seveneightfive magazine | ISSUE #92

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LITERARY REVIEW

WATCHING MEN DANCE SEPTEMBER 24 // 7:30p // VIRTUAL

Award-winning playwright Marcia Cebulska’s first novel, WATCHING MEN DANCE, was scheduled to debut at the Rita Blitt Gallery but...Covid. “At first, I was disappointed but now I’m in love with the idea of it’s being on Zoom," said Cebulska. Readers from every corner may not experience the multi-media release that will include Cebulska reading from the novel, a conversation with the publisher, an account of the author’s journey illustrated by travel photos and music, plus audience Q + A. WATCHING MEN DANCE provides a good opportunity for armchair travelers who are aching to spread their wings, as its heroine travels to the Pacific Northwest, Chile, Greek Islands, Italy and Wales from her home base in KAN. The main character is a photographer who struggles with her love of adventure versus her need for home and family and deals with issues concerning a cross-cultural relationship with a Native American dancer. The book is published by Flint Hills Publishing and features cover art by Barbara Waterman-Peters. Topekans may be familiar with Cebulska’s plays which have been performed at thousands of venues worldwide and her screenplay which was aired on PBS. NOW LET ME FLY was commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision and VISIONS OF RIGHT was written in response to the Westboro Baptist Church. [seveneightfive]

DON

QUIXOTE

AUGUST 29 at 7:30PM AUGUST 30 at 1:30PM TOPEKA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER LACEE SANDGREN, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

www.balletmidwest.net

“The Worst Kept Secret in Town.”

Private Dinners and Catered Events Friday Dinner Reservations Required Open for Lunch Friday 11am - 1:30pm

Wine Tasting & Tapas First Wednesday 5pm

LUIS’ PLACE

5TH & KANSAS | 350.2028

TO KANSAS, A GIFT OF MANG S A NATION UNTO ITSELF, A MIRROR OF MODERN LIFE... UNLIKE A WATCHED POT THIS BOOK BEGINS TO BOIL THE MORE YOU READ IT.

H

A review of Huascar Medina's Un Mango Grows in Kansas | by William L. Domme

uascar Medina currently holds the seat of Poet Laureate of Kansas. It means he takes an active role in expanding all aspects of poetry within the state; language, form, function, musicality, and something I enjoy particularly about poetry, blank space. And like Kansas, there can appear at first glance to be an abundance of blank space. This does not mean emptiness. There is life and sustenance in what is called blank space. Not every acre needs to be filled with the machinery of the industrial revolution; a din of jack hammers, train cars, car horns, safety beeping trucks in reverse filling the head like a migraine. A nice 30 mile an hour wind on a hot summer day in the empty spaces of Kansas gives a soul a chance to breathe and imagine and contemplate. An aspect discovered to be endemic in life during the pandemic. In that respect, "Un Mango Grows in Kansas" by Huascar Medina is a nation unto itself, one that is a mirror of modern life in the United States of America. There is the din of modern life and there is the open space to breathe. There are mirrors and interpreters along every road between where this book begins and where it says put me down, I rest now and you take on the road. The poet pulls down the things of space and the heart and plants them in the pages where they grow in the open light. Unlike a watched pot this book begins to boil the more you read it. From Medina’s Per Aspera Ad Astra: We were lost in the plains, beautiful and ordinary, Sunflowers in the fields; seeds of fallen stars, standing tall; deeply rooted in this land.

"Promesas" is a divine pair of poems experienced in full by reading the Spanish and English as one in my opinion. There is something in its structure, set as a pair of inverse translations, different from the rest that makes you spend more time with it though it is swift, taut. An expanse opens in the spaces of Promesas* Any minute now, Plainsmen No nos enjaularán

Ya mero, llaneros They will not encage us

Any minute now, Plainsmen No nos separarán

Ya mero, llaneros We will not be separated

Any minute now, Plainsmen No nos dividirán

Ya mero, llaneros They will not divide us

Any minute now, Plainsmen No nos mandarán de regreso a morir

Ya mero, llaneros They will not send us back to die

Any minute now, Plainsmen La bienvenida no darán

Ya mero, llaneros We will be welcomed

Any minute now, Plainsmen Viviremos en paz

Ya mero, llaneros We will live in peace

The phantasmagoria of poems of yore lap the coastlines of a handful of poems in this volume. The heart is shown to be at once full and looking to be filled. The witness and participant of the world within and without leaves footprints up and down the shore. And whether it be a bucket or a thimble, Medina’s castles are certainly more durable than sand. He’s built worlds of whole cloth here and made something fleeting into something tangible enough to take with you long after you leave the page. She is Not Your Calla Lily: I think her bones would blush if I dug them out

*excerpt

of a grave with a thimble taken from the sewing room in the basement of a nunnery filled with Mother Theresa posters. At 134 pages, "Un Mango Grows in Kansas" is ripe and ready to pick. Take it in your hands. Penetrate its fleshy skin and let the juices run down your chin. It is truly a gift not just to Kansans but to all the world. It addresses the interior and exterior realities of our modern existence and the struggles of people who need to have their grievances resolved. In all that, there is room to breathe. since 2006 | seveneightfive.com

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