April National Poetry Month/Celebrating Poets by Anushka Anastasia Solomon

 “Every line we can draw in the sand, has expression; and there is no body without its spirit of genius.”

-Emerson, “The Poet.”

 April, National Poetry month. At the Denver Woman’s Press Club recently, we were poetry judges at the annual Unknown Writers contest. We poets – Diana Sher, Hilary DePolo, Laurel Becker, Joy Stross, Anita Jepsen- Gilbert, Marilyn Raff, Sabine Kortals and I – were what Emerson describes in his seventeen page essay on the subject, The Poet, ‘umpires of good taste.’ As we met and deliberated over the poems, one poem, titled “How do you?” by the poet, Letica Tanguma caught my heart.

This line in her poem in particular:

How do you invite someone in

                                  when you do not have a home?

Ms.Tanguma did not win a prize but the line is stunning in its relevance to what we were gathered to do. How does one judge poetry when oftentimes, we write (and speak) as Emerson puts it from the safe distance of our own experiences or from fancy or a shallow knowledge of the doctrine of beauty and form? What do we do when an unknown poet crosses our path with a wildly different voice, an imagination, experience or vision that surpasses or assaults our own? How do we respond when an unknown writer invites us into his world or home built with the only tools at hand –words?

In the company of other poets, I learn to live and to love as a poet. How to take the broken bread that is being passed around the table and drink from the cup. From my early days of arrival in Evergreen, I am welcomed and embraced by poets. Murray Moulding, Rita Kiefer, Carolyn Campbell, Joe Hutchinson, Padma Jared Thornlyle and his daughter Circe, Jim Hicks, Jari Thymian, Ida Fasel (102 years old), Dr. Kathryn Winograd,Veronica Patterson, Lynda La Rocca, Denver poet laureate Chris Ransick, Tim Hernendez and other poets keep me company as I reenter America, imagining in her that home, that place of rest, rebirth and  resurrection. Poetry, like life, is not without rancor.

My fidelity to my office as a poet lies in telling the truth. I reentered America as President Clinton’s term was ending, President Bush was running for office, twelve years later, now in the midst of the Obama administration, my poetic vision has changed. I see the same America, different. I see the same Malaysia, different.  This is what poets, known and unknown do. We experience life fully, we study to live and express ourselves amidst conflicting realities in a world in which we are all pilgrims.

Ms. Tanguma’s one line that caught my attention is an entire poem. Emerson wrote that the sign and credentials of a poet are, that he announces that which no man has foretold. He also said that the experiences of each new age, requires a new confession and that the world is always waiting for the poet.

The unknown poets we were privileged to read as judges, invited us into their paper houses and for a brief moment shared with us their hearts and souls. The winning poets were:

First Place: Linda Milleman for “The Sunset”

Second Place: Roxanne Barker for “Picasso, Trying to Impress Chicks”

Third Place: Mathew Cannizzaro for “Color Matters”

Honorable Mentions: Lin Fife for “Initiation”

Spencer Spalding for “The Hero”

Susan Levasseur “Miswant”

Poetry is a tool, an agent for social and political change. Poetry creates community, gathering people in to sit as the ancients did to share in wisdom and joy and commiserate in grief and loss. The poets who won no prizes this year still wrote winning poems. Their souls poured out in words, touched our hearts for it takes courage to risk knowing the poet and the mystic in ourselves. I close with a short poem by the Nepalese poet, Yuyutsu Sharma who recently read at the Evergreen Hearthfire bookstore:

“The kisses you refused were the best

Like  the poems on the lake I did not write”

– Anushka Anastasia Solomon, B.A, Colorado poet and author of three poetry chapbooks. (www.atthewindow.us) continues to adhere to the creed of the poet.

