Elizabeth Lowe read from her translation of the Brazilian writer Regina Rheda, author of Ark without Noah, "The Bad Neighbor". There is a UT Press collection of her works, "First World, Third Class". She read from "Bestseller", with strong themes of globalization - ecofeminist, immigration, diaspora - wordplay. I loved this story, which was obnoxious, bitter, funny, disturbing, & surreal!
Liz Henry (me) - Elvira Hernandez and Carmen Berenguer. I read from my translations of "Carta de Viaje", "Bala humanitaria", "Moluska", "A media luz", and "Lengua osa verba". That was a lot of fun. I'm having a blast reading and translating Berenguer, who is bold and outrageous and untranslatable.
Graciela Lucero-Hammer read from her translation of Desnudos del alma, by Marisa Estelrich, who unfortunately could not be here - (Alicia Zavala Galvan read the Spanish). A funny and compelling story from the point of view of a woman who is very annoyed at the nosy manager of her apartment building...
Philip Metres, reading from Sergey Gandlevsky , "A Kindred Orphanhood". A poem inspired by folksongs learned in prison. How people come back from prison all around the world with new language. "A gutter lisping to itself .... a song about wasted life... I'm not particular... a swallow of alcohol is like a hot rose unfolding in your chest. " Wow!
Philip Metres also read several poems by Lev Rubenstein, "The postmodern Chekov." - "Catalogue of Comedic Novelties". A poem called "Here I am" :
"Here I am / there is no other/ this is the only /this is the only /there is no other / well if I'd known it was going to be like this...!" Radical and cool. Subtle ambiguities of everyday thoughts, distressing yet unavoidable uncertainties, strongly expressed. The sort of thing you can be thinking about without being able to stop - but unable to explain what it is that you're thinking. Poetry about exactly that.
Le Pham Le and Nancy Arbuthnot sang and read Le's beautiful poems. I think they were scheduled at a different time, so not a lot of people knew that they were performing at 5pm -- which was too bad because a lot of people were looking forward to hearing their work. Le improvises melodies to the poems. I don't know anything about the rules of the poetic form or of the melodic improvisation but it's clearly part of a long aesthetic tradition. I will just add a few links here for anyone who wants to pursue more information: Ca Dao Viet Nam: Vietnamese Folk Poetry by John Balaban; Versification of Vietnamese Riddles; Traditional Music of Vietnam: Art Songs, Poetry.