Friday, June 09, 2006

The World's Game & World Poetry #1

Let me introduce myself to those visiting Christopher Cunningham’s blog Upright Against The Savage Heavens. I am Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, a poet, born in Mexico, and living in Southern California. I work in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. My first book of poetry, Raw Materials, published by Pygmy Forest Press, includes work-related poetry, poetry influenced by living and dead poets throughout the world, and poems written in Spanish with English translation and vice versa. My poetry online can be found at Mastodon Dentist, The Hypertexts, and Pemmican Press.
For the next month I will be writing about The World’s Game & World Poetry. Germany will host the 2006 FIFA World Cup of Soccer from June 9 to July 9, 2006 (2006 schedule here). Soccer fans are as passionate for their sport as poets are passionate for poetry, as music lovers are passionate for their music, as artists are passionate about painting, sculpture, etc. Germany, the host country, will face Costa Rica in the opener, followed by a match pitting Ecuador vs. Poland. In America this event does not capture the attention that a Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks basketball championship game would attract. However, in soccer, for some this game is like life & death. It is the most popular sport in the world. While an avid soccer fan, I am as passionate about poetry as I am about soccer (Football Poets). My intention is to introduce poetry from every country that has qualified for this grand event. A total of 32 nations will be involved in the World Cup. An important aspect about being a poet, who has a passion for the word, is that one must look to the world, past his own backyard, across continents, to find the words, to find poets that also have a passion for the word. One not needs to go to a workshop to learn how to write poetry. A library, a bookstore, the internet, can introduce a poet to many voices, to many poets from around the world. One can learn from the voices from other nations and cultures.

June 9

Germany vs. Costa Rica & Poland vs. Ecuador

Germany brings us the voice of Rainer Maria Rilke, whose excellent LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET are a must read for the readers and writers of poetry. Here are samples of Mr. Rilke’s magical voice: Read some Rilke.

(And imagine Charles Bukowski, German born and hugely popular there, lumbering down the middle of the field, a beer can in one hand, a cigarette in his mouth, and with the other hand he pushes of the defender on his heels. Bach is playing in his head as he chases the rolling ball. He gets his whole body into it, kicks the ball past the outstretched hand of the Costa Rican goaltender. He shouts, goooooaaaal, motherfucker! Now where is that typewriter. I need to get to work.)

Costa Rica figures to give the favored German team a hard time if they can utilize their speed and attempt to keep the host country from using their strength and skill, and the backing of the hometown aficionados to overwhelm them.This web site offers an introduction to the poetry scene in Costa Rica from the 1890's to the present time. It is interesting to find such voices enriching the wealth of poetry to share with the world. Of interest to one editor, standing upright against the savage heavens, below is an article on the jazz scene in San Jose, Costa Rica, described "as a minor Mecca for hardcore high-level jazz concerts." One such guitar guru, Mike Stern featured played with the great Miles Davis. You can read about it here. Check out the work of Laureno Alban translated by Fred Fornoff in Artful Dodge. Mr. Fornoff writes of Alban's poetry, "Whatever the poem says, it says in the service of language and poetry."

While not much of a gambler myself, here are the odds and commentary of the inaugural game of the FIFA Soccer World Cup. Historically, underdogs have come up and surprised the favored nation, much like underground poets, who have come out fighting, gambling, betting on the muse to do their bidding.

The second game on June 9, 2006 involves Poland (Poland's culture, Polish Writing, Polish language poets) vs. Ecuador.

Here is some work from Jorge Carrera Andrade, Ecuadorian poet, translated in Jacket Magazine, which has other interesting articles in this issue of Mr. Andrade and other poets.

The current National Geographic Magazine has excellent articles on what Pele, the greatest soccer player ever, called the “the beautiful game.” Please check out the forum and make your comments if you wish. I recommend you purchase a copy of the current National Geographic Magazine/June issue.

England vs. Paraguay

England was the birthplace of the modern soccer game. England won its only World Cup championship in 1966. They will face stiff competition from Paraguay, which figures to be the underdog in this game. With William Blake & William Shakespeare on its side, lovers of British & world poetry cannot go wrong.

For those interested in the works of indigenous writers, the poetry of Susy Delgado is presented in three languages. Susy Delgado is a Paraguayan poet.

June 10

Trinidad & Tobago vs. Sweden & Argentina vs. Cote D' Ivore

This will be Trinidad & Tobago's first appearance in the World Cup. They will face a tough Swedish team, who figures to use their experience and offensive skill to defeat the speedy T&T squad. Please see the work of Roi Kwabena, from Trinidad & Tobago, who says, "a poem alone can expose a lie."

