Does anyone have an extra working laptop or one that might be cheaply fixable? The woman in Richmond who got gang raped for having a rainbow gay pride bumper sticker is, well, is in dire difficulty. She needs help with housing, since the rapists have her home address, and she and her partner and their 8 year old daughter haven't been back there. She needs a car (she was raped a lot in the old one and can't bring herself to get into it). And she and her partner could really use a computer they could use to help them out in general .
I donated money via Paypal here:
But I thought I could also ask around to see if anyone could help out with a computer.
Here is a news link
And here are some other bits of info if you want to use snail mail, contact the police, or verify the story with the local Rape Crisis Center.
If you would like to send a card, please mail it to:
Richmond Police Department
Attn: Sgt. Brian Dickerson
1701 Regatta Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804
If you can send a financial contribution (even a few dollars) to help her pay her medical bills and other costs associated with her recovery, please mail a check payable to Community Violence Solutions to:
Community Violence Solutions
2101 Van Ness Ave.,
San Pablo, CA 94806
Attn: Mrs. Joanne Douglas
In the memo section of the check please write: Richmond Jane Doe
Monday, December 29, 2008
Does anyone have an extra working laptop or one that might be cheaply fixable? The woman in Richmond who got gang raped for having a rainbow gay pride bumper sticker is, well, is in dire difficulty. She needs help with housing, since the rapists have her home address, and she and her partner and their 8 year old daughter haven't been back there. She needs a car (she was raped a lot in the old one and can't bring herself to get into it). And she and her partner could really use a computer they could use to help them out in general .
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Here's a silly tshirt for people who write in vim or vi. Do you prefer the good attitude? Or bad?
vi bad attitude by lizzardhenry
Design a personalized tshirt Using zazzle.com
Browse other Humor Sayings T-Shirts
:w! by lizzardhenry
Create personalized t-shirts At www.Zazzle.com
Browse Computers Science Technology T-Shirts
Monday, December 22, 2008
I heard about this conference, the Southern California Linux Expo, only because they have a Women in Open Source track. It showed up on my Google Alerts and on several of my mailing lists. Here's their call for proposals to give talks.
Since I've never been to the conference I wondered what kind of talks they've had in the past. How can I know what to propose, otherwise? Or if what I might talk about would be useful (or hard core enough) to their participants?
I went looking to see what the past Women in Open Source tracks were like. Here's the schedule for SCALE 2008, with links to the talks and participants. I would have gone to the Education panel, the long spam-fighting talk, community manager talk, open source mentoring talk, Building Websites with Drupal, and the women in open source panel discussion. The 2008 BOF schedule was posted too. I might have liked the EC2 and the MySQL groups! In 2007, there was a Women in Open Source mini-conference or track.
It is not so much that the topics are different in the years before there was a Women in Open sorce focus, but the fact they have bothered to take steps to show women's participation makes me feel much more certain the conference will be interesting and I won't feel out of place.
It's nice to see someone doing it right.
If you miss OSCON because you'll be at BlogHer in July, this looks like a good conference to go to!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
What do you think. Brilliant steampunk parody? Or simply the funniest, most godawful, user interface design in the history of the planet?
I can't stop laughing! I keep expecting the Onceler to pop out and put a thneed on it!
It's just like the early 90s software I remember when people had to make a GUI for everything, no matter if it was suited for it or not.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Hello world! I’ve had a busy week at work with php and Drupal, and then had a very nice time at the EFF at an informal Drupal class where Tim Jones walked us all through the process of installing Drupal and writing “Hello World” modules. I did a lot of editing on a book for Aqueduct Press about this year’s feminist science fiction convention The WisCon Chronicles volume 3, which is coming together nicely. My son had 3 choir performances got to play for the first time in snow, a pit of artificial snow provided by our little town in California. I made up strange background stories about an alternate Lord of the Rings story where Galadriel accepts the One Ring when Frodo offers it to her. And I helped Oblomovka move house, obsessively measuring everything and drawing the room on graph paper and cutting out to-scale furniture also on graph paper, which I love doing! A busy life. Somewhere in between all those things, I read all of your comments and blog posts for the HP Magic Giveaway.
Onward to the contest! This is a long post; be warned!
Over 100 people entered the contest, which is really not very many for such a good prize. However, I was impressed with the high quality of the entries, with all of the interesting comments, whether they were analytical responses or personal stories that related to my experiences. Many people gave details of how they’d like to share the contest prizes with others in their family, with neighbors, with organizations they work with, or with schools. Every story had its merits.
I hope that everyone who didn’t win a free computer will think of ways they can get what they’d like for themselves, and for others. For example, they could hold a fundraiser on their own blog, to buy a computer like the ones in the contest and donate it to the cause of their choice.
I truly appreciate all the comments and entries! While I can’t mention everyone by name, but of the entries, I was especially impressed with :
* Mr. Brammer, who commented on wearable usb drives and on useful mobility gadgets. He teaches school in Indonesia and could really use some computers to spread throughout the villages where he works. “What's great is that I am already in position to make a direct impact using those computers, without having to search for an outside charity: my students are the charity!”
He doesn’t have a current blog that I could find but his wife does, and I liked seeing the lovely photo of them as a family. Yeah, so I stalk my commenters. What else is new!
* Loving Heart Mommy, who posted about disabilty and travel, and who would like to use some of the computers for home schooling and to start her own business
* Kostas, who is a human rights activist in Greece and whose mother works for a school. He commented on disability and travel, mentioning his commitment to fighting for equal rights for people of all sexualities, immigrant status, and abilities.
* S. Bear Bergman, whose work I am somewhat familiar with and who had (as always) fantastic ideas around trans and gender issues, commenting on diversity training and sparking conversation Twitter .
* Bridget commented on “being of a time” and the history of science and medicine.
* Ben, who commented on Growing a Language and whose blog entry over on bentangle did make me think. Though halfway in that laughing my ass off way as I pondered his approach to feminism, which is to ask his male friends to imagine going through life without a penis. “While this is obviously a simplistic and crude explanation, it seems to be effective for men because, frankly, a lot of how we spend our time is influenced by the fact that we have one.” Seriously? I had no idea! LOL! (Imagine, ladies, going throughout life without a vulva. A) Apparently that would make you a man? B) What? C) LOL again. ) But, anyway, Ben is a thoughtful and interesting blogger!
* Twincere aka Tanya, who had a lot to say about disability, people’s attitudes, and autism. Her family of 7 shares one rickety old desktop, she is in Nursing school, and she recommends The Endependence Center, which helps families with transitional services, ie independent living, as a worthy recipient of computer equipment. I very much agree with her! The indepedent living movement is great!
* Cindy Opong of Creative Assistants commented with a story about people’s assumptions and expectations based on race (and racism) when they see her (white) with her husband (black, from Ghana) or how people look at her funny when she’s in the local African grocery. She would like to give computers in support of a local (Colorado) school that promotes diversity in education.
* Heather of ibabble.net left a long, interesting comment relating my travel and disability stories to her college roommate’s experiences living with visual impairment. Like many people who entered, she personally knows many others in her group of family and friends whose lives, school, or small businesses would be improved by owning a new computer!
* Christine commented on my entry about the Bitch Manifesto, and she would like to “share the magic” with the Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who lost everything in the floods this June but which has continued to do great work in the community all year long. Florencia from Listen Up Mofos also had some things to say about bitches!
Steph from gamers with lives weighed in on my critique of the sexist descriptions of Google VP Marissa Mayer. She does outreach in K12 schools with girls and students with disabilities, with hands-on activities like Lego Mindstorm robots. That is a GREAT project! Go, Steph aka retrogamer! And, I liked your comments on being a female educator in computing and what it’s like for geeky girls. I’ve totally been there.
* Michele from Creative Writing 101 commented and posted about the poems by Emilia Bernal and my translations. Her story made me laugh and she would like to donate computers to the organization where she works, a center for disadvantaged teens. Well, imagine wanting to donate to your employer. That speaks well of the organization, doesn’t it, that it’s not just a job for its workers, it’s something they believe in deeply and want to give more resources than the labor they already give?
* Jonathan wrote at length about the gender gap in computer science, discussion which I’m always happy to see. I would recommend to him that he read “She’s Such a Geek” anthology for some stories from women in male-dominated science and tech fields for a slightly less dry, and more personal, approach to the issues!
* Sandy of momforeverandever, who wrote about her feelings when her husband, an army veteran who is disabled, meets with idiotic treatment from others! She would give a computer to her child who’s in college and others to families of disabled veterans.
