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Showing posts from 2006
Felices Pascuas
* * * * * * * * * *
Que la paz sea contigo,
que la paz sea tuya,
que la paz sea nuestra,
que sea de todos y
para todos en estas
navidades y en el futuro
que nos venga.
Que la paz sea nuestra
para disfrutar, brindar, y
regalar y que no nos
cansemos de trabajar
hacia el fin de vivir y
convivir en paz, tanto
en esa medición de tiempo
que llamamos hoy como
en aquella que llamamos

Text and image copyright 2006 Ysabel de la Rosa.

Honores para los que vivían con honor

They were editors. Read this again: they were editors. And doing their job got them killed. They were Raúl Gibb Guerrero, Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla, and Alfredo Jiménez Mota. They worked at LaOpinión, Stereo 91, and El Imparcial, respectively, and were all covering events in México.

World Press, one of the world's best and least biased sources for international news, has named Gibb Guerrero, García Escamilla, and Jiménez Mota International Editors of the Year for 2005. The World Press press release states,
"Their courage, tenacity, and dedication in covering sensitive subjects, especially drug trafficking, caused them to live in a danger zone of threats and violence, which ultimately led to their murders. They led three very separate lives, but had the love of their country and journalistic integrity in common.
"By naming Gibb Guerrero, García Escamilla and Jiménez Mota's 2005 International Editors of the Year, we hope to highlight the dangers Me…

Way to Go, México

"México ahora es un país dividido", declaró el periodista Jorge Ramos en su cubertura del día en que el presidente de México Felipe Calderón hizo la "protesta de la constitución". Pero, hay que decir también que, ahora más que nunca, México es un país democrático.

Watching Felipe Calderón begin his presidency did not make for pleasant television viewing. The Mexican congress was clearly divided in three. Members of the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional) stood on the dais where the incoming president would normally stand with the outgoing president to receive the bandera presidencial. The Pan-istas amassed there to ensure that Calderón, their party's candidate, would be able to get to the dais through the PRD's human blockades. Members of the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática) who weren't blocking the entrances stood just below the dais, glaring at the Panistas, and shouting. Members of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) grouped themselves …

Where Speed Takes Us

A man spends the chilly November night on a sidewalk, cradling his four-month-old daughter. Homeless? No. He's waiting in line to buy the new Play Station--he and thousands of others across the country. We almost needed the National Guard to control the crowds.

To understand the barbarism of thousands camping outside stores for 72 hours, including those who skipped school and work and those who brought their children along for this great quality-of-life experience, there's no need to latch on to the pros and cons of video gaming. The cause is our nation's addiction to speed.

My second-grade teacher Mrs. Wood taught us: "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Change the good to better and the better to the best." We now live in an environment summed up by "Later, Soon, Now. We don't care how. Just change later to soon and, quick, make soon into now."

Later, there will be more (many more) Play Station 3s issued, but we want them NOW. And if we don't …

Romance Language?

Did you know that the term Romance Language has nothing to do with romance? In The World's Major Languages, editor Bernard Comrie reveals that "Romance derives through Spanish and French from ROMANICE, meaning 'in the Roman fashion' but also 'candidly, straightforwardly.'"

A recent, televised poll conducted in Mexico City on the subject of "making love" reminded me of this fact. The question put to the men and women on the street was, "What are the reasons for making love? ¿Cuáles son las razones para hacer el amor?" Some twenty persons of varying ages gave their straightforward and candid answers. "Need, Desire, Loneliness, Fun, and (sadly) Obligation." One of the twenty mentioned the word "Love," and it was at the end of her list of reasons. I wasn't taken aback by the honesty of the answers, but I was slightly taken aback by the marked absence of their inclusion of the word "amor," because I cannot t…

Feeling Haggard: Life by Which Letters?

"Ousted Evangelist Confesses," the AP headline reads. Ousted, perhaps “outed,” and already judged, by himself and others. In his letter to his congregation, Reverend Ted Haggard wrote, "I am guilty of sexual immorality. I am a deceiver and a liar. A part of my life is so repulsive and so dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life." Haggard’s departure from New Life Church creates an opportune moment for Christians to return to the four Gospels as their centerpoint. Jesus said, "Forgive, not seven times, but seventy-seven" and "Judge not." He did not judge or condemn prostitutes, lepers, thieves, or homosexuals. He forgave those labeled unforgivable. And he had x-ray hearing that could detect almost any lie. Why lie? Haggard says he resorted to deceit “because of pride.” It’s more likely he lied for the same reason the Samaritan woman at the well did: to avoid the invisible guillotine of judgement, the shame that slices through…

Rediscovering America

The mid-term election results indicate that we are rediscovering our country, and the importance of honest citizens in helping to steer it in a healthy direction. Even in the face of inexcusable voting machine malfunctions, unnecessarily long lines and waits to vote, inconsistent ID regulations, and certain Secretaries of State trying to shut down polls before everyone had a chance to vote, U.S. citizens made their message clear.

