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“In Media Res” or a ModPoetic Collage: On a Vision, a Course, a Liberation, a Block, and a “Way” to “Eunoia”

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“The Flower Pot” (See, Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”)

*(Note to reader: This entire piece is an experiment. It is an exercise in “how,” that is, it’s not so much what I am saying but how I am saying it. I try to explain what ModPo has taught me by using it, drawing on elements from proto-modernism, the edge of modernist poetics, found language, spontaneous prose, The New York school, language poetry, prose poetry, chance, conceptualism, unoriginality, and “Al-isms”.  It’s a ModPoetic collage. If you make it to the end, I’ll appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.)

I looked in the mirror and saw a vision of myself. I was speaking in front of students in an auditorium. I was grading papers…and loving it. I’ll drive the second-hand car, Al.

The Way:

-Notational process- taking observations and putting them together into a poem, “found language,” ‘linguistic observations,”  “a collage of voices,” “no fixed I.” Liberation. I am a collagist. I am a poet. Collage poetry. Ambrosia! Validation. It wasn’t the ‘what’ but the ‘how.’ Freedom. This legitimate how. This how. This.

Antoine Cassar’s Mużajk , an exploration in multilingual verse. Tesserae- one of the small squares of stone or glass used in making mosaic patterns. Pieces of things, what mosaics are made of, what collages are made of, what found poetry is made of, pieces of me, pieces of you as some song or album was titled once. My favorite poet called me Whitmanian before I’d understood what that really meant.

“I am a mosaic,” I told him, “a collage, mixed media. I cannot choose only a piece of me.”

~

I pause in the shower, thinking about energy healing and colors of chakras. I think about how I’d come up with Poets of Babel in the shower. And then: Throat chakra. Communication. Communication.

See it all started with that 7 Chakras massage that I did one stressed day after work–

It all started with that throat chakra stone I chose–

It all started with that lapis lazuli pendant I had made–

It all started with that throat infection that wouldn’t go away for weeks. I might still have it. It didn’t even hurt, it was just there

It all started with–

It all started when we were–

It all started–

It all started when Marcia said, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this, because it almost killed me, but I think you should do a doctorate.” She said, “It would give you a voice and you have ideas that need to be heard.” Communications.

It all started when I got released from my job. Yes, I mean that. No, it’s not a euphemism. Lisa said “Haven’t you ever felt the pain of rejection even though you don’t even want what you are losing?” Yes, Lisa, yes I have.

I’m still not sure if it healed or I just got used to it. The throat, I mean, or my life, or whatever’s applicable at the moment. My Life.

I am plagued by a sense of urgency. Cheryl told me once that I was haunted. My solar plexus hurts right now because I am writing this. The truth of it all made me cry 3 days ago. 7 days ago.

It all started when in the job interview she asked me which position I’d loved the most and I realized that teaching was the only one.

It all started when at the job interview Zohar said, “Why are you looking for things like this? Look at what you’ve done. This is beneath you.” (מה את” מחפשת דברים כאלו? תראי כל מה שעשית. קטן עליך.”)

It all started when I went to see Zohar about doing a second M.A. in Communications with a focus on Poetry and he said “you could go straight to doctorate” and I was alarmed. (“What are you afraid of?” Chana asked me.)

You can’t have a name like Zohar and not be zoher (“shining”). The light was too bright for me to bear. Bare.

It all started when Chana said, “this is the story of your life…you are something in your dreams aren’t you?” And I cried. “Yes.”

It all— Summer said, “I see who are are right now, not who you are going to be.”

~

Until now I have been a

synecdoche

Tesserae is about

finally being ALL of me

in all of my parts and

idiosyncracies

          at the limen

coming out of the penumbra

The Beats.

~

Note to self: Write a Dadaist poem!

It all started when Gwendolyn Brooks said, “Come here and open your mouth!”

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

It all started when–Jack Kerouac’s “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose”

Note to self: Do it! 

I did it.

A-mending.

The Aroma. A poem is a cafe.

