Wednesday, February 28, 2007

THE COUNTDOWN: Episode 20 featuring Arlene Ang

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Arlene AngMy first show in Putignano, Italy, Episode 20 highlights the poetry of Arlene Ang, and also stars these poets and bloggers: Ann Bogle, Rachel Dacus, Crag Hill, Christine Klocek-Lim, Rick Mullin, Shelia E. Murphy, Maurice Oliver, Pearl Pirie, William Rike & Jordan Stempleman. Click on the links, which takes you to the poems, and follow along while you listen! Poetry is not just for kids anymore, silly rabbits...

If you like what you hear and you would like me to consider your own blog's offspring for future shows, send me a message and I'll add you to THE COUNTDOWN's blogroll. If you don't have your own blog and you still want to participate, join Café Café and I'll look out for you if you're all that.

Comments and conversay appreciated, front or backchannel. Thanks for tuning in and special thanks to all the fine poets who recorded work for this one!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

All Vanity All The Time

An experiment! Added a link over there on the left to my latest chapbook. A small collection of poems about Beijing written while I lived there over the past 30 months. Every book is unique! It won't set you back too far and you'll support a good cause. Of course, if you have a chapbook of your own, I'd be more than happy to trade. Hard to get my hands on poetry chapbooks over here. You know how to reach me...

The Countdown should be finished by now. *sighs* Feel like ranting, but won't. Just happy to have direct high-speed internet access a casa. I've been soaking in it all day long. Patience, my pretties...

Also wanted to mention this review of The Countdown on Maurice Oliver's blog. Check it out!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Death of Carnival

The weather was perfect last night and as warm as it has been since we arrived two weeks ago. I also felt better than I had felt in many days, and was looking forward to how the day would end. Angela's father had told me at lunch that it would be forty days of fish after today and we both laughed.

Putignano - Carnevale - KISS and more KISSCarnival ended yesterday and we (Angela, Saverio, Marina and me) dressed up like the rock band KISS so we could join the parade. Well, we dressed up as much as possible for only preparing a few hours before the parade start and otherwise not being rockers, lacking essential studded leather accoutrement. The makeup we applied did more for us than what we were wearing. We walked the parade route, which is a circuit around the old part of the city, and then followed a small rolling stage which featured 1970's music impersonators, part of the reason we had chosen our costumes. We thought we would be the only people dressed this way, but came across another group that had the same idea and wanted to take a picture together. After meeting up with friends and wandering around a bit more, we turned our attentions to the carnival funeral.

Putignano - Carnevale - Piazza Plebiscito - Il Funerale IIA group of people impersonating nuns, priests, bishops, monks and other unidentifiable religious zealots paraded along the confetti-laden streets still thick with people and vendors, carrying a large papier-mâché pig, ringing bells and announcing through a megaphone the death of carnival. We joined the procession and slowly made our way to Piazza Plebiscito. We were distracted by a spate of lottery tickets, stopping to scratch at our fortunes before continuing, but soon refocused and continued on toward our goal. By the time we arrived, the pig was already well-charred, but still drawing a crowd.

We eventually made our way home, still well before midnight and me a little pickled from a number of beers that had gone down quickly, content with the evening's activities but exhausted. Angela's mother was still awake and we talked a little before washing our faces and hitting the sack.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Working from four different computers now, which is annoying. Using my old computer (slow) to dial-up (slower) from Angela's parent's apartment, which makes for a yawning but otherwise serviceable option. Using Angela's cousin's computer (AnnaLisa lives next door), but whenever the phone rings I lose the connection. Using my own new machine to crunch serious data and words and such, a pleasant experience but, alas, not wired. Finally, dropping Euro at the Internet Point. Not as economical, but more efficient and speedy.

Wherever I go, I can't seem to get warm. Isn't anyone else cold? These houses are made of stone!

I've been sick with a cold for the past few days and, therefore, resisting almost everything except that which selfishly pleases me. It doesn't make anyone around me very much happier, and I generally like to be around happy people, but I'm working on it. Today, the cold seems to have worn off quite a bit, now just a mushy, phlegmy, hanging residue in my facial orifices.

