Posted in Blaga Todorova, Photography/Photographer

On a rainy day …

Rain brings an unexpected peace to central Athens where protests are a regular thing. Here Bulgarian linguist, poet and photographer, Blaga Todorova, captures a certain beauty. J.D.

Between the Shadows and the Soul

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” ― Roger Miller

We have been having couple of days with a very heavy rain and in one of those days I happened to be out with my camera. I didn’t take all the pictures I wanted to, my camera has very limited options when it comes to photographing rain, and I came back home completely wet, but it was exciting and refreshing to walk in the rain, it had this mysteriously sweet taste of something majestic ruling the atmosphere …

The reason why the roads in a very busy town like Athens are completely empty it is not because people here are afraid from the rain, but because that day there was a demonstration taking place. And when we have one of those demonstrations the center of Athens is closed and isolated. I’m not sure how much I approve of…

View original post 93 more words

Posted in Guest Writer, Poems/Poetry

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

BLAGA TODOROVA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Continuing our tradition of serving up the arts (they are spiritual expression after all) and as a special treat for Valentine’s Day, we’re grateful to share a wistful, romantic poem by Blaga Todorova. Given her gift of poem, perhaps it is appropriate that she shares her name with the renowned Bulgarian poet and the former president of Bulgaria, Blaga Dimitrova.

Blaga Todorova says she “discovered the power of breathing the words of poetry recently, still trying to define my style and improve the language and the emotions offered to the readers.”  Blogging since September of 2010, she’s quickly gained a loyal and sustained following. Her work has been picked up by several online literary arts magazines.

Though living in Athens, Greece, she was born in Bulgaria and studied engineering at college. Her great loves are poetry, travel, and languages. In addition to her native tongue, Blaga is fluent in Spanish, Greek, and English. She comes late to English (her preferred language for writing), having taught herself by reading an English copy of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath alongside a Bulgarian copy. Her inspiration is often “the souls of places worth visiting and remembering” and Pablo Neruda who “has left a big mark in my heart. I hope one day to reach the same level of master writing.”  Visit Blaga at BrokenSparkles. J.D.

THE SMILE OF THE MOON AND SOME GREEN EYES

by

Blaga Todorova (BrokenSparkles)

I stared at the moon last night,
her full, silver smile
tickling the shy sky
and I thought,
she must’ve seen you,
somewhere,
walking along Arroyo Seco
or camping,
by Lake Tear of the Clouds;

Your eyes
in green and sparkles,
locking virgins and darkness
in flames, fierce,
and those lips,
musings for the skin;
your hands,
binding sunsets and memories
of a past in oblivion.

Seasons have changed, twice,
from the blooming sour cherries
to the summer rain,
from the lush grapes in vineyards
to the window crystals
carving winter life,
I’ve lost the count on
nonsense and lonely nights,
on loves dying without
honesty and candle lights,
but I still remember
the shade of green in your eyes.

© 2012, photograph and poem, Blaga Todorova, All rights reserved