Poetics stolen. My thoughts are non-sequitor–

Lunch poems. Coffee poems.

It all started when–prose poetry. My stories don’t have to be linear. These poets give me a freedom I hadn’t known existed before.

A continuation.

“Discontinuity is the way these lives get constructed,” my life, all lives

are translations. 

It all started when–

she asked “Who polices questions of grammar, parts of speech…Whose order is shut inside…” indeed, this is the predicament of culture, the new sentence.

for

We are the anagogy

If you listen you will hear

The language is out there

Use the language that’s already out there

The world is always joined in media res, 

in the middle of things

~

“Go behind the veil,” Alaa said.

for

chronic meanings

“That always happened until one. (day when she woke up.)

She spread out her arms and. (decided to fly.)

The sky if anything grew. (and thus the limits.)

Which left a lot of. (questions…and answers.)

………..

Come what it may it can’t. (stop me.)

There are a number of. (dreams, some say too many.)

But there is only one. (me.)

That’s why I want to.” (do it all.)

Wait. Stop. Reverse that. Ok go on.

“A poet is never just a woman or a man. Every poet is salted with fire. A poet is a mirror, a transcriber.”

A translator.

A poet is the priest of the invisible.

~

All artists, poets, painters, musicians, etc. are translators. They are translators of feeling, moments in time into another medium: into colors and shapes, into notes and harmonies, into words and…words. The poet has the most difficult translation job of them all for it is words that fail us first when trying to capture “that moment in time which is imagistic and not linguistic;” for no “moment” is ever really linguistic, not really. This is why O’Hara would rather be a painter. Few words are rarely sufficient but a picture is worth a thousand–

~By a poet who has tried to paint.

Why I Am Not a Painter.

Why I am not a mathematician.

Why I am not a musician.

Why I am not an astronomer.

Why I am not–

I would play the monochord and demonstrate the octaves of the universe in intervals. ‘You are the beautiful, the stress of mathematics.’

If I were a scientist, I’d be Dr. Frankenstein. Taking old things, making them new. Collaging everything.

Confession: I’ve destroyed books.

~

Though it was the natural choice, I couldn’t do the Bernadette Mayer Experiment.There was too much to choose.

Cage. Mesostics. Chance.

Kerouac’s Compass.

jaCk

Of

Mind

landscaPe

fAce

iS

Set

In this final writing assignment- and perhaps all modest writers would say- we are all jacks of the mind, experimenting with a plethora of poetic writing methods, yet mastering none.

~

Calculated

insertiOns

iMage

Peripheral

releAse

S.

reaSons.

“99% of what you want is not on the radar screen and it will come in ways you can’t even imagine!”

It all started when Hagit, out of the blue, asked me to teach improvisation theater in the camp.

So many signs from the universe. I can no longer ignore–

Release reasons.

~

It all started with what is not a cage

“What we make disappear bespeaks what we wish to be all the more present.”

Hmmm, like the first marriage and that religion?

…like the study abroad in Greece, the State Department internship, the wedding ceremony, the vision personified as Eunoia…

~

raCe

tO

tiMe-race

deeP

lAst

wordS

laSt

the most obscure things have already been said–all you have to do is hear the lyricism. BART. now further than I’ve ever gone before the end of the line. (That was supposed to have been my conclusion.

Oh well,)

I want to remember a day in a poem. this is an act. this is deliberate. go out into the world and describe it… If you listen you will hear. The language is out there. Unintentional intent. Dropping Leaflets.use the language that’s already out there. ambient language. There appears to be an order but this is a remix. Experiments in imitation. Photographer Poet?!!!!!!

~

It all started Via

“They are adept at composing in multiple and mixed media. Indeed, they are so comfortable with ‘cross-platform’ writing that they no longer seem to perceive any meaningful disciplinary boundaries between poetry, music and the visual arts

(because there is none)

~the world is always joined in media res, in the middle of things~

“The divinely ordained right way forward has been lost- but it will always remain and ever has been.”

Because my divinely ordered right way forward has been lost-but it will always remain and ever has been.