* Overmind, who seems like he must be a teenager or in his early 20s, and who is reading Twilight in order to find out how to behave towards women in a relationship. I hope he pays attention to the bits about listening to your girlfriend’s thoughts and opinions, and ignores the creepy stalker bits of the book where Edward is insane, possessive, and spies on his girlfriend at all times. I really enjoyed the thought of a young guy reading this series to get insight into what women of his generation are thinking, and feeling, and in order to analyze gender roles. His guy friends should learn from him and not be so scared to read a “girly” book!
* Heather, or goddess of knitting (that’s her shop on etsy) had a lot to say about teaching poetry in science courses, and cross-curriculum education in public schools. Go, Heather! Mix it up! Her biology class in southern Georgia (the U.S. state) will start on Jan. 7th and she would love to have computers for her classroom. I love her enthusiasm and her stories of all the preparation she’s doing for her first time teaching. “I plan to have a project where each student has to read a science fiction book and do a report that must compare the science in the book with the real science. I also have warm-ups planned everyday and on Wednesdays this will be a science poem. Some of the authors are Federico Garcia Lorca, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, John Haines and George Bradley. I feel very so strongly that the lack of crossover in the subjects makes us more compartmentalized as a culture.”
* Meg from Life in the Village commented on being a bitch, positive and negative aspects! Her small town has a new middle school that could use some computers!
* Amanda’s long comment on disability, I’ve already mentioned but it still makes me burn with sympathy and anger for her brother.
* I hate to say it but Amber’s comment gave me the biggest laugh of all but not really in a good way. OMG! I mean, I respect her work with the Childhood Cancer Network, and Scarlet Letter seems like an interesting site, but she kissed ass on me so awfully. Who could possibly be flattered by this enough to go “Oh well then I’ll just give you a giant wad of computers!” : “Thank you Liz Henry, you have the name of a poet or a great author. It flows nicely such as Jane Austen or Anais Nin. Its a name that would look great on paper.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA, what?!!!! I will be dining out over the ridiculousness of this comment for years to come. Everyone who I’ve showed it to has burst into horrified laughter and made fun of me all day. Now, on the other hand making me laugh is worth something; maybe she meant it as irony; plus, she has a great email name herself, “shevilkenevil1”. LMAO over here.
* Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, a blog whose name is so awesome I have to just give her props. Thank you Beverly’s Yarn Crazy!, you have the name of a poet or a great knitter. It flows nicely such as Yarn Harlot or Yarnivore. It’s a name that would look great crocheted onto a potholder or an afghan. 8-) Hi Beverly!
* deepikaur from Redefinability made some thoughtful comments on social networks and Twittering. Her blog looks interesting!
* Vundavalli from Cricket Crazy would really like some computers for his village and for Sphoorti, a grassroots organization that helps with the education of underprivileged children in Hyderabad.
* Roguepuppet told a great story about being a young Girl Scout in Maryland in the U.S., volunteering at nursing homes. Under Maryland law, nursing homes were temporary residences, so none of the people living there could vote! She and her fellow Girl Scouts campaigned to change the law, and succeeded. Wow!
Several people commented on Highly Trained Girl-Monkey Sys Admin Bait including Rikki from Linux Pro, Jamie, another Syster with a long story about sexism in her department and her data structures class.
* Sara Moreira from Portugal (and East Timor ) posts about a project she works with in East Timor that helps women who are going into Engineering. She works in IT and E-Learning, and has been a professor of Engineering at East Timor National University, uses computers and social media for women’s empowerment, and, along with another Syster from Portugal, is planning to start a mini-incubator for a web dev company run by Timorese women that will focus on arts and local culture. Wow! Ten thumbs up from me on that project! Wait, I don’t have ten thumbs but I do have a whole bunch of computers to give away. I am very happy to declare Sarita Moreira the winner of the contest and I’ll be contacting her for details and to arrange the shipping. Congratulations Sarita, and I admire your project very much. Also, from what I can understand of Portuguese, I love your writing - so beautiful! 8-)
What do you think of my choice of a winner? If you’ve followed along this week with the entries and comments: who would you have chosen?
Thank you again to everyone for participating! I LOVE YOUR BLOGS!
There are still more HP Magic Giveaway contests! So, you still have a chance to win these computers. Go for it!
Monday, December 01, 2008
Here's a sampling of the entries I've gotten, two days into the HP Magic Giveaway contest:
A bunch of folks commented on a review of the G1 Android phone. I am still wondering why there isn't a pedometer app! But there are lots of other ones I asked for, like a simple compass and a geocaching app.
On that post, briguy992 wants me to be happy that the Android system's background is fabulous. Most of the time yes, I agree. But when I've tried to kill a process I can't! Despite how cool the G1 is, it's not some kind of miracle device that manages its memory perfectly, or never crashes. In fact I have to restart it fairly often.
So I don't agree with briguy992 that what I should do is "ignore that feeling it's not 'closed' ". Actually, I think that's very condescending advice! It is not like I'm just having a superstitious "feeling" like someone who can't deal with having multiple tabs open. It's that I'd like to be able to control my computer. Wouldn't you rather have root on your G1 so you could screw it up thoroughly? ;-) Or go looking for some kind of kill program or task manager?
While I was looking for something like this, I did find out that holding down the home key for 5 seconds shows the 6 most recent open apps. I have a terminal window, I can type ps -x, therefore, I should be able to type kill -9 and have it work! But no. I'd also like the apps written with the option to close them! So, briguy992's comment made me think, but also totally annoyed me, so in the spirit of this blog, I have to give him hell. That's just how I roll!
A bunch of people commented on my long complaint about how mad I get in airports while travelling with a wheelchair. Disabled or not, lots of folks notice the dehumanizing treatment that goes along with air travel. Of course it is not just air travel or airports; it's any big institution whose power goes unchecked by the people it (in theory) serves.
* S. Bear Bergman started a whole different conversation from thinking about diversity training issues. He asked his readers to undergo the cruel discipline of Twitter (or, to enter 140 character thoughts into a form on LJ) some short, crucial concepts on being trans. A bunch of people, including Kate Bornstein, responded! Now, that's a cool sparky cascading result to this contest!
* Amanda's comment about her brother being treated like a pre-schooler in a social group for people with disabilities was touching and made me boiling mad. That is the treatment most older people get in nursing homes and assisted living and it's what a lot of people with disabilities get too. Hello to Amanda's brother, and I wonder what he would say to what I wrote?
There is a very long interesting comment with good links, by Digital, over on "Highly trained girl-monkey sys admin bait". She points out that it takes strong communities to make a climate where our stories win out over the acceptance of sexist ones, and links to the Anita Borg Institute. Well, I have to agree. I've been part of the Systers email list for years and am very happy to work for BlogHer, which was just honored with the Anita Borg Social Impact Award!
I look forward to more amazing comments! To everyone I haven't yet mentioned... I'm reading your comments and blog posts, too! Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The WOMPO women's poetry mailing list has had an amazing month on its bulletin board; all of November they've hosted The First Annual Festival of Women's Poetry online.
Their (our) international section, Women Poets from Around the World, is notable for over 100 posts on Filipina poets, curated by Luisa A. Igloria.
I've also really been enjoying the Foremothers posts by Ellen Moody. She gathers up poems by women from around the world from the past, and helps us not to lose our history as women poets. I respect her taste in poetry a lot and her blogging (and emailing) is impressively thorough.
Thanks to Shayla Mollohan and the rest of the WOMPO team for all their work this month! And to the list, just for being there all these years. Mostly, I'm a lurker there. But I love that list, especially for their self-organizing principles and all the people who step up and do the work.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This week, I'll be running a promotion and giveaway for $6000 worth of HP computers and other software and hardware. I'll give away the entire package to one person who enters my contest.
I love, love, love the idea of being a Magic Internet Fairy, pouring out an amazing abundance of computers, more than anyone could ever need! It's a gift that, by being too big, inspires generosity.
I want YOU.... my creative, intelligent, beautiful reader... to have a shiny new computer or laptop of your own, for the holidays!
And I want YOU to overflow with computers, like a geektastic goddess, making other people happy, people who also dream of having the Internet at their fingertips!
Keep one of these sleek, fast, powerful beasts for yourself... and then share the magic. Give the rest away!
