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Saturday, May 20, 2017

poems for May 17-18


The Voice of the Rain – Walt Whitman
From Blossoms by Li-Young Lee,

People Like Us by Robert Bly

The Wall by Laura Kasischke

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda  by A.E. Stallings

The Dalliance of the Eagles – by Walt Whitman

Green Stone   by Richard Hugo

I picked the first Whitman for the conceit... have you ever thought of having a dialogue with rain? And what would you ask, and what would you imagine the response?
This is a many-layered poem and brought out a many-layred response.

Li-young Lee: look at adjectives... how they slow us down...  father allows him to carry peaches...

O sounds... emulating mouth...


Robert Bly: important to know the back story of why he dedicated the poem to James Wright who stumbled into a classroom to hear some Rilke. 
People LIKE us. vs. People like (resembling) us.  Not just about poets.
What is greatness?  The comfort of knowing one is not alone in being human... and making mistakes
is not necessarily a bad thing.
The Wall is one of those poems which allows several conjectures of story-- and what it is
that is overheard... the image of jellyfish, potentially dangerous, as thoughts "passed secretly between people"  is highly unsettling... what separates one human from another?  A thin, dry/// wall
except we are all swimming... weeping... tangled in seaweed...

Stallings' poem is more accessible and the kind of witty but deep poem I like, taking "tense" 
as mood  in speech and emotional  intensity.  I love the "curse in the fricative" -- for the sound 
of it, feeling the teeth against the lip and how we make the "f-word"... 

The Dalliance of Eagles reminds me of other collective nouns for birds... murder of crows,
murmuration of starlings... but here,ho there is nothing casual about two eagles mating... 
such a contrast with Li-Young Lee's observation of peaches... 

I look forward to reading the rest of the Stone poems by Richard Hugo... Who collects stones?
Who attaches "luck" to objects...  Maura was reminded of the Israel Emiot poem, translated by Leah Zazulyer (on Poets Walk): " A stone also hears" which comes from the Yiddish saying, "As alone as a stone -- a beautifully rendered music.