We want a new direction, one that takes us away from: an unjust and incompetently directed war, illegal wire tapping, multi-trillion dollar deficits, underfunded schools, unaffordable state college tuitions, minimum wages that do not provide a minimum living income, unaffordable and inaccessible medical care, and the needless destruction of our natural environment and resources.

This is a first step, though, not a finishing one. The old-direction president has veto power and can be expected to use it. We need to continue to communicate with elected officials, c…

Be an Action Hero

All you have to do is vote. Voting is action.

I was a legal resident of a country for five years, where my life was affected in every way by its government, politics, and laws, but I could not vote. It was a great lesson for me, having no voting voice and no way to actively express my views or influence the environment that in turn influenced my daily life. I learned that the privilege and responsiblity of voting should never be taken for granted.

If you can't find your voter's registration card, don't let that stop you. If you are a registered voter in the U.S., all you need is to present your driver's license in order to vote.

And, remember, this election (as are all elections) is not about ourparties, but ourcountry. Our country which has lost nearly 3,000 soliders in Iraq. Our country which has a deficit of $43 trillion at last count. Our country which is building a wall between us and our neighbor, ally, and second largest trading partner. Our country where tens of t…

Prose Posing

As I drove to the post office last week, I found myself hoping to find something alegre in my box, and I did: a special edition of a highly respected literary magazine. My alegría, however, turned to disappointment when I found in those pages the same item I find in many other magazines and literary outlets in the U.S.: too many pages where prose poses as poetry. It's a trend that has gathered great steam over the past 20 years, and it is a literary crime.

Free verse does not imply no verse. Free verse is "free" to find its own structure, visually and rhythmically, free to rhyme externally, internally, or not at all. What it is not free to do is convert itself into pure narration.

If you can easily convert a poem into contiguous sentences whose primary quality is that of narrative, then you're reading prose posing as poetry. In his poem Poetry for Supper, the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas imagines two poets talking and writes:

'Listen, now, verse should be as natural

Sunshine Within Shadow

The murder of five Amish girls last week stunned the world. The event highlights yet once more the importance of tending to mental illnesses, too often left untended until physical violence reveals their presence and their depth. It showed us that the land of the free is now, is still, the land of the vulnerable. In her excellent report in Newsweek magazine on the shooting aftermath, Susannah Meadows reveals some details that initial broadcasts did not.

The Amish community requested that a fund be established to help the Roberts family, knowing that Roberts' wife and children have a double grief to bear, and a "shame by association" that they cannot help or change. From the moment the tragedy happened, the Amish community so brutally attacked has consistently spoken of forgiveness--in the face of the greatest loss known to human kind, that of losing a child.

When deranged gunman Charles Roberts entered the school house with his cable ties and guns, the two eldest Amish gir…

Mil Cosas

Mil Lubroth was an American artist of Polish and Russian descent who came to settle in Madrid, where her chic, short name took on an extra meaning. In castellano, Mil means a thousand. Just right for an artist whose work could never be "pinned down," or categorized by any one theme or direction.

To experience Lubroth's work is akin to hearing a chorus of voices from Sheherazade's 1001 nights: it is to see and feel a thousand things united in one intriguing and beautiful visual journey. If you are anywhere near Madrid during October, invite yourself to a banquet of Mil's "mil cosas" atAnnta Gallery. The exhibit that opens October 5th is the first retrospective of Lubroth's work since her death in 2004.

Spanning 50 years, these works reveal an artist who was never less than mature and skilled in her work. There is no sign of awkward beginnings, improvement over time or deepening development. Here is Minerva, beginning her artistic trajectory fully f…

A child's calling

Many moons ago, very many, I conducted a writer's workshop with a vibrant missionary group in Little Rock, Arkansas. We worked all through a Friday night to publish their first newsletter. The main article was on the organization's new elementary school. Every time I mentioned writing about the "kids," Sister Cheryl and Company would glower at me and say, "We do not call our children kids! Kids are baby goats. We call our children, children."
They never let me off the hook, not once. They smiled, they laughed, they forgave my intransigence, but they never let me get by with calling their children kids.

