Friday, March 11, 2011

O pen -- missed March 7, March 14

Favorite poems: whose favorite and why?
Favorite is a difficult word, especially when it comes to expression...
Favor is elastic, often shedding light first on one thing, then another as circumstances, moods, connections shift.

March 7 :
"They Feed they Lion" by Philip Levine
"To His Coy Mistress" Andrew Marvell
"I Hear America Singing" -- Walt Whitman
"The Windhover" Gerard Manley Hopkins

I can't make better commentary on the first poem than this:

What is curious to me is the strength of the title which looks like a misprint:
They feed the lion -- which is immediately asking for the "Y" of the definite article to turn into this anonymous population... and the lion, Rex Majestatis, is not just something to be feed, but the act of roaring the accumulation of things gathered "from" and created "out of". The lines lengthen before each "they lion"-- first 4 filled with "b" and a rhythm requiring a pulsing, relentless beat;
then 5, then twice 6, finally 7.

In "To his Coy Mistress" -- the energy is playful, without a thought to the apocalyptic or oppressive...
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Whitman sings a giant hopefulness -- and I wonder what he would make of Levine's poem, or the way our country is today.

In the Windhover, the language is complex, manic in energy -- the first sentence leaves you breathless! "I caught this morning morning’s minion king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! "
m's to d's to r's and w's.
Like Levine, the B's gather force... brute beauty... buckle... blue bleak embers...
the interlaced tercets (here/ chevalier
with the sandwiched billion rhyming with the next tercet's sillion and vermillion.
sandwiching "dear" disguised by the enjambments... here / buckle; billion/ times; sillion / shine, just as one would not read the first line, "king (pause) dom.
The energy of accumulated aliteration, the shift from short to long "I", the unwieldy "sprung" rhythm, make this a sonnet of astonishment first, triggered by the falcon.
As for Hecht's "Sestina d'Iverno" Charlene would replace Hecht with Tony Hoagland's "A Color of the Sky" ( and throw in Heather McHugh's poem "What He Thought" ( for good measure.

For the 14th:
We will not have time for everyone's favorite:
Deborah : For my Cat Geoffrey (Christopher Smart)
Marcie: Dorianne's "Antilamentation"

Sue: "First Trip Through the Automatic Car
Wash" by Mona Van Duyn.
Emily: Ellen Bass "Pray for Peace" and the refrain of Les Mis - "bring him home"
The Riddle of the Sphinx Moth- by Sarah Hanna from Inflorescence (2007)Her friends were doing a poem a month for the year following her death. (Unfort. the poet committed suicide by jumping from a building in Boston.)

poems slated: Omar Khayyam -- trans. by Shahin
Favorites from Palm Beach
Ides of March – by C.P. Cavafy
Spring Pools -- Robert Frost
Nomad Exquisite -- Wallace Stevens
Shikubu -- haiku

Elaine: The Gift -- by Li-Young Lee

Nora: Why some people be mad at me sometimes
- a poem by Lucille Clifton

they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and I keep on remembering mine
From Louise:
Emily Dickinson: "I'll Tell you How the Sun Rose"

Edna St Vincent Millay "Recuerdo":we were very tired,we were merry..

more from Charlene:

I'm in a Marge Piercy mood (because I heard she has a new collection out, gosh darn it!

But this is the poem I keep at my desk:

And I love the fact that Mark Doty has a photo of the inspirational sign posted above his poem "Signal", another favorite:

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