Thursday, April 10, 2008

Poem: Joseph Legaspi + Seismosis News

Joseph LegaspiToday, I'm featuring a poem I found online, in Shampoo (31), by a poet I've known and admired now for a little over a decade, Joseph Legaspi (at right, from Joseph and I were in graduate school together, though in different genre tracks, but Joseph is one of those down-to-earth people whose unaffected friendliness and kindness means that you look forward to running into them, and I often would, he, and fellow poets and classmates Jan Gill (now O'Neil) and the late Phebus Etienne, a lively and amiable trio, and I can say without hesitation that I never left them without a good though, good feeling, and a good sense that these were three writers to watch out for. Joseph published his first collection of poems, Imago, with CavanKerry Press earlier this year, so check it out, and enjoy this little philosophical "postcard" of a poem. Yes, it literally was a postcard (see below, from Shampoo), from an issue devoted to them!

The universe has no edge or center.
Yet we who traverse in it do so
along perimeters, always, man-made,
conceptual and defined. Try and pin-
point the center, and we go there. Or is
it where we are at a given moment?
We are bound by boundaries: arms length
or under the hot sun of a horizon.
Trace edges, visible and invisible; place me in a box as I walk around in
circles. Or is it equilibrium we seek: like the mallard bobbing on the Hudson
River, afloat, content, afloat.

Poem and image, Copyright © Joseph Legaspi, 2007, 2008, All rights reserved.


Some more good news about Seismosis: it received another very fine and perceptive review, by poet Frances Richard, in the most recent issue (March/April, I think) of the Poetry Project's Newsletter (the newest issue isn't up yet). I'll post the link to the new issue when they post it. received one of the 10 Fellowships for distinguished first poetry collection from the Pan African Literary Forum, which will hold its first conference this summer in Accra, Ghana, from July 3-July 18, 2008! I don't think either Mr. Stackhouse or I will be able to attend (sponsors, anyone? :-)), but this is a wonderful honor for the book, and we graciously thank the PALF's board of directors, who adjudged it worthy of this honor.


  1. Yea, Seismosis! Congratulations, Mr. Keene & Mr. Stackhouse! I wish I knew a sponsor who could to get you both to the conference...BTW, Junot Díaz was wise and pointed as per usual, even on very little sleep (as you can imagine). It was great to see and hear him again, and he offered some thoughtful and unromanticised comments about the writing process, somewhat along the lines of the Chicago Tribune interview, but without the editorial truncation.

    Peace, audiologo

  2. Dear Audiologo and Keguro, thanks so much!

    Audiologo, one of my former students who's Dominican is convinced that no one who's not born and reared in DR can fully grasp Díaz's book. I responded that even if non-Dominicans miss multiple layers, the book is still a masterpiece. I don't think he was buying it. (dique)* I think he misses the (larger) point.

    *One of Díaz's inside jokes.

  3. Congrats to you & Chris!!!! Well deserved as it's a great book.