Featured Post


Lino Cervantes, a heteronym of Eugenio Montejo, invented a genre called the coligram. Here is an example: Me alumbro a solas con una es...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Body Parts

The waist of the ocean...

Her throat, where is it?

Where is the sea's elbow?


Mateo has set me another one:

Skywinds of autumn

Skyrains of spring...

Aren't all winds from the sky?

Aren't all rains of the sky?

If you think like that, my friend,

You will never taste the orange from the orange tree

Skywinds of autumn

Skyrains of spring...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Theme Bait

I went to a poetry reading once (many times) in which the poet depended on the themes of his work. He would explain eloquently what his poetry was about and then read a poem in which none of that was really happening.

You have to do it in the poem.


I wrote an article in Spanish and the only corrections I got (aside from obvious typos) was that I was writing "en este respecto" instead of "a este respecto." I guess I really did not know that, but once it's pointed out it becomes obvious. I am fairly confident of my writing, more than I used to be, but everyone is entitled to a few mistakes. I was already writing a dissertation when someone pointed out to me that the word was substitute and and not subsitute.

Contra los homenajes

El homenaje es un género vacío de contenido. Acabo de sacar unos libros de homenaje a Montejo de la biblioteca y no nos dicen ná del poeta y su obra. Aprendemos que es buena persona, etc... Cuánto pastiche...


Lino Cervantes, a heteronym of Eugenio Montejo, invented a genre called the coligram.

Here is an example:

Me alumbro a solas con una estrella arcaica

Malumbro sol cunestrel cáicara

Mumbo cuntrel cáicar

Mumbro trelaica

Mutaica brol




So the rules are:

1st line, a "poetic" or lyrical line of verse with no fixed syllable count:

I light myself up alone with an archaic star

The next line, a reduction of this line, with portmanteau words. "Me alumbro" = malumbro or "con una estrella" = cunestrel.

And so on. The last three line have one word each, culminating in a monosyllable. The number of lines can vary between 7 and 9, I think. Alliteration is almost always a feature:

La eternidad tan lenta con sus horas de nieve

Lernidad lenta coras nieve

Lidad len cros nieve

Dalenta crosieve

Téntada crieve





[Eternity so slow with its hours of snow.]

Of course Montejo's conventional poetry is also good, but this seems more interesting. Try reading them backwards too!

Let's try doing one in English

My father was not beaten as a child

Myfa wasn otbeata sachild

yfawno beast chil

fawnob eastchi

awnobe astchi



Something like that.

Getting serious

I've decided to do an article or chapter a month for the foreseeable future. I turned in one in September on Ullán. In October I will write one for a volume on teaching Latin American poetry, in November, my chapter on Pound and Lorca. For December, I don't know yet.

Sept. Ullán
Oct. Article on poetic literacy.
Nov. Pound / Lorca
Dec. ????