More Carnival. Yesterday morning was the final Sunday parade. There has been a parade every Sunday for the last three, and yesterday's was quite spectacular in terms of crowd size. The TV announced 50,000 people watched the parade. Indeed, when we left the apartment in the morning, the streets were crowded with both people and cars. Otherwise, the same that I'd witnessed the previous Sunday.

There's something happening tonight, although I'm not sure what it is. Angela's coming to get me and then we're going! Tomorrow, after one last hurrah parade, the carnival funeral will occur. We plan to dress up for that, the parade and the funeral, but I'll leave that suprise for my next post...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Carnevale & Madonna di Lourdes

Carnevale a Putignano!I haven't slept well since I've been here, one week today. A combination of things keeps me tossing and turning: new location, unfamiliar bed, change in diet, worry about job and baby. Awoken by fierce wind whistling today, whistling and howling through the apartment all day long. Generally, it's usually bright and partly cloudly in the morning but, by midday, it becomes fairly overcast. It's raining right now. I'm not tired of the weather yet as it changes often.

It's Carnevale now and it seems that there is some kind of activity or celebration around town every day and night. Carnevale has to be one of the best times to be here, especially in this town, which is famous for it's parade. On Sunday afternoon, the parade rolled down the main street of Putignano. You can see pictures of all of the floats here.

Madonna di Lourdes - PutignanoMonday night, yesterday, as we were returning from an English school at which I had left a resume, we noticed that traffic was being stopped by the Carabinieri. Windy, but not too, something was about to happen, but we didn't know what. We walked along quietly. A procession most likely if the streets were being blocked. A few people were standing about talking. Cars vacated the area and a dog barked. Through the speakers high up on streetlamps and balconies which usually broadcast music all over town for the festival, we could hear what sounded to me like a prayer. Then I saw all of the people, hundreds of people, some of them holding candles, flowing down the main street as they prayed, a group near the rear carrying the light-bulbed Madonna. Listen to them...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Raining off and on all over Italy it seems. Welcome conditions as it was something not oft experienced in Beijing.

Tipped over 10,000 visits yesterday! I don't know what else it means, but in case you didn't notice, there it is...

I backdated a post to wrap the Harbin travel story I started a couple weeks ago and never finished. Got busy at the wrong time with moving and such, but that's how it goes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

OK. I'll try and catch y'all up a little now that I'm back in e-action.

We left Beijing on a pretty typical grey-y Monday morning after watching Superbowl XLI. Happy we had found a direct flight to Rome, we flew into that fantastic city without so much as a turbulent burp, and stayed there for one night. The next afternoon, we took the Eurostar down to Monopoli where Angela's parents were waiting to take us to their home in Putignano. We'll kick it here with her parents until we can find a little apartment of our own.

So, everything's up and running in Italy, at least, partially. We're still recovering from jet lag, but otherwise feeling good. I have a few leads on temporary jobs here (not that many English speakers in Putignano!), which is good, and we'll see what happens here.

Happy to have regular and rapid internet access, although I don't have it at home yet. In the meanwhile, I'm moving between the town's only internet café and Angela's cousin's apartment. It's making me incredibly inefficient, but better than nothing. That's all for now. Talk to y'all soon and keep peeking in...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

THE COUNTDOWN: Episode 19 featuring William Allegrezza

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We're at it again. I'm inviting all y'all to take a listen to THE COUNTDOWN #19, my irregularly released podcast for MiPoRadio. You can do that by going to and clicking the obvious. My first show with my new producer, Josh Hinck, and my last show from the three-dot capital...

William AllegrezzaEpisode 19 highlights the poetry of William Allegrezza, and also stars these poets and bloggers from around the world: Jill Chan, Peter Ciccariello, Del Ray Cross, AnnMarie Eldon, Juan Jose Martinez, Shin Yu Pai, Carol Peters, Rachel Phillips, Larry Sawyer & Mark Young. Click on the links, which takes you to the poems, and follow along at home!

If you like what you hear and you would like me to consider your own blog's offspring for future shows, send me a message and we'll add you to THE COUNTDOWN's blogroll. Comments and conversay appreciated, front or backchannel. Thanks for tuning in and special thanks to all the fine poets who recorded work for this one!

Running out of time to make updates and other luxuries, but here you go. Possibly my last post before hitting the road or, er, the air, as the case may be. Leaving for Italy on Monday morning!