Wednesday, December 28, 2011

last O Pen of 2011: as we get older...Bly, A.E. Stallings+

Bly once said, of growing older: "I was very surprised to find out, as my poems pick up more and more of the past of human beings, the ancient culture, more and more of the grief and the suffering of human beings — the poems become funnier! I don't understand that, but I love it. I feel that there's some way that as the mind gets more mature, in the midst of a lot of grief, it's able to dance a little!"

There's much to be said for "play" and for "form". Bly's use of music --appropriately titled in the book "Eating the Honey of Words" is gratifying. Whether the "eh-eh" bleat of a goat in "reckless" and "red" and "chevrolet" (not to forget French chevre as goat) the predominance of swallowed "l's" (pull, stubble, whole hill, single, frail)or simple repetitions, he catches the reader in the scene with sounds. "To pull in air was like reading a whole novel." requires quite a bit of pushing out to sound the words -- but one moment expands into story and we look at the "we" that has goats and washes up, and feel the we of "ordinary" looking on at the magic of what Bly observes on the farm in the early morning.
The personification of the earthworms looking up like shy people trying to avoid praise", the awkwardness of goats and turkeys, and dual sense of "washed up" all have a dance to it -- a joyful recklessness of just being.

Tale of the Reed Flute by Rumi
In the beginning, the great separation and how better told than by a reed, cut to make music... Kathy noted the problem of no period here:

Due to separation, I want chests torn to shreds
To describe the pain of desire
which could also be read to be understood as a period after "shreds"
and an awkward syntax of:
To describe the pain of desire
Anyone distant from his origins
Will seek to return to them.

How do we understand these words which describe two different "pains of desire"?
We want what we don't have; we want others to feel our pain; we lament -- but what do we truly lament?

I read the short translation of Nahid Yousefi:
Everyone's heart is broken one way or another
Whether by strangers or by friends
There is no objection if it is broken by a stranger,
But by the friend, why?

Rumi's poem allows a second look at what we expect, desire, truly want -- for so often it is a fleeting whim. True understanding -- the "secret" the reed possesses,
what we feel hearing it, but cannot put into words, we often overlook.

3 POEMS by A.E. Stallings -- totally delightful -- form, wit, and wanting every line!

"Aftershocks" -- a short sonnet which starts with this line:
We are not in the same place after all.
How after 8 lines, we are rocked out of place with a question mark
with a wonderful linguistic kiss as we go from literal to metaphysical considerations. The word play, slight references to Bishop's Villanelle "One Art" just enhances the problem of just what it is to be "grounded".

RepRoach was simply sheer delight. What representative of reproach do you pick?

After a Greek Proverb (A.E. Stallings p. 299 Poetry, Jan. 2011)
¨Ουδέν μονιμότερον του προσωρινού”
(nothing is more permanent than the temporary"
is a marvellous villanelle.

Inspiring discussion... the feeling of having read something-- enjoyed it, related to it, bolstered to have a line which puts temporary into perspective.
"We’re here for the time being, we answer to the query,"
query with em-dash; with period; with comma.

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