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Poetics and Poetry Discussion


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  • Rookie Ben Cassel (11/22/2005 12:43:00 AM) Post reply

    The lunatic, the lover and the poet -


    Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
    Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
    More than cool reason ever comprehends.
    The lunatic, the lover and the poet
    Are of imagination all compact:
    One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
    That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
    Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
    The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
    Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
    And as imagination bodies forth
    The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
    Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
    A local habitation and a name.
    Such tricks hath strong imagination,
    That if it would but apprehend some joy,
    It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
    Or in the night, imagining some fear,
    How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

    (A Midsummer Night’s Dream V: 1)

  • Rookie - 324 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (11/21/2005 5:38:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I was looking on the internet for a decent translation of any of Karel Kryl's work and the few that I found were crap. So, I decided to translate one myself. Kryl is dificult to translate as he is such a master of language and he just plays with the words, phrases and meanings. Some of his work has double meanings when you listen to it - all based on his use of the Czech language and that, unfortunately, does not lend itself to translation. Also, it is difficult to translate and keep the rhyme and alliteration, etc. So keep in mind that this is my translation of one of my favorites of his.

    Morituri Te Salutant (We, Who Are About to Die, Salute You)

    Karel Kryl – Translation by Alice Vedral Rivera

    The road is dust and gravel and packed down dirt
    And paints grey smudges in your hair
    And from the star’s trails has a brooch made of pinned stone
    And a feather of hope from the wings of Pegasus
    And from the star’s trails has a brooch made of pinned stone
    And a feather of hope from the wings of Pegasus

    The road is a whip, is mean, like a lady of the streets
    In her hands dog tags and on her waist aluminum foil
    And from her eyes lust blazes when she throws into the unknown
    Two fragile stems of red gladiola
    And from her eyes lust blazes when she throws into the unknown
    Two fragile stems of red gladiola

    Sergeant, the sand is as white
    as Danielle’s arms
    wait for a while
    my eyes have seen
    that very long ago
    second of forgetfulness
    Sergeant - signal
    and we will be sanctified
    Morituri te salutant
    Morituri te salutant

    That road I continued on to where on the ground the fluttering
    Wing of a dove swirls the sands
    A march played for me, the sound of artillery that presents calm
    And raises thistle down that annihilates
    A march played for me, the sound of artillery that presents calm
    And raises thistle down that annihilates

    The road is tar, and dust and packed down dirt
    A brass bee from a werewolf
    Rusty rifle, my brother and thousand year old filth
    And awfully large white clouds
    Rusty rifle, my brother and thousand year old filth
    And awfully large white clouds

    Sergeant, the sand is as white
    as Danielle’s arms
    wait for a while
    my eyes have seen
    that very long ago
    second of forgetfulness
    Sergeant - signal
    and we will be sanctified
    Morituri te salutant
    Morituri te salutant

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie - 324 Points Max Reif (11/22/2005 8:07:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      What a stunning translation, Alice! It's a song, yes? (The repeated last stanza lines indicate that) .

  • Rookie Poetry Hound (11/21/2005 4:54:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Speaking of iconic poems, there are two poems that nearly every American school kid is exposed to and even falls in love with, and yet the poems were written by a Brit - Lewis Carroll. They feel like a bit of Americana even though technically they're not - Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter. Most people who don't even care about poetry know the first line of Jabberwocky.

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/22/2005 7:23:00 AM) Post reply

      you speak truth, PoHo. 'Jabberwocky' was one of my early favourites, i never forgot the line 'The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! ' it was all nonsense, but up until i discovered Carroll (and Shel ... more

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (11/22/2005 4:13:00 AM) Post reply

      ..and the first poetry that we were introduced to, in my English school, was Longfellow's 'Hiawatha'! Incidentally, and a propos Ben Cassel's post and this: someone showed me an 'autograph book' kep ... more

    • Rookie Joseph Daly (11/21/2005 6:15:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Thats really odd Hound, The stuff that I recall from school was Edward Lear and Aesop (Well okay, the latter may not be strictly poetry) . I never recall reading anything of Lewis Carroll at school. ... more

  • Rookie - 606 Points Jerry Hughes (11/21/2005 3:17:00 PM) Post reply

    A big thank you to those who sent their best wishes to my son, Mark. I know he'll appreciate them as much as I do.

  • Rookie Allan James Saywell (11/21/2005 2:14:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    peter sellers did a couple of the beatles songs one was a 'hard days night'
    he didn't sing it he spoke it like it was a poem it was hilarious
    there wasn't any poetry there

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 3:26:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      for a good laugh at poetry readings, i'll go up and read pop music lyrics in a Slam performance style with all the melodramatic emoting and pseudo-angst ridden inflection. you're right Allan, there's ... more

  • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 1:34:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    that Leo. Cohen lyric you posted was magnificent. i thought i'd send this more recent lyric to you. Cohen wrote it almost 40 years ago, and only felt it was finished in time for his 2001 album Ten New Songs.

    it is based on a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy, 'The God Forsakes Antony' (shown below.) what's remarkable to me was Cohen's ability to draw parallel lines between the fall of the city of Alexandria in the original poem and the monumental loss of a relationship in his lyric, and how the loss of each is a great defeat of ego.


    Alexandra Leaving

    Suddenly the night has grown colder.
    The god of love preparing to depart.
    Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,
    They slip between the sentries of the heart.

    Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,
    They gain the light, they formlessly entwine;
    And radiant beyond your widest measure
    They fall among the voices and the wine.