At the time, I thought it was dear of them. Now, almost 20 years later, I can see that it was visionary. The word, children, is disappearing from the American vocabulary. They're all kids now, even on PBS, the media refuge for children in our contemporary, cluttered clot of cable and network programming. Pick up the kids, feed the kids, take care of th…

Slow down and smell the photos

An all-time, record-breaking summer in Texas: 55 days and counting of 100+ temps. I've found a welcome break from the relentless heat and a relentless work schedule in some photographic jewels created by Charles Skallerud. A trip to any one of his three websites, all named for the lake in Minnesota that the Dakota Tribe called Lac Qui Parle, will reward. So, consider this your invitation to:
Cool--slow--down and see that
somewhere--still--there is a garden.

Image: Cactus Blossom 1, copyright Charles Skallerud.
All rights reserved.

From Light to Light

For my fatherJanuary 19, 1931 - June 30, 2006 TO MY LIGHTHOUSE
Ysabel de la Rosa

Thou art
the place-of-high-seeing
that grants
the wide, the deep, the far
Wind does not bend you
nor wave break you.

I will look for thee
through all voyaging,
look to thee on all
homeward journeying,
knowing I cannot fail to
find thee, for time and
traveling have taught me:
should the light go out
in untoward circumstance,
thou wilt not, cannot cease
to shine.
Image and text Copyright 2006 Ysabel de la Rosa.

A First for DreamBones

DreamBones, a collection of poems by Shelia Campbell, which I edited and designed, has been awarded first place in Press Women of Texas' annual communications contest. The award is given every year to the editor of a trade book.

The judges wrote: "There is a great deal of imagination on display here. Campbell clearly shows promise as a poet and exhibits a knack for concise, effective imagery. De la Rosa is an effective editor who demonstrates equal talent and potential at her craft."

Four years' labor went into the organization and final book presentation of this collection. During that time, I never tired of reading these poems, even when that reading was a part of necessary work and not initiated for pleasure. In fact, re-reading these poems never felt repetitive. They remain: alive.

One of DreamBones' readers, Rosario Lázaro, wrote: "With each re-reading of these poems, I encounter more layers and shades of meaning--feelings displayed on fabric with pinpoint…

Of Englishes and Emilies

George Bernard Shaw remarked that Great Britain and the United States were two countries divided by a common language. I'm reminded of this most when an English English speaker (or in some cases an Australian English speaker) living in the U.S. tells me that Americans don't know how to speak "proper" English. This happens to me with strangers and non-strangers alike. Most notable among my experiences was a British librarian working in our local public library who told me she was suffering from not having enough good things to read in this country, while she stood surrounded by thousands and thousands of books. (I asked her if she had read any Doris Lessing lately. "No," she replied. "I'm not familiar with her.")

Having been told again, just last week, how "horrible" American English is, I've been giving the subject of multiple Englishes more thought than usual. It's a topic I like thinking about, one that usually makes me smil…

Feliz 5º de mayo y ¡Viva Max!

Out on a ride with Tom, you just don't know what silly thing you'll see.
Photo, Copyright 2006, Joe Goldblatt

On the eve of Cinco de mayo, the holiday that commemorates the Batalla de Puebla where the Mexicans routed their French occupiers, I think of Maximillian . . . not the ill-fated Emperor, but the name itself.

My high school Spanish class was the last class period of the day after P.E. I would dash in red-faced, hair flying, and plop in a seat in the back of the room next to my friend Tom: Ultra-cool Tom who drove a spotless Impala, rode horses, and had the quickest wit in school. One afternoon, Señora McCoy patiently explained Cinco de mayo to us and the story of Maximillian. The name caught our attention as nothing else had that afternoon. Tom looked at me with a blue-eyed grin and whispered, "Maximillian!" and I, sotto voce, quipped back, "You're welcome!" We dissolved in sheepish laughter, and from that day on, we had a new silly code.

A code to…

Esperando todavía . . .

The boycott has come and gone, with marches "a la marcha" in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and LA, and marches que se esfumaron in Dallas and Phoenix. Mucha solidaridad. Lots of closed businesses and restaurants. Lots of customers and workers staying home. Bien. ¿Y ahora qué? Como siempre, even in the best and most detailed media coverage, the heart of the matter went untouched. Nadie habla del gobierno de México y su propia responsabilidad para su propia gente.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 78 percent of immigrants residing in the U.S. without documentation are from México. That's 9.36 million souls, as the maps of old used to say. Time and again, we are told they come here to realize the "American dream," to seek "our better way of life." ¡Que no! They come because they cannot survive in their homeland. No one leaves their home and family behind to work as a day laborer except in the face of dire necessity. These immigrants do not come here on a …

An End, A Beginning, A Continuation

There is no better way to bid adieu to National Poetry Month
in the U.S. than by remembering one of the English language's
greatest poetic mistresses: Emily Elizabeth Dickinson.
What did she not capture? The spare spirit of Haiku, the
punctuation of breath itself, the depth of sorrow, the delight
of nature, the finer points of philosophy and spirituality.
And, naturally, the essential bond between word, flesh, and spirit.
Her Poem 1263, below, was written between 1873 and 1894.

