Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writing as Activism Prompt: Apr 28 (Guest Host)

Good day,

Today Haley Johnson and Amanda Lane will be hosting the writing lab. Thanks Amanda and Haley! I will return to host the last and final class next Tuesday, May 5. Thank you to all for attending and following along online. We'll see you in May!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Writing as Activism Prompt: April 21

April 21: Wanderlust
  • Reading Material
    - Story of the Gypsies also known as Gypsies: Their Life, Lore, and Legends (Konrad Bercovici)
    Gypsies in the United States (Smithsonian Institution Education)
  • Americans travelling abroad
    - psychological impedance promulgated by mainstream news media outlets
  • Gypsies
    - Power structures of an irrational nature (seeking to dominate) have always looked for a societal scapegoat. For many centuries the Gypsies were the cause to blame of the larger western hemisphere.
    - "Where do the gypsies come from?" Where do the swallows come from? I am speaking of a people whose vocabulary lacks two words - possession and duty. You...cannot fathom what would happen to your own life if these two boundaries were to disappear."
    - To get "gypped"
    - Gypsy blood
  • Persecution of the homeless
    - Ordinances such as prohibiting sleeping in public

Writing Prompt:
  • Sedentary or nomadic? Describe what keeps you rooted or what moves you to spread your wings

Thursday, April 16, 2015

National Poetry Month: Melissa Kwasny

Moon has names for all her girls: Angel, Darling, Novia. Trees are
pollen merchants when green, the holy color, is at its apex. There
are baby rabbits in the night gardens, eating the world down.
There are scooters to ride after dinner. There are presents to be
wrapped in the thinnest, potable, yellow threads of light. Always,
there are books to cry over. Someone stays up until dawn, when
he smokes his cigarette on the threshold. Someone walks to the
edge of her village, as appearance goes to work on the dark. What
we remember of earth: the rain-washed centers. So that we must
have at one time seen them as panes of glass. If there are three
things that proceed from our seeing - beauty, love, and sadness - 
perhaps it is sadness that casts a shadow betwen the other
two. There are the heart people, the ones we know as children.
There are familiars, who are here to counter despair. There are
companions we recognize as a danger to us - and they might be us.
It's curtains for you, we say, closing them.

- "Clairvoyance (Moon)," Melissa Kwasny

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Writing as Activism Prompt: April 14

April 14: A Tale of Two Cities
  • Reading material
    Break on Through, Abbot Kinney (The Baffler)
    Is Sculley Committed to Our Future? (San Antonio Express-News)
    Seventh Largest City and Little to Show for It (SA Express-News)
    Gentrified East Side (SA Current)
    Roots of Economic Segregation (Christine Drennon)
  • Sunbelt City
    - major industries are car dealerships, tourism/hospitality/service, highways
    - Pew Research Center reported San Antonio as the most economically segregated major metropolitan area
  • Quest to serve or sell San Antonio?
    - marketed as a cheap labor town
  • So long, Mission Trails
    - displacement of residents prompted Mayor's Task Force on Preserving Dynamic and Diverse Neighborhoods
    - economic development, revitalization, for whom?
    - city of SA currently has no dislocation policy in place
  • Segregated school districts
    - history of segregation by property tax and racial restrictions in housing deeds in inner city

Writing Prompt:
  • Which side of the tracks do you come from? Write the perspective of your city as you see it through your creative lens

Saturday, April 11, 2015

National Poetry Month: Langston Hughes

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

- "The Dream Keeper," Langston Hughes

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Writing as Activism Prompt: April 7

April 7: On Trial

Writing Prompt:
  • Justice or Restitution? Describe a time when you've been put on trial for your convictions

Monday, April 6, 2015

National Poetry Month: Mary Oliver

Did you see it too, drifting, all night on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air,
an armful of white blossoms,
a perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings: a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
a shrill dark music, like the rain pelting the trees,
    like a waterfall
knifing down the black edges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds --
a white cross streaming across the sky, its feet
like black leaves, its wings like the stretching light
     of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

- "Swan," Mary Oliver

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1st Marks National Poetry Month

1 Abril 2015

In reverence of national poetry month, San Antonio will be hosting poetry events all throughout April!
Check here for details: National Poetry Month SA

I'll be posting poems weekly from a number of influential works - haikus, ghazals, free verse, etc. Let us begin the celebration with stealing sugar:

We are poor students who stay after school to study joy.
We are like those birds in the India mountains.
I am a widow whose child is her only joy.

The only thing I hold in my ant-like head
Is the builder's plan of the castle of sugar.
Just to steal one grain of sugar is a joy!

Like a bird, we fly out of darkness into the hall,
Which is lit with singing, then fly out again.
Being shut out of the warm hall is also a joy.

I am a laggard, a loafer, and an idiot. But I love
To read about those who caught one glimpse
Of the Face, and died twenty years later in joy.

I don't mind your saying I will die soon.
Even in the sound of the word soon, I hear
The word you which begins every sentence of joy.

"You're a thief!" the judge said. "Let's see
Your hands!" I showed my callused hands in court.
My sentence was a thousand years of joy.

- "Stealing Sugar from the Castle," Robert Bly