Because Anna said the big secret of the universe is a hand me down.

“God is a symbol for something that can as well take other forms, as for example, the form of poetry.” I finally found a God that I can pray to.

~

It all started when Ron said, “There’s not a normal letter up there. You’ve got some ways of being you’re not tapping into.” That was in 2009.

It all–

Poetry is the how.

A doctorate in Communications with a focus on Poetry.

A teaching certificate in Theater.

–started

In media res.

But I’m still speaking hypothetically.

Artistic. Social. I didn’t need the occupational exam to tell  me that.

And yet I did.

“What is blocking you?” Chana asked me. That was on Sunday.

-Devastating disappointment.

-Faith.

I was fearless once.

The siren reminded me of this.

  • Poet & Writer
  • Educator~ teacher, lecturer, professor, speaker
  • Film director
  • Artist~ photographer, collagist, calligrapher…
  • Performer~ spoken word, dancer, street theater…
  • Organization founder/project coordinator/workshop facilitator
  • Business owner

When I love a thing I want it and I try to get it. Abstraction of the particular from the universal is the entrance into evil. Love, a binding force, is both envy and emulation…Between revealed will and secret will Love has been torn in two.”

Jack of all trades, master of none. The sin of the dilettante. Mother advised me to do something practical.

Jack

      of

  the

       mind

Eunoia:  It all boils down to Eunoia– the shortest English word containing all five main vowel graphemes. It comes from the Greek word εὔνοια meaning “well mind” or “beautiful thinking.”

…the meaning of the bees that have followed me every time I plan or talk about Thisindustry, action, communication, and our ability to consciously choose the results we want in our lives. 

A vision, a course, a liberation, a block and a way to eunoia.

There’s nothing left to do but to just do it.

No layoffs in this condensery. For occupation this

It all– Daniel said “Not Impossible.” I dare to dwell in possibility.

“קטן עליך”: Zohar meant “it’s beneath your level.” Eunoia meant “you got this.”

It all started–

Modern & Contemporary American Poetry Course

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I just wanted to drop by and let you know what I’ll be doing next week: taking the free online Modern & Contemporary American Poetry Course to brush up my poetry skills.

Here’s an introduction video. Check it out!

Hopefully, I’ll be back sooner than usual!

Featured Guest Poem on Flashlight City Blues, Poetry by Brice Maiurro

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Shoshana,

Congratulations! You won! I have posted a blog entry congratulating you, and your poem has been added to the Featured Guest Poem tab of my blog. I would love to put up a picture of you, if you’d like, and a short bio. Would you send me something to that effect?
i.e. “Shoshana was born… Shoshana began writing… etc.
Whatever you’d like to say, really!
I received dozens of entry, so really, congratulations. I am glad to feature your wonderful poem.
Sincerely,
Brice
——-

There is currently a problem with the link so for now I will in the meantime attach the poem as was featured on the site here:

“Ants”

Daddy told me once to be careful
He said, I might get stepped on
like an ant
It won’t be on purpose
just at the wrong place
at the wrong time
Since that day
(it must have been years ago by now)
I think of Daddy
every time I see ants
And I try not to step on them
I skip over their trails at the bottom
of the stairs outside my building
I even go out of my way not
to step on them
even when they have infiltrated
my kitchen and have begun to
have their way with the crumbs
at my kitchen table
I stare at them wondering
was it really me…
or him
Who is the ant here?
I carefully scoop them up and
drop them into
Insectopia

Out of dozens of entries into the first ever Rant Poetry Competition, where poets competed to write a poem somehow involving a theme, this time “Ants,” Shoshana’s poem crushed (pun slightly intended the competition) with 39 votes. You can see much more of Shoshana’s incredible writing on her blog:http://www.shoshanasarah.com

The First Poets of Babel Meeting! (…was 3 months ago!)

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Four months and 16 days later, the first meeting of Poets of Babel has finally taken place and it was amazing. We were only 7, but then again 7 is the number of perfection.

