A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


And, this is the ode I wrote for Messi which was published in the latest issue of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review...

by Yago Cura

You’re a meñique Loki—
an algebra prodigy, a mischief wick
Pre-Cambrian fireworks display
nighttime diving from the Concussion Quarry
Messi, your tech is so untextbook—
stun each cell of the reel calling shots
faster than fast surpassing speeding
catalysts of exponential, radical acceleration
Messi, you are ten ton cubes —
pins, toothpicks and shattered Tara Donovan plate glass
slide tackle currency, malicious cleats
the genetic credit of petite assassin panthers
embedded in the hormone Barcelona bought
maybe supersonic lures, colibrí piety
what type locura drives you to greyhound
around the pitch, unmuzzled. and spewing ducats

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A friend of mine in Tennessee who I haven't talked to in years came across an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled "Teaching Grade 13". Written by David M. Perry and Kathleen E. Kennedy, the article attempts to squeeze a difficult answer about how responsible/liable a college should be in getting remedial students, students who come from poor-performing high schools, up to snuff, in terms of content difficulty and proficiency. For example, "According to the 2009 ACT College Readiness Report, only 23 percent of high-school graduates have the requisite skills to earn at least a C in entry-level college courses in the four general areas of English, mathematics, science, and reading. That means that 77 percent of all graduating seniors have serious deficiencies in one or more areas" (par. 1)

The first thing I would like to do is question what their criteria for college-ready is because colleges are full of spectators or students that just get by and don't really imbibe in the research and love of investigation. Do they mean these students? Not, really. The article makes several mentions of the No Child Left Behind Policy which is educational legislation enacted by Bush Two which many educators have big problems with. What I have big problems with is people not being able to call it as they see it. For example, the majority of legislation for No Child Left Behind targets failing schools, and if you have ever taught in this country you know of the huge disparity between urban and suburban schools. I think I would be oblique if I didn't point out that in the U.S. failing schools equal minority-heavy urban schools. So, how much of this has to do with race and ethniticy? And, how much of this question has to do with class?

And class permeates the thinking in this article as well because how many people once they enter college are one hundred percent ready to delve into the numerous academic calisthenics that college-level work requires of its students? I know that I was certainly deficient, but at the same time I realized pretty quickly that if I didn't take command of my weaknesses, they would eventually take command of me. So, I searched for answers and didn't wait for answers to come to me; I gave my inquisitiveness a purpose and used ink as my currency.

I guess the question I am asking is how much of this should fall on students, even if they come from crappy schools and get substandard high school educations. But, the greater question is when did college professors start becoming so us and them; I understand that there are skills that are more appropriate coming out of a high school teacher's mouth, but if a professor cares about his students, and genuinely wants them to learn then they will not make differentiation such an issue. The problem is that many professors come in thinking they are above teaching certain skills, as if teaching those skills would lessen their academic prowess. I have seen it numerous times, where a professor will not lower themselves to teach a class on emphasis in composition or active voice for fear that students will get the wrong idea and think they are actual teacher!

Lecturing has been the mode for eons, but it does not work for everyone. Just because the greeks invented it and it was adapted by most cultures, why should it be the only dominant mode in education. Another timely idea that this article brought about was the idea that in the digital where information is so accessible and easy to manipulate, what is the role of content-knowledge. In other words, what skills should we be teaching our high school kids so that they will excel in college. Obviously, the curriculum is staid, especially in the face of new digital realities. but, what exactly should change and where should we placed our educational emphasis?
At least Perry and Kennedy know something has to change. They offer a solution: "We need more tenure-track experts in basic skills to teach remedial courses and advise faculty members". I propose making professors actually vary their mode so that lecture is not the only trick they know. How about a little socratic seminar, a little discourse?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


So, Theater makes me drowsy. I can't even watch a Shakespearean play without yawning through the third act. The only play I was ever able to sit through was The Tempest; I had seen the play in 1996 in London at a park and the weather had become a character in the play because as Prospero was doing his sorcery, the weather followed his command. But, I fell asleep to Rosencratz and Guilderstern at the Barbican, and have felt drowsy at most other theater related functions. Damn, I can't even go to a reading without feeling that less is more, like a lot less, like let's do a reading in twenty minutes or so and spend the rest of the night, the good portion of the night in a bar drinking pints and talking about anything but the poetry that we heard or read or had in our heads as we were reading.


Well, after seeing the show on December 10th, I thought that I would add some ammunition of praise to the discourse being generated by this dramatic work. For one thing, the choreographer Bill Jones seems to be a big deal. I don't know squat about dance but the NY Times says, "the choreographer and director Bill T. Jones has come up with startling visual equivalents for the primal and sophisticated fusion of cultural elements that is Afrobeat, the music of Fela." Sensuous doesn't even begin to describe the manifold gyrations, gyroscopic iterations, and jiggling that took place on stage. I couldn't describe the level of dance with any technical terms, but it was hot, sexy, and like butter churned with jet fuel.