American dream broken by economic crisis

Another painting by Mitch Caster

in His Image
The rose red as those lips
Inserted in the dark skein
Of her raven hair unravels
Down the length of her back.
O’ Seer. Seeing your image
Ornate in the mirror I am
Struck by your Beauty. Shall I
Write in odes nubile as a river?
Still. Be still, my heart. I am.
Fashioned for His pleasure
His lips brush mine – I am.
Bathed in morning dew
In the lonely midnight hour
Our eyes lock as lovers do
Eternity unravels. We travel
Dust, gravel, down the dirt road
Road to Emmaus. As we couple
Light reflects off our backs.
In the skein of luminous dawn
I drown. In my countenance, His.
In this ever enfolding mystery I insert
A rose red and intricate as the soul
I offer Him.
©2011 Anushka Anastasia Solomon.

At Cabrini Shrine, community is the gift

 

 This is a photo taken from about 7,500ft above sea level and above the clouds from I-40 overlooking I-70 just before you turn up the road to the Mother Cabrini Shrine. In this photo in the center you can see the clouds and below the clouds is the city of Denver.

 

A Matter of Becoming The Gift Outright -by Anushka Anastasia Solomon

This article was first published in The Canyon Courier,in my column “Her Letters To  World.” Wednesday,September 15th,2010

A Matter Of Becoming The Gift Outright by Anushka Anastasia Solomon

“The Buying, Babe, Is Good Only in America” Chapbook.

My third poetry chapbook,   is being read by a potential publisher, Poets and other readers who will be posting their comments.  The concept and cover art is by Colorado Artist Ken Zeromski

Here is a first review:

Anushka Solomon brings an immigrant’s perspective to her entertaining and poignant observations on American society. She is at once a participant and an outsider, showing us through her own dichotomies the contradictions embodied in every American life. Her poems are a window to our society’s foibles, and to our own humanity.
-Doug Bell, Editor of the Courier



Here is a second review:

“These powerful, thought-provoking poems are almost palpable in their intensity.  In her third poetry collection, The Buying, Babe, is Good Only in America, Anushka Anastasia Solomon turns an unblinking eye on contemporary America, alternately celebrating and critiquing its social, political, economic, and cultural scene.  Holding a mirror to her adopted homeland that reflects both its shining potential and its often-disappointing reality, Solomon praises America for what it has always represented to immigrants like herself: a beacon of freedom and an opportunity to pursue the American Dream.  What, however, has this dream become but an unending quest to acquire vast quantities of trendy, and frequently unnecessary, material goods?  Through keen, colorful images, Solomon asks this and other probing questions, while wistfully recalling her native Malaysia and speaking for those who seek peace, prosperity, and enlightenment in faraway lands.”

-Lynda La Rocca, poet and author,
The Stillness Between and In the Shortness of My Days

Painting by Mitch Caster

 A painting by Mitch Caster of my friend Joanna Zeromski, and Diana her friend who designed the beautiful costumes. Joanna Zeromski and this beautiful painting inspired my poem below. Poems inspired by art are called poems of ekhphrasis.

Mitch Caster's Painting

Dance in the body you have– Agnes de Mille
No one can rob her of riches
The burnished red brown of
Her raven hair earth laid bare
Gently sweeps her eyes
Downward, She blushes
Like the pomegranate
Pregnant with the sumptous
Sweet promise of endless virgin
Birth: Above; from Above Angels
And Saints sing canticles
As her smile spills pearls
No one can hurl those pearls
Or gather them in, no one on
Earth can rob her of riches
Neither death nor darkness
Though below, they bellow
Enraged, red seas roar
Ravage! Savage! Pillage!
Below, they bellow in foot
Stomping fervor to devour
Her: But She: She dances in the
Body She has: unperturbed
Her body; politic becomes
This body; poetry becomes
That body: Her body made
Holy becomes The temple,
The ark, The covenant: She
Dances in the body she has:
She knows The Lord of The
Dance: Though below, they
Bellow turning the skies
Orange, the moon to blood
Turns, She knows only at
The command of the King
The One for whom she
Dances, She liberates us
With every layer of whispered
Silk her skirt swirls in hope
Cutting with gospel threads
The iron chains that bruise
Our hands and hold
She leaps to her feet
She takes His
Sacred Heart To hers’
She ignites with passion
The impenetrable darkness
In eternity’s diaphanous skirts
She ignites like a flame
On the wick of the oil lamp
She knows to
Dance in the body she has.
(c) 2010 Poem by Anushka Anastasia Solomon.