Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Rookie - 150 Points Poetry Hound (10/4/2005 8:49:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies
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    Here are some recent lines from you folks that I enjoyed.

    The river moves and almost never moves
    as if breathing and holding its breath
    while we listen to its heartbeat.
    -Merciful Moon by John Kay

    Castor and Pollux
    as one, mirrored in a pitched sky with
    fretting guitar and shaking legs,
    -Graceland by Gol McAdam

    all the darkness seeps into the sand
    like long-awaited rain.
    -Night Flight by Raynette Eitel

    his stone face
    crumpled like a wet rag
    i think i had only seen him
    cry once before:
    -Princeton by a. jacob hassler

    And then there’s this:

    conquer its treacherously lackadaisical gallows of stagnation
    -Don’t Kill. But forever conquer.. by Nikhil Parekh

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    • Rookie - 150 Points Michael Gessner (10/4/2005 11:08:00 PM) Post reply

      Your selections-beyond a contribution to the site, and having their own excellence-reveal an ability to read with a rare sense that is both informed and intuitive. Certainly one cannot be this close ... more

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  • Rookie Allan James Saywell (10/4/2005 4:26:00 PM) Post reply | Read 7 replies


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    • Rookie Mary Nagy (10/4/2005 6:00:00 PM) Post reply

      Well, I guess it's true.......HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERBERT. I hope you're celebrating with family! Sincerely, Mary

    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/4/2005 5:28:00 PM) Post reply

      Many thanks, guys. Much appreciated. And to Sherrie, a question: Can you sing the Happy Birthday in such a way that the individual syllables are accentuated, as in a march? That way, the true meaning ... more

    • Rookie Pradeep Dhavakumar (10/4/2005 5:08:00 PM) Post reply

      Yen(My) Iniya(dearest/closest) Piranda-naal(Birth-day) valthugal(wishes) ..That was in Tamil! Have a great day! BEST WISHES, Pradeep.D

    • Rookie sheila knowles (10/4/2005 4:35:00 PM) Post reply

      alles gute zum Geburtstag Herbert :) Th ... more

    • Rookie Max Reif (10/4/2005 4:31:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      hear, hear! (where is he?)

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  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (10/4/2005 3:27:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    from today's SF CHRONICLE
    (Oct.7 is the 50th anniversary of the 1st reading of 'Howl')

    When Allen Ginsberg hurled his shattering poem at a San Francisco audience in 1955, it proved to be the depth charge that started the Beat movement
    - Heidi Benson, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Practically the first thing Allen Ginsberg did when he hit San Francisco was to seek out poet Kenneth Rexroth, whose Friday night literary salons were legendary.

    'What's happening? Who's interesting? What's going on? ' asked Ginsberg,29, fresh out of Columbia University in black horn-rim glasses and a sack suit.

    It was 1955. The San Francisco Poetry Renaissance was in full swing, with the erudite Rexroth and poet Robert Duncan of San Francisco State at the white-hot center.

    Rexroth suggested Ginsberg meet Gary Snyder,25, who was enrolled in graduate studies in classical Chinese at UC Berkeley and living in a hut behind a house on Hillegass Avenue.

    'Allen turned up at my little cabin, ' Snyder recalls, 'and we immediately began exchanging poems.'

    That year, W.H. Auden gave a poetry reading to benefit the Poetry Center at S.F. State. Ginsberg was there, standing in back next to Michael McClure,23, a student of Duncan's and a regular at Rexroth's salons.

    'Allen and I were wallflowers among the lordly and academic figures, ' McClure says.

    'I don't know who mentioned William Blake first, but Allen talked about his visions of Blake and I told him about my dreams of being Blake.'

    After that, they met often (sometimes Ginsberg brought along his Columbia classmate Jack Kerouac) to talk about poetry and the meaning of life over coffee. 'We couldn't afford lunch.'

    They shared a conviction that poetry was dead, killed by the academy, McClure says.

    'We could not contain the urge to speak out about what was oppressing us, ' including 'the stifling conformity and fear that came out of the Cold War.'

    Fueled by various stimulants, fellowship and a near-mystical belief that the world must change and poetry was the way to do it, this group coalesced and staged a reading on Oct.7,1955 - at the Six Gallery on Fillmore Street - that has gone down in history as the moment of conception of the Beat movement.

