Friday, March 29, 2013

Taco poems

Tortilla Jack's opened in 1982, just when I was going into Robinson Middle School. Comics & Fantasys [sp] was just down the way, so I escaped those bullies by running into Comics & Fantasys, turning to the pages of comic books for shelter and support. Afterwards, it was off to TJ's for a Dr. Pepper, a taco, and nachos while I read my weekly gems. I love the burraco now: part taco, part burrito. Please look for my taco poems (below) in the current seveneightfive. :) Also, I look forward to continuing the tradition with my children.


Taco Showdown Poems

Two out of two poets prefer the taste of Tortilla Jacks over Taco Villa and Taco Casa.


Tortilla Jack's

                                                                                    Kevin Rabas

Choose four hard corn tacos
   in plain white butcher paper
over some white flour, drip-through
   soft tacos kept warm downtown under a lamp
with a hot orange bulb.

Choose the land of dark hardwood interior
over the land of teal plastic.

Choose the conversation of graying grade school soccer
   coaches over the chatter of slick SUV travelers
iPhones out--who stop only at the chains.


Tortilla Jacks Sonnet

                                                                                    Dennis Etzel Jr.

From inside the brick walls, rustic
like stains from oven heat, through
narrow windows, you see the path
away from middle school
bullies, a run, to here 
comics spread across the table,
a ticket in your right hand,
waiting for your order

number to be called, and no one
will race you for your food.
No one can break through
Captain Americas shield.
No one can steal
your taco and Dr. Pepper.


Cheap Tacos

                                                                                    Kevin Rabas


Walk across from the college
   and get four tacos and a drink
for $5.07 on a weekday.
   Less on the weekend.
See flecks of history painted in brick.
The letters crack in rain and wind.





Tortilla Jacks Haiku
                        for Eric McHenry

                                                                                    Dennis Etzel Jr.

I asked him to see
a poem there, but, instead,
he found three tacos.


Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and edits Flint Hills Review. He has three books: Bird's Horn, Lisa's Flying Electric Piano, a KS Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner, and Spider Face: stories. And forthcoming from Coal City Review Press in March, Sonny Kenner's Red Guitar (poems).


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Documentative Poetry

People who know me well know I can become too camera-happy, taking several pictures to make sure I get one good photo. With technology, I can even record using my camera while anyone in my "film" are unaware that I am recording.

It's a matter of preservation. In this last year, I've realized how important libraries are for keeping archives, books, etc. Not to say I was ignorant, but I am at a time in my life, in whatever poetry is becoming, where the old guard is leaving and the next generation is entering.

Also, I have photos of my "growing up," but a lot of it lost.

In short, documenting is a part of saying, "These poets said this on facebook."

It also finds its own place in my work.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

For Katie

These are only suggestions:

First, save one file with all of the notes you took.


Use that file for a second file, shaping a pedagogical-themed essay.

I like what this says: How to Write a Paper on Pedagogy

This could have a long introduction, including what AWP, the importance of it in creative writing, your subjective perceptions, etc.,

Also, the leadups to the notes, with elaboration-analysis of what was at each panel.

Not only could you include your analysis on how you could construct lesson plans, but you could be innovative for one of these topics (from the above link):

"The first involves new or innovative conceptualization of issues related to planning education (e.g.,
faculty and student diversity, planning schools assessment, student recruitment and advising).
The second provides assessments of the state of planning instruction and curricula regarding
specific topics (e.g., teaching of environmental planning, addressing global megatrends). Such
assessments can rely on survey research and quantitative methods, but robust qualitative analysis
also can yield fresh insights. The third type offers accounts of specific courses or teaching
innovations. Recently such innovations have included the use of new technology (e.g.,
multimedia, simulation, and virtual space) and new learning practices (e.g., work-based or
experiential learning, distance learning, and international education and exchange)."

I like the ideas of diversity, assessment, etc.


Then include the lesson plans. :)


Please let me know if you would like to meet.

For Elizabeth

These are only suggestions:

In the Essaying the Essay panel, the panel spoke of how the essay "form talks about itself," how it is "self-referential. self-reflexive, and meditative."

Your essay should take on this attributes, maybe in the last revision? Or while crafting?


First, I recommend typing out your notes. Save this in one file.


Second file: Shape the notes into descriptions of panels, what was the gist.

Add you reactions, contemplations, emotions.

Add descriptions of the bookfair, of the people there. Try to balance the external with the internal.

What happens at AWP?

What doesn't happen? What fails?

Exhaustion, time. What is AWP for others?

From the "Post-Memoir Memoir" panel: Use high and low speech.

Save this.


Third file: Go back to your notes, and take note on the different suggestions for writing.

Try different techniques to revise. Keep a "Notes" page which describes the technique you try.

For example: pg. 3: I wrote an imagined scene at AWP, as I learned in the panel "Essaying the Essay."


Allow yourself the chance to be nonlinear, nonchronological.


From the "Essaying the Essay" panel:

An essay can have wit, mischief, and is contrary to seeing things.

Intuition and instinct to sustain an idea of curiosity. To evade one's self to get to an alive thing.

A balance of an open encounter with an awareness of shape.


Feel free to include fragments, snippets of experiences, etc. Like when you tried to listen to the Waywiser Press reading while "the game" was on upstairs. Or going to another reading at a bar and being turned away. Maybe this is as much of the AWP experience? (I know there were moments of letdown for me, as there always is when attending something intense.)


I hope this helps, Elizabeth! We can also meet at any time.

My personal suggestion: Start small. Then revise with play!