Ira, a Russian Israeli and Hebrew teacher arrived first. I met Ira at Hillel House in 2008 when I made my documentary film “Stranger” on stereotypes in Israel; it was love at first sight. I found her, in her flowing burgundy skirt at the table with the Mr. as I rushed in the door at 9:00. We were supposed to start at 9:30. Not long after, a girl with a sweet demeanor and a soft voice knocked on my door. She introduced herself as Isabella, a friend of Nadine’s. Isabella is a German student of philosophy and Middle Eastern studies (who hopes to switch the latter to musicology) learning in Jerusalem. I asked her “Where’s Nadine?” She didn’t know so I told her to make herself at home and the four of us chatted for well over an hour before Nadine arrived. Nadine, is the one who magically said “We should start a poetry club” on that fateful day in January.

There were only two left who we were waiting for. Both Michal, a law student and English lit, and Adi a graduate of linguistics and translation working on her masters in translation, were friends from work where we used to teach English together at Wall Street Institute in Jerusalem. Michal has a business card that reads “Muse” and she fulfilled her role when she discovered that I write poetry and started sharing her poetry magazines, such as Rattle and Poetry which fueled my inspiration for quite a few months (especially since it took me quite a few months to return them). Adi used to make me drool over linguistics during our breaks together when she discussed her studies and made me crave a return to the university. When she introduced herself to the group she said of her studies, because writing poetry is just something she occasionally does but not what she is, “I guess that’s what earns me a place in Poets of Babel.”

We drew numbers from my Broadway hat from last year’s performance. I was 3. Three is the number of truth and connection. It also represents permanence like holy utterances that must be spoken three times.

I started off by telling them that even though this was my idea, in my house, with my friends I was terrified.  It’s never easy to share but as Adi said later about her volunteer work, it’s a shlichut, a calling. Then I read Merħba, a poem of hospitality , the perfect beginning. “God sent you my friend, you brought the sun with you” is how I greeted them and the end which is really the doorway to embark on a new journey together assured that ” you will always find the door open.”

Adi started off- after trading  numbers with Isabella- with a spontaneous selection from a new poetry book I had , Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith. The poem, “It’s Not,” pleasantly surprised us all by actually being good despite being impromptu.

….

This is the post that I started in May and now next Wednesday we will be having our 3rd Poets of Babel meeting. Third time’s the charm! I couldn’t seem to get this post out so now I’m just going to do it! Check out our Facebook Page!

Merħba to Poets of Babel

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Poets of Babel

Poets of Babel (© Shoshana Sarah 2012)

I believe in messages from the universe. At least over a year ago, I decided that I wanted to start a poetry club. Then, I did nothing…until today.

Last Thursday, I met with two of the most awesome people I know, Marc, a former break dancer/polyglot MC turned design engineer and Nadine, a jeweler who is petite in stature but huge in spirit. After talking the night away at La Champa, on the subject of poetry versus hip hop, and discovering for the first time that Nadine writes also, (“I love you even more!” I exclaimed) she said, “We should start a poetry club.”

“I’ve been wanting to start a poetry club for ages,” I replied.

In the shower, the next day, while shampooing my hair, I received it:

Poets of Babel. ‘A place where poets would not be limited in participation based on their mother tongue or the language they chose to write poetry in.’ 99% of the people I know are at least bilingual and I would want anyone who’s a poet there. ‘If you’ve got a friend who understands what you wrote, bring him,’ I thought. Then, while rinsing, the perfect tag line came to compliment the name of the club: “Poets of Babel: If you are a poet, we speak the same language.”

Perfect.

Meanwhile, in the world of Facebook, I’d been tagged in a book review. The poor author’s novel had been torn to shreds by the critic, but one line stood out:

“Every single character talks in exactly the same idiotically macaronic way, and 500 pages into it, you are still trying to remember which humourless pundit is which.”

This is because, as I’m not too proud to admit, I did not know what macaronic meant. And, yes, it does come from the same root as macaroni.