    No photographs of the evening have turned up, but by all accounts, when 150 to 200 people showed up at this low-ceilinged former auto-body shop in response to hastily printed postcards, the size of the crowd astonished everybody.

    Rexroth served as master of ceremonies that Friday night. Kerouac, who had declined to read, brought jugs of burgundy to share.

    First to take the orange-crate podium was San Francisco-born Surrealist poet Philip Lamantia, who read poems by John Hoffman, a friend who had just died.

    Next up was McClure, reading 'Point Lobos: Animism' and 'For the Death of 100 Whales, ' both presaging the animal-rights movement.

    Then came Philip Whalen, a friend of Snyder's from Reed College and later a Zen monk, reading his poem 'Plus Ca Change.'

    (On this night, McClure first met Whalen and Snyder.)

    Then Ginsberg took the stage, drunk, some say, and visibly nervous. Kerouac urged him on, hollering 'Go! Go! Go! ' as the poem gained momentum:

    'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

    dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...'

    The poem brought down the house. Ginsberg and Rexroth were in tears.

    'By the time Allen read 'Howl' - and when Snyder then read 'The Berry Feast, ' the first deep-ecology poem - we felt that a body had been thrown against the barricades, ' says McClure.

    Whalen, who died in 2002, saw Ginsberg's reading of 'Howl' as a breakthrough for everybody.

    In an essay by Steve Silberman called 'How Beat Happened, ' Whalen said: 'The mixture of terrifically inventive and wild language, with what had hitherto been forbidden subject matter, and just general power, was quite impressive.'

    The elated poets decamped to a nearby Chinese restaurant; their names were on everyone's lips the next morning. That's when poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Books and, now, a fledgling publisher, shot Ginsberg a telegram. Borrowing language from Emerson's famous 1855 letter to Whitman regarding 'Leaves of Grass, ' he wrote: 'I greet you at the beginning of a great career.'

    Ferlinghetti published 'Howl and Other Poems' in 1956. The fourth book in City Lights' Pocket Poets Series, it featured an introduction by William Carlos Williams, who had been a mentor to the younger Ginsberg in his home state of New Jersey.

    ' 'Howl' brought together the East Coast and West Coast poetry movements, ' says John Leland, author of 'Hip: A History.' 'It was more than just a poem, but a performance and an act of will. Ginsberg flayed himself for his audience, ' Leland says. 'That was as pure a rock 'n' roll show as anything that followed.'

    Where did 'Howl' come from?

    'It didn't come from nowhere, ' says Silberman, who knew Ginsberg for more than 20 years. 'What nurtured 'Howl' into being was the community of painters, musicians and poets who were very active before it was written.'

    Among Ginsberg's inspirations: the long poetic lines of Walt Whitman and the melodic improvisation of saxophonist Charlie Parker; Kerouac's 'Essentials of Spontaneous Prose' and Duncan's essay 'The Homosexual in Society, ' which inspired open dialogue on that subject.

    Another powerful influence was Rexroth's 'Thou Shalt Not Kill, ' a poem dedicated to Dylan Thomas. Like 'Howl, ' it invokes Moloch, an ancient deity to whom children were sacrificed.

    'Rexroth's anger toward the soul-destroying force of capitalism was a huge inspiration to Allen, ' says Silberman.

    As Ginsberg gave further readings, 'Howl' captured the attention of would-be censors alarmed by its frank portrayals of drug use and sex.

    In 1957,520 copies were seized by U.S. Customs officials, and Ferlinghetti was charged with obscenity. The ensuing trial, which ran through the summer, made the pages of Time and Life magazines, ensuring the notoriety of everyone involved. Ferlinghetti won that year, with support from the ACLU and testimony from many literary experts, when the judge decided that the poem had 'redeeming social importance.'

    According to Silberman, Ginsberg, who died in 1997, saw the trial as an important victory. 'Allen felt it was a huge breakthrough for honesty, for candor, for accuracy, ' says Silberman. 'Whatever was true was poetry.'

    Half a century later, the Six Gallery reading stands as a galvanizing event.

    'It gave a sense of the possibilities of an alternative culture, ' says Snyder, now 75, by phone from his home in the Sierra foothills, where he has just finished cutting firewood. 'And it wasn't just poetry that moved people. It was the sense of a community, of people with a vision.'

