HI, I’ll be presenting for Trickhouse Live at Casa Libre W/ Deanne Stillman Tuesday, September 18 7-9 p.m. $5 Suggested Donation

Trick House Live is an integrative arts series that brings together people working with words, images, sounds, videos, and a variety of performances. The series serves as a venue for visiting artists to interact with local artists and for the borders between genres and mediums to be permeable. Trickhouse Live is a physical world extension of the online cross-genre arts journal, Trickhouse.org which is based in Tucson.

Deanne Stillman is the award-winning author of Mustang, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2008, and the cult classic Twentynine Palms, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 which Hunter Thompson called “A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer.” Her latest book, Desert Reckoning, is based on her acclaimed Rolling Stone article, “The Great Mojave Manhunt.” She is a member of the core faculty at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program and currently divides her time between Tucson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA.

I make poems and visual art. You can view a portfolio of my visual art at valyntinagrenier.com. I hosts Back Room Live, and blog at Harriet Homemaker and Life Long Press. The photo was taken by Richard Siken at LIVE @ LIV, thanks Richard!

click to hear: AT ONCE by Joseph Massey

click to hear: from FOR A GIRL BECOMING by Joy Harjo

click to hear: IN THE SALIVA by Frida Kahlo translated by Robert Hass 

Happy Saturday and Happy Listening +V


It’s all in the hand,
mmmthe touch,
light fingers
along Merino fibers.

Feel a way into hair,
a caress,
not more,   not less,
before the motion begins
mmmmmthe gentle meeting.

Hand to wool,
mmmfinger to fleece,
until a skin begins.

It can’t,
mmmit won’t   be hurried.

Notice the moment
mmmwhen tension begins.
Apply with love.

Luxury enters
mmmthe slow wool of time.
Tangling scales of hair
mmmhave their way.

Bond, bond the fibers
until agitation begins to meld,
mmmbut not insistent.

Then deep pressure
of knowing hands
fulls into fabric.

Rubbing firms up the bond:
tightens together,
shrinks to integrity,
locks into permanence.



Está todo en la mano,
vmmmmmmm el tacto,
los dedos ligeros
a lo largo de las fibras de Merino.

Siente de una manera en el pelo,
una caricia,
no más          no menos,
antes de que el movimento comienzé
mmmmmla reunion apacible.

Mano en las lanas,
mmmdedo a velión,
hast que la piel comienze.

No puede,
mmmno será         apresurado.

Note el momento
mmmcuando la tensión comienze.
Apliqúese con amor.

El lujo entra
mmmlas lanas lentas del tiempo.
Enredando escalas de pelo
mmmtienen su manera.

Enlaza, enlaza las fibras,
hasta que la agitación comience pegar,
el frotar ligeramente
mmmpero no insistente.

Entonces presión profunda
de las manos sabias
espesa en tela.

frotando pone firme el enlace:
mmmaprieta junto,
contrae a la integridad,
asegura en permanencia.

click to hear: Pablo Neruda’s POETRY English translation

The text is from poemhunter.com.

Happy Saturday +V.


February 6, 2011

Here’s a Valentine piece I translated way back in 1974.  It became my biggest hit at poetry readings & resulted in a video taped performance of it that was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1979.  In 1997, the composer/guitarist, Andy Dinsmoor & I recorded the mp3:  I’m delighted with it & think you will be too.
Kurt Schwitters did his own English translation of his, “An Anna Blume.”  Mine is better.  For one thing, he extends his “thou thee thy” riff (as he does in the German) to include “I love thy.”  Well, there’s more tolerance for rank silliness in the German tradition than there is in the American one (at least in the wake of what Bennett Cerf called “The Golden Nashery of Ogden Trashery”).  I center my poem on the genuine statement, “I love you,” no fucking around, messing with archaic declensions there!  Also:  he translates her name: “Anna Blossom.”  O, come ON!  Anyway, like I say, mine is better!


O mistress of my 27 senses, I love you!

–Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–We?

That belongs (by the way) somewhere else.

Who are you, room of countless women?  You are–aren’t you?–

People say you’re–let them talk, the bastards, they don’t know

how the church tower stands.

You put your hat on your feet & wander off on your

hands, on your hands you wander off.