I thought about "magic" and what my computer means to me. It lets me express all the million layers of my ideas and creativity, and helps me put that into the world directly. Because I do that, I can connect directly with other people and their ideas. The magic for me in this contest is in spreading that empowerment and connection. Who could I make the happiest? Who would put something unique and interesting into the world, given the right tools?
50 sites, listed here on http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, are EACH offering a chance to win a complete package consisting of three HP computers plus a mini notebook, an HP MediaSmart Media Center extender, a Photosmart printer (and a huge pack of photo paper) plus a ton of software, and a BluRay DVD. There will be some U.S. IRS tax offset compensation, where applicable.
The winner of each site’s contest gets it all. Each site will have their own contest with different rules and you CAN enter all of them.
To enter the HP Magic Giveaway on my blog, Composite: Thoughts on Poetics and Tech, please do these three things:
1) Comment intelligently on any post on this blog!
A) Respond to a post. Pick something that interests you: feminism? disability rights? programming? Gadgets? Maybe a specific poet, one of the poems from my Anthology?
Tell me what you think of what I wrote.
I'm impressed if you are smart, engaged, un-boring, and being real! Make me laugh! Make me think!
B) Tell me briefly, in 3 sentences or less, how you would "Share the Magic" - what would you do with the prize? Who will you give the extra computers to? Please use links if applicable.
C) In your comment, include a link back to your own blog, or some other place on the net.
2) Post a link to that post and your comment, somewhere public on the Internet; on your blog, your MySpace or Facebook, your Twitter account, a bulletin board; anywhere you hang out.
3) Email me at email@example.com. Tell me:
* the link to your comment in #1
* the link to your post in #2
I won't include anyone as a finalist who I know in real life, and obviously, not my co-workers or family members.
I will be the sole judge and my decision is final.
By entering, the winner agrees to provide me, within two weeks of receipt of the prize, at least a 500 word postable story on what happened when they gifted the extra computers. Pictures optional, but would be great to have along with permission to post. I won’t post names or any other information without your permission.
For me, the "Magic" in this contest will be the list of finalists; the people who I think are especially interesting and creative! Someone will get a bunch of computers -- and maybe I'll get a new blogroll!
Premio de la Magia Hewlett-Packard (HP Magic Giveaway)
Esta semana, empezaré una promoción y premiaré computadoras HP y otro software y equipo con un valor de US$ 6000. Daré el paquete entero a una persona que participe en mi concurso.
Amo, amo y amo más la idea de ser una Hada Mágica de la Internet donando una abundancia increible de computadoras, mas que nadie pudiera necesitar! Es un regalo, que por ser tan grande, inspira generosidad.
Quiero que USTED....mi creadora, inteligente y bella lectora.... tenga una flamante computadora de oficina o una portátil para la Navidad.
Y quiero que USTED tenga una abundancia de computadoras y, como una diosa cheverissma de la computación, haga feliz a otros, personas que tambien suenan con tener la internet disponible al punto de los dedos. Quédese usted mismo con uno de estos lustrosos, rapidos y poderosos aparatos.....y luego comparta la magia. Regale lo restante!
Mientras escribía las reglas para este concurso, pensaba en “magia” y lo que me significa mi computadora. Me da una herramienta para creativa productividad, lo que valgo muchíssimo. Mi computadora me permita expresar un million de niveles de mis ideas y creatividad, y me ayuda transmitir todo esto directamente al mundo. Haciendo eso, puedo conectarme directamente con otros y sus ideas. Para mi, la magia de este concurso es en esparcir ese apoderarmiento, productividad y capacidad de conexión. Quien pudiera hacer lo mas feliz? Quien daría algo unico y interesante al mundo si tuviera las herramientas adecuadas?
Cincuenta sitios, dados aqui en http://hp.com/go/winhpmagic, ofrecen la oportunidad de ganar un paquete completo que consiste en tres computadoras HP, una mini-portatil, una extensora HP MediaSmart Media Center, una impresora Photosmart (y un paquete grande de papel fotográfico) y un montón de software de Microsoft y otros, y un BlueRay DVD. En caso de haber un impuesto sobre la renta en los Estados Unidos, habrâ un ajuste compensatorio. La ganadora del concurso en cada sitio lo gana todo. Cada sitio tendra su propio concurso con distintas reglas y si se PUEDE entrar en todos.
Para entrar en el HP Magic Giveaway en mi blog, Composite: Thoughts and Poetics and Tech, favor hacer las tres cosas siquientes:
1) Comente inteligentemente sobre cualquier mensaje en este blog!
A) Responde a un mensaje. Escoja algo que le interesa: feminismo?, derechos de los personas con disabilidades?, programación,? aparatos nuevos? Tal vez una poeta especifica o uno de los poemas de mi antología? Dígame lo que piensa de lo que escribí. Me impresionaré si usted es inteligente, sintonizada, interesante y genuina. Hagame reir! Haga me pensar!
B) Digame brevemente, en tres frases o menos, como “Compartiría la Magia”-que haría con el premio? A quien regalaría las computadoras sobrantes? Por favor, utilice links donde sea aplicable.
C) En su comentario, incluya un link a su propio blog u otro sitio en la red.
2) Coloque un link a su post y su comentario en un sitio público de la Internet como su blog, Myspace o Facebook, su cuenta Twitter, un boletín,: cualquier lugar en la red que frecuente.
3) Envieme por email a.......
*el link a su comentario en #1
*el link a su post en #2
No incluiré como finalista ninguna persona que conozco personalmente ni, obviamente, compañeros de trabajo o miembros de mi familia.
Seré el juez unico y mi decisión es final.
Por entrar en el concurso, la ganadora promete enviarme, dentro de dos semanas de la fecha de recibir el premio, un ensayo colocable en la red de al menos 500 palabras sobre lo que que ocurrió cuando regalaron las computadoras restantes. Fotgrafias son opcionales, pero seria tremendo tenerlas con permiso para colocarlas en la red. No pondré en la red nombres ni otra información sin su autorización.
Ofreceré a la ganadora una lista de concursantes que casi ganaron, para que pueda compartir el premio con ellas, si asi desea. Siempre es al unico juicio de la ganadora como se comparte el premio.
A mi, la “Magia” del concurso será la lista de los finalistas; la gente que creo que son especialmente interesantes y creativas. Alguien obtendrá unas computadoras... y quisas obtendré una nueva bloglista.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tomorrow people are coming over for a feminist science fiction blogging party. I figure I'll set up some of the computers (just arrived today!) for the HP Magic Giveaway and try them out! I'll be blogging about James Tiptree, Jr., Sydney J. Van Scyoc, Geoff Ryman, Suzy McKee Charmas, Octavia Butler, Mary Gentle, Marion Zimmer Bradley... well, at least some of them!
Tomorrow I'll announce the terms of my contest for the HP Magic Giveaway. I'll post that here, and will put in some links to whatever results from the feminist sf blog swarm!
Delmira Agustini (1886-1914)
Agustini was part of the Uruguayan generation of 1900 along with María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Leopoldo Lugones, and Rubén Darío; and was also considered part of the "generation of the Río de la Plata" of 1910-1920 (Camps 6). She was close to the Argentine writer Manuel Ugarte and to María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira. Early in her career, poets and critics like Juan Zorrilla de San Martin and Carlos Vaz Ferreira called her "The baby muse" and played up the image of her as a chaste, virginal child. Later, scandal accompanied her image as an artist and poet, her bohemian life and her tragic murder.
In 1902 Agustini began writing a regular column, “La legión etérea,” for La Alborada, a popular weekly journal, under the pseudonym “Joujou” (Rosenbaum 67-68). The column focused on prominent artistic and literary women.
She was considered a modernista, though a maverick “feminine” modernista who, outside mainstream literary circles, was one of “algunas figuras independientes . . . que introdujo una nota de honda y sensual femineidad en la poesía modernista" 'a few independent figures . . . who introduced a note of depth and sensual femininity into modernista poetry' (Henríquez Ureña 275). Other critics identify Agustini as part of a movement of women’s poetry: "It was perhaps Delmira Agustini who better represented a certain concept of feminine poetry: a poetry of passion and sensuality, a poetry written to challenge social conventions and to exalt eroticism unabashedly" (Rodriguez Monegal 1:368). Critics early in the 20th century often praise the technical perfection of her verse.
Fiera de amor
Fiera de amor, yo sufro hambre de corazones.
De palomas, de buitres, de corzos o leones,
No hay manjar que más tiente, no hay más grato sabor,
Había ya estragado mis garras y mi instinto,
Cuando erguida en la casi ultratierra de un plinto,
Me deslumbró una estatua de antiguo emperador.
