On a magical night among the Buddhas at the San Diego Museum of Art, Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky read their own works of art for the 2011 Summer Salon Series curated by K. Lorraine Graham. Here are some special moments from the reading. (The text to two of Kaminsky’s poems appears below the audio links.)
from Deaf Republic:
Meanwhile, in a Barbershop
“You must speak not only of great devastation
but of women kissing in the yellow grass!”
I heard that not from a great philosopher
but from my husband, Alfonso
Who could clip four skulls in thirteen minutes,
his eyes closed, reciting our National Anthem in the mirror.
“You must drink cucumber vodka and sing all night
Unite women and boys of Earth!”
He honked the accordian out of tune in a country
where the only musical instrument is the door.
“You must speak not only of great devastation.”
said my barber who could not write or read
but spent his days covered in other people’s hair.
Be Courageous, we said
On the balconies, sunlight, on poplars, sunlight. On my lips.
Today no one is shooting, there is just sunlight and sunlight.
A girls cuts her hair with imaginary scissors–
The scissors in sunlight, her hair in sunlight.
A boy steals a pair of cordovan boots from an arrogant man in sunlight.
I speak and I say sunlight falling inside us, sunlight.
When they shot fifty women on Tedna St.,
I sat down to write and tell you what I know:
A child learns the world by putting it in his mouth,
A boy becomes a man and a man earth.
Body, they blame you for all things and they
seek in the body what does not live in the body.
Katie Farris’ most recent book is BoysGirls. Published by Marick Press in 2011, it includes illustrations by Lavinia Hanachiuc. Farris holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University’s MFA program in Literary Arts, and currently teaches Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University.
A native of the former Soviet Union, Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing in Odessa. He co-edited, with Susan Harris, the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (2010), and edited and co-translated Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City (2010). He lives in San Diego.
–Gina Barnard and L.A. Grove
More Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky:
These sound recordings and poems are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the authors. © 2012 Katie Farris. © 2012 Ilya Kaminsky. Used with the permission of Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky. Distributed by The California Journal of Poetics.