What I learned at Kundiman

Phew!  Back in L.A. after an incredible week at the Kundiman Retreat at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY.

I’ve heard Kundiman referred as a family many times in the past by former fellows.  Aaah, now I understand.

What I’ve learned and some highlights:

-“Equal weight, equal volume’ as taught by Tan Lin via Gertrude Stein.  “Equal weight, equal feeling” as taught by Regie Cabico.

-Community cultivates the courage to share a “draft-y” poem composed 30 minutes before a reading.  Love & trust equal unattachment to a poem.  Hence, many poet eyes while it’s still being written.

-Staying up late for: (time for the mini-list!)

*Stories about grandfather monks

*Domino’s pizza as an excuse to write more poems

*Regie reading Jennifer Knox’s poem “Chicken Bucket”

*Dance parties with Tan Lin and Paisley Rekdal!

*Late night powerpoint presentations on Jose Garcia Villa given by Tim Yu

-Recognizing the diversity of styles and forms, especially in a place that draws poets of similar backgrounds.

-Writing in little time and no sleep.

-Being focused, even in New York humidity.

I’m realizing now that this list is doing little to actually convey what Kundiman means to me.

Hopefully, this photo and poem work better.

Left to Right: Me, Tiana Nobile, Ed Menchavez,Tamiko Beyer, Dan Lau and a few unidentified heads, surrounding Sarah Gambito in all her light.


This poem was inspired by our patron poets given to us by Kundiman.

For Patron Poets

In the Country of Doveglion,

there are two animals fighting,

bringing out the ink, the sigh:

volupt, volupt, volupt.

Gacela and her stamped forehead

murumurs a snow drift.

We aren’t sleeping. Good. Li-Young Lee,

with a shrimp-phone in his mouth.

O Brenda, O Poets, here we went into

the secret rooms and lounged and lay on your beds.


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Filed under influences, Kundiman

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