EARTH MOVEMENTS: More than a year ago, the energetic publishers
over at local Kore Press launched a project to record a unique
voice: that of Tohono O'odham poet and linguistic scholar Ofelia
Zepeda. Countless volunteer hours and private donations later,
the final chapbook and audio CD, Jewed "I-Hoi/Earth
Movements now has its day.
The hand-printed book, packaged like CD liner notes, includes 12 poems rendered in O'odham as well as English. Each gives voice to Zepeda's subtle and distinct sense of beauty in the desert, from her sensual description of waiting for the rain, to the impoverished yet elegant image she paints of "women (who) seem to be all the same...thick, wide feet...homemade dresses," watching "this one" in the red silk dress, "this one appearing like she always smells pretty" pass by. She coaxes and cajoles the creatures of the desert to emerge from the shadowy confines of language, flattering them in the O'odham song tradition, "to appease them, perhaps," the author states.
Best of all is Zepeda's gentle voice, her lyrical native tongue and English narration bringing a coolness and depth to the work that's as refreshing as "the sweet, wet dirt the winds bring" (from "It Is Going to Rain").
Join in the celebration of the book/CD release from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, September 12, at the Arizona Historical Society, 949 E. Second St. In addition to a reading and signing by the author, Waila music by the San Xavier Fiddle Band, and food will be provided. Jewed "I-Hoi/Earth Movements is available for $18 from Kore Press. For information, call 882-7542.
HIT SINGLES: "Hate to read?" asks the insert for the 5x5 Singles Club, a series of short stories by different writers printed in booklets that vaguely resemble CDs. Published by writer/editor Lauren Leja in Boston, the mission of the 5x5 Singles Club is to "prove that a short story, read in five minutes, can be as powerful as a song." The brief, druggy vignettes in the two editions printed so far have a kind of confessional, youth-culture immediacy that does seem to bear a hazy resemblance to the emotional drive of rock and roll. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine the audience for these beautifully printed, hard-edged stories might actually be disaffected club kids who never read books; more likely curious collectors and connoisseurs of hipster artifacts will be attracted to the club, which sends a new story every month or so. The first booklet, by Leja, features an endearing, very short story about having sex with a stranger, and another story in list form called 28 Things About Dick & Jane That Nobody Knows. It's the dark side of Dick and Jane: Take Number 16, "Dick liked to break into houses and rearrange the furniture"; and Number 19, "Jane only realized her second boyfriend was cheating on her when she got crabs."
Not only is the writing interesting, but the great-looking format and attention to detail make these pamphlets striking little objets to scatter across the coffee table. The 5x5 Singles Club is available by mail order from Primal Publishing, P.O. Box 1179, Allston, MA 02134. Singles are $2.50; or $28 for a 12-issue subscription.
POETRY SLAM: There's perhaps no better setting in town for off-kilter poetry than the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave. The unique arts space is a funky industrial funhouse of kinetic sculpture and colored lights, and its high ceilings and faux walls are accustomed to the ravings of its resident cogent poetic madman. The slam always attracts a wide range of talent, but special appearances by William Pitt Root, K. Ann Cavanaugh, Jim Nave and Scott Stanley promise some meat along with the sinew. Sign-ups begin at 6:30 p.m., with irreverent judging starting promptly at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 12. Cash awards of $50, $100, and $250 are up for grabs. Willing victims are encouraged to bring up to four poems, no longer than three minutes each. Call 622-0192 for information.
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