Sunday, November 29, 2015

De Groene Waterman

Dear Friends,
today is the day that Sven Peeters interviews me in "The green Waterman", the nicest bookshop of Antwerp. He will ask questions about my translation of Sherman Alexie's works from his four first books of poetry. Up to now the book has been well received and people who have seen it like it. So After the interview I will tell you how it went. We will start at 4 o'clock.

Po√ęzie = Woede x Verbeelding
Sherman Alexie

 Now I am off to the preparation of the interview... More tonight!

Sven is a great interviewer and he was truly well prepared. He asked  questions  about the terminology like what is the correct term for 'Indian'? Is an Indian Nation always called a reservation?
Of course it was the poetry who won the people over. Several people bought the book and I  was practicing finding the right words for each inscription for the enthusiastic buyers. I think the bookshop also was happy. A friend 'Kris' came in late, the train had two long stops on the way to Antwerp. The terror threat not quite over, we are at level three in Brussels now. In Antwerp, nothing bad is happening. In order to make more publicity for the book Kris will approach "The Limmerick" in Ghent and then he will be the interviewer. I am a neophyte at this, so I am learning as I go.

In the discussion after the reading some commented that his poetry is very different, sometimes close to prose. So I decided to read them the following poem:

Een Onvolledige Lijst Mensen waarvan ik Wens dat ze Indiaan Waren

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Muhammad Ali
Susan B. Anthony
Jimmy Carter
Patsy Cline
D.B. Cooper
Robert DeNiro
Emily Dickinson
Isadora Duncan
Amelia Earhart
Diane Fossey
Jesus Christ
Robert Johnson
Helen Keller
Billie Jean King
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John Lennon
Maria Magdalena
Pablo Neruda
Flannery O’Connor
Rosa Parks
Wilma Rudolph
William Shakespeare
Bruce Springsteen
Meryl Streep
John Steinbeck
Harriet Tubman
Walt Whitman

And it worked. People were moved by the names, they understood that in the work of a great poet everything can be poetry.

I thank Sherman Alexie for his work, Robert Hershon his publisher for making this publication possible and Leo Peeraer the publisher of poetry in Flanders with the best series of translations.

Sven contacted a friend in the States and was told Sherman Alexie is really big in the States. I hope he will be as well know in Belgium and Holland now.

In gratitude to all,


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Letter from and to Cooper

Dear Annmarie. I've thought of you so much in the days since you left Chloride. Hoping your short stay in NYC was exciting and you were able to have some good visits with old friends. This morning I'm waking up to the news that Brussels is on 'lock-down'? This is all so terrible. I hope you were able to land safely and then get transportation to Antwerp with no problems. I imagine you and Doggy Dog have been exhausted.

I also read your blog and read your words of weariness about Chloride. I understand completely. I feel that way myself this morning. Don't worry. We of course hope to see you next year but no promises by any of us.

I didn't mean this to be so somber. I wanted to write and welcome you home. Tell you how much your visit meant to us and wishing you all the love and joyousness you deserve. For you are indeed one of the 'good people.' One of those whose spirit and sense of outrage at wrong-doing and your energy to try to make this world a better place, never seems to flag.

Lots of love to you. Get in touch when you can. Now, settle in, rest up and give Doggy Dog a big treat! O:-) Coop

Dear Coop. The travel was all right and I did actually get a lift to Maya.
But what is really worse is the militarized language many so called reasonable people are using. I shared on Facebook a letter by David Van Reybrouck, whom I respect, a letter against the warmongering rhetoric of President Hollande of France. Using such language pushes people away, creates distance, mistrust and makes it hard to find cohesion within our society. We need to stay on the path of non-violence, of being there for other people, being helpful. Many will deem me naive, but that is not the fact. I feel, we women and yes also men, can try to find a way to work and think and live together with respect for each other without prejudice or fear. Tolerance is a virtue in a world of many shades and nuances and ways of living a good life. I wonder how long a person can look the other way in the face of racism, homophobia and right-wing politics. The science day (an all day event Maya was involved in) has been canceled because of the lock down of Brussels. Maya and Bram have lost a friend in the Paris attack: a young woman eating out on the fatal night.
Doggy Dog is doing fine. She is already used to the new schedule of her days. What to say more? Take care my friends and be safe.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The end of my stay in Chloride is near

In between  the repairs and the few side trips I made, I felt I just needed to be home. Clean up the place do the repairs needed. Yet one of the buildings is in bad shape... The water heater is broke and the shower is broke. The roof had a leak, the porch was sagging and wobbly. Dan has been working on the porch and that at least seems more stable now. Of course, Chloride and the old gas station is also about memories, of Tony who painted here, of friends who used to come by, about friends I visit. Nadine and John, Cooper and Irene are the people who can lure me back here. The people I care about. Yet in the desert so much is frail: the plants, the weather inclement at times. This time November really cold. And traveling with a small dog has its own challenges. Her weight cannot be more than six kilo the carrier bag included. So I am skimping on her food so that I don't get in trouble with her. New York awaits us. Yet there too finding one's way around in a city one doesn't know. An expensive cab from the airport to the hotel in Brooklyn... after a late arrival. I wonder whether my energy is waning. I do look forward to see my friends: Norris, Carla and Tara. And of course Robert Hershon Sherman Alexie's publisher. So with all the apprehension, there is a lot to look forward to.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Desert Poetry in the Silver Belles Playhouse in Chloride.