Y crecí de entusiasmo; por el tronco de piedra
Ascendió mi deseo como fulmínea hiedra
Hasta el pecho, nutrido en nieve al parecer;
Y clamé al imposible corazón . . . la escultura
Su gloria custodiaba serenísima y pura,
Con la frente en Mañana y la planta en Ayer.
Perene mi deseo, en el tronco de piedra
ha quedado prendido como sangrienta hiedra;
Y desde entonces muerdo soñando un corazón
De estatua, presa suma para mi garra bella;
No es ni carne ni mármol: una pasta de estrella
Sin sangre, sin calor y sin palpitación . . .
Con la esencia de una sobrehumana pasión!
Fierce from love
Made fierce by love, I'm starving for hearts.
Pigeon, vulture, dun deer or lion,
no meat tempts me more with exotic flavors.
I'd blunted my claws and my primal drives.
Then, set up on a plinth, almost otherworldly,
a statue dazzled me–an ancient emperor.
And I fed my eagerness; over his stone body
my desire ascended like ivy lightning, sudden
up to his chest, feeding on skin like snow;
and I cried out to his unreachable heart . . . sculpture
guarding his glory, most chaste, still, and pure,
his face towards Tomorrow, feet rooted in Yesterday.
Everlasting my desire; on the stone body
I've stayed pressed like a living blood-filled vine;
And since then, dreaming, I devour
a statue's heart, prey worthy of my gorgeous claws;
it's not flesh, not marble: the stuff of stars,
without blood, heat, or heartbeat . . .
I devour it with deep, inhuman passion!
Engarzado en la noche el lago de tu alma,
diríase una tela de cristal y de calma
tramada por las grandes arañas del desvelo.
Nata de agua lustral en vaso de alabastros,
espejo de pureza que abrillantas los astros
y reflejas la sima de la Vida en el cielo . . .
Yo soy el cisne errante de los sangrientos rastros,
voy manchando los lagos y remontando el vuelo.
Lake of your soul, gem-mounted in night,
you would tell a thread of crystal and calm
spun by the huge spiders of wakeful evening.
Lustral waters born in alabaster cups,
mirror of purity where the stars shine
and reflect the abyss of Life in the heavens . . .
I am the wandering swan of bleeding trails,
I'm dirtying the lakes and soaring in flight.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I watched Guy Steele's 1998 talk Growing a Language last night. At the opening description and definition of "man" and "woman" I bristled up and wondered for quite some time if there would be a point to opening with gender or if it was just a throwaway joke about women and personhood. I tried to have faith something interesting was going on; luckily this faith was justified. Keep watching! (Or read the transcript if you're impatient.)
I think you know what a man is. A woman is more or less like a man, but not of the same sex. (This may seem like a strange thing for me to start with, but soon you will see why.)
Next, I shall say that a person is a woman or a man (young or old).
To keep things short, when I say “he” I mean “he or she,” and when I say “his” I mean “his or her.”
A machine is a thing that can do a task with no help, or not much help, from a person.
As I listened to Steele's use of language I became more and more hyperaware of words and their grammatical elements. This awareness built up slowly and had a great effect. I especially admired some of the poetic & beautiful bits in the middle:
But users will not now with glad cries glom on to a language that gives them no more than what Scheme or Pascal gave them. They need to paint bits, lines, and boxes on the screen in hues bright and wild; they need to talk to printers and servers through the net; they need to load code on the fly; they need their programs to work with other code they don’t trust; they need to run code in many threads and on many machines; they need to deal with text and sayings in all the world’s languages. A small programming language just won’t cut it.
How interesting that he could not begin to talk about anything, without defining gender! It's partly chance and the fact that he's using English; in Spanish for example he would have to take another approach to arrive at "person".
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
There's a great post by Ide Cyan over on Feminist SF: The Blog! on two recent vampire movies - Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) and Twilight. Though I haven't read Twilight or seen the movie, I was very interested in her analysis of its popular appeal:
Twilight’s popularity is intimately tied into the gendering of romance. Love stories do impress women with the importance of finding a lover of the opposite sex, to fortify the institutions that are at the basis of a patriarchal society. Because we live in a patriarchal society, it is with individuals from the class of their oppressors that women are encouraged to find romance. The mystification of oppression consequently blurs the distinction between the ideal lover and the lover as he represents a source of oppression for a woman.
There's good discussion in the comments, including the opinion of a feminist SF fan from Sweden on genre movies there.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Very soon, I'm going to be giving away a bunch of fantastic computer equipment from HP, as part of the HP Magic Giveaway, co-sponsored by Microsoft Windows Live.
I'll be running a contest here on this blog. You can enter it AND you can enter the 49 other contests listed on the HP Magic Giveaway page!
If you're here for the first time from the HP pages, welcome. I'm a feminist, activist, poet, and literary translator; I'm a computer programmer and a geeky, gadget-loving mom; I love games and science fiction, blogging, photos, and creativity! If you like to talk about any of those subjects, you've come to the right place. Especially if you like to mix up those subjects. Take a look at the tag cloud in the sidebar, and see where you might intersect with me and this blog's readers. It's very nice to meet you!
¡Y, Bienvenidos a todos que hablan español!
Stay tuned for my contest guidelines. Meanwhile, drool on some photos of these gorgeous computers that you have a great chance to win!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The last few days I went a little nuts thinking about PHP and rewriting a very horrible messy script. I'd write something, make it work, write a little more, break the first bit, go back to look at the first bit and find that I couldn't understand my own code that I'd written the day before. I ended up throwing it out completely, waking up the next morning and writing the entire thing in a nice, neat, correct way. Within a day and a half, it worked, and is readable. The most important things that improved this sad blob of pointy-looking things and regular expressions were:
- decent formatting, without slacking off! Equal sign in vim, you're my pal.
- abstract things out into functions. Do it twice? think about making it a function.
- But don't always, if it's going to make a simple thing confusing. Keep it clear!
- Name the functions logically.
- Really think about naming variables so that the code makes sense when you read it.
I struggled with understanding what the hell I was doing in the first script because, I swear, everything was named $tag and $another_tag and $taglist and $tagfeed and $tag->tag until I was lost in a maze of taggy little passages, all alike. How very, very embarrassing! If you ever see that code, please burn it!
Now all the variables have very logical names so that everything makes sense. Doing that made me understand what I was actually trying to do -- much better than I had understood it before. Everything became clear and fell into place.
The php.net pages are truly awesome. I did struggle for silly amounts of time trying to figure out what the hell to do with strings. Like do I want egrep, preg_match, substr, strstr, or WHAT? (I usually end up with preg_match since I know perl regular expressions reasonably well.) But I appreciated php.net/function pages very much. The explanations make sense, there are examples, the lists of related functions often lead me to stuff I want to know, and the comments by other users *completely rock*.
Meanwhile, I read PHP Sucks, But It Doesn't Matter on codinghorror.com, and the entire crazy comment thread that is half computer science "real programmer" snobs, half even realer programmers rolling their eyes, and half people who know they are the 3rd half and who are Microsoft types (in other words, weird aliens from other universe). All I can say if any of these guys calls me a "script kiddie" I will enjoy kicking their teeth in!
Bike? I don't need your bike! I can kick your ass with these here training wheels! Snobs.
My thingamajig now reads tags in from de.licio.us, parses them, decides what kind of thing they are, pulls out different kinds of posts, and builds lists of post titles by subject grouping and source in a somewhat complicated way. Then it writes all those lists out to a jillion little static files which will be cached... everything will be so much faster and more polite to the delicious servers this way. Joy!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I have not looked further for poems by Magda Portal but she seems well worth a look. If you read the little biography I wrote up below, you will see part of why I get very annoyed at the ways the vanguard, ultraism, modernismo, etc. are described as being somehow essentially masculine!
Note here too that Portal's early work was published under a pseudonym; this is very common for the women poets I was researching. Because of their gender and the pressures of family, they had to fracture their identity, which fractures their body of work as writers. With time and distance it becomes increasingly more difficult to piece together a picture of their work as a whole and its importance. Despite Portal's stature as a writer in Latin America for most of the 20th century I have not seen her poetry in recent anthologies in Spanish or English.
Portal's history of activism and leftist politics is very interesting!
