Sunday, July 31, 2011

Miller Poetry Series Wrap Up

Word Works had a successful partnership with the National Park Service as we teamed up to present eight programs from June 9 to July 28 in the Rock Creek Nature Center planetarium in Washington DC. We had a great mix of familiar audience and newcomers. Here are some images from the July programs and a poem written by Rhonda Williford who attended every program!


The Word Works Graces
have tipped the bowl
of the night sky free

of humidity, light pollution --
to expotential stars,
skim of Milky Way creamed.

The Lyra held upright to strum
sound bright to twin the lights --
too various to connect all dots --

intimate as a lost love,
extraterrestial as the setting,
neither desert or the whale

neglected.  The poets drew
the pictures -- and the pictures
sang.  We sat under

the constellations, grateful
for the created
community of words.

--Rhonda Williford

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cafe Muse Celebrates Hispanic Poets in Washington DC

Café Muse was sizzling hot for its July 18 program when Luis Alberto Ambroggio and Carlos Parada Ayala brought together luminaries associated with their new anthology Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC (At the Foot of the White House: Hispanic Poets in Washington, DC). The program opened with tribute to Egla Morales Blouin by her daughter Wendy Harmic Blouin and Egla Blouin’s best friend Dr. Miriam Davis. Blouin worked on Al pie de la Casa Blanca but did not live long enough to see the work in print. She also did translation work for DC’s Gala Hispanic Theatre.

Congratulations to Luis Alberto Ambroggio for his upcoming induction in the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (an honor from the government of Spain). The ceremony will take place September 30, 2011 at the Library of Congress.

Congratulation to Rei Berroa for The International Poetry Award that will be bestowed to him by the City of Trieste, Italy in December 2011. The International Poetry Award is an honor that has been given to highly esteemed writers from around the world for each of the past 12 years in recognition of lifetime achievement.

Here is the list in the order of their appearance and the country of origin:

-Wendy Harmic Blouin, Egla Morales Blouin's daughter (US)

-Dr. Miriam Davis, Egla's best friends (Argentina)

-Rei Berroa (Dominican Republic)

-David Camero (Venezuela)

-Carlos Parada (El Salvador)

This poem is a translation of Sami Miranda’s word play poem “Como vino.” Word play is very difficult to translate, but this translation by Yvette Neisser Moreno seems to please those in the know. 

WINDING UP HERE (“Como vino”)

Like wine.
Like red wine,
like white wine.
How’d a black man wind up here?
Wandering on a raft.

How’d he wind up here?
Like wine in a bottle,
a message crossing
the sea.

When I saw that
they didn’t want me,
I drank a bottle
of wine. So what?

Red wine.
White wine.
Black man came on a raft,
four days on a raft.

When the helicopter wound down
and took me to Guantánamo
I stayed.
They asked: How’d you wind up here?

Like a bottle of wine
crossing the sea
with a message
no one reads.

Since he had come,
I sat and talked with him.
We drank a bottle of wine
and when he asked:

How’d you wind up here?
I said, what does it matter  
if I'm already here.          

‘Como vino’ by Sami Miranda
Translation by Yvette Neisser Moreno


Como vino.
Como vino tinto,
Como vino blanco.
¿Cómo vino el negro?
En una balsa.

¿Cómo vino?
En botella,
un mensaje cruzando
el mar.

Como vi que no
me querían,
me tomé una botella
de vino. ¿Cómo?

Vino tinto.
Vino blanco.
Vino negro en balsa,
cuatro días en balsa.

Como vino el helicóptero
y me llevó a Guantánamo
me quedé.
Me preguntaban: ¿Cómo vino?

Como botella de vino
cruzando el mar
con un mensaje
que nadie lee.

Como vino,
me senté a hablar con él
y nos tomamos una botella de vino
y cuando me preguntó:

¿Cómo vino?
Le contesté, qué importa
si ya llegué.

by Sami Miranda

About Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC:

The anthology includes the work of 24 of the most prominent Hispanic poets who have lived in the DC area in recent years, including Naomi Ayala, Quique Avilés, Rei Berroa, Consuelo Hernández, Gladys Ilarregui, Mayamérica Cortez, Arturo Salcedo Martínez, Alberto Avendaño, Marty Sanchez-Lowery, Milagros Terán and Vladimir Monge.

It also includes a pair of essays by the editors, putting in context the thematic and aesthetic development Hispanic poetry in Washington within American poetical perspectives and the local history of Hispanic-Latino poetry. The poetry is interspersed with photographs by the Spanish academic, writer and photographer Gerardo Piña Rosales, which offer a cutting-edge visual essay that creates a stimulating dialogue with the poetry. The English translation of this anthology is in progress now.

The NEXT CAFÉ MUSE program will happen August 1, 2011 and feature Poets Kyle Dargan & Lew Watts with tribute to Sterling Brown. Please join us for another outstanding program.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Miller Time Update

Are we flying high at the Rock Creek Nature Center Planetarium with the newly relocated Joaquin Miller Poetry Series? You betcha!

Maybe you saw our opening night post.

Our June16, Kathi Morrison Taylor & Deborah Ager presented Pia Taavila & Ian Williams. Pia gave us a look into deaf culture—she was raised by deaf parents and now teaches at Galludet. Ian gave us a 21st century look into the life of a single man but not before telling us the story about how his condo apartment house burned down days before he came from the greater Boston area to DC for his reading.

 On June 23, Adam Tavel and Melissa Tuckey joined us in the Planetarium. We were also pleased to have The Word Works resident star-gazer Dr. Jim Beall who runs his own planetarium at St. Johns College.

June 30, we had a big crowd for Yvette Neisser Moreno and Iain Pollack. The heavens were rocking with lots of celestial imagery and sound effects.

If you missed any of these readings, you can still check out the books from many of these authors in the lobby of the Nature Center. It's not hard to get to the Rock Creek Nature Center by car or by public transportation.

The Planetarium is totally cool in every sense of the word. (No bugs either!) Join us July 7 for the next reading by Hailey Leithauser & Suzanne Rhodenbaugh.