poetryamano project: february 2017

This week I’m sharing the second installment archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled @poetryamano (poetry by hand). This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

I’d like to give a quick thank you to Kenyatta JP García for giving @poetryamano a shout out here.

Below are the highlights from February 2017. Be sure to check out the first installment.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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In February, I had been coming back to rain and mirrors in my free writes. I always worry about retreading, but then some words and images are like worry stones, no?

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Translation: Alejandra Pizarnik’s poems are full of a tense intimacy, like each word could say everything, so we gotta be careful with them. The hardest line to translate here was the first, specifically the phrasing of “sin para qué, sin para quién,” which translates as “without a reason, and for no one,” sense-wise. But I like the whimsy of “what/whom” and feel it’s in keeping with Pizarnik’s overall punk vibe.

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True story. I was working on a poem when I came across a draft that had the quoted text above in the middle of some rough writing. The quote stuck with me for a few hours, yet I couldn’t remember the source. So I decided to go the haibun-like route of including this story of the quote while letting the quote shine in its own space. I like the result, despite the poem showing how flawed my own memory is – and again, that could be the point, no, that words last?

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Those fragments on the side are from a hematite ring that broke a month ago. Found out recently that these rings break for two reasons, the brittleness of the metal, and when they have absorbed too much negativity. Words work in the same way, able to hold what they can, until they can’t.

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Talismans: The absence of my father growing up comes in and out of my poems. It’s an influence like weather, which changes. He died when I was six, but left my life earlier. In response to my worries about writing too many poems about this absence, someone called it a talisman of sorts, something I carry in the presence of these words.

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Throwback to the original version of a line that made its way into my book, Everything We Think We Hear (Floricanto Press). It got revised into: “Stay with me, love, the world is ours for the aching” which is recalled by the speaker of the newer poem as lines he used to say trying to be slick. True story.

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When you write poems in more than one language, you realize quickly how what you are really doing when you write is translating something yet spoken inside you into a shape and expression. Here, I like how the filter places a bit of light in the space between the two versions of the poem, light like a fingerprint itself.

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February brought my first attempts at erasures/blackout poems for the poetryamano project. My first attempts, like here, were done on my phone, using photo studio to mark out words. This one reads: “the real world / dwells in the / absorption of passion, / And / mirrors it” – From The English Renaissance of Art by Oscar Wilde.

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This last one of the month comes from a time when I’d walk around all poet-lonely, then go home and write poems about walking around being poet-lonely. We all went through that, right?


Happy amano-ing!




poetryamano project: january 2017

This week, I begin archiving my Instagram poetry project entitled poetryamano (poetry by hand) here on the Influence. This account focuses on sharing poems written by hand, either in longhand or more experimental forms such as erasures/blackout poems and found poems.

Below are the highlights of when I started the project in January. Every few weeks, I will be sharing another round of highlights as I continue to archive.

Stay tuned next week for more of the usual Influence happenings. For now, enjoy these forays into variations on the short lyric!

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My first post was this translation of a line from Antonio Porchia. I felt like it was a statement on the, ahem, influence of social media on our lives. Mainly, though, I thought the line was neat.

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Poem written in my head while talking on the phone with a dear friend.

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Poem thought of after my dissertation defense. Playing off the idea of gate-keeping in academia, I came up with this as a line in a freestyle in my head, then as I came to share it, I found myself writing it down in three lines of three words each. I like it here as the form breaks up the rhyme. I’m hoping to share more random things like this that come up and never land on the page for fear of being too cursi, corny, contrived, or any other alliterative term that comes via self-conscious worry.

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This one came from revising from a series of poems that would have been tanka but ended up way too rambly/brambly.

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In working on this one, “find” was originally “learn.” Yet, I liked the vibe of having “lost” followed by “find.” I couldn’t decide until my wife noted how you must find something first, and only then can you begin to learn it. And so I found this poem, and am humbled to keep learning what it has to say. I also like how the filter blurs the words on the right side.

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HANDS. Note that: 1) the five lines run 2,4,6,8,2 in terms of syllables (cinquain), and 2) the word “hands” is spelled downward in the first letters of each line (acrostic). Formal games like this are my jam.


Happy amano-ing!


Goodreads Book GiveawaySmall Fires by Jose Angel Araguz

Small Fires

by Jose Angel Araguz

Giveaway ends August 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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