Hello, your red dress with white folds.  Red

I love Anna Blume, red I love you!–Thou thee thy

thine, I you, you me–


That belongs (by the way) in the cold fire.

Red bloom, red Anna Blume, how do they say it?

Readers:  answer this question & win a prize:

1.  Anna Blume has a bird.

2.  Anna Blume is red.

3.  What color is the bird?

Blue is the color of your golden hair.

Red is the call of your green birds.

You plain maid in your everyday dress, you lovely green

beast, I love you!  Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–


That belongs (by the way) in the coal chest.

Anna Blume!  Anna, a-n-n-a, I trickle your name.

Your name drips like soft cattle droppings.

Do you know it, Anna, do you know it already?

One can read you backward, & you, you most magnificent

of all, you are the same from back or front:  “a-n-n-a.”

Cattle-droppings trickle stroking my back.

Anna Blume, you dripping beast, I love you!

–translated from the German of Kurt Schwitters

Years ago, Stephen Malkmus sang: “Can you treat it like an oil well / When it’s underground, out of sight?” I think of these lines now in relation to the writers I have the pleasure to present here. The texts by these two poets and two fiction writers operate explicitly within underground or experimental aesthetics, attuned to their place within a rich tradition of countercultural expression.

I have chosen these writers because their work inspires me. But I also like the idea of having their texts share the same digital space. I’m hoping the juxtaposition of poetry and fiction will be as enjoyable to the reader as it is for me. I am also very conscious of creating a possibility for interaction between American and Venezuelan experimental writers.

The two poets have provided sequences of texts that can be read as single works, with each poem being the equivalent of a chapter or episode. I have translated the two short stories included here from the Spanish originals. In the short stories, the reader will find imagery and situations that can only be fully appreciated through the lens of poetry.

Carlos Ávila’s short story “The Antichrist” is a rewritten (radically edited) version of a text included in his first book. The young narrator manages to keep his wits during an extreme situation, thanks partly to an invocation of the anarchic spirit of the Sex Pistols. Ávila’s direct, plain prose sustains beautifully evoked images that startle us.

Micah Ballard’s sequence “Let Us Wake Rifles” opens with an invocation of poetic ancestry, so as to lead us through a gallery of visions imbued with elegance and charm. Ballard’s language is a classical slang, as though the phantoms he conjures were at ease and thinking out loud. (“I learned to mix the languages / & do it in code”)

Dayana Fraile’s short story masterfully narrates an encounter between two generations late one evening at a bus stop in Caracas. Her prose is attuned to the minor details that can bring people together, how friendship can spring from misunderstanding. The story is also a fascinating glimpse at the way subcultures evolve as their participants age. The reader will note a vulnerability that her characters might not be ready to acknowledge until they meet.

Sunnylyn Thibodeaux offers a sequence called “As Water Sounds,” which comments on our contemporary landscape of permanent crises. But the poet doesn’t merely lament or critique this unfortunate situation. Rather, she assumes an approach to language that reveals a complete faith in the magic of poetry (that is, song) to heal and reconstruct. “The Silent Spaces of Utopia Parkway,” indeed.

Guillermo Parra (Cambridge, MA, 1970) lives in Durham, NC, where he writes the blog Venepoetics. He has published two books of poetry, Caracas Notebook (Cy Gist Press, 2006) and Phantasmal Repeats (Petrichord Books, 2009). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in 6×6, Fascicle and Papel Literario, among others. He is currently translating the complete works of Venezuelan poet José Antonio Ramos Sucre (1890-1930).


September 25, 2010

Vignette for A Fading Story

First her back, with long black hair, perfectly combed and shining. Her body one of those old Seven-Up bottles, on a single plane, lacking depth and perspective, which is to say, extremely skinny. Angled and, notwithstanding, delicate shoulders with huge, dark freckles in random shapes. Read the rest of this entry »


September 25, 2010

The Antichrist

Rewritten version of the short story “Cuando fui punk”, included in the book Desde el caleidoscopio de Dios.

for Frank Gavidia, friend of a friend

Don’t ask me how, but I found a chunk of pure, uncut coke. A piece of chalk. It was more or less the size of my index finger. They gave it to me all bundled up in saran wrap and I put it in my pants pocket as though it were my keys. Read the rest of this entry »

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