Magda Portal (1901-1989)
Magda Portal, a Peruvian novelist, poet, essayist, and magazine editor, tended to write about feminist themes and activist struggle. She was in socialist literary circles and published in Amauta, along with María Wiesse, Angela Ramos, Alicia del Prado, Catalina Recavarren, and José Carlos Mariátegui, She was forced into exile from Peru in the late 1920s, living in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia. The Peruvian government imprisoned her mother, teenage sister, and her infant daughter. She wrote extensively about Flora Tristan, the French feminist and writer who wrote about her visit to Peru during the wars of independence (Bustamente Moscosos). Her early poetry was published under the name Tula Sovaina (Reedy 490).
María Monvel describes Portal’s poetry with suspicion, mentioning “unánimismo,” a vanguardist and surrealist literary movement which arose from the French and Latin American Symbolists. Unánimismo is also the title of a book by early 20th century Cuban writer María Buceta Villar. Monvel’s acerbic judgement on Portal is as follows:
Del mismo tipo que Blanca Luz Brum, estas dos poetisas ofrecen pocas diferencias. Abanderas al ultraismo desde su nacimiento, se han hecho notables allí por sus versos buenos o malos. Respetuosos del juego unánime a que se ha entregado la gente de letras, temeríamos caer en error al juzgarlas sin comprenderlas. Preferimos, luego de atacarlas y darles aquí sitio, entregarlas al juicio de sus semejantes. (175)
Of the same brand as Blanca Luz Brum, these two poets offer few differences. Standard-bearers for Ultraism since their birth, they have gained fame through their verses, good or bad. Highly respectable as it is–this “unánime” game which people of letters have taken up–we fear falling in error to judge them without understanding them. We prefer, after contradicting them and giving them space, to deliver them to the judgement of the like-minded.
Magda Portal’s early works include Ánima absorta (1923), El desfile de miradas (1923), Vidrios de amor (1926), El derecho de matar (1926), Varios poemas a la misma distancia (1927), Constancia del Ser (1928), Una esperanza y el mar (1927), América Latina contra el Imperialismo (1931), and Hacia la mujer nueva (1933).
“Liberación” could be written in response to (or could be an inspiration for) José Carlos Mariátegui’s assertion that women poets are held back from true greatness by sexual and poetic inhibition. Vicky Unruh describes Portal as an important vanguardist critic who helped define the movement with her position papers in Amauta, and points out the irony that her reactions against male-dominated modernismo’s “rendition of women as static embodiments of aesthetic creeds” was then metamorphosed by Mariátegui into the new muse of Peruvian literary culture, as a natural and biological force of womanhood who wrote without artifice (Unruh, Performing 177).
Liberación (from “Los poemas torturados”)
Un día seré libre, aún más libre que el viento,
será claro mi canto de audaz liberación
y hasta me habré librado de este remordimiento
secreto que me hunde su astilla al corazón.
Un día seré libre con los brazos abiertos,
con los ojos abiertos y limpios frente al sol,
el Miedo y el Recuerdo no estarán encubiertos
y agazapados para desgarrarme mejor.
Un día seré libre . . . Seré libre presiento,
con una gran sonrisa a flor de corazón,
con una gran sonrisa como no tengo hoy.
Y ya no habrá la sombra de mi remordimiento,
el cobarde silencio que merma mi Emoción.
Un día habré logrado la verdad de mi Yo!
One day I'll be free, even freer than the wind;
my verse will be bright with daredevil liberation
after I've freed myself from this secret shame
that plunges its sharp splinter into my heart.
One day I'll be free with my arms open wide,
with my eyes open and unshielded before the sun,
Fear and Memory won't be hiding
crouched in ambush, the better to rip me apart.
One day I'll be free . . . I'll be free, I know it,
with a huge smile that flowers from the heart,
with a huge smile that I don't have today.
And then I won't have the ghost of my shame,
the coward silence that tamps down my Emotion.
Someday I'll have achieved the truth of my Self!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
My sister Minnie, like so many other moms of young children, was looking for a social group for new moms. She left her Silicon Valley web developer job of 8 years to stay at home with her baby, and could not afford to pay for any extra child care. She found out about Blue Sky Family Club from an advertising flyer at the Emeryville Market in the San Francisco East Bay, announcing a new family club.
When she went to check it out with her free visit coupon from the flyer, her baby had a great time. Blue Sky was an upscale cafe, with coffee, beer, and wine, and a big play area with a kids' and babies gym and great toys. "It was a large open space with natural light. They had a living room area with couches, an art area, a play house area, rock climbing wall, and gym, alongside the cafe." Sounds great, doesn't it? Minnie made the decision to pay the $170 fee for a 14 month unlimited membership.
One month later, Minnie got an email. The club would be shutting down. Membership fees would not be returned.
When Minnie first told me this story I assumed it was a sad tale of some half-assed Oakland hippies trying to create a co-operative. However, a little research uncovered a completely different story.
Blue Sky is the brainchild of Sheryl O'Loughlin, a marketing executive and former CEO. She is a high powered executive type who has now defrauded an unknown number of East Bay moms of their money. This is a person who has made a profit and a successful career from marketing to women and specifically to mothers. Apparently she and her husband Patrick are very concerned with "saving the planet" and making mindful decisions about buying organic produce. At the same time as they screw the "little people" out of their hard earned cash. What a great business plan!
Everyday I make my daily decisions mindfully – with an awareness of their potential impact on the environment. Whether it’s supporting my local farmers market and buying local, organic food for my family or working with my colleagues to source a new organic ingredient; I know that every decision matters. Each choice I make is a moment of reflection and an opportunity to lessen my impact on the environment. Through consistent, thoughtful and sustainable decisions, we are collectively changing the world.
The O'Loughlins announced the closure of their business, but apparently have not filed for bankruptcy.
In June 2007, bizjournals.com reported on the O'Loughlins' plan for Blue Sky to become a local, then a national chain:
It will cost $3 million to open the first club. In addition to investing $100,000 of their own funds, the couple has managed to raise about $300,000 from private individuals in the last three months and they are continuing to look to angel investors and potential restaurant partners for backing. They expect roughly $1 million in leasing and tenant improvement funds from their future landlord. Their goal is to open four additional locations in five years.
Sounds like their venture capital money ran out. I can sympathize with an idealistic business plan and the financial turmoil that comes when an ambitious business plan fails. However, of all the creditors resulting from business failure, the *club's individual members*, and their target market, should be paid back.
How many members were part of Blue Sky Family Club? I can't imagine that membership was more than a few hundred. Say it was 300 members paying around 170 each - that's about $50,000, probably less if you prorate the months of membership that passed for members who joined at different times. Let's call it 35K. Do we seriously believe that Blue Sky's founders don't have that 35K? Why don't they put their money where their business plan was?
Sheryl O'Loughlin should make the ethical business decision, sell some of her stock or put a second mortage on her house and pay back her investors. She has committed fraud and theft plain and simple. It is the kind of scam that upper class people get away with all the time. And they shouldn't. Instead they go from board of directors to board of directors, scamming and keeping right on with their ski vacations. While someone who shoplifts a block of cheese goes right to jail and gets their life fucked up even more than poverty already has done. It's disgusting.
"Doing a startup like this takes a tremendous amount of patience," she says. "As a business person used to having things happen very fast, it's like, take a breath, you're going to get a million nos. You just have to keep plugging and believe in your ideas."
This is a professional who wants to continue working in parenting-related products and marketing. She is now on the Board of Directors of a eco-food business called Nest Naturals. O'Loughlin's bad business ethics should be exposed. Why would parents, her target market, trust her business sense after this spectacular failure of capital and basic decency? Who folds a business that has hundreds of members -- members who in effect are micro-investors -- and doesn't even bother to declare bankruptcy? There are laws to protect creditors; in this case, a class-action lawsuit seems quite possible.
Blue Sky and other businesses who serve moms of young children should sit up and pay attention - and should not alienate their client base. Studies show that women pay more attention to the advice and information they get from their friends, whether online or off, than they do to corporate marketing or even other media channels. Moms talk, and moms listen to other moms. I would advise the (former) Blue Sky operators Sheryl O'Loughlin and Patrick O'Loughlin that paying back their customers' membership fees is more than just ethical. It's good business sense.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I have not had any luck in finding many more poems by Lamarque. Maybe I could do it through inter-library loan, or paying someone to xerox or photograph a book in another library for me. I like this poem a lot. Again, am left as a translator knowing that in some places I nail it, or think of an especially graceful & evocative phrase, but in other lines, my elbows are sticking out.