    It's not a trick, your senses all deceiving,
    A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust -
    Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
    Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

    Even though she sleeps upon your satin;
    Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
    Do not say the moment was imagined;
    Do not stoop to strategies like this.

    As someone long prepared for this to happen,
    Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.
    Exquisite music. Alexandra laughing.
    Your firm commitments tangible again.

    And you who had the honor of her evening,
    And by the honor had your own restored -
    Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving;
    Alexandra leaving with her lord.

    Even though she sleeps upon your satin;
    Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
    Do not say the moment was imagined;
    Do not stoop to strategies like this.

    As someone long prepared for the occasion;
    In full command of every plan you wrecked -
    Do not choose a coward's explanation
    that hides behind the cause and the effect.

    And you who were bewildered by a meaning;
    Whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed -
    Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
    Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

    Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
    Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.


    Original poem:

    The god forsakes Antony



    When suddenly, at the midnight hour,
    an invisible troupe is heard passing
    with exquisite music, with shouts -
    your fortune that fails you now, your works
    that have failed, the plans of your life
    that have all turned out to be illusions, do not mourn in vain.
    As if long prepared, as if courageous,
    bid her farewell, the Alexandria that is leaving.
    Above all do not be fooled, do not tell yourself
    it was a dream, that your ears deceived you;
    do not stoop to such vain hopes.
    As if long prepared, as if courageous,
    as it becomes you who have been worthy of such a city,
    approach the window with firm step,
    and with emotion, but not
    with the entreaties and complaints of the coward,
    as a last enjoyment listen to the sounds,
    the exquisite instruments of the mystical troupe,
    and bid her farewell, the Alexandria you are losing.


    Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Ben Cassel (11/21/2005 10:02:00 PM) Post reply

      I never knew that Alexandra Leaving' was based on Kavafy. I wish I could post the music; it is truly a beautiful song.

  • Rookie Savannah Churchill (11/21/2005 10:49:00 AM) Post reply | Read 8 replies

    For some reason everytime I try to access a poem, anybodies poem all I get is a blank screen, every other link works fine, anyone else had this problem and how did you fix it? ? ? ? ? Help

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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (11/21/2005 9:22:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Max, in partial answer to your question about the Great American Poem (or I guess, The Poet With The True American Sound?) , a chance for me to plug again 'American's Favourite Poems', from the Pinsky Project. The tributes to individual poems which they have taken to their heart, from, often,1st,2nd,3rd generation immigrants, are deeply moving and just make you value the poems more.
    Sherrie, there's a fine Cavafy poem about immigrants and immigration, in his weary-wise voice. Frost gets the biggest representation, with six poems. Then Whitman. Granted the choice is by Pinsky and Dietz, but with an eye to the eloquence of the responses, there's no Angelou or Silverstein among the 200 poems, but there is Gwendolen Brooks' 'Bean Eaters' and Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes' 'Mother to Son'. Rupert Brooke's 'Soldier' which Jerry quoted, gets in as an immigrant's sentiment. And there's James Wright's 'The Blessing' about the wild horses. I love this book to bits (a literal description in this case...) and it would turn anyone on to poetry, imho. It goes some way to answering the question of what moves Americans- though as they're 'lifetime' loves, it may seem old-fashioned to you guys, as it stops well short of the Beat generation.

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 3:35:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      J.C., 'O Captain My Captain' is dreck compared to what? 'Song Of Myself'? 'Pioneers! O Pioneers! '? please. most of Whitman's work is boring unaffecting rambles. any sound recommendations re ... more

    • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 11:31:00 AM) Post reply

      'howl' is a magnificent piece, but i don't think it's regarded as highly as any of the others you mentioned. i'd like to throw 'O Captain! My Captain! ' in there as an iconic American work. and 'Fla ... more

    • Rookie Poetry Hound (11/21/2005 10:46:00 AM) Post reply

      I think Max is right that Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' and 'Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening' are two of the most iconic American poems. I would add Poe's 'The Raven' and 'Casey at the Bat' ... more

  • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 8:48:00 AM) Post reply | Read 10 replies

    hey ladies and gents, here's a question that came up in conversation over the weekend:

    it is largely accepted that Bob Dylan is a contemporary poet genius in the US. Leonard Cohen is Canada's favourite son, even Jamaica has Bob Marley. but who in the UK stacks up? i mean, from a poet/troubadour perspective; that one lone voice of reason and brilliance. also, anyone in Australia? anywhere?

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  • Rookie Max Reif (11/21/2005 7:30:00 AM) Post reply | Read 4 replies

    I see, looking at my stats, that the curse of a poem is to have its title start with a letter in the 2nd half of the alphabet.
    hmmmm...could I unconsiously be writing better poems, when I know their titles will begin with A through F or so? I can see a critical review: 'Though Reif writes well from A to F, I felt his T through Z poems were weak. He should retitle them.'
    Junk food for thought.

    Replies for this message:
    • Rookie ***** ***** (11/21/2005 5:17:00 PM) Post reply

      Yes, I noticed that begin to happen for me also... a bitter poet's vitriol gets lazy after about 'f'.

    • Rookie Max Reif (11/21/2005 8:50:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I think Jake's idea makes sense. If you number a poem with '1.', say, then the title, like,1. The Sphinx, for example, then you can get exposure for the ones you want. You can also rotate them...

    • Rookie John Kay (11/21/2005 8:46:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      You're lucky if they go through page one. My first poem beginning with 'A' gets all the hits first, and it's not the poem I'd offer to a first time reader of my work. I don't know any way around it th ... more

    • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (11/21/2005 8:39:00 AM) Post reply

      good call, Max. i've noticed that, too. ... more

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