Poetics and Poetry Discussion
(7/14/2005 7:25:00 AM)
Good to see all the Anne Sexton poems posted. I am not as familiar with her as Lamont is, but some of these appear to be her later poems. One in particular, 'Angels of the Love Affair, ' I highly recommend. It's too long to post the whole thing, but here is one section:
6. ANGEL OF BEACH HOUSES AND PICNICS
Angel of beach houses and picnics, do you know solitaire?
Fifty-two reds and blacks and only myself to blame.
My blood buzzes like a hornet's nest. I sit in a kitchen chair
at a table set for one. The silverware is the same
and the glass and the sugar bowl. I hear my lungs fill and expel
as in an operation. But I have no one left to tell.
Once I was a couple. I was my own king and queen
with cheese and bread and rosé on the rocks of Rockport.
Once I sunbathed in the buff, all brown and lean,
watching the toy sloops go by, holding court
for busloads of tourists. Once I called breakfast the sexiest
meal of the day. Once I invited arrest
at the peace march in Washington. Once I was young and bold
and left hundreds of unmatched people out in the cold.
(7/14/2005 12:30:00 AM)
Miss. or mister Yodel.. VERY unoriginal.
(7/14/2005 12:20:00 AM)
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I see we are back to shouting on the forum again. Now who is this new yodellor?Replies for this message:
Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter)
(7/13/2005 12:17:00 PM)
Mr. Shephed, Thanks for your clear and touching review of your poetic eduction. I really liked your comment re 'poetry you couldnt quite understand but knew it was worth the effort.' That is my idea of good poetry. P-Snob
Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter)
(7/13/2005 11:57:00 AM)
Ive revised my poem 'Market Forces.' For those of you kind enough to respond originally, do you think its improved? Thanks for any kind of response. P-Snob
(7/13/2005 5:35:00 AM)
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Our British introduction to poetry is so different, that I thought to recall my own 'poetic history'.
I had very 'modern' parents who'd read the child-rearing books, (no baby-talk etc) so I was spared all forms of cutesie-wootsie.
Age 5: started with Longfellow's 'Hiawatha' at school. Not a bad start - adult writer but musical rhythms for children. then I think Browning's poems for children, which I didn't take to. Otherwise not much poetry if any. But as 'poetic prose', my mother passed on her favourite Gene Stratton-Porters of the Limberlost, and I read through the family Dickens.
Age 9-13: poetry meant mostly school prizes, Kipling and standard good selections from English poetry, so all the classics got read for pleasure.
Age 13-18: busy being trained as a scientist, but I remember the music master encouraging me to read Mrs Sackville-West's 'The Land' as a great poem; and writing an intense essay on Arnold's poetry - teenage melancholia had struck. And more school poetry prizes.
Age 18-20: taught boys 11-12 English. Some had their own home fvourites already; some were very sophisticated (Kit Lambert who launched The Who...) but what went down well was the Penguin Book of Animal Poems. Observant poems written by decent poets which caught their attention better than the classics. They loved and I loved reading to them, D H Lawrence's 'The Snake' which I still seek to emulate for its sincerity.
Meanwhile, those late teenage years of 'who am I? '... the love of words was mostly satisfied by prose writers, copies down so carefully in my 'I would like to have written this' book: Proust in translation, Virginia Woolf, E M Forster for his worldly wisdom so finely expressed, Katharine Mansfield.
The first precious books of poetry I actually bought for myself: TS Eliot's Collected Poems which came out in 1938 and thus included the first only of the Four Quartets, which was, with Rilke's poems in translation and especially the Orpheus poems, the 'real stuff' - poetry you couldn't quite understand, but knew it was worth the continued effort. Arthur Waley's and Lin Yutang's translations from the Chinese showed what could come through in the poetic thought. But above all - W B Yeats, read over and over again aloud in a pseudo-Irish voice for its extra Irish vowels, and imitated. And a fascination with the wordsmithing of Gertrude Stein.
But the chief delight of those years was words'n'music - the wit and skill of Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and brilliant settings of Edith Sitwell's Rio Grande (by Kit Lambert's father) and Facade (William Walton) . And the haunting songs with 'real' words of the French, such as Jacques Prevert, as sung by Juliette Greco in existentialist black.. and of course what Sinatra did with all those standards.
