Friday, 30 May 2014

fish cake

so today I told myself I wouldn't worry too much about my respiratory problems and brittle asthma. instead I relaxed, read poetry and munched on these lovely Thai fish cakes!

grinded cod
Thai red curry paste (1spoon)
3 pieces of lime leaves.

mixed them together, mould them to circles, and fry!

really enjoyed them while reading my mentor's new poetry book. will write more about the book some time.



Thursday, 22 May 2014

enticing food and poetry

 I do not want to say this, but quite frankly, I love Thai food more than I love my native Filipino food.
I just find Thai cuisine very rich (but not over powering) in flavours and spices. They are never bland; there's always a surprise happening just at the tip of your tongue.
Sometimes my boyfriend's mother, who is from Thailand, will make a type of dish which she calls 'laab' either with pork or beef, and, for sure, I will drool just by looking at it. Laab actually originated from northern Thailand. It is inspired from a mixture of Laos and Thai cuisines. Nowadays they call such cuisines 'Lao-Thai.'
Today I actually attempted cooking this dish with pork and vermicelli noodles. The dish actually tastes nice and it's bursting with enticing flavours. It always has a 'kick' in it!

roasting some peanuts, a very important ingredient in Thai cuisine

preparing the herbs

finish product! Thai laab

want some more!

5 sprigs of coriander
4-5 pieces of green or red bird eye chillies
crushed peanuts
3 pieces of mint leaves
5 spoon of fish sauce
1 lime juice
1 spoon of sugar
mince pork
boiled vermicelli noodles

  • Heat up a pan until very hot. Cook the pork until well done and the fatty juices have evaporated.
  • Set aside to cool the pan of pork down.
  • put  and mix the chillies, fish sauce, coriander, diced mint leaves, sugar, and squeeze some lime juice.
  • mixed the boiled vermicelli noodle well.
  • garnish with crushed peanuts and extra sprigs of coriander
  • enjoy!

Aside from this dish, may I also present you this 'delicious' poem from one of my most favourite modern poets, Li-Young Lee:

Eating Together


In the steamer is the trout   
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.   
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,   
brothers, sister, my mother who will   
taste the sweetest meat of the head,   
holding it between her fingers   
deftly, the way my father did   
weeks ago. Then he lay down   
to sleep like a snow-covered road   
winding through pines older than him,   
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

Monday, 19 May 2014

translating poems

Recently I have tried translating poems from my mother tongue, Tagalog, to my 'second love' English. I found literal translation quite easy as I am fluent in both languages; however, choosing the right/most appropriate words to use in poetry translation is a different matter. You must ensure that the translated poem doesn't lose its linguistic grace, art and musicality. 

So today I traveled to Shrewsbury to meet up with my mentor (a prolific poet) whom I'd like to call 'Mr S' to talk more about translating poems. I recently suffered from pneumonia, today is actually the first time I've been out and about for weeks! I'm still managing to smile and put some make up on; after all the problem is my lungs, not my face!

A view from the train window

a little mayfly joined us during mentoring session

 The ever so lovely, historical river Severn

Yes, this was what I had for lunch!

Robert Frost once said, "Poetry is what gets lost in translation."  I can't really say if I agree or not. I won't elaborate what I really think about that statement. The point is, recently I find translating challenging, it's quite  an enticing break from reading or writing poems! 

Today these are what I learned about translating poems
  • stay close to the original poem as ,much as possible - certain words are there for a reason, no need to add or remove adjectives, adverbs, etc. Once you start adding stuff in a translation, it becomes your own poem, only inspired from that original poem or others may actually think it's just an ugly, unethical act of plagiarism. 
  • the poet is the master, and you as the translator, is the servant - i need not say more.
  • read the poem again and again - until you memorize the words by heart or until you learn its rhythm and its flow so the sounds become a graceful dance. The poem is the lead and you just follow instinctively.
  • if possible, know the poet- what does he/she really want to say when the poem is written? what does the poet think of your translation? what could be improved? some words give certain meanings/imagery to the readers; however, traditions and cultures could have a big impact to the significance of these words. For example, in Urdu, a word 'peacock' may symbolize boastful artists/poet, whereas in English, it may just give an impression of something extravagant or beautiful. 
  • Lastly, enjoy the process. Never give up, breathe and relax...

Friday, 9 May 2014

Farm and anything bucolic

When I was a kid we used to visit our grandparents in the province during weekends. They owned so many farming fields and animals. I remembered when my grandad taught me (and my siblings) how to plant corns. It was very sunny and sweltering but we enjoyed the process. We used to live in the city of Lipa and going to the farm in Batangas was such a change. Fresh air, fresh fruit, and fresh faces. When I went back this year in January, there were of course some changes as life itself is ephemeral. Having said that some things will always remain the same. 

mangoes my cousins picked straight from the trees

cloudy? only for a while!

corns being dried

mmmmmm.... so fresh, so scrumptious! That's not my hand by the way ;-)

From east to west - a fragment of my provincial memory can now be seen in a historic farm in Shropshire, England. My poem is displayed at the Poetry Fence of Acton Scott. It is a project by the poet in residence, Jean Atkin. Read the beautiful poems tied along the Poetry Fence HERE and visit the historic farm HERE

And below, my dear readers, is my simple poem. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

My first published Haiku

So thankful and excited to announce that my  haiku in traditional form 5-7-5 is published by Prolific Press (Haiku Journal issue 28)

On the down side, they do not give a contributor's copy, so I guess I will just order one when I am not too skint. The cover looks very nice though, don't you think?

And oh, this is also my first publication outside the UK! My first poem to reach the faraway land of America! lol.

Here it is:
climbing mango trees
swapping sunlight for sweetness -
ants on a dried twig

Read more free electronic issues HERE

Haiku Journal Issue #28 - Click Image to Close

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

whilst I'm off sick

There's nothing more dreadful than being sick. And while I have been coughing up and getting high temperature for weeks, I find solace in reading poems and writing some. Since last week I have been writing a poem a day. Hope some of these will get to be edited and proof-read soon (once I feel more better) and someday find their home on the pages of good magazines.

Flying to the Philippines

I was quite anxious flying back to the Philippines for my AIDF programme. It was my first time flying alone and I'm not too keen on plan...