Paragrafiti: Poetry from Mexico/California/Indiana by way of Iran

by on Jun.08, 2012


Notre Dame MFA candidate Alireza Taheri Araghi has an intriguing international journal called Paragrafiti. In this most recent issue he has an excerpt from another Notre Dame MFA student, Lauro Vazquez’s ongoing project, a visionary poem that starts out with an immigrant working as a “dishboy” in California and explodes out with visions and news from the world and an array of formal variations (including dramatic sections and a series of epistolary exchanges about the virtue of Marxist revolution between the dishboy and Mona Lisa). This publication also features some cool illustrations by an Iranian illustrator named Pedrom Tanaomi. Alireza is an Iranian writer and translator (he had to really work hard to get to come to the US) and Lauro is from Mexico (he had to work hard too) by way of California. I mention this journal not just because I’m very proud of Ali and Lauro, but also because it suggests that MFA programs can be interesting meeting places between writers who might not otherwise come in contact.

Here’s an excerpt of Lauro’s poem:

August 16: Morning

Luna Negra by arcadio hidalgo is playing on the kitchen radio:

Yo fui a la revolución, yo fui
Yo fui a la revolución a luchar por el derecho,
pa’ sentir sobre mi pecho una gran satisfacción

mas hoy vivo en un rincón, cantándole a mi amargura
pero con la fé segura y anunciándole al destino
que es el hombre campesino nuestra esperanza futura.

from the inside the dish-room is like a giant stomach/ there’s no other way to describe this/ a giant stomach/
with people in it/
like moist intestines/a tripe-noose taut/ on the neck/

sometimes jorgito/ the pizza maker/
the smile maker/
like when he says no mames guey! and I say no mames! / like right now

jorgito is making sculptures again/ inside jorgito/
live seven sculptors and who ever heard

of seven sculptors/ living off the salary of/ a single cook?

Luna negra, negra luna, ¡negra! Color de tu madre
Luna negra, negra luna, ¡negra! Color de tu madre
Color de tu madre, color de tu madre

and who ever heard of chirping/ inside a mixing-bowl?
his bowl sings/ pio-pio-pio/
pio-pio all day/

all night/
some pio-pio rose/ from the drains

3 comments for this entry:
  1. Johannes

    Uh, the blog messed up the formatting of the poem, so make sure you click on to Paragrafiti to see the whole thing./Johannes

  2. adam strauss

    Thank you for the notice–this looks terrific!

  3. Chris Daniels

    my gratitude – and congratulations! – to all involved – this is fantastic work