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry --
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without opress of Toll --
How frugal is the Chariot
that bears the Human soul.

From: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Thomas H. Johnson, Ed.
Little Brown, Boston: 1960. Copyright Mary L. Hampson

For more information on American poetry, visit
the Academy of American Poets

Post comment, Copyright 2006. Ysabel de la Rosa.

What's poetry done for you lately?

Poet Shelia Campbell described poetry as "distilled experience." Poetry can also be an experience that plays a role in one's own distillation of Truth. Even if it is the distillation of just one moment of Truth. A moment of love or of doubt. A moment of fear, courage, confirmation, or, yes, even the unwanted, infinite "moment" of loss. From one poem to another, these moments will change, flowing into and through one another without losing either essence or edge.

The word poem has its roots in the Greek poeima, meaning
"created thing or work." It is the noun form of the verb poiein,
"to make, create." So, let not yourself be fooled into thinking that
poetry is a spectator sport. Neither let yourself be convinced that
poetry is little more than prose rearranged. It is a word-by-word,
line-by-line world, where there exists, as Master Suzuki said,
"nothing extra." A world created and waiting just for you, to read
your way inside and experience…

Poetry Published 2006

Published in Calyx, January 2006
Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women has published continuously for 30 years, no small feat. I encourage you to visit their web site, sample the excerpts, and subscribe to this publication.

by Ysabel de la Rosa

That summer sound coming from
one instrumental insect stops me
and all my doing.

I stand by the cabinets, glass in hand, not moving
now, but feeling summer coming in
upon me, recalling how it feels:
to slow my way into a measured walk inside
the oven of an afternoon;
to slip my way shivering into cold bright
aqua waters and rise through the surface,
my self a kind of fountain;
to sip my way to the last of a tall and dewy
glass of ice-studded mint tea, rocking on
a porch, stroked gently by a twilight breeze.

One moment’s frictional song is enough:
just the signal I need to tell me it's
time to end
spring’s high green grace note
and begin
summer’s lower, quieter coda

Copyright, 2006, Ysabel de la Rosa
All rights reserved.

Poems Published 2005

Published in Amherst Review

by Ysabel de la Rosa

Buy it. It’s brand new. Wash
your black in it, and your deepest,
ultra-indigo blue. After all,
you want your darks to stay dark,
don’t you?

“Cheer Dark.” Buy it now.
this one more product perfected
to keep protected the dark stuff
of our lives. Cheer, dark.

Had this liquid been invented
by a Salem woman to stay the black
in Puritan robes, she would have been
burned, or locked in stocks. But, oh,
how time changes – us –
and stocks,
and spells,
the people walk
and wash
in darkness,
launder black
and bills
while some large someone
becoming something big
curves his mouth into a thin-
lipped grin, raises a
red cut-crystal glass
and says,
“Cheers –


Published in Wisconsin Review

by Ysabel de la Rosa
for Charo

Let us cut crust from
bread, take the dark
edges away and give our children
sandwiches as soft as their hearts

Let us iron wrinkles from
rumpled fabric, taking care not to
force new creases in

Let us redo the hastily d…

2005 Year in Review

Your Journey, Your Journal

Poems published:
Trans in Flashquake
Dark Cheer in Amherst Review
Let Us in Wisconsin Review
The Order in Which in Confluence
To Orient and Advise in 2005 HerMark Datebook

A Destiny Beyond Her Dreams: A profile of Fabiola Gaviria
Ingeniero de su propio futuro: A profile of Arquímedes Valencia
Un éxito nacido de la esperanza: A profile of Gladys Clímaco
The Dream Around the Corner: A profile of Fausta Licona
All published in Success from Home /¡Éxito! desde su hogar

Special Sections:
Setting the Course Toward Home
Values for Your Family's Future
Published in Private Clubs Magazine

DreamBonesby Shelia Campbell, edited and designed
by Ysabel de la Rosa

Other Projects:
A Sense of the Southwest
American Studies Association of Texas
Conference Program

From Press Women of Texas
Madrid and Back Again: Full Car-ma
First Place, Essay Written for the Web

From National Federation of Press Women
The Fabric of the Frontier
First Place, Video Script