Wednesday, April 21, 2010

O Pen : 4/19/ 2010 -- C. Dale Young/ Claudia Emerson

How does a community perceive an individual?

A community of boys – a mean gang… then, trying to raise money to make amends…
What is a joke?
Is it a joke that our expectations of a joke turn out to be hard work…
and just what is hard work?

Song allows us to think about what a bad feeling is like.
How a goat called Broken Thorn Sweet Blackberry with eyes like wild fruit, silky hair dark as well water will sing, and the heart dies of that sweetness…
How this dark image will haunt the boys, the little girl, all of use.

“"Song" is beautiful in it's mystery and sense of legend and ambiguity of place and time and somehow that all comes together with something other than meaning somewhere inside me where knowing is not expressed in words. It's like your quote from Mary Kinzie about the stuff of poetry having 'half meaning' -- a way of using words to express something that is not said in the words themselves but conveys meaning just the same.” – a contribution from a reader.

It segues beautifully into “Torn”. But first, what does poetry allow us to do? It allows us to ponder how to negotiate passages, find patterns that underlie the unruliness of life.
Curious that C. Dale Young picked Yeats, "Second Coming" for Poetry Daily's April Poet's Pick -- how he had to memorize it in HS, and loved it, without fully understanding it.

C. Dale Young –
“Poem” is wonderful, except for one word: people took offence at “clatter” of hummingbird. How the wings buzz, hum, and the bird turns into a B-52 bomber, but the wings do not clatter.
Line… how in painting line divulges the image – so two, the poetic line…
point of view –
you can read only the middle line and it makes sense until the last line of the penultimate stanza and last stanza – how “The sound and the line… are everything)

To demonstrate:
The water breaking / better describes/ the sound of hummingbirds / what we call the horizon/is merely a line above… / … what we call personal,/ … quite unimportant / that which ways welcome.

Another way of enjoying the poem is to look at the metric pattern some might say this way:
the WAter BREAKing

aGAinst a STOne MAYbe,

The A of What, Call, Water, Small; aGAinst, may; the alliteration of the WH, ll, and S’s; the long A sound of Rain/Break; “itself” a syncopated surprise, as if the enjambment and stanza break annotate the syntax. –

What we call rain against a stone --- is a sound, unlike the sound of hummingbirds for the most part unheard – i.e. we don’t really hear beyond the sound.

George Oppen: “The meaning of a poem is in the cadences and the shape of the lines and the pulse of the thought which is given by those lines.”

James Longenbach: if poetry were to wear an ID bracelet, it would be made out of sonic links, or “the sound of language organized into lines”

In Torn: the words are cut.. the narrow alley an ever-patient dangerous passage, and all the healer can do stitch by patient stitch, is to try to restore beauty. Try for perfection, stitch up even the ones who might tear the protagonist.

Claudia Emerson -- her book “Figure Studies” does indeed make you think about what we neglect, throw away, in the first poem. Amazing what happens when you put a mannequin in the Motor shop.

Having attended an all-girl’s school, I loved her idea of creating poems about one — she calls it a “surreal sequence featuring girls in a boarding school, followed by a second less-neatly sequenced group of poems exploring women figures in isolation.” We enjoyed all the points of view. She chose slant-rhymed couplets because they look so deliberately made, just as the education is deliberately constructed. For synchronized swimming, note the POV of the surface tension; the personnification of the scull.
We talked also of restraint how she gives line “half-meaning” -- especially in “What they want” -- all the possibilities for “they” which at the end is “we”. The Two parts: auction and the outer appearance of this woman; and then the woman implied in the doll -- The dialogue line in italics: where/ how many days/ my word / my God/ the coffin closed / of course / can you imagine / how sad she died alone — where all the voices meld together like chattering crows picking over the remains.

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