Poems - Stories - Music

Although being cold outside, inside with the poets and listeners who came it was cozy. The evening was nice and had e few surprises.  Cooper spoke the welcome words  for the evening and then it was my turn to introduce Karel Sergen, Belgian poet and friend. He read in his own personal way, with big movements when reciting his poem about giants and dwarfs... People looked maybe a bit bewildered when they saw him do this, but when I read the English translation, all was clear. H also read the poem he wrote at my late husbands grave in Dutch followed by my English version of it. There was a whole bunch of poets from Dolan Springs. Jandolin Sparks obviously being the funny, rebellious star she is. I liked what the Dolan Springs poets read: Lynn Rosati, nice and personal, Ian Greenberg,  from whom I would like to hear more too and Sue Bowman.
Lucette read a poem in French about a trusted friend. She translated it into English and made everybody smile when it turned out to be about a dog. Ron Hall who had made sure the microphones worked read a short but poignant poem. Also Robin read a personal poem which meant a lot to her, and thus to us. With Cooper on the flute, I closed  the reading with a short desert poem. Then Debbie on the guitar did a fine job. She has been generous with her time. She sang first "Where have all the flowers gone" and then a  beautiful cowboy ballad. Then it was time for refreshments (warm tea and Coffee, necessary in the winter cold) and coockies by Nadine and Reen...
The after party was at the gas-station with champaign and white wine and some the delicious cookies. I thank Cooper and Irene and Karel for the work they did to make this a beautiful evening.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The wonders of Arizona

After many phone calls trying to set up a meeting with the Hopi Cultural speaker or the tribal chairman, we set off to Hopi, in the hopes of realizing this meeting. in order to talk  about the auctions in France of Hopi religious artifacts. I once attended such an auction to bear witness afterwards to the Hopi.  Anyway, after Kikotsmovi we drove on through Oak Creek canyon to Sedona and then I really got my drivers license driving up to Jerome and then down the mountain to go to Prescot, where the ice cream is still very good, however in way too big scoops. It is a livable town also for Europeans. Bookshops and a town square, nice buildings, a bit of culture. And then the long drive back. Today started with torrential rain, so no painting windows or doors and, Dan called to say that there is snow on the mountains. And indeed, there is a general dusting on the tops and some higher peaks might even show up white when the rain has stopped and the clouds have lifted. I have a small gas stove, so there is some heat in the house. Also this kind of weather is conducive to cooking. it is a reading day, not a go play outside and see the sights day. And that is good too. In Flagstaff there is real heavy snow, the first of the year, upon leaving Flagstaff the San Francisco Peaks where white.

Monday, November 2, 2015

On the road again...

Sometimes beauty just has to be shared with a friend. So we took off with DoggyDog and saw the most spectacular views. The first night was after we had thoroughly visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon. And yes it dutifully impressed my friend. The stupid bad thing is that something is not working with my pictures... Thus you have to imagine the deep canyons for miles and miles, changing color in the changing light. From one spot one can actually see how big the Colorado river is and then imagine the slow work it did since prehistoric times... We slept in Kikotsmovi after a long drive through the darkest night. The bed was excellent and the next morning the blue corn pancakes were just delicious and gave sustenance for quite a long time. From the Hopi we drove to Flagstaff, saw pretty views again: red rock country and we saw snow on the St Francisco Peaks. So I expected it to be cold on the night of Halloween. But first things first: the Starlight Bookshop in Flagstaff is one of my favorite bookshops. And yes, I again a found some great stuff: Jack Karouac with Mexico City Blues with 242 Choruses. I expect to be surprised by rhythms and spontaneous writing. Allen Ginsberg says about the book: a spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature.
The second book is by Gary Snyder: Mountains and Rivers Without End. That book was actually presented in the Starlight bookshop. The owner seems to know most of the poets and writers personally and I would not be astonished if he were a poet in his own right.
And then there was also In the Palm of Your Hand: The poet's Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit. I am intrigued by it. I could have bought more books but I travel light and there is hardly space in my small carry on suitcase.

And of course we took a bath in the Halloween festivities on the market square... Admired costumes and tried to figure out what Halloween is all about when autumn fades and winter announces itself on the Peaks and the parked cars all frosted over...
Now I am back home, a cozy bed, for DoggyDog and me. And notwithstanding all the unfinished stuff in my old gas station, a really comfortable place for me, if it ever comes all together.