The Sinister Symposium! – Mark Your Calendars (10/23)

And really, where else would you go for your Halloween-themed literary events? Yes, music, refreshments as well as  Joseph Lease, Seth Harwood, Paul Roccanova, our own Kwame Opoku-Duku III live and in person. Plus a Halloween game or two with what will undoubtedly be fabulous prizes, perhaps a costume contest  and an open mic so check it out.

kaleidoscope

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157448387680695

Thanks to Dillon Petrillo for the flyer.

Deadline Approaching – October 1st

It has been a slightly slow start to the fall semester here at Boeotia but that should be changing soon. It is important to note, however, that the deadline for submissions for the fall issue of Forum is fast approaching. As you may have surmised that deadline is this Saturday, the first of October, so get those poems, stories, photographs, paintings and whatever else in!

Further submission information is available here.

Spring (2011)

On sale now for $10! Our most comprehensive issue yet: featuring a wealth of contributions from the CCSF community; as well as spirited pieces from Forum staff; and interviews with Alan Kaufman, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Benjamin Bac Sierra, and more!

A Very Important Date

Please join us to celebrate this semester’s issue of Forum, CCSF’s literary magazine, hot off the press! Come to the reading and check out the stunning cover of this edition, which features work by CCSF faculty, students and staff [past and present].

Wednesday May 18 5-8pm
Visual Arts 114

Light refreshments will be served. Copies of the new issue [as well as back issues] will be for sale.

See you there!

My Stories Are Ending

by Joseph Ramelo

It’s been said that if Shakespeare were alive today, his bread and butter would be writing for soap operas. Sure, he’d probably still conjure up a Hamlet or Macbeth. But his day job? Probably similar to that of Agnes Nixon, the creator of All My Children and One Life To Live, two longtime daytime television series that last week received the axe from ABC Daytime, their longtime home . The genre has existed since the days of radio broadcasting. The term “soap opera” derives from when the radio series were sponsored by detergent makers. Soap operas seamlessly crossed mediums when television replaced the radio in dominance.

When appreciating the arts and literature, one can like what one likes, but must also leave at least a special appreciation for certain forms that might be outside of the normative realm. Forum and Boeotia aspire to recognize and comment on the arts and literature in their myriad forms, and it is the opinion of this Assistant Blog Editor that daytime television series are worthy of as much literary analysis (and respect) as the classics produced by Austin and Bronte.

ABC Daytime will now only have one soap opera on the air. General Hospital is the highest-rated soap opera out of the three that lived this long into the 21st century and, quite frankly, I don’t have the slightest idea why. Out of the three series, GH was my favorite, but the writing quality declined significantly beginning sometime around the turn of the century. Felicia Scorpio is not a deadbeat mother. Laura Spencer is not a helpless invalid. Her son Lucky is not a philanderer. The mob has no business being in control of the entire city — the show is called General Hospital!

But that’s just me being a fan. I will miss my stories, particularly One Life To Live, which in recent years had made a quiet resurgence — “quiet” because it was overshadowed by the attention the network heaped on GH. Not only does OLTL have the most solid writing out of the three ABC Daytime soaps, the production values are much more impressive than what one might expect from a meager soap opera. Cinematography, scoring, direction: you name it, that series churned it out every week day.

As a literature fan, I am mourning in the same manner as I am for the constantly looming death of print media. But newspapers, magazines, and even book stores are on track to cheat death. All My Children will end this September, One Life to Live by January. An art form has truly come to an end.

Found in translation

Poetry, Poesie, Poesia

By James H. Miller

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

Nonsense in the current social order

The University of Resentment: Alan Kaufman’s Wild Idea

By Kwame Opoku-Duku, Forum General Editor

“I am very unhappy with current attempts throughout the universities of the Western world by a group I have called ‘the school of resentment’ to put the arts, and literature in particular, in the service of social change…pseudo-Marxists, pseudo-feminists, watery disciples of Foucault and other French theorists…are transparently at work propagating themselves in our universities…I would say that there is no future for literary studies as such in the United States. Increasingly, those studies are being taken over by the astonishing garbage called “cultural criticism.” At NYU I am surrounded by professors of hip-hop. At Yale, I am surrounded by professors far more interested in various articles on the compost heap of so-called popular culture than in Proust or Shakespeare or Tolstoy.” (Excerpted from “Bloom and Doom,” Harold Bloom interviewed by Ken Shulman. Newsweek v124, #15. Oct 10, 1994. PAGE 75.)

Harold Bloom’s interviews in which he speaks of his disdain for the school of thought he refers to as the “school of resentment” have always weighed heavily on my mind. Bloom has always served as a beacon of sorts in my literary journey. I’ve been taught to use him as the primary source for literary criticism since I was 14. As far as I knew, his word was the law.

The “school of resentment” was first mentioned by Bloom in the introduction to his 1994 work, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. He claimed he sought to protect the Western canon from the leftist vigilantes who wanted to infuse the canon with minorities and women, regardless of their aesthetic merit. Of course, this was nearly 20 years ago. But living in San Francisco in 2011, it’s impossible not to question how much water this “school of resentment” holds.

One of the biggest sources of pride here at City College is that the school created the first Gay and Lesbian Studies department in the United States back in 1989 — not to mention the school’s longtime, tireless work to promote equity and inclusion among all students. And the reason we’re so proud of it is that if we didn’t do it, no one might have.
It seems to me that the fear of minorities, women and the LGBT community being read by children is the precise reason why it needs to be done more. I know that reading Go Tell It on the Mountain literally changed my life upon first reading it at the age of 14, and I know it’s something Bloom could probably never understand. Let’s face it; he’s set in his ways. Continue reading Nonsense in the current social order

México: Política y Poética

Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper and Animations

By Katie Dalla, Forum Poetry Editor

It’s not often that an art exhibit representing a country goes to the extent of actually showcasing remains of its own citizens.

No, nobody’s limbs were severed and put on a podium, but Teresa Margolles’ vibrant yet grotesque 2003 piece, Papeles, brings you bodily fluids in a surprisingly beautiful arrangement.

The piece takes up a whole wall and displays large rectangular sheets containing streaked patterns of brown and yellow hues that, juxtaposed together, bring to mind the splendor of a moth’s wings. But the beauty is met with an equal amount of repulsion: Margolles used the post- autopsy water from the victims of narcoviolencia—or those individuals that experienced the fatal repercussions of drug trafficking. The water came right from the Mexico City morgue.

Each paper represents an individual portrait of a person and their remaining traces of life. You can’t help but feel a bit tricked — your first feeling is sheer warmth from the luminosity and size of the work, but as you step in closer to read the details, you immediately get a lump in your throat and feel the need to back away slowly, frantically searching for mutual glances of horror from the other onlookers. Margolles’ bold statement effectively demands a reaction to an ongoing issue that has caused so many deaths and so much strife in Mexico. She also gives an odd vibrance to each portrait as she has, in fact, captured their final essence, and in the most direct way possible, Margolles brings a part of Mexico to you.

Continue reading México: Política y Poética

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