Monday, June 27, 2011

June 13 O pen - Dean Young; Kenyon; Love Song;

Scarecrow on Fire – Dean Young (the other one on poetry foundation, not
Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer by Jane Kenyon
Love Song – a study in contradictions by Joseph Brodsky
Sonnet 29 – William Shakespeare

When you chose me by Pedro Salinas
translated from the Spanish by Willis Barnstone

Although I didn't lead this discussion, the poems gather around "love" and loss.
I would love to hear the original Spanish for Salinas' lines -- the importance of feeling CHOSEN by another, and how skilfully the poet uses the "duende" so gladness is not one-sided joy -- but comes from a deeper place that knows shadows and dark.
"And my gladness was
sad, as small watches are
without a wrist to fasten to,
without a winding crown, stopped.
But when you said: you,
to me, yes, to me singled out,
I was higher than stars,
deeper than coral.
And my joy
began to spin, caught
in your being, in your pulse."

(Kim's notes: Generation of 27: wide variety of genres and styles; cubism, futurism, surrealism. Included Federico Garcia Lorca)
Dean Young -- version of Scarecrow on Fire -- in reprint section of American Poetry Spring 2011 issue, p. 55

In this one-block poem, Young leaps from statement (assumptions of "we" -- "we all think about suddenly disappearing" -- do we? What does that mean...) to question. "What counts as a proper/ goodbye." followed immediately by a last winter in Iowa and ladybugs which are now also included in the "we".
"We all feel
suspended over a drop into nothingness.
Once you get close enough, you see what
one is stitching is a human heart. Another
is vomiting wings.

Humans, ladybugs... life. Another question. Where did we get/the idea to rub dirt into the wound (when we were kids, and was that just in PA?)
and a comment on poetry. Poems ARE made of breath, the way water,/cajoled to boil says, "This is my soul, freed."

I prefer the other poem of the same title which starts this way:

Everything is brushed away, off the sleeve, Off the overcoat huge ensembles of assertions

** in it, there are no assertions of "we" and the poem leaps with lively sounds and images.

"just jars of buttons spilled, recurring nightmare of straw on fire, you the scarecrow, the scare, the crow, totems gone, rubies flawed, flamingo in hyena’s jaws, noble and lascivious mouth of the gods hovering then gone, gone the glances, gone moths, cities of crystal become cities of mud, centurion and emperor dust, the flower girl, some of it rises, proof? some of it explodes, vein in the brain, seed pod poof, maybe something will grow, another predicament
of bittersweet, dreamfluff milkweed, declarations of aerosols, vows just sprays of spit fast evaporate, all of it pulverized as it hits the seawall, all of it falling snow on water, flash of flying fish, breach and blow and sinking, far below creatures of luminous jelly constellated and darting and baiting each other like last thoughts before sleep, last neural sparks coalescing as a face in the dark, who was she? never enough time to know."

A good poem should leave you with more questions than answers! (Art of Recklessness)

Kim's notes on Jane Kenyon:
Bill Moyer's film: "A Life Together" ends, hauntingly, but lovingly, with Kenyon’s poem, "It Might Have Been Otherwise" which includes the lines:
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

-1st published in Poetry journal, then published in The Boat of Quiet Hours 1986.
-Translated Anna Akhmatova poems; married to Donald Hall.

**Akhmatova connection with Brodsky:
Kim's notes: He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 for alleged "social parasitism" (living off unearned income) and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan.

Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"

He was appointed American Poet Laureate in 1991

His "Love Song -- study of contradictions opposes two lines in each quatrain --
a rescue with arrest; a free bird with a drills; play with the complexity of mirrors and roles we play -- and the great surge of lava -- and the realization that we can love, but divorce, come together, separate...
If... is only followed by because at the last line.

Sonnet 29
to carry on "contradiction: Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at haven’s gate; I quote my MFA guru, Robert who says "Literally, it means something like, “When the lark wakes up at dawn it sings to heaven from the earth, and this is just like what happens when I am feeling very bad about myself and then I think of you.”
How, exactly, does the poet turn from the previous lines of crying, cursing, and discontent into a lark.

Apparently a prison program uses
beginning of this poem as a spring board for the inmates to write their own version of the poem, tell their own story through their own words. Very cool idea.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

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