Age 20-22: switch from factual, black and white science to Eng. Lit. at university, and a shameful skimming of all English poetry to keep up with essay-writing and learning Anglo-Saxon like a native, with Latin and French thrown in... Beowulf with Christopher Tolkien, for whom all was written... and the lovely sad elegaics of A-S poetry, and the gentle advice and love in Middle English writings. There was a Verse Drama Society, and memorable, mentally searing performance of Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes, and later, his Cocktail Party, to assimilate. Found Dylan Thomas patronising in Under Milk Wood (the drama all the rugger players and rowing men approved of) , and didn't take to the rest of his. Wasn't interested in the Hughes-Plath communiques from the battlefield which obscured the poetry. No Oxford Poets much interested, but I did buy Elizabeth Jennings as a potentially relevant poet.
post-21: trying to write poetry, Yeats, Eliot, Rilke the patron saints of European English poetry for most of us. It took a time to 'get' Auden's music.
Then just at the right 'who am I? ' time - the Beats. Total identification. Along with a review copy of On The Road from the Notting Hill book and record shop which also provided Bud Shank and all the West Coast jazz, and the first LPs of King Oliver - I bought my first American poetry book, Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 'Coney Island of the Mind'.. and took out honorary American citiizenship...so when the 1960s arrived, we'd done everything privately and illegally that the hippies were to do so publicly...
Age 25 on: long gap filled 25 hours a day with living and journalism and endless book-reviewing and later, academic research... so only recently became aware that America had been writing poetry at the same time as Europe (sorry guys, I'm not the only one...) .
So starting afresh, buying too many books too soon to read them properly. But respect for working-class Fairchild and Levine. Prime 'dipping books', Pinsky's Favourite Poems Project to help fill the gaps; 'Illinois Voices' with some fine poems by little-known names. Waiting to be read, or half-read: Koch, Ciardi, Pinsky, Ashbery, Wagoner, Kooser, Hoagland, Pastan, Hicok... and others read off this website of course. As for your top four or so - not rated here, if only because not read much. Current Brit heroes? I'd say Tony Harrison (his 'V' is on site here) is our representative late-20th-century 'serious poet' with a common resonance; Brian Patten and the other Liverpool Poets, Heaney and McGough and Henri. I'd say in general that we don't concern ourselves much with form, but go for content. As for the poetry-reading public, the Arts Council has its polite barbed-wire corral, headed by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate; which leaves Bloodaxe publishers to make the running.
But I'm years behind. I wish Lenchen were here to add to all this (maybe she'll read this anyway): and perhaps the younger Brits here will bring you up to speed? Anyone still reading this? ...hello... hello....
.Replies for this message:
(7/16/2005 7:48:00 PM)
Just picked up one of the Pinsky books at the library, ordered another on Amazon.com. Thanks, I'd heard of the project, but was not aware of the books.
(7/13/2005 9:38:00 AM)
That was beautiful, Michael. Much appreciated. Made me break my Forum silence.
- Max Reif (7/16/2005 7:48:00 PM) Post reply
(7/12/2005 2:25:00 PM)
What has really surprised and moved me recently has been reading the comments on favourite poems in Robert Pinsky's 'Favourite Poems Project' book. We've had nothing like it over here. And more often than not, it's the 'difficult at first reading' poems that are the most treasured. I do recommend it - it's inspiring and deeply touching. But then, you guys have lived with that project, I guess, so you know all about it? It's high in my 'dip into' pile of books within arms' reach.
Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter)
(7/12/2005 11:29:00 AM)
Lamont, about people wanting difficult poems, a little mystery to come back to and dig into. I dont bel; eive it. in my experience everyday readers want to get it all on a first reading, look at Maya Angelou and Niki Giovannis popularity and how often you hear I really liked this poem I could understand it right away? Maybe Kooser will slyly introduce poems of more than Silverstienien simplicity into the weekly diet. P-Snob
(7/12/2005 1:55:00 AM)
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I have just found the little rhyme 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' listed among the poems of Elsa Brooks. According to the entry on Ms Brooks she was born in 1987.
This confuses me, as I have known this rhyme since my childhood in the 1950s.
allan james saywell
(7/12/2005 12:15:00 AM)
poetry snob do a spellcheck on your comments please