    As McClure, now 73 and living in the Oakland hills, says, 'We all had our foot on the line. We all believed in that line and none of us have gone back.'

    E-mail Heidi Benson at hbenson@sfchronicle.com.

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    • Rookie - 7 Points Michael Shepherd (10/5/2005 6:55:00 AM) Post reply

      Thanks for that, Max. I remember the moment the ripples of that event hit the shores of Britain, and Snyder's remarks are spot on. It wasn't just the poetry, but what came from a new generation or a n ... more

  • Rookie Mary Nagy (10/4/2005 2:12:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    I'm sorry somebody has done that to Pauls work Andrea. I think there are many of us here that have experienced this '1- hit' at one time or another....myself included. It's not fair and it does hurt since they don't say why or who they are. It's never 'ok' to just click a 1 vote on a person's poems just because of your personal feelings for them. Although, if they feel a '1' is warranted, they do have the option. When you get a 1 vote on each of your poems, it's usually pretty obvious you've ticked somebody off. I'm sure his work will bounce back. Sincerely, mary

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    • Rookie ***** ***** (10/4/2005 5:19:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

      Unfortunately, Paul is one of the victims of Netvenom. It will continue and as time passes, he has seemed the worst offender but I will say that I know two truths to be the case. I must stress that ... more

    • Rookie Alice Vedral Rivera (10/4/2005 4:21:00 PM) Post reply

      I have gotten a few ones with no comments and I just figured that if what I wrote got that strong of a reaction then I'll just leave it there. Of course, I would prefer to know why so I could improve ... more

  • Rookie Mary Nagy (10/4/2005 7:36:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Not to change the subject.........with so many different parts of the world represented here at poemhunter I am curious how many celebrate Halloween (or similar) ? Or, is this just an American holiday? And, before somebody tells me to 'just google it'........I much prefer hearing personal opinions and experiences from people first-hand rather than a one-on-one with a machine. If I googled everything I ever wanted to know there would be very little use for human contact. I'm just curious who all celebrates Halloween or a holiday similar to this with trick or treating and the whole thing. Sincerely, Mary

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    • Rookie sheila knowles (10/4/2005 1:26:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Hi Mary You do know it's originally an irish festival. Google 'Samhain' and you'll find all you need to know. Love it, always have. There was no trick or treat though, when I was a kid. We knocked ... more

    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/4/2005 7:46:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Mary, the American influence has taken hold Down Under. So the trick or treat thing is well established. May I point your head toward my poem on the subject of Halloween? 'THe Halloween Dentist'? Be ... more

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  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/4/2005 6:00:00 AM) Post reply

    As a further thought, Collette, it would please me no end if you could check with me prior to removing a perfectly valid comment. I shall endeavour to help you to make this difficult decision.
    Thank you and keep up the undercover work.

  • Rookie - 996 Points Jerry Hughes (10/4/2005) Post reply

    thank you for the warning, Andrew. I'm certain I don't need the masochistic displeasure of labouring through Nikhil's masterwork, in any guise.

  • Rookie allan james saywell (10/3/2005 6:10:00 AM) Post reply | Read 7 replies

    good morning everybody isn't it a lovely day, oh i forgot it's night over in
    America isn't it

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  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/1/2005 8:29:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Talking about spies, I wonder why someone would attempt to play the cloak and dagger game if he/she was ill-equipped for it.
    If you take on someone else's identity to fool others why would you wear their exact clothes, or write in the same style, conveniently copying the dont, wont
    and id be's?
    Well, I guess we can always invent friends if we don't have any.
    This scenario has been written about at length by at least five poets.
    Any comments?
    Best(=) H

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    • Rookie Max Reif (10/2/2005 12:17:00 PM) Post reply

      Let's hear what Poetry Hound has to say!

    • Rookie Allan James Saywell (10/1/2005 11:04:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      you have a point herbert i have three and i dont think they are a secret because someone in management must know your different identities there is a fourth but he was shot by the powers that be, m ... more

  • Rookie Allan James Saywell (10/1/2005 6:07:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    ELBOW ESPCIALLY IF Elbow is your pet mouse

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    • Rookie Max Reif (10/1/2005 6:56:00 PM) Post reply

      He is a sensible uncle, Allan, you should listen to everything he says.

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