Category Archives: Poet

Audio Poetry Experiment

I’ve been experimenting with the idea of putting some of my poetry into audio format. Every so often I’ll hear someone with a unique voice and think to myself, “Wow! I’d love to have that person read a poem or two!” So I’m looking for portable tools and software (mostly my mobile phone) to capture such moments when I get the opportunity.

Here’s my first try with my father, Thomas Vera, Sr. He’s reading “She Reminds Me of Mangos” from TRANSMISSIONS TO THE MYSTIC NEBULA.

He’s reading into my iPhone 4 using the free version of iTalk. I’d love to hear what you think.

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“Transmissions” Press Release

28 years later, local poet publishes debut book online

San Diego, CA – Author, and San Diego native Christopher Vera announced the publication of a debut poetry collection started 28 years ago, entitled “Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula.”

This long-awaited collection of poetry follows the life and relationships of a cyber-poet in the not-to-distant future who seeks to find his place in the universe by initiating several unauthorized communications to a mysterious cosmic phenomenon.

Vera is a contributing member of the Magee Park Poets in Carlsbad, and his work has won accolades both locally and in competition. “San Diego is increasingly the place to be for poets and writers,” he said. “The whole county has more literary talent than most people realize, especially poets and writers of fiction.” Vera also spoke to the growing interest in steam punk, science fiction and fantasy. “Speculative writers are essentially presenting many possible gateways to the future, much like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and other greats did before them.”

“Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula” is available as an e-book on Smashwords and as an e-book or print-on-demand through Amazon.

For more information, readers can visit chrisvera.com.

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The importance of paper books

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...

Image via Wikipedia

I was discussing the topic of the value of paper books with some fellow book lovers on Goodreads and I felt so strongly about the topic, I felt I should share it here.

E-books have their place in civilization (as we know it.) They save trees from being cut down. They are (in theory) more energy-efficient to produce and to share with others. E-books are fantastic for conveying information. But they rely on several dependencies even after they have been published. Energy. A digital library to store them. An e-reader.

A paper book requires all these things too, except for perhaps the e-reader which is a significant point I will return to shortly. But still, a paper book is a tangible thing. It’s more than simply the ideas it conveys. And since I’m a bit of a sci-fi fan, let me say that we dangerously assume the Internet (or its offspring) will be with us forever. There may come a time when digital information–whether because of politics or because of lack of energy, by accident or by design–will become obfuscated from the average person who lacks that knowledge, position, or technological capacity to evoke it from its electronic storage media. As long as humankind retains the ability to read, books, because of their simple non-technological user interface, are (as fragile as they are) probably much more resistant to catastrophe. What good is an e-book if one does not have an e-reader? What good is a digital library if it has been corrupted because of hackers, made unavailable because of those in power, or is inaccessible because of sun spots? I own paper books (own! There’s a word seldom applied in the digital age, where products are generally “licensed” or “subscribed to”) that have long outlived their authors, proving their tenacity. Will we be able to say the same of their digital brethren? We have not yet had the opportunity to test e-books in this fashion. An author may host their own e-books on their website. But where will they be stored once the author is no longer physically or financially capable of paying his hosting fee? They may upload books to many of the e-book providers, but only if they meet the policies of those institutions. And on the other side of the coin, when an avid reader passes on to the Great Unknown, how will they transfer their lifetime collection of beloved e-books to their loved ones?

There’s a feeling I get knowing that someone else had read a paper book before me. Paper books have traveling souls and develop strange histories all their own as they are passed from reader to reader. Stains appear. Notes are written in the margins. Love letters are left on the inside covers for friends. Flowers are pressed between their pages. Paper books have souls that grow stronger as they age. They may actually increase in value because of this

All of these things contribute to the soul of that paper book, not the story being told, but THAT ONE SPECIFIC BOOK that makes it unique among all its brothers and sisters. Who will ever look upon an e-book and say, “This is the same e-book that <insert famous person here> once read. You can tell by the electronic coffee stain, or the digital signature in the corner”?

More importantly, paper books better withstand the whims of future generations. New versions of paper books may change their text to suit new audiences, but as long as older versions can be found, their text by its nature will reflect the thoughts of that time. Electronic documents are easily cloned and more easily modified, thus they are transitory and untrustworthy. 1000 years from now (assuming e-books make it that far) while historians argue over the interpretation of an electronic text, there may be no “original version” to refer to. Worse, imagine a world in which Orwell’s Ministry of Truth can change the text of an e-book IN REAL TIME based on a variables such as which country the e-book is being read in, who the reader is, what time of day or year it is, what other e-books the reader has in their collection, etc. Sound like conspiracy theory? It’s quite possible and easy to do. E-books will be stored in “clouds” and accessible only through “approved” e-reading devices that run software managed by agencies that can filter such text as it is being downloaded for the reader. It could be used for perceived good (such as to remove foul language or explicit scenes if the reader is underage), but there is a strong chance it will be abused by those that control the technology required to display content.

