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.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Hinchas de Poesia, the digital codex of contemporary Pan-American writing, is set to publish its seventh issue on August 31, 2012; this is the same day in which a "blue moon" will appear in the skies above our heads. While the moon will not actually appear blue, a blue moon just means that August 2012 was a month in which two full moons encapsulated the month (meaning there was one on Aug 1 and there will be one on Aug 31).

What's special about this issue of Hinchas is that we have completely changed our look and aesthetic. Our Arts Editor, Jennifer, has switched us over to a CMS (Content Mgmt Site) so that our protocols and processes would be streamlined. To upload content the old way, all the respective editors had to wait for me to upload, FTP-style, the content that they had designated. Using the new way, respective editors can upload content themselves, but they have to ensure that the mechanics are sparkling.

Issue Seven is our most eclectic issue yet. We have two fiction submissions that are going to completely knock your socks off. I know this is weird, what with the title of our journal being Hinchas de Poesia, but these fiction pieces are not only strong but intense. And, both our fictionists have had successful books already published. Shauna Seliy is the author of When We Get There and Patricia Engel is the author of Vida, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award.

In terms of poetry, we have a lot to offer this issue. We not only have experienced and seasoned poets like Madeline Beckman, James Cervantes and Brian Young, but we also have a repeat performance by Stephen Page, our scribe from the city of good airs or Buenos Aires. We also have two pieces by Gregorio Gomez, the emcee of Chicago’s wildest and longest-running poetry series at Weeds on Dayton Ave. We also have a Canadian poet, Daniel Hedges, who teaches in Quebec and is the founder and editor of the literary collective HUMANIMALZ. Truly there's a lot to like here and I imagine that readers looking for poetry will have lots to peruse.

In terms of review and letters, we have two poetry reviews and a letter to AWP President Steven Heller from LeAnne Howe concerning the wonderful work of the Indigenous-Aboriginal American Writers Caucus. There's also a review of D.A. Powell's "Chronic," and "This Side of Time" by South Korean poet Ko Un. Last, Cristian Paiz, a doctoral student at the University of Souther California has been nice enough to let us excerpt an essay he has written on The United Farm Workers in 1974 and there collusions with the Border Patrol. Paiz's essay is based on work he carried out at the UFW archive at the University of Michigan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Ko Un's This Side of Time, (White Pine Press, 2012) Translated by Clare You and Richard Silberg

This Side of Time (White Pine Press, 2012), Ko Un's newest collection of poetry, is drawn from several collections of terse poems by the South Korean author. So, for example, the first chapter's, "Little Songs," are taken from Poems Left Behind, whose title suggests a natural disaster, or an ephemeral methodology. Clare You and Richard Silberg have manged to order and translate an eclectic range of poems that highlight Ko Un's utterly Korean, yet unflinchingly human registers.

I hope you're asking yourself what utterly Korean means, because the poems concern themselves with the natural world, "My poor old mule," and spirituality, "Zen Master Imje", but in acutely cosmopolitan and post-modern brushstrokes. None of the poems are titled or numbered, which aligns harmoniously with the voice in these "Little Songs," but the whit is whip smart. On page 32, a five line intimation anchors us to the bottom of the page, to the absurdity of existence,

On the trash by the road
a thrown-out fan
was turning in cold wind.
It fanned fiercely.

I stopped for a long time.

While the songs in Chapter 1 are stout, they expand the parameters of timeless themes, like pluralism versus xenophobia. On a continent that followed a a serious program of isolation, Ko Un is saying something especially salient about perception, and how contradictory and sometimes conflicting ideologies occupy the same moment in time and space. Ko Un is also saying something political about what constitutes "a foreigner" and how locals might never understand the pain and emotional numbness associated with exile

If she doesn't understand what I say
I'm a foreigner.
If I don't get her silence
she is just a mute.

Chapter 2, "A Few Small Songs," continues with its cavalcade of tiny, mostly nameless (title-less), almost random, procession of meditations that range from the expansive and humbling, "If wisdoms/ not love,/ love is/ not wisdom,/ wash them/ off our hands./ A breeze startled the calf from it doze," to the searingly political and preemptive, "Once/ when Iran's Tehran oil pipeline was laid,/ didn't he wallow in lust all night...The sun's going down; the darkness deepening." Likewise, the impending romantic history between two star-crossed lovers is put off once again by the pure caprices of Time. In "1:30 AM," (page 50) the poet writes

The light went out in Unit 506 on the 18th floor.
on the 19th floor, the light in 706 went out soon after.

Sleep Well.
Get to know each other tomorrow.

"1:30 A.M." sounds like something that Paul Auster might write about: two protagonists in opposing brownstones in Brooklyn, or what Murakami might pen about two loveless Tokyo types stuck in heartless publishing scenes. In other words, there are "songs" about natural subjects, "cranes," "Hwenggye Mountains of Kangwon Province," Yunpyung Island," "Ch'uja-do, the vacant island, etc., but there are just as many about the terrestrial and tangible, like the "pipeline to Tehran," or "Torture" (page 94)

If you're tortured
you know a human is inhuman.
Both the torturer
and the tortured
deep at night in the second basement room

Politically, and somewhat aesthetically, Ko Un reminds me of Turkey's Nazim Hikmet and the poets of Generation 27, especially Alberti whose poems are sometimes compact, nano dynamos. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little but of Jose Marti's crazy idea that South America and North America should be considered one America. Ko Un has vigorously encouraged reunification between North Korea and South Korea in full frontal view of the military games engaged in by both governments.

But, more than anything, Ko Un's poetry is full of the mind, that gnarly entity that stands before what is thought and all up in what is written. In many ways, if the mind is a variable just waiting for the light of understanding, then maybe a filament of pure light might help to unlock a higher order of knowing. Ko Un is South Korea's most revered poet to be sure, but chances are you have probably never heard of him. According to White Pine Press, Un has published "over 100 collections of poetry, and many volumes of fiction and non-fiction in his native Korea." Along the way, he has opened up the playing field for South Korean Lit., making it kosher for South Korean writers to write about things of a particularly non-Korean pedigree, to openly question the South Korean government, and the carriers of small tunes. Ko Un's little songs are not only keen in the sense of music, but also as a marker of space and time, transcribed through language.

This title would be perfect for community college libraries, or for any program on international relations with an emphasis on Asia. I think any class on contemporary South Korean politics would be greatly enhanced by reading "This Side of Time," and introducing students to the work of Ko Un, South Korea's greatest living author.

"Ko Un." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 21 July 2012.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


What if the Naviductor of the 733 blows past your express spot, your "stop," and it's another twenty minutes until that behemoth bitch of a bus comes rumbling down Spring?

Does one expend the manpower hours to fashion a letterfile Trident sophisticated enough
to make future overlords grouchy for sport?

Does one ask to speak to a surly supervisor knowing full well they couldn't even throw a knuckleball into a shitstorm?

At the moment the Naviductor blows past for sport, does one fantasize about going bowling with the adult fontanelle of the one they call the Naviductor?

I'll tell you what, find me some cactus pins with a fine patina of follicle flagella and we'll use them to gorge on the commotion of the pins as they collude?

But, standing there I sure wanted to talon a rock and curveball it right into that official exposition, the tart diction in a letter of complaint.

What is it in the adrenaline of boomerangs that seduces the Naviductor to robberbarron portents to hunches?

But without a bus number, or a service quotient, or a description of the Naviductor, or approximate time of disturbance, the most I could expect from my sigh would be a cruising altitude of erasure.