Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A beautiful review of my book, Geographies...

Many, many thanks to writer July Westhale for this startlingly intelligent review of my chap/book Geographies of Soul and Taffeta. The review is in Lambda Literary
Her [Sarai's] poems acknowledge the human capacity for boundary—and our inability to come to terms with fallibility. And while the poems speak to intimacies, to a constellation of personal intimacies that do the world a service in being global, they also speak to a state of people in crisis. Of people steering into the sun, unsure how they even got in the car in the first place, and where they’ll go next.
It is in It Is True and Truth Sometimes Gets Me Published that we drive into the sun. Thanks to Posit, to Indolent Books and Michael Broder, and to William Johnson for marshalling/editing Lambda Literary.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

...inferno of passions... Jung

A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.  
 C.G. Jung

illustration from The Red Book

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Writing in Response to the Times Because the Times Are Demanding


It's good that literary outlets are soliciting responses from writers and artists, responses to the strange world we are now in. It is safe to assume that The New Yorker and The Guardian, among others of the more elite venues, are paying their contributors for quickly penning essays and poems about the post-election prospects for a safe world.

Four nonprofit journals have asked for my contribution, and yes, I'm flattered, but also not unaware that my writing will be without financial recompense, I am being asked to add nuance to the nightmare for free.  Of course everything I write I write for free. This model is wrong. But so it a Trump presidency, wrong and a nightmare, Trump in the White House, and even worse, Trump in Trump Tower, making traffic in New York City come to a stop.

Yesterday I wrote my first draft of a prose poem and I will begin work on the other three responses. Partly because being encouraged to think quick and write quick is good practice. Many many artists do so while I mull, believing, me being the believinger, it takes time for the dust to settle and ideas to shape into full-on essays. But it (it?) shouldn't have to and in my case, it won't.

I began writing this blog posting with some resentment, but have written my way out of my resentment, aha!, a model, a lesson, that I can write my way out of resentment and into prose and poetry that will assist myself and others to process what befell and what is to befall us. And not just process, but resist, impact, help rework into policies less ugly than our ugliest nightmares. But if processing the nightmare is all I accomplish, that will be enough. I know I need help making sense of the spectacle of undemocracy.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Rhetorical Inquiry Into The Moral Certitude Of Cause And Effect [#poem] [#ElevenEleven]

A Rhetorical Inquiry Into The Moral Certitude Of Cause 
And Effect
 Today we picked tulips and

stubbed our big toe and went

to war and lost a bunch a arms

and feet and shit and gunned

down a dozen fifty people

and got tired and took a nap

and had a family and raised

a mess a kids and picked

daffodils and scratched our

finger bad and then we went 
to war. We blew up some big

stuff and little stuff and people

tall and stupid crying babies

and a whole lot a us puked

and we were buried or they

put us on these lame cots and

we got better and met girls

and boys and had families and

glued pink fuzzy bunny ears

on our sister’s headband for

spring assembly and then we

killed a whole lot more people

cause we had to go to war cause

we picked lilies and sneezed and

after you pick lilies and sneeze

or something they send you to

war. Don’t you know anything?

by Sarah Sarai. First published in Eleven Eleven, Issue 5.
Don't know how I missed posting this poem here. From 2006?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

On Bob Dylan and the current plague of self-love: dudes, we all suffer

Father and son.

I'm keeping this short. There some was mention of being chosen for a Nobel on Dylan's website. My hunch is that a caretaker of the site did that, not Dylan. I further hunch that Dylan told the underling to remove the acknowledgement, however minimal it was. Okay, so there's that. The Academy's phone call to Bob has not been returned.

PEN asked an odd slew of writers the organization apparently respects for their opinion about Bob Dylan being awarded a Nobel. Most of the comments, even the favorable ones, were uninteresting. So to sum up the Nobel's sense of being snubbed and the idiotic outrage over Dylan as a literati, I have one teeny idea.

Just because you like me doesn't mean I have to like you. Just because the Nobel Committee likes Bob Dylan doesn't mean he has to like the Nobel Committee. As for those comments on the PEN site, on the prize, WHAT? Amy King (who was one of those asked to respond), Dylan didn't write "inspiring and motivational songs." His songs have inspired some, motivated others. There's a difference. This is one prize, one year. If anyone assigns it power, that someone is not me. Everyone, these days, is enchanted with their own suffering, so enchanted they can't see anyone else's. Everyone is so enchanted with their own success they can't acknowledge anyone else's.

In a recent car trip I listened to another writer talk about the suffering she has endured as result of being Persian. Her sufferings are legit. But when I mentioned the kind of institutional, four hundred year-plus "sufferings" of my nieces and nephews, who are black in America, she had nothing to say. She tried to match them. Everyone is competing. Few people are willing to recognize the enormous gifts they are given. I am so tired of the self-love and love of self in this country and certainly among writers in this country. It's become small and mean and territorial.  That's all I have to say. For now.