Friday, May 7, 2010

More Final Project Wonders, Spring 2010

Blogger is less hungry this morning, allows me to post more pictures of student projects for this semester. Those on the left are by graduate students Lyz Soto, Jaimie Gusman and Davin Kubota (the latter being an auditor/free loader, visitation from a past life in the 1990s!). Lyz Soto, whose book Eulogies was published by Tinfish Press earlier in the year, composed an "Accretion Disk," based on her propensity to rewrite a single poem until it expands into book form. In this case, a short lyric about the sun morphed into a long sequence of meditations on being mother to a son. Lyz performed her usual operations on her own text, "translating" it repeatedly, and also including equations. Real ones, the mathematical kind. Jaimie Gusman wrote a sequence about the Anyjar, which I like to think of as a proud descendant of Wallace Stevens's Tennessee jar. This jar is a universal container into which the poet stashes feelings (there's an elegy, or three in here), memories (there's a love story), and includes Jaimie's usual whimsical and yet incisive wordplay. Davin's chapbook is funnier; he puts on traditions like clothes. He also did a "newspaper" about poetry, in which he included his own Hart Cranian elegy of a dog amid a page of shtick. Effective, odd, juxtapositions are his mode. He could give Lee Cataluna a run for her money.

Yesterday, I posted a photograph of No`u Revilla's chapbook; here's another. She calls her "press" Filipino Broom because those brooms require so much work to perform the art of sweeping. (Her description brought back the vivid image of old Russian women sweeping the sidewalks of Moscow, circa 1981, and my father's eyes bright with feeling that they should not have to do so.) No`u's work has a lot of sexuality in it, but always at the service (wrong word!) of ideas about the world, whether about young girls discovering their sexuality, the `aina, or larger issues in relationships between lovers.

Here are three more chapbooks from English 713, left to right, Peter Forman's "Boarding Pass: Trans-Perception Airways," made AS a boarding pass; Marcus Au Young's "Image Not Found," and Aiko Yamashiro's "notes toward a love poem."

Aiko's poems "toward love" or her love "toward a poem" graft themselves onto song lyrics, then move off into the world of the hospital where her grandfather had surgery on his heart valve. The word "valve" then takes off (not a stone, as in Dickinson) and merges into other things (sinks, faucets) and voices (her grandfather's stream-of-consciousness life story, that starts and stops as the poet wills it). Marcus's deck of cards includes the concrete poem seen here, where "settlers" and "natives" cover the island of O`ahu in arbitrary binary fashion. Peter Forman, a former TWA pilot, is a local authority on the airline industry. His chapbook contains multi-layered narrative poems about his travels. The strongest, to my mind, is a poem about Kiribati (where my husband spent two years in the Peace Corps). In that poem he layers a personal narrative with the colonial history of the place and the subsequent ecological disasters there.

Amalia Bueno, like Davin Kubota, was a freeloader. But oh to have such auditors always! Her chapbook for 411 (Poetry of Place workshop) is a wide-ranging piece, featuring poems about her own locations (the Philippines, Waipahu and "upper Waipahu," which is what she calls Waikele,). Amalia's work is kinetic, funny, wise slapstick. She write da kine, too.

There were many other wonderful projects between the two classes. One student, Kate Stilwell, who is teaching for Teach for America, made her own paper (but left me with the xeroxed version of her book, alas); Moriah Amey made enormous sheets out of card stock, which feature photographs on which she has applied her poems; Nicole Manuel's chapbook is as understated as she is not, a lovely meditation on motherhood and direction (of various kinds) off Pensacola Street in Makiki. Nicole appreciated Bernadette Mayer's Midwinter Day in a way few of my students have. Her chapbook begins, "Stately." Homage to Mayer's homage to Joyce, indeed.

Craig Perez was a surprise guest to our last class of English 411. Here's a photograph of him reading a poem about Spam. (That's a fiction; this is a photo of him, and he read a poem about Spam.) The class had read his first book, from unincorporated territory [hacha]. He was overheard telling another visitor that this was "the craziest class he'd ever been to."

Thanks to everyone in both classes for making this such a rewarding semester, especially in light of the budget cuts, faculty losses, falling down building, uncollegiality by some, and the other downers that make one question one's desire to pursue this "life of the mind." Mind is pleased.

1 comment:

Davin Kubota (ENG) said...

Long live la free-loading auditor!