I recommend The Sappho Companion for an excellent description of the history of the idea of "Sappho" & what she meant at different times throughout history, in different countries & languages.
It would be nice to know more about Lamarque's life, too. There isn't enough time in the world!
Nydia Lamarque (1906-1982)
Argentine writer Nydia Lamarque's first book of poems, Telarañas, was published in 1925, and her second, Elegía del gran amor, in 1927. She was a lawyer and a socialist associated with the vanguardist writers' group "Boedo." An officer of the Ateneo Femenino Buenos Aires, Lamarque wrote social and political criticism as well as poetry for newspapers and magazines such as Nosotros and La Nación. Juan Pinto, in Literatura Argentina Contemporanea, calls her “la poetisa de acento más varonil de nuestra literatura” ‘the poetess with the most masculine voice of our literature’ and praises her further for her social conscience and lack of inhibitions (214). She translated Baudelaire, Racine, Rimbaud, Henri De Man, Adolfo Boschot, and Héctor Berlioz. (Maube 287)
“Invocación” summons the ghost of Sappho for an intimate conversation with the poem’s speaker. The myth of Sappho’s frustrated love for Phaon, and Sappho’s leap into the sea from his rejection, dates from the 3rd century BC (Reynolds 71). This legend is also used by Mercedes Matamoros in her poem-cycle "El último amor de Safo", published in 1902. Lamarque’s rolling cadences invite Sappho to confess her deepest secrets and to describe any part of her love that she found unspeakable. The implication is that only Lamarque can understand and give voice to Sappho’s complaints–because she feels them so deeply herself, perhaps for Sappho’s ghost or for some other person.
(A la sombra de Safo)
Ahora hermana lejanísima, ven a mí, háblame con tu boca de siglos.
Ven ahora hermana, que es de noche y vive el silencio.
Nadie a mi lado, nadie oirá nuestro coloquio.
Sólo estará junto a mí el buho fiel del recuerdo.
Mira, las estrellas se dejan caer en el lecho obscuro de la noche,
y para nosotros va a dar marcha atrás el Tiempo.
Me dejarás que llegue hasta tus brazos acogedores;
me dejarás que acerque mi cuerpo tibio a tu marmóreo cuerpo,
y que apoye también la frente calenturienta
para mejor escucharte, sobre tu seno.
Todo me lo dirás entonces al oído, muy bajo,
aunque nadie más que yo habrá de escuchar la voz de tu duelo.
Y me dirás el dolor de la pasión que te ensombreció los instantes,
y la angustia del desamor, flagelante como látigo recio,
y me dirás del hombre aquel en quien concentraste la vida,
por el que tu frente se sumergió en el misterio.
Me dirás si eran sus dos pupilas de ámbar anochecido,
me dirás si era su boca, en la caricia, sabia hasta el tormento;
y si podía en su frente albergarse un pueblo de ideas,
y si toda la sombra nocturna dormía entre su cabello . . .
Y me dirás también qué emoción te agitó la noche aquella,
sobre el desolado promontorio griego,
y si en el momento de la muerte más que nunca lo ansiaste,
y si más que nunca te castigó implacable el recuerdo,
y si más que nunca te agobió la desesperación impotente,
entonces, entre el cielo y el mar, sola en el instante supremo . . .
Y si la salsedumbre de tus lágrimas,
venció en amargor a la balsámica salsedumbre marina,
y si en espíritu lo besaste aun con un beso resumen de besos . . .
Todo me lo dirías ¡oh hermana! aquí en la noche,
muy bajo, mientras nos envuelve el silencio,
ahora, que estoy ya entre tus brazos acogedores;
ahora que está ya mi cuerpo tibio junto a tu marmóreo cuerpo,
ahora que apoyo la frente calenturienta sobre tu seno,
frío como las helénicas ondas que te dieron el reposo eterno.
(To the ghost of Sappho)
Come to me, now far distant sister, speak to me with your voice of centuries.
Come now, sister, made of night, alive in silence.
No one at my side, no one will hear our talk.
Only memory, that faithful owl, will be with me.
Look, the stars let their bodies fall into the hidden nest of night,
and for us alone, Time will turn, running backward.
You'll let me come into your welcoming arms,
you'll let me press my warm flesh to your marble body,
so I can rest, too, my fevered brow
to hear you better on your breast.
You'll tell me everything aloud, very low,
though I hear nothing more than the voice of your lament.
And you'll tell me the pain of passion that darkened every second,
and the anguish of being unloved, like the sting of a brutal whip,
and you'll tell me how you focused your life on that man,
the one for whom you drowned your brow in mystery.
You'll tell me if it was his two eyes of dusky amber,
you'll tell me if it was his mouth which you kissed till torment,
and if it was true that his mind harbored a city of ideas,
and if all nocturnal shadow slept in his hair . . .
And you'll tell me also what emotion that shook you, that night,
atop the desolate Greek cliffs,
and if in that moment of death, more than ever, you longed and desired,
and if, more than ever, you were punished by implacable memory,
and if, more than ever, impotent desperation oppressed you,
then, between heaven and sea, alone in that supreme instant . . .
And if the acid salt of your tears
defeated in bitterness the vinegar salt of the sea,
and if in spirit you kissed him with one kiss that summed up all kisses . . .
You'll tell me everything–oh sister!–here in the night,
very low, while silence wraps us round,
now, while I am yet in your welcoming arms;
now, while my warm flesh is pressed to your marble body,
now while I rest my fevered head between your breasts,
cold as the hellenic waves that gave you eternal rest.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Mariblanca Sábas Alomá (1901–1983)
Mariblanca Sábas Alomá was an Ultraist feminist Cuban writer. She was involved with the first Congreso Nacional de Mujeres in Havana in 1923. Her work was published in El Cubano Libre, Diario de Cuba, Orto and El Sol in Havana. Sábas Alomá took literature courses in Mexico and also attended Colombia University in New York and Puerto Rico. She travelled throughout South America, worked as a journalist and editor, and was politically active as a communist and feminist.
In Poetisas de América, Sábas Alomá’s contemporary María Monvel, with characteristic blunt opinion, says of her:
Mariblanca comenzó escribiendo versos blancos, soñodores, llenos de ritmo, musicalidad y vulgaridad. Mariblanca cambió de filas, se pulió, se cultivó, y hoy hace campear su estandarte en las filas del más refinado ultraismo. Poeta de las revoluciones, como la uruguaya Blanca Luz Brum, Don Quijote de las ilusiones extremas, Mariblanca se ha convertido como en broma, en una notable poetisa. Es de esperar que cuando aconche un poco su absolutismo izquierdista, Mariblanca será una de las grandes poetisas americanas. (193)
Mariblanca began writing poetry that was pretty, sonorous, full of rhythm, musicality and vulgarity. Mariblanca changed her tune, became refined, cultivated, and today has raised her banner in the ranks of the most savvy ultraists. Poet of revolutions, like the Uruguayan Blanca Luz Brum, a Don Quixote of extreme illusions, Mariblanca has converted herself from a trivial writer into a notable poetess. It’s to be hoped that when her absolutist leftism settles, Mariblanca will be one of the greatest American poetesses.
Sabás Alomá’s 1920 article “Masculinismo, no. Feminismo!” was published recently in a volume of her essays, Feminismo. In 1928 she published an article in which she characterized lesbianism (“garzonismo”) as a crime against nature, encouraged by capitalism, that would disappear with the advent of true socialism; for her, feminism was in complete opposition to lesbianism (Menéndez).
Magda Portal wrote critical articles about the socially engaged vanguardist poetry of Sabas Aloma in a 1928 issue of Repertorio americano, “El nuevo poéma y su orientación hacia una estética económica” (Unruh, Performing, 176).
In “Poema a una mujer aviadora,” Sábas Alomá spaces words freely across the page, leaping great distances in sweeping arcs, just as the aviator would zig-zag across the Atlantic. A later poet, the Argentine writer Elvira Hernández, might be paying homage to Sábas Alomá in her long poem “Carta de viaje,” both in form and in theme. Hernández describes a flight across the Atlantic from south to north, from Latin America to Northern Europe, focusing on the dislocated state of flying, not on land, sea, or earth, detatched from terrestrial metaphor.
Juana de Ibarbourou echoes the “shout” of Sabás Alomá in her 1930 poems “El grito,” “Las olas,” and “Atlántico” in which she longs to leap the distance between the world of the real and the world of ideals.