I share with you my new found knowledge:

mac.a.ron.ic

Definition of MACARONIC

1

: characterized by a mixture of vernacular words with Latin words or with non-Latin words having Latin endings

2

: characterized by a mixture of two languages

— macaronic noun

Origin of MACARONIC

New Latin macaronicus, from Italian dialect maccarone macaroni

First Known Use: 1638

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/macaronic)

Macaronic is the written form of another term I was familiar with: code-switching. I, and most people I know in Israel, engage in code-switching, the practice of moving back and forth between two languages or between two dialects or registers of the same language.

It was while reading everything I could online about macaronic usage that I discovered my new hero: Antoine Cassar, a Maltese poet and translator.  His multilingual poem Merħba was the Grand Prize winner of the United Planet Writing Contest in 2009.

Merhaba, a poem of hospitality

Merhaba, a poem of hospitality

(The cover photographs of a Tibetan child were taken by
United Planet’s Founder and Executive Director, David Santulli.
United Planet is an international non-profit organisation based
in Boston, USA, which carries out social and educational
development projects in five continents. For more information,
visit http://www.unitedplanet.org.)

Here is how his website describes the poem:

Merħba, a poem of hospitality is a narrative, musical homage to the unfailing and unconditional hospitality and warmth that welcome travellers the world over, despite the tragedies and hardships lived by families and communities on a daily basis. It is at once a celebration and a lamentation of our colourful, shrinking planet and of our common yet conflicting humanity.” (http://antoinecassar.wordpress.com/merhba-a-poem-of-hospitality-2009/)

There is a link to a free download of the poem.

I downloaded it.

I read it.

I loved it.

I fell in love with it.

I couldn’t even understand all of it but loved it despite, or more likely, because.

I love that man, Antoine Cassar, without ever having met him, for he has combined my loves.

~Poetry and Language all wrapped up in Oneness~

Now, I smile, because I have heard the message from the universe and I will not ignore it. Having just returned from Malta two months ago, which was also a stroke of fate, it all made even more sense. I will read Merħba at the opening event of Poets of Babel. I don’t know if Antoine Cassar will ever hear of us, but I am confident that he would approve…

for if you are a poet, we speak the same language. 

“No Name” Yes, Poetry, Vol. 2, Issue 11: November 2011

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Yes, Poetry, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 2011

Yes, Poetry, Volume 2, Issue 11, November 2011

Sarah, Shoshana. “No Name” Yes, Poetry Volume 2, Issue 11: November 2011.

And while I’m at it, I know it’s a bit late, nevertheless, here it is. My second published poem is on page 7:

http://www.lulu.com/items/volume_73/12176000/12176717/3/print/november.pdf

Enjoy!

“Bread, Water & Gas” The Ilanot Review, Vol.2, No. 3, Autumn 2011

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The Ilanot Review, Volume 3, No. 2, Autumn 2011

The Ilanot Review, Volume 3, No. 2, Autumn 2011

Sarah, Shoshana. “Bread, Water & Gas.” The Ilanot Review Volume 2, Number 3, Autumn 2011.

Now that it’s official and in print an all, I would like to share with you my first publication:

http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/cw/ilanot/poetry/sarah.html

Also, PLEASE check out the entire issue: http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/cw/ilanot/.

At the poetry reading that took place on December 15, 2011, I enjoyed listening to my fellow writers immensely and left with a renewed sense of respect for prose in particular and inspiration.

Enjoy!

 

Shoshana Sarah

A Year of Transformation

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I was there!

I Touched the Sky!

{Written December 29, 2011 & January 1, 2011}

“This is my inception, I’m writing my dreams” ~Common, “Blue Sky” The Dreamer, The Believer

2011 has been a great year of positive transformation. I got published (“Bread, Water and Gas” in the Ilanot Review http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/cw/ilanot/ & “No Name” in Yes, Poetry http://yespoetry.com/post/13311920484/vol-2-issue-11-november-2011), lost weight, and got promoted at work (yes, in that order, actually).