Our generation may never understand this problem but in the distance future, our childrens’ children will find it increasingly important to be able to trust the information they are receiving or be controlled by it. Paper books are certainly not perfect, but they are stone tablets compared to e-books, with all the benefits and weaknesses thereof.

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“Transmissions” Paper Version Now Available

Hubble Captures View of 'Mystic Mountain'

Hubble Captures View of 'Mystic Mountain' (Photo credit: wstera2)

Some fans have been asking for a paper version of “Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula.” So be it. And it looks great! The cost is a bit higher because I’d prefer people save the trees (and I’m not making a dime more off the paper version), but I completely understand that feeling of having a book to hold in your hand. I may even order a couple of copies (sorry trees!)

You can buy it on Createspace now and will be on Amazon shortly.

Thanks again to all of you who have taken the time and resources to support me. I can’t wait to bring you more poetry and fiction.

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Condorcon 2012 Delivers

English: A twenty-sided die (d20) as used in w...

Condorcon 2012 was awesome this year. Met a lot of great authors and artists, including the lovely Kat Rocha (wife of Josh Finney) of 01 Publishing; Alicia Hollinger, Liliana Atanasio, and Tom Kirkbride, creator of the Gamadin sagas. Played a little Dungeons & Dragons with @securesandiego (aka Ron Simmons) and his awesomely wild brood. Workshopped a little sci-fi poetry with my Science Fiction Poetry Association peeps. There wasn’t enough time in the day to do it all.

I appreciate Condorcon because it’s smaller than Comicon, so there’s plenty of parking, no lines and you can spend some quality time talking with the authors and artists.

Already looking forward to next year for the big 20 year anniversary! If you’ve never been to a Condorcon or San Diego, you should be there too.

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Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula eBook Arrives

Its been literally years in the making–I started writing poetry at 15 years old. After years of publishing individual poems in various publications, I decided to voyage into the strange new world of e-publishing.

“Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula” is a collection of poems by a lonely cyber-poet in the not-to-distant future who seeks to make himself heard by initiating several unauthorized communications to a mysterious cosmic phenomenon.

The talented Ali Ries did the beautiful artwork of nebulae that can be found throughout.

You can purchase it on Amazon. I plan to add iBook and even a hard-copy format in the coming weeks.

Thanks to everyone who has supported and inspired me these many years!

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Carlsbad Library July Poetry Workshop

Carlsbad Library will be hosting a yoga-themed poetry workshop in July.

 

Melding decades of experience as a writer, writing teacher and coach with ancient principles learned in her yoga practice and training, Anne Marie Welsh will guide participants through exercises that focus the mind, deepen awareness, and open the heart to the infinite stream of creative energy. You do not have to be an experienced yogi to participate safely and to reap the benefits. Attendees may bring a yoga mat or are welcome to use the library’s chairs for chair yoga. Please also bring pen and paper for the writing portion of the workshop.

Contact Jessica Padilla at the library for more info.

Spectulative poetry in the news

We speculative poets (that is, poets that write about subjects that may or may not exist, such as the fantastical or science fiction) sometimes play the role of forgotten stepchildren locked in the basement while “real” poets collect all the fame and glory (in reality there’s not much of either, even for “real” poets!). So we always love to see our favorite topic being discussed by “mainstream” literary publications.

Check out this article I ran across on Poets.org called Poems about Aliens.

Ironically, if speculative poetry should ever become mainstream, and everyone starts doing it, we cutting edge poets may need to find even more bizarre topics to write about.

Great song for writing poetry

If you’re like me, you enjoy writing poetry to music. Its best of we can’t understand the words to the music so it doesn’t influence our writing. try listening to this piece WITHOUT watching the video that goes with it so it doesn’t influence you. Let your mind wander…

My Brother, the Reluctant Poet

My brother is serving faithfully in Afghanistan. He was so moved by a recent Fallen Comrade ceremony–a ceremony he has performed several times–he felt the need to write about it, and after reading it, and with his permission, I felt the need to print it.

A Sad Tradition
By Thomas David Vera II

The warriors moved slowly in the darkness
A melancholy mood was tangible in the air
slowly lining up, side by side
As far as the eye can see
Standing patiently, restlessly, still
The flashing lights slowly approach
The misty drizzle hits my face
It starts to collect like cold tears
A yell breaks the silence
The line of warriors snap to attention
Slowly arms raise to salute
My eyes drift to the eight somber faces
Accompanying the flag draped aluminum casket
Farewell my fallen comrade
The precession passes and salutes fall
The warriors disperse to go back to work
To go on living