Poema de la mujer aviadora que quiere atravesar el Atlántico
mujer aviadora que quieres
atravesar dee un salto
el a t l á n t i c o
vereda en el motor una
y una canción
para que se limpie de toda macula
que te lanza a la conquista
de la distancia
no asciendas por coqueteria
asciende porque el clamor intenso da
los hombres que sufren
t e p r e s t e s u s a l a s
tiende sobre la vastedad marina
el arco fraternal que una en un mismo
J U S T I C I A
desde una altura de 2,000 metros
deja caer sobre el mar
y sobre la tierra
L A N U E V A P A L A B R A
así veremos en la noche
d e e s t r e l l a s j u b i l o s a s
esconde en la cabina de tu aeropleno el
G R I T O
– santo–y–seña de la América joven –
A N T I M P E R I A L I S M O
– para que toda Europa lo contemple
los ejércitos de
le hagan los saludos de ordenanza
EN LO MÁS ALTO DE LA TORRE DE EIFFEL
si tu sueño se rompe en el canto de una ola
no llegues a los dominios de lo
rezando–padre nuestro, que estás
en los cielos
–sino regalando el oído
de los proletarios exámines
– ARRIBA LOS POBRES DEL MUNDO
DE PIE LOS ESCLAVOS SIN PAN . . .
Poem of the aviator woman who would cross the Atlantic
woman aviator who wants
to cross in one bound
t h e a t l a n t i c
in the engine falling into step with a
and a song that's
in order to cleanse everything soiled from
that throws you at the conquest
you don't ascend through coquetry
you ascend because the intense clamor of
people who suffer
l e n d s y o u w i n g s
you stretch above the marine vastness
the fraternal arch that in the same
from a height of 2,000 meters
let fall across the sea
and across the land
T H E N E W W O R D
so that we'll see it in the night
o f j u b i l a n t c o n s t e l l a t i o n s
hidden in the cabin of your airplane is the
S H O U T
– sacred–and–signal of the young America–
A N T I M P E R I A L I S T
and drive it home
– so that all Europe will see it
the multitudes of
will make their comradely greetings the norm
ON THE HIGHEST PEAK OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
if your dream breaks on the song of a wave
you won't arrive at the domains of what's
praying–our father, who art
– not conforming to the rule
of the watchful proletariats
RISE UP, POOR OF THE EARTH
STAND UP, SLAVES WITHOUT BREAD . . .
Monday, November 17, 2008
Hat tip to Jo Freeman, aka Joreen, who in the 70s wrote The Bitch Manifesto. I love this manifesto, and reprinted it in the 90s as a xerox booklet which I sent out over the riot grrl zine network. Later I read Jo Freeman's more academic writing and found her to be an academic writer I could admire wholeheartedly; she's right up there with Joanna Russ and Dale Spender. Her books on politics and the history of feminism are incredibly great. I recommend her newest book, We Will Be Heard: Women's Struggles for Political Power in the United States if you are feeling politically inspired by the elections and want to keep your momentum going. On her website, you can read the full text of many of Jo Freeman's articles on women, feminism, law, and politics. I talk about this sort of thing a lot: The Sexual Politics of Interpersonal Behavior; it is so nice to read it written up formally and coherently. Take a look!
I greatly respect that Freeman acknowledges her pseudonymous younger self, and her fierce & harsh manifesto, and doesn't keep that side of her life in the closet.
The Bitch Manifesto still inspires me. Here's part of its beginning:
Bitches have some or all of the following characteristics.
1) Personality. Bitches are aggressive, assertive, domineering, overbearing, strong-minded, spiteful, hostile, direct, blunt, candid, obnoxious, thick-skinned, hard-headed, vicious, dogmatic, competent, competitive, pushy, loud-mouthed, independent, stubborn, demanding, manipulative, egoistic, driven, achieving, overwhelming, threatening, scary, ambitious, tough, brassy, masculine, boisterous, and turbulent. Among other things. A Bitch occupies a lot of psychological space. You always know she is around. A Bitch takes shit from no one. You may not like her, but you cannot ignore her.
2) Physical. Bitches are big, tall, strong, large, loud, brash, harsh, awkward, clumsy, sprawling, strident, ugly. Bitches move their bodies freely rather than restrain, refine and confine their motions in the proper feminine manner. They clomp up stairs, stride when they walk and don't worry about where they put their legs when they sit. They have loud voices and often use them. Bitches are not pretty.
3) Orientation. Bitches seek their identity strictly thru themselves and what they do. They are subjects, not objects. They may have a relationship with a person or organization, but they never marry anyone or anything; man, mansion, or movement. Thus Bitches prefer to plan their own lives rather than live from day to day, action to action, or person to person. They are independent cusses and believe they are capable of doing anything they damn well want to. If something gets in their way; well, that's why they become Bitches. If they are professionally inclined, they will seek careers and have no fear of competing with anyone. If not professionally inclined, they still seek self-expression and self-actualization. Whatever they do, they want an active role and are frequently perceived as domineering. Often they do dominate other people when roles are not available to them which more creatively sublimate their energies and utilize their capabilities. More often they are accused of domineering when doing what would be considered natural by a man.
It's nice to read this, to remember & honor my own bitchy moments for what they often are: strength. I think it's good for all of us to honor our bitchiest sisters. Go ahead and think of the most annoying bitch you know. Measure her up to Freeman's manifesto and consider what in her is admirable and powerful. It's a good thing to keep in mind when you might be tempted to tear someone down. There's nothing wrong with being a nice person; I strive for it myself -- and still, for me, Bitchy is Beautiful and Bitchy is Powerful.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We interrupt this serious broadcast to say that there should be more Pac Man and Space Invaders cookies. Someday I'll make myself Pacman cookie cutters. Space Invaders cookie cutters would be great too.
Also, someday I'd like to create the entire Pacman board out of cookies. The fruit should be made from marzipan!
It's not hard to shape these by hand from sugar cookie dough and a lot of food coloring. These cookies were made from pre-colored dough. I think sugar cookies with a lemon glaze would work very well next time!
If you enjoy 80s geek nostalgia like I do, then you might like this amazing crocheted Atari console with Pitfall on the screen, made by jackrabbit, whose crafts you can buy on etsy!
Or these incredibly great tshirts... I want the Missile Command and Asteroids ones.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Here's my chapter on Claudia Lars. I found this a hard poem to translate. Though I could't do it justice, I enjoyed trying. Vanguardist poetry is hard, in general. I think because it is built on so much symbolism from other poems, but is trying to break free of that dependency; it feels like shorthand. Sometimes the poems I like the most, or like the most to translate, don't come out that well. Maybe it's overthinking. I'd like very much to translate her little book on Laika the cosmonaut dog.
Of course, I am especially fond of Lars because of my love of feminist science fiction. She's a little bit science-fictiony, don't you think? And this is certainly a feminist response to patriarchal poetics -- a description of "woman" in poetry, but not with the metaphors and language that describes women in terms that are disempowering. It is possibly a difficult poem for that reason too; because it is trying to evade something.
Claudia Lars (1899-1974)
Margarita del Carmen Brannon Vega is her birth name; she is also called Carmen Brannon Beers or Carmen Brannon de Samoya Chinchilla. She was born in El Salvador. She studied and lived in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
Her early work in the 1920s and 1930s was compared to Agustini, Mistral, Storni, and Ibarbourou. She lists as her early influences Cervantes, Fray Luís de León, Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Góngora, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Burns, Coleridge, Whitman, Poe, Dickinson, Shelley, Byron, Yeats, Blake, and Darío (Barraza 142). Critics called her a lyrical postmodernist. Later, she was considered part of the Vanguard, writing in both formal and free verse.
Her books include Tristes mirajes (1916); Estrellas en el pozo (1934), and Canción redonda (1937). She also wrote poems and books for children, sonnets to famous women writers of many countries, and, later in the 20th century, she wrote a poem cycle on the cosmonauts of the United States and Russia–including the dog Laika.
“Dibujo” sets out a bold feminist vision of the future. The poem’s woman “que llega,” who’s coming, arriving now, or will soon arrive, transcends the usual gendered metaphors. Her ascension is not like flight, and not like the growing of a plant that is rooted in the earth. Instead, Lars describes a woman who stands up, who has agency and raises herself up with all her intelligence and power.
Dibujo de la mujer que llega
En el lodo empinada,
No como el tallo de la flor
y el ansia de la mariposa . . .
Sin raíces ni juegos:
más recta, más segura
y más libre.
Conocedora de la sombra y de la espina,
Con el milagro levantado
en los brazos triunfantes.
