Friday, March 11, 2011

Poetry and Spirituality: March 10 : The Self... other selves

What is it to "know" -- what is "knowing" -- perceiving through senses, intuition,
what a self is...

-- What is this life? (Tony Hoagland: Still Life -- where "still" is both art, life as suspense between birth and death; Life, is life, is still life)If you don’t listen to self it might be vicious… like that badger... tone is amusing, except when he talks about the sad child, "who feels secretly proud for being sad" ?

-- what happens with an alphabet? (Nemerov and Primer of the Daily Round )
instead of names, the alphabet, a little soap opera... pretending to be gay. Talking about life… but there is a lot of bitterness. The letters are used artfully, with attention to rhyme and pattern, J/clay; k and the nightstick. primer, as in prime the pump; primer as in instruction; and daily round, as life round.

-- what systems do we use (Brenda Hillman -- Several Errands) -- intimacy of shoes and the shoe man; and shoes -- relationship... "fingering the well-worn inner sole, and I am grateful for those who serve us knowing nothing of our lives ..."

which brings you to wonder what we know about our own lives, not just of others...

The cleaner from Cambodia and the plaid coat of the ex-husband, chasing other skirts perhaps...

the violence of the butcher... "Somehow I thought we would know everything
through the flesh. Perhaps. But my days have become
spirit. The young butcher splits the chicken
down the back, seems to enjoy the crack of the knife
as it enters the bone, so I try to." the "I love that" -- allows more than just one detail in the shop... the leaning against the glass... the way the butcher doesn't look up...

and then the strange 4th stanza -- past the French hotel... to the dentist... how the "pain shines through" -- and the odd final stanza "a man" /// which man? And what is this system? We were touched by the very human portraits, the speaker sketched by each of her observations.

-- what do we know from images, from imagination?
How does Stephen Dunn’s idea in “Knowledge” apply to these poems – (that the more we “know” the more mysterious the world becomes.)
Finally, what is it that we build, with our knowledge (as in Hoagland's "Hardware store".)
Ordinary people living their life.
Inner community. Equal value of the two women despite age...
Mystic embedded in ordinary.

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