Archive for the ‘essays’ Category

but who’s counting?

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment

For much of my life, my reading interests largely were science fiction, fantasy, science non-fiction, and history. Over time I branched out, adding philosophy, eastern and western poetry, and various of the classics of western literature. I never really paid attention much to who the authors were, or their gender, or so I imagined. Several years ago though, early in the second Obama term I think, after coming across by chance books by women authors that struck me with their unique perspectives on things I thought I already knew:

it (finally!) became clear to me that I had to actively seek out a wider diversity of authors, especially women authors.

Looking back now at my reading history in Goodreads, it confirms that from about 600 books read in total, there are 442 books by 260 male authors, and only 160 books by 90 female authors. That’s a good motivator to continue seeking out different voices in reading! Zooming in to just this last year, I’ve read 16 books by women and 15 by men, so at least the trend is in a good direction.

Women authors whose books I’ve liked most over the last few years:

Emily Wilson, Simone de Beauvoir, Jane Smiley, Margaret Atwood, Brenda Shaughnessy, Charlotte Bronte, Ursula LeGuin, Kathleen Moore, Rebecca Goldstein, Jane Austen, Carrie Fisher, Adrienne Rich, Hope Jahren, Mary Oliver, Erica Dunbar, Hilary Clinton, Bell Hooks, Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Gilbert, Phyllis Rose, Edith Wharton, Ann Patchett, Cherríe Moraga, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Toni Morrison, Anne Lamott, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, H.D., Cheryl Strayed, Roz Chast, Kate Beaton, Lydia Davis, J.K. Rowling, Sharon Creech, Louisa Alcott, Hannah Crafts, Denise Kiernan, Margaret Chula, Edith Shiffert, Rachel Swarns, Saima Wahab, Carol Tavris, and Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker.


La poesía que me gusta lo mejor

March 21, 2004 Leave a comment

La poesía que me gusta lo mejor es breve con imágenes naturales, como “haiku” japones.

Por ejemplo, este poema –

Aquí, por Octavio Paz

Mis pasos en esta calle
en otra calle
oigo mis pasos
pasar en esta calle
Sólo es real la niebla.

El poeta simplemente describe lo que observa sin interpretarlo ni explicarlo. Pero si tú permites rodearte el poema por un rato, puedes imaginar a tí mismo en aquella calle neblinosa. ¿Adónde vas? ¿De dónde vienes? ¿Cómo te sientes? Las respuestas serán diferentes por todas personas y por cada persona en diferentes momentos. Todas las respuestas son verdaderas.

Otra poema breve que me gusta –

Media Luna, por Federico García Lorca

La luna va por el agua.
¡Cómo está el cielo tranquilo!
Va segando lentamente
el temblor veijo del río
mientras que una rana joven
la toma por espejito.

El poeta interpreta un poca la imagen de la luna y una rana, reflejado en la agua. Me gusta este poema como el “haiku” más famoso, por Matsuo Basho (la traducción es mía) –

charca vieja
rana salta adentro
¡el chapoteo!


My favorite poems are brief, with natural images like japanese haiku. For example, this poem (my translation) –

Here, by Octavio Paz

My footsteps in this street
in the next street
I hear my steps
pass in this street
Only the fog is real.

The poet simply describes what he observes, without interpretation or explication. But if you permit the poem to surround you for a while, you can imagine yourself in that same foggy street. Where are you going? Where did you come from? How do you feel? The answers will be different for every person, and for each person at different times. All of the answers are true.

Another brief poem that I like (again, my translation) –

Half-moon, by Federico García Lorca

The moon rises over the water.
How quiet is the sky!
Slowly calming
the ripples in the river
as the young frog
uses it as a mirror.

The poet does interpret a little the image of the moon and a frog, each reflected in the water. I like this poem much as I like the most famous haiku of all time, written by Matsuo Basho –

old pond
the frog jumps in