Sunday, June 22, 2014

Switch off the television


 Last April I attended the most important annual literary event in the Spanish speaking world: the Buenos Aires Book Fair. It is a meeting point for authors, editors, teachers, distributors, librarians, scientists and over one million readers from all over the world.
 There were also international renowned authors.
  Paul Auster was there, and you can read about his visit here.
  The crowds of people at the book fair are a celebration of the existence of physical books. It is this passion for books that convinces me that they will not cease to exist. The digital era will not kill physical books.
  While I was there I attended a poetry reading. The auditorium was packed. All the seats were taken and I had to sit on the floor.
  There were also plans to read poetry on the streets and in the subway stations. What a great idea! I believe poetry should reach people everywhere. You never know how the words will touch others. There are no castles to restrain the free spirit of a poem; there is no elitist house to befit the true nature of this art. For this reason I always choose to submit to journals that are free online. Do journals in print have a better reputation? I don't know and I don't care. I believe in the power of poetry.
  Poetry feeds the soul. It is a land where we can find ourselves in somebody else's words. Poetry is a language that embraces longings and dreams. It is the art of  telling stories that are afraid of being told in other ways.
  At the poetry reading I found a place close to the wall, and my eyes came across an enticing invitation (I took a picture of it to share it with you):
 

 It says, "Switch off the television, turn on your mind and smoke a book."

20 comments:

  1. Reading poetry on the streets sounds like a good idea to me. People without the time, inclanation or even ability to read poetry to read poetry books and journals, might well enjoy hearing it.

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    1. Yes, Patsy.
      Instead of television screens we should have people reading poetry...

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  2. Inhaling a poem sounds better than many other alternatives for sure! So who was the poet that filled the room?

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    1. Inhaling a poem and tasting it. Seeing it and feeling it on the skin! Oh, yes, Claire. Much healthier and safer than other alternatives.
      It was an international poetry festival so there were many poets: Valeria Magrelli, Graciela Maturo, Denise Desaultes, Osvaldo Guevara, Silvia Castillero, Silvana Merlo, Aleyda Quevedo Rojas, Augusto Lerqueira, Alessandro Buzo, Marco Antonio Leducicco, Daniel Minchoni, Rogerio Gonzaga. I had to go and check the list.

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  3. That sounds like such a wonderful experience! Poetry feeds the spirit in ways television never can.

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    1. Yes, Elizabeth.
      I got intoxicated with poetry.
      And I know you would have loved to be there!
      Hugs.

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  4. Hi Julia,

    A celebration of physical books. That's what I like. Poetry be the words of tonic to provide nutrition for the heart, the soul.

    No TV for me!

    Gary :)

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    1. Thank you, Gary.
      I agree. Poetry is a good tonic for the soul. Healthy nutrition for the mind-heart connection. An intimate collective connection of souls.
      No TV for me either, but we see them everywhere...

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  5. Sounds like a lovely celebration to be part of. :-)

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  6. Awesome. I love that final thought--guess that's why we don't have cable and hit the library once a week. We're raising a generation of bookaholics. Go us!

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    1. Thanks, Crystal.
      Books turn on the minds whereas television screens turn them off- at least I conclude this from my own experience of encountering random moments of TV screen. They send all the wrong messages.
      Thank you for commenting.

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  7. I love that quote: "Switch off the television, turn on your mind and smoke a book."

    I love books. Real books. Can't imagine reading an e-book either. Well, I guess if hell freezes over I might think about it, but even so ...

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  8. Wow, it sounds like Buenos Aires knows how to do a book fair up right. More than a millions visitors! That is mind-boggling. How exciting that you were able to be there. It must have been a very heady experience. I especially like the idea of the poetry-reading. My grandfather has been dead since the mid-1950s, but I can still remember how he used to recite poetry, most of it which he'd memorized. That fair... or actually more of a festival, a celebration of the written word... gives me hope for the future of literature.

    Happy weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Susan, for sharing this lovely memory.
      Yes, I share your hope...

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  9. What a trip to Buenos Aires that must have been. I bet you sizzled from the passion long after you arrived home. I've always wanted to go to BA for the tango. So many of my friends have and they return home but live for the moment they can again return. I imagine the poetry in the streets creates the same type of excitement. There is no substitute for actually "being there." I am grateful for Youtube and I take lessons on Skype and that is very appealing but all the senses open up to take it all in when one is really there. For instance, the ears would hear the words but the smells around one would be a permanent remembrance of the whole experience. I go on like this because I recall one poetry reading in Minneapolis some time ago (when people still smoked in public) an elderly man smoked a pipe with the most deliciously fragrant tobacco that reminded me of my grandfather. That whole scene is still with me. I love the sign that caught your eye.
    How's the tap dancing? I saw an old movie with Eleanor Powell and what a hoofer she was. I wonder how tappers ever got that name. I've missed some of your posts but I haven't posted in a long time. I go on line early and do my little check point by writing my rhyme. If I can rhyme, I think I'm OK, at least for the day. Ha Oh, I even bought green bananas the other day. They were VERY green but said they were organic.
    I hope everything is going wonderfully well for you and you are inhaling the summer.

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog, Manzanita! Your vital energy elates the spirit.
      What an interesting memory you are sharing. (I love it when somebody reminds me of my grandparent...)
      Poetry in the streets is indeed a magical experience.
      Visiting Buenos Aires is an array of complex emotions, one that would take many lines to explain.
      I LOVE tap dancing and I try to do it regularly. I am learning so much... and I can't get enough of those tapping sounds that fascinate me. My dancing shoes make me fly.
      I am off to dance now, my friend.
      I miss your posts!
      Enjoy your summer...

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  10. Hi Julia .. what a lovely quote at the end .. we're getting more poetry here - it's still something I need to appreciate properly .. but I think I recently acquired a book that's got some introductions to poetry .. I must remember and dig it out ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. As I said before, have fun with poetry. Poetry is to be enjoyed. You are free to do whatever you want with it...
      Hugs,
      Julia

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