Con la barrera y el abismo
debajo de su salto.
Dueña absoluta de su carne
para volverla centro del espíritu:
vaso de lo celeste,
gleba donde se yerguen, en un brote,
la mazorca y el nardo.
Olvidada la sonrisa de Gioconda,
Roto el embrujo de los siglos,
Vencedora de miedos.
Clara y desnuda bajo el día limpio.
en ejercicio de un amor tan alto
que hoy ninguno adivina.
con filtrada dulzura
que no daña ni embriaga a quien la prueba.
sin la caricia que detiene el vuelo,
ni ternuras que cercan,
ni mezquinas daciones que se cobran.
Pionera de las nubes.
Guía del laberinto.
Tejedora de vendas y de cantos.
Sin más adorno que su sencillez.
Se levanta del polvo . . .
No como el tallo de la flor
que es apenas belleza.
Sketch of the woman of the future
Standing tall in the mud.
Not like the flower's stalk
and butterfly’s desire . . .
No roots, no flitting,
more erect, more sure
and more free.
Knower of shadow and thorn,
With miracle held high
in her triumphant arms.
With obstacle and abyss.
beneath her stride.
Absolute queen of her flesh
returned to the center of her spirit:
vessel of the celestial,
domus aurea, home of the golden;
clod where shoots burst forth into
maize and fragrant flower.
Forgotten: the Mona Lisa's smile.
Broken: the spell of centuries.
Conquered: the fears.
Bright and naked in the pure, clean day.
in enjoyment of a love so lofty
that no one today could predict it.
with controlled sweetness
that doesn't hurt or intoxicate the drinker.
without the caress that holds back flight
nor tenderness that traps,
nor submission and giving in, that little by little, smothers.
Pioneer of the clouds.
Guide to the labyrinth.
Weaver of veil and song.
Adorned only in her simplicity.
She stands up from the dust . . .
Not like the flowering stem
that’s not so beautiful.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here's yet another section from my anthology! Enjoy. The poem about the rose is kind of naughty - just thought I'd point that out in case you're not naturally dirty-minded.
Emilia Bernal (1884-1964)
Emilia Bernal de Agüero was born in Cuba, and lived in Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile, and New York. She was married young and had four children before 1908. She taught college literature. In 1909 she separated from her husband, and began publishing in 1910. After her divorce, she joined the Cuban diplomatic staff. She was known as a rebel, non-conformist, and political writer (Vega Ceballos). She wrote for La Nación, Bohemia, Social, and El Fígaro (Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes).
The Basque writer Llorenç Villalonga, author of the play Silvia Ocampo (1935), wrote the novel Fedre and the first part of Madame Dillon based on his relationship with Bernal (Pomar).
Henríquez Ureña mentions Bernal as a modernist and follower of Martí in his history of modernismo. Emilia Bernal translated from Catalan, Portuguese, and other languages into Spanish; her translation work includes a book of poems by Rosalia del Castro.
Her publications include: Alma Errante, poems (1916); Cómo los pájaros! poems and translations (1923); Layka Froyka, autobiography (1925); Los nuevos motivos, 1925; Exaltación (1934); Poetas catalanes de hoy, translations (1927); Cuestiones cubanas para América, political essays, (1928); and Negro (1938).
Though her work is often spoken of as personal, modernista, or lyrical, Bernal was engaged in politics for much of her life and read a series of lectures in Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere on Cuban and United States politics (Davies 22). Along with many other feminists such as María Luisa Milanés, she allied herself with anti-racist movements and described herself as a sister-in-arms of enslaved people – going so far as to declare that all women were slaves because of the lack of female suffrage and other factors (Davies 57).
Anderson-Imbert said of her: "Tender, ardent, intuitive, was capable of denying these qualities in herself in order to complicate sounds which brought her close to a poetry which, under the heading ‘abnormality’ will be studied in the second part of this panorama. Those who remain, then, are Cubans of the ‘abnormality’–Mariano Brull, Navarro Luna, and others . . ." (337). What Anderson-Imbert calls “the abnormality” is the "vanguardist subversion" against modernismo.
Bernal is noticably absent from many biographical dictionaries of Latin American writers.
“Pedrería” plays with modernista color symbolism; the gems represent ideals of perfect beauty. Rather than setting a scene of fantasy to which the soul of the poet is transported, or a situation of transmutation to a plane of ideals, Bernal engages sensually and physically with the perfect beauty of the gems. “A una rosa” (1916) is a poem in sexta rima with a scandalous subtext: the rose and its stalk are limp and drooping, while the poet wishes and imagines that her efforts will make it stand erect again. “Hierro” is from the México chapter of Bernal’s 1937 book América. There is an earlier version of the poem from 1925, but I have not yet found it. In “Hierro,” Bernal ventures into the realm of free verse and presents a vision of industrialization, and Mexico, as boldly but perturbingly masculine.
Ámbar. Mármol. Zafir. La algarabía
de un cofre de fakir. Que se aproveche
de tanto encanto mi osadía. Eche
a revolver en él la mano mía.
Alabastro y azur. Sangre del día.
Piedras a granel. Rosas de leche.
Carcajadas de luz. Mi afán estreche
y agite la ofuscante pedrería.
Mar. Cielo. ¡Sol, entre mis brazos!
de los claros diamantes con que juego!
Malquitas, topacios. ¡Serpentinas
de centelleos en mis manos! ¡Presas
en los dedos guirnaldas de turquesas,
lapislázuli, jade, aguas marinas!
Amber. Marble. Sapphire. The jingling babble
of magic treasure. May my bold desires
make the most of such enchantment. Let me
stir them around with my hand.
Alabaster and azure. Day's blood.
Stones in a heap. Roses made of milk.
Great laughter of light. My longing grasps
and tumbles the precious jewels.
Sea. Sky. Sun in my arms!
of bright diamonds playing!
Malachite, topaz. Serpentine ribbons
sparkling in my hands! Caught
in my fingers, wreaths of turquoise,
lapis lazuli, jade, aquamarine!
A una rosa
O rosa, ¡rosa mía! que ayer lozana fuiste,
por qué doblas ahora lacia, debil y triste,
tus pétalos marchitos, tu cáliz sin verdor.
¿Le cuentas a la tierra tus dulces remembranzas
como en largo secreto sus muertas esperanzas
la moribunda virgen le cuenta al confesor?
Pensando en lo que fuiste y al ver cómo feneces,
quisiera alzar el tallo en donde languideces,
tornarte la frescura, la belleza, el color,
volverte en un suspiro tu aliento perfumado,
acercarte mis labios y a un beso prolongado
prender en ti, de nuevo, suavísimo el calor.
To a rose
Oh rose, rose of mine! that once sprang sprightly up,
why do you bend double, flaccid, weak and sad,
your petals withered, your once-green calyx pale?
Do you tell the earth the sweetness of your past,
like the long secret story of dead hopes
a dying virgin whispers to her priest?
Thinking on what was was, and to see how you decline,
I'd wish to raise the stalk on which you languish,
to give fresh strength to you; beauty, color;
to return, with a sigh, your perfumed breath
to bring you to my lips and in a long, long kiss
press upon you new, most softly, heat and fire.
¡Un hombre de hierro!
De hierro las carnes del pecho invencible.
De hierro los bíceps y tríceps del brazo que erecta triunfante ademán.
Las manos de hierro y el vientre.
Y los muslos columnas potentes de hierro, y las piernas,
cual zócalos bravos sostenes de aquel formidable titán,
con el pie clavado en la tierra apretando en los dedos de garra
las raíces del árbol que arranca del bíblico Adán
De hierro los ojos.
De hierro los dientes.
De hierro el cerebro, los pulmones y el corazón,
los riñones, el bazo y el sexo.
Por fuera y por dentro un hombre completo de hierro.
La fuerza más grande que el tiempo a la vida ha lanzado
es su encarnación.
A man of iron!
Iron the flesh of his invincible chest.
Iron his biceps and triceps, his arm raised in triumphant sign.
His hands of iron and his belly.
And his thighs potent columns of iron, and his calves,
brave pedestals sustaining that formidible Titan,
with his foot nailed to the earth, with clawed fingers he seizes
the roots of the tree from the Biblical Adam.
Iron his eyes.
Iron his teeth.
Iron his brain, his lungs and heart,
his kidneys, spleen, and sex.
Inside and out a man completely made of iron.
The greatest strength that time has launched
is his incarnation.