Argentina is one of the favorites to walk away with the Cup. They have two titles and are one of seven to have ever won a World Cup title. For Cote D' Ivore, also known as the Ivory Coast, it would be a monumental upset. This is the first World Cup appearance for the African nation, which is one of the 5 countries from the continent of Africa in this World Cup. Popular Argentine writers and poets include Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, and Roberto Arlt, who was the son of German immigrant and whose work was said to be reminiscent of Celine. Go here for a translated text of Roberto Artl & a biography of Jorge Luis Borges.

I found an interesting blog while trying to search for poetry from Trinidad & Tobago. This blog is predicting scores and outcomes. I would not go as far, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Read this biography of Ivory Coast poet Tanella Boni. Here is another link to Ms. Boni, whose voice can be heard in French, though an English translation can be read.

June 11

Serbia & Montenegro vs. Netherlands, Mexico vs. Iran, Angola vs. Portugal

Serbia & Montenegro’s match vs. Netherlands figures to be an exciting game of two European teams. I’m predicting a tie in this game, just a gut feeling. As a 7 year youth, I remember watching the “Orange Machine” mow down opponents in the 1974 World Cup, eventually won by the Germans. Please see these examples of Serbian poetry, the biography of Charles Simic, Yugoslavian poet, and a Dutch poetry link.

The game between Mexico and Iran is one game I will be watching with interest. I can see myself cursing out my team whenever they make mistakes. It is a sad time for the Mexican squad right now. The recent death of Oswaldo Sanchez’s father of a heart attack will weigh heavy in this time. Oswaldo Sanchez is the top goaltender for the Mexican squad. His father died on June 7, 2006. Here are links to Mexican poets, Octavio Paz, winner of the Nobel Prize, and Homero Aridjis.

Iran figures to give Mexico a tough game, but I believe and hope, that Mexico will prevail in this game. USA Today has an interesting article regarding the Iranian squad in the June 8, 2006 sports page. They are going to allow the Iranian women to cheer? Here are links to Persian Poetry, and here. The work of poet Rumi is highly recommended.

Angola vs. Portugal

Angola won its independence from Portugal after a violent civil war. They will meet in the World Cup on June 11, 2006. Angola is new to this stage, the World Cup, but they figure to battle Portugal on the soccer field and make their mark. The Portuguese will not make it easy for Angola. They have a tough team and figure to make some noise in this tournament. The poetry of Luis Quintais and other Portuguese poets can be read here. Quintais is a Portuguese poet, born in Angola. An article by Paula Ana Tavares, Angolan poet and writer, is introduced here.

June 12

Italy vs. Ghana, U. S. A. vs. Czech Republic, Australia vs. Japan

I will be watching the game with Italy vs. Ghana at home. It is my Monday off from work and it couldn’t come at a better time. I will also get to see the Americans play the Czech Republic, ranked number 2 in the world. The team from Ghana will use their speed to try and get by a tough Italian squad, which has the potential to get to the finals in this tournament.

The Italians have a rich tradition in poetry and how could anyone go wrong with the verse of one Dante Alighieri, poet extraordinaire? Read Dante.

Here is an example and sample poetry from Ayi Kwei Armah, novelist and poet from Ghana, and links to other poets of note within the link.

Come on Americans, are you going to be watching baseball and basketball on this day? It is time for soccer. The U.S.A., which is ranked fifth in the world rankings, who could believe this? Not many of the countries ranked below them in the way that squads are ranked. I don’t see how they can get by the Czech Republic, but it is possible. Like in poetry, dreams and miracles can be lived on the soccer field.

Uncle Walt (Whitman) will lead off for this squad, followed by small press and German born poet, Charles Bukowski, representing the U.S.A. Read Walt. And don’t forget to get your copy of Leaves of Grass in the commercial, local, and used-book bookstores.

Link to poetry from the Czech literature here: Czech Literature", and an article from poet, Igor Malijevsky and a link to his website here. Please check out Lithuanian born, Czeslaw Milosz, Polish poet and essayist, winner of Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.

The Australia vs. Japan will be a fine game of teams meeting for the first time in World Cup play. Australia got in the tournament by defeating a tough squad from Uruguay, winner of the first ever World Cup in 1930. Read some Australian poetry.

(And don’t forget to pick up Glenn Cooper‘s, Australian small press poet, chapbook, First Touch, and broadside, How I Lost My Faith, from Bottle of Smoke press. Go here and here)

Matsuo Basho is a poet I have read and recommend to those interested in Haiku poetry. Here is a link to Japanese poetry and its forms of poetry.

