As I’ve noted before, the our class time has been much reduced thanks to three holidays in the early part of the semester. And in week four* we had our reading as chronicled so well by Michael…Finally we were back to a more regular class and it was much needed in the poetry group as we had only had one short session thus far. Kaylo and I are co-poetry editors and we’re joined by readers Monty and Kristine — Kristine being a late and much welcome addition to the group. We shuffled off to an empty classroom to get down to discussion. Class meets in a computer classroom which has its benefits but isn’t the most condusive to discussion. How much can I really write about talking? Probably not a whole lot. I will say that the discussion is one of the things I always find the most interesting and stimulating — talking about what works and what doesn’t in a given poem, hearing different perspectives, views I perhaps would not have come to. We got through several submissions and, excitingly, we got our first solid ‘yes’ of the semester. We did have some strong ‘maybes’ in our first session but in week five were the first we all really liked, the first pretty much assured to be going into the magazine. Of course, time was still short and while we got plenty done there was still much more to do…
And considering all there was to do, I was a tad worried during the week. It bears mentioning that we had to have a pretty good idea of what was going in by the end of class on Monday. An out-of-class meeting would’ve helped but that didn’t quite square with everyone’s schedules but Monty and I met before class and narrowed the field a bit. In class, we were joined by Steve who kindly offered to lend a hand (and read all the submissions in a day or so (90+). It was another good discussion, once again taking place in an empty room. There were plenty more ‘yeses,’ a lot of good poetry, a lot of agreement, some healthy disagreement and when time was up we had a pretty good idea of what was going in.
We also had an assignment to critique a short story and the whole class talked about the assignment and story itself (more the story than the assignment.) The class wheeled our chairs out from behind the desks and formed a circle — or perhaps more of an oval — to talk. The story was interesting from a technical standpoint, and engendered various reactions from the class.
*I am counting only weeks we have actually had class, perhaps it would be more precise to say class number five but I think week five sounds better.
Last monday we had our first reading for the Spring 2012 issue of Forum. If you missed it, you missed a lot. If you were there, then you know how good it was. We started the evening by enjoying the wonderful guitar stylings of CCSF instructor Steve Mayer.
In addition to the many faces, new and familiar that showed up to read and listen to poetry, and fiction, we had in attendance Dean Ms. Bob Davis. You also may have recognized from our English department, professor Ellen Wall, and Louise Nayer, former Forum advisor and the author of Burned: A Memoir.
Between the readings we raffled off a couple gift certificates to Books Inc. as well as to a local movie theatre. Also in the raffle mix were books and a Fall 2011 copy of Forum. If you stuck around you would have enjoyed SF’s local beat poet Diamond Dave showing us how it’s done with a mic. A grand time was had by all! We at Forum would like to thank all who attended and helped us raise some funds for our next issue of Forum. Last but certainly not least we’d like to thank John and Jen, our advisors for their continuing support. Stay tuned here for our next reading.
Michael Thomson is Forum‘s General Editor
Mario, one of our fiction readers did some live sketches of the event — you may have seen them on Twitter but if not, here they are.
Yes, there was a week two. Several people have joined up and apparently we’re now fine on numbers so we get to keep doing this.
This week Jen taught the class and she announced the filling of a few of the key editing positions based on applications we completed last week. Several, like me, are returning for another semester with Forum — Michael Thomson the new general editor; one of the two managing editors Kat Cabral; fiction editors Chanelle Loftness and Truc Nguyen. In addition, a new guy Howard Halverson is the other managing editor. Forum is also a club and the club officers also bear mentioning — president Tim St. Croix, treasurer Steve Pineda and club rep Travis Jones.
So, it was down to business. Kyanne Rose, last semester’s managing editor stopped by to show a thing or two to the new managing editors, submissions began to be distributed to be read by the staff, some looking into visiting classes in order to solicit submissions, some visited classes and put up more flyers. As you can tell, there are already a million things to do and to borrow a phrase from one of our previous general editors, we’re already behind since we opened the semester with two Monday holidays in a row and hence didn’t have a class until the third week of the semester. At any rate, the crew seems energetic and well-motivated — onward!
Well this is embarrassing. I scheduled this post for tonight without actually writing the post and thus it went up without there being much any text. Why is it a post for last Friday when it’s clearly Tuesday? Long story but in mostly unrelated news last night was the first night of class for English 14, the class that produces Forum. It was all very familiar and also different in some unexpected ways. As is typical for just about any class, we went over the syllabus, discussed what would we would be doing in class and we took part in an introductory exercise. That was all expected but on the other hand, there were a number of Fourmites who, like me, were back for another round. On some level I’d thought it would be nice to see some familiar faces but I had no idea I would be as happy as I was to see my “old” classmates (it’s not like it has been that long since we’ve been classmates) and our faculty advisors Jen Sullivan Brych and John Isles.
There were also new people and it was nice meeting them. There are issues however — in such tight budgetary times, there’s little leeway for classes without sufficient enrollment and unfortunately that may be English 14. So if you’re a City College student and have any interest in publishing, in assembling a literary magazine or if you’re a former Forum staffer ready to come back into the fold, we could really use you. Class meets Mondays at 5:30 in ARTX 265.
And as the ‘Week One’ at the top of the page might indicate, this is the first in what I hope will be a regular feature here on Boeotia — a weekly chronicle of the goings on in class, a look behind the scenes…that is assuming there’s a class to write about. Sorry, I’m ending on a bit of a downer.
I have an undying respect for poetry translators. I’ve never had the patience or discipline to truly learn a foreign language myself. I tried Spanish so that I might read Cesar Vallejo in the original, attempted German because I thought Goethe was really rad, and then French for similar reasons—Rimbaud, you bad-ass!
I usually managed to earn a passing grade or better in these courses, but my actual knowledge of any foreign language amounts to funny vulgarities and swear words. So, if you’re like me (my sympathies if you are), those who translate poetry into English are crucial; whether it’s unearthing a master from Argentina, or showing us what, as O’Hara wrote, “the poets in Ghana are doing these days.” In recent years, we’ve been blessed with loads of groundbreaking translations from people like Edward Snow, Clare Cavanagh, and many other erudite guys and gals. I’d like to mention two translators that I’m personally grateful for: Michael Hofman and Jonathan Galassi.
First, Michael Hofman.
Michael Hofman was born in West Germany in 1957. Among other things (poet, free-lance writer), he’s an excellent translator and winner of countless awards. He most recently edited an anthology sensibly called Twentieth-Century German Poetry, which includes fine translations of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Bertolt Brecht, and Paul Celan, along with many obscure others who’ve never, to my knowledge, been rendered into English so handsomely before. Continue reading Found in translation→