The set was decorated as if it were the Shrine, the fabled bar and venue owned by Fela Kuti. It was not only a venue for him and his music, but it was also where he would subsequently launch his political programs ("Black President") and where he cooked his ideology. It was also were the Nigerian military apparatus killed Fela's mother, Funmilayo. The history of the music is just as important as the message, and there are many orientations that the playwrites include which guide us through the narrative that is Fela's life. However, history is not of primary importance; response to history, or Fela's response to historical events, is what propels the narrative. For example, "In giving physical life to Mr. Kuti’s songs of political rage, sorrow and satire, Mr. Jones and company offer exciting music and its social context in one breath. There are occasional filmed images of Nigerian crowds and narrative segments meant to orient us in history." This is done seamlessly so it's not pedantic, but enough context is given so that even a person unfamiliar with Fela's life would be able to grasp the consequences of narrative events.

Fela, the Musical! is also very sexually charged as Fela's life was a sexually charged occurrence as well. The choreography is such that you can tell the individual relationships that Fela had within his harem, and a harem he did have. The women range from squat and muscular to sinewy and tall and they all share a common fate as the man. Or as the NY Times says, "Fela’s group marriage to his back-up girls makes saucy and elegant use of one of the show’s greatest assets: the deliciously self-possessed, vulpine women who play Fela’s adoring “queens,” who are always on hand to towel his brow and light his joints between numbers. Some are actually, mutilated and tortured after Fela is taken to jail. And their stories are flashed on the screens as well to denote their similar fates.

In terms of narration, I loved it most when Fela was messing with the Nigerian goverment. The story tells of this one time he was arrested for have a joint in the Shrine so he ate the joint; they took him in hoping that he would release the joint after his stomach had digested it and it would come out naturally. So, they keep himin jail but Fela waits until the guards falls asleep and he mixes his shit in with the rest of the stools. The actor playing Fela relates this while burning one down on stage; it is a great stoner moment, actually.

Last, I just want to give huge props to Antibalas who were just amazing, playing all the standards that Fela was famous for; they are a band from Brooklyn that are not just socially conscious, but amazing jam musicians. I have one of their albums and like it a lot; they have been around for ever, playing concerts at Summer Stage in Brooklyn and playing venues like S.O.B.'s. Or as Ben Brantley says, "As played by the Brooklyn band Antibalas, standing in for the army of musicians that accompanied Mr. Kuti on his world tours, this is music that gets into your bloodstream, setting off vibrations you’ll live with for days to come."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Hopefully, later this week I will interviewing P. Scott Cunningham, the proprietor of the University of Wynwood, and member of the Miami Poetry Collective. I thought of ten questions I would like to throw his way. Let me know what you think?

1.) Why is Miami the center of the poetry world? Why is Miami not the center of the poetry world?
2.) Given: Hialeah can birth mythical creatures. What mythical creatures can you attribute to Hialeah? What are their powers?
3.) Does Miami have it's own sound, in terms of poetry?
4.) What is the University of Wynwood? Why create a fake university to promote the written and spoken word in Miami? Are you saying that academia is a vacuous pit of make-believe?
5.) How much Spanglish should it be legal to use on a daily basis? On a literary basis? Why is the United States of America afraid of Spanglish?
6.) With the advent of e-books and readers, what might happen to Poetry? Does the current technology present opportunities for burgeoning poets?
7.) Why isn't there more Jai-Alai in literature? Can you think of any literary works that feature Jai-Alai? If you had to pit two literary figures in a Jai-Alai Death Match, what two figures would you like to see fight to their Jai-Alai death?
8.) If Campbell McGrath were to be exposed to large amounts of radiation, what literary monster would ensue? And, what cities would he destroy?
9.) In Personalism, Frank O'Hara says that writing a poem should be like making a telephone call. Are the poems that the Miami Poetry Collective creates once a month at its events like a transcript of a phone call (i.e., between recipient of poem and poet)?
10.) Do Miami poets write more about nature because nature is so prevalent in the landscape of the city? Why don't Miami poets write more about silicone breast implants, expensively-detailed automobiles, and designer bronzing lotions?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


*This image is the official ball of the 2010 World Cup
O.K. so the results of the drawings are pretty much common knowledge by now, but there is still a lot to discuss in terms of phantom scenarios, viable difficulties, and the stench of history. Besides that, Brazil is heavily favored to win their sixth cup and this probably sits well with no one except Brazilians and fans of Brazil. Let me be frank with my bias as well: I want Argentina to win, not only to close the gap (in terms of cups won) between itself and Brazil. The N.Y. Times has a popular soccer blog and I appreciate all they do to keep the American masses informed.

In "World Cup Draw Sets the Stage for Drama" by Rob Hughes, the fate of Argentina is given a full paragraph, "Argentina, after its trauma to qualify for this World Cup under Diego Maradona — who appears nothing like as great a coach as he was a player — has Nigeria, a physically powerful African opponent. South Korea and Greece, the other teams in the group, are stronger than sum of their individual players might suggest."

I agree with Hughes' assessment of Argentina's group but I had to read another article to understand the particularly difficulties Argentina is facing. For example, the article, "World Cup Teams Draw Mixed Fortunes At High Altitudes" was very interesting because it relates the fact that all of Argentina's game are going to be played at high altitudes, "Argentina seem to have fared the worst of the top seeds, playing all three of their group stage games at high altitude in Johannesburg and Polokwane, in the north.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009