June 13

Brazil vs. Croatia, France vs. Switzerland, Korea vs. Togo

Brazil is the defending champions and are sure to be the favorite to win it all once again. Their soccer can best be described as poetry in motion, a dance that no other team can come close to. If anyone can pull an upset, it is the Croatian squad, who have powerful game, and will not be intimidated. An introduction to Modern Poetry in Brazil can be read here. Here is an introduction to modern Croatian poets:

France vs. Switzerland is a game I would hate to miss. I will most likely be back in the office when these two teams tear into each other. One of the French’s best players, CISSE, is injured and will miss the Cup, but there will be other great players, such as HENRY and ZIDANE to take his place. This is another game that will tough to predict. The biography of Arthur Rimbaud, French poet, is featured here, as well as an article on his book, “Illuminations.” Read the biography of Hermann Hesse, Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. Daniel Andersson, Swedish author and poet, wrote about the working class. Check out his biography.

Korea vs. Togo will be an interesting game to watch. Both teams have their own particular styles of play. Like in poetry, the various styles of wordplay can provide for an enjoyable experience. Below is a history of Togo and examples of Togolese poetry:

The arts of Togo.
African Literature

Korean poetry forms, including sijo, are much older than even the Japanese Haiku.

June 14

Spain vs. Ukraine, Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia, Germany vs. Poland

Spain & the Ukraine will be a game not to be missed. I hope I’m at home on this day, enjoyed the match, but I figure to be at work, doing what I have to do to keep the family fed. But sometimes we must feed the soul, be it through sport or poetry, ideally, both at the same time.

Spanish poets Garcia Lorca, Juan Ramon Jimenez, and Miguel Hernandez are must reads for serious poetry lovers. Don’t forget Miguel de Cervantes & Don Quixote. Read about Lorca, Jimenez, & Cervantes here and here.

Here we have a link to Ukranian poets of today.

Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia will be another intriguing match-up. Saudi Arabia went undefeated through the qualifying rounds. See Saudi Arabian soccer & read the news story about a popular Saudi Arabian poet, jailed for writing a poem about corruption in Saudi Arabia. Here is an article on Culture in Tunisia.

Germany and Poland will be another outstanding game. This will be each team’s second game and a must win for either team, depending on how they fared in their initial game. More links to German and Polish writing.

I hope by following the links that the works of these international poets may be read and that other writers of interest could be found through these links and searches. It is interesting to read the points of views of other writers and to hopefully find something universal that we could use, share, and learn.


Blogger BMcG said...


Congrats on the artilce, you played a blinder. On first read through two things:

“Pele, the greatest soccer player ever.” Luis, Luis, no mate, no. Everyone knows it was George Best. I mean Pele himself once dubbed Best “the greatest footballer in the world”. It’s just he didn’t have the international stage that Pele had, what with playing for Northern Ireland and all ;)

You mentioned the year that offends many ears. The year that everyone here is subjected to reliving every World Cup. Luis, you mentioned 1966.

cheers for the read and the further reading with all those links.


4:47 AM  
Blogger j.b said...

Well done, Luis. Bravo!

And, for us soccer neophytes, I've learned a wealth of information. I've not made it to every link YET but the ones I did were good. Thank you.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Luis said...

BMCG: George Best was an outstanding player. I was sorry to hear of his passing last year. He played for the Aztecs here in L.A. near the end of his career, if I remember correctly. Sorry about mentioning that dreaded year. There were many great players too mention. Perhaps I should have said, "the highest scorer ever." My dad used to tell me that Casarin, a Mexican soccer player, was the best ever. Hey, everyone has their opinion & Best could have possibly been the best.

11:11 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

really great work LCB. the girl and I are going to spend some time checking out the many interesting links. well researched, well written, fantastic job, sir.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

for anyone who cares?

Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2
& Ecuador shocked Poland 2-0 on

Early Saturday morning (my time)
I overslept, missed Engand's
1-0 win over Paraguay. I was
bummed. Christopher Major from
England e-mailed me, told he was
going to watch the game.
Trinidad & Tobago tied Sweden
0-0, in an exciting game. Yes,
an exciting scoreless game. The Trinidad & Tobago fans were dancing and singing in the stands, while the fans from Sweden appeared as if they were at a funeral. Their early jubilation turned to downright sadness. Argentina beat the Ivory Coast, who played a great game, falling short, 2-1.

5:34 PM  
Blogger j.b said...

saw the final 20 minutes of the Mexico/Iran game earlier today. Congrats on the win. can America beat the Czech Republic tomorrow?

10:33 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

I am guessing...


3:07 AM  
Blogger Luis said...

Justin, the Czech Republic, is ranked #2 of all nations & the score (3-0), did not indicate how hard the USA played. You just cannot make mistakes against these type of teams & you have to capitalize when you have a chance.
The U.S. made mistakes & failed to capitalize on their opportunites.

BTW watching an electronics show on TV, the new FIFA 2006 game, which Nintendo's coming out had Czech Republic beating Brazil. Those computers are smart, sometimes.

4:22 PM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

I am a sports genius.

5:57 PM  

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