It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.
— William Carlos Williams
What is found there is this:
[The] dying generations...
The earth expanding right hand and left hand...
[There,] All the lives we ever lived...
Our Own Voice celebrates National Poetry Month for we believe in Poetry’s societal role, both traditional and evolving, and in its moral and cultural responsibility. Every poet, having mastered the art of rhetoric, carries within him/her the power to initiate change.
Our 31st issue features the work of poets Eileen R. Tabios, Rolly delos Santos, Rachelle Cruz, Sean Labrador y Manzano and Joel H. Vega, as well as mine. In Essays, Joi Barrios, Cindy Dean-Morrison and Laura Huggins review Eileen Tabios’ The Thorn Rosary: Selected Prose Poems and New, Eusebio L. Koh’s Like the Mimosa and Remé Grefalda’s The Other Bluebook: On the High Seas of Discovery, respectively; Yolanda Palis interviews Toronto-based artist Celia Correa; Michael Caylo-Baradi moves through freeway signs in “Winnowed Ablutions”; and Gem Daus finds new meaning as a Filipino American when he discovers Carlos Bulosan’s “America is in the Heart”. Our short stories are excerpted from Peter Bacho’s latest novel, Leaving Yesler and Grefalda’s The Other Bluebook. Also this issue, we show artwork by Bobby Wong, Jr., Rolly delos Santos, Celia Correa and Santiago Bose.
In other news: Healthcare. Recession. Elections. Earthquakes.
What are poets for, in such an age?
A poet is always engaged in battle, says David Orr; the symbol of national identity, stresses Milan Kundera.
Where are Whitman’s wild children, [then?]
[Not to worry,] The cavalry is here.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by [irony],
Wake up, the world’s on fire!
I am signaling you through the flames.
The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.
it will be short, it will take all your breath
I’m with you [online]
where we are great writers on the same dreadful [computer]
Ah, what an age it is…
(Paragraph #2 William Butler Yeats; #3 Walt Whitman; #4 Charles Elton; #8 and 10 Lawrence Ferlinghetti; #11 Aimee Nezhukumatathil; #12 Allen Ginsberg; #13-15 Lawrence Ferlinghetti; #16 Adrienne Rich; #17 Allen Ginsberg; #18 Bertolt Brecht)
(Image from The Academy of American Poets’ 2010 National Poetry Month poster, with Baybayin script inserted, “Abril, Buwan ng Tula”)
San Francisco, April 2010