I read poetry and danced in front of an audience for the first time in 12 years! I got 99% of my poetry copy-writ, started a blog, and started family therapy (the past 5 years hadn’t been easy on the children since my divorce and up until I got remarried last year). I’ve even (re-)started therapy for myself (I see it as a preemptive measure) and I’ve been dancing regularly at Studio 6 (http://www.studio6.co.il/) for a full year now; it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

I was literally in the clouds and touched the sky for my 30th birthday (http://www.hotairballoon.co.il/english/hot-air-balloon-over-israel-with-touch-the-sky/) and had the best birthday party ever with the people I love the most, in a park with wine & cheese. Earlier, in the same summer, my family took a trip up north, stayed on a Moshav in Amnon off the Sea of Galilee, and traveled to Rosh haNikra and Tel Dan. It was the first nuclear family only trip…and the best. This November, the Mr. and I flew to Malta and feel in love with the “Little Things.” I ate culture for breakfast and it tasted like ambrosia.

Even in the most latter days of the year 2011, I’ve learned new lessons in motherhood. I began listening to the teleseminar event “The Great Parenting Show” (http://greatparentingshow.com/), each episode, a gem. Since I began listening and applying what I’d heard, I’ve learned to let go and be present with my children, consistently, in a way that allows me to enjoy parenting which I hadn’t truly been able to do before. The past few weeks, the “Shoshana Girls” and I’ve been having a blast!

Finally, as a result of my new managerial position and being exposed to the yearly budget of centers in my company, I initiated, for the first time, a yearly budget for my household (shocking, I know). I also learned that being able to create an excel sheet for the household budget is sexy. 😉 (The Mr. made it.)

Now, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions as a rule. I have a problem with the timing. I think I should be making “resolutions” all year long. That said, there’s no reason why now, 3 days before, January 1, 2012, I can’t come up with some points for improvement:

1. I started a blog this year but, until now, I hadn’t updated it since August. I want to start blogging regularly again. (Already, moving towards this one this very moment! ;-))

2. I got published twice this year but I want to get published more! There is a book goal somewhere in the horizon which requires that I send off more submissions.

3. This year I lost 5 kilos (11 lbs) within a couple of months. I want to loose 5 more within a few months or less!

4. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve taken the first step but I’ve got a lot more steps towards this goal. I want to live completely financially responsible.

Another element of these goals is that they are more focused than my usually scattered aims. I’ve decided to focus on my writing at the moment (notice 50% of the above goals are writing related). So, *sniff, sniff* ~sigh~ establishing the NGO, directing the films, the t-shirts, the voice lessons so that I can sing Billie Holiday, the language courses (Arabic again & intermediate Russian), the phd in Communications, re-taking the Foreign Service Officer’s Test, and joining the circus will all have to wait because I’ve realized that I can only do one thing at a time…if I want to do anything right. Writing is at the heart of any vision I have of myself; it is the common thread between my two categories of passions, Arts and Communications. Writing is the one thing that I love and never consciously chose to take up…now I choose it in a BIG way.

Like, I said folks, these aren’t resolutions, they are a conscious way of life.

I write visions, goals, and plans throughout the year, constantly (let my journal be my witness). This time, I decided to share because when I reflected on the transformations I went through in 2011- I realized something unsettling, shocking even: I do believe it has been the best year of my life so far. I expect 2012 to be off the hook…as long as I’m writing my dreams. 😀

Second Published Poem!

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The Spring 2008 issue of Tar River Poetry. Cov...

Image via Wikipedia

“Dear Shoshana,

Thank you for your submission to Yes, Poetry. Yes, Poetry would like to include “No Name” in our November issue. Please reply to this message with any questions you may have. You will receive an email when the issue is online. Thank you again for submitting.

Also, feel free to friend us on facebook for updates: https://www.facebook.com/yespoetry

I’m super-excited!!

Check out Yes, Poetry (yespoetry.com). I just love the name of the journal!

Also, I know I’ve been bad at posting, but I’m trying to do something else big, soon! More news to come!

Love & Joy,

Shoshana

p.s. What do you think of my blog’s name change? It was totally spontaneous from two quotes I’ve loved for a long time…