Wednesday, February 8, 2012

discussion of poems 2/8: Stevens, Wright, Schlaifer, Mueller

What a blessing to have a group with whom to share discussion of poetry -- 16 different lenses today to view the poems.
To give a flavor of our exchange:
It was a fun session… Wallace Stevens is never easy, but it was great to have 16 minds trying to figure out "time" -- which took us all over the map --
You can't see it, know it, understand it, start/stop it, and just what is it? Stevens implies a platonic trio of good, beauty, truth, with time winding itself into it, but it is navel gazing, to wonder about time, see it as music beat, heart heat, breathing, an emptiness waiting for song. Our mind needs parameters… like having Friday — we say TGIF only if we are working and Friday means the end of the work week. What is the relationship between time and change? What is change but something that hinges between one state and another,
One place or time… time as season, as era, as hour and what is the speed of time, as light… Of course the poetics with the repetitions, beat / batters/…the echoes of hooded in book;
Walker in taut; the dark images work well… only for him to shrug and move from the spells of "inimical music" in enchantered space — perhaps what Schlaifer in her poem "Swath" was creating with the stanza w/ the Rothko and Mueller with her second sentence about the crippled lovers waiting (some shrill sign, some cry, some screaming cat that smells a sacrific and spells them thunder).

The James Wright gave us a foil for Stevens' tercets or Mueller's sonnet, with a poem that flows. The first four lines whittle to a one syllable: now. 3 views the moon's young (owlets maybe?) the slender woman (moon goddess?) and I. Whether it is anthropomorphism of a touch of American Indian that stills us — there are no questions, in this leaning to darkness, in a poem called "Beginning."
Everyone's favorite.

Swath brought forward memories of real tornados as well as discussion about the balance between destruction and yield… tension between violent and silent… how we cut to make anything— onomatopoeia — and the scythe both sliced with an em-dash. It inspired John to write a poem about a river offering, water, highway; damned by humans, so it floods, levied, it demands, taxes, or something like that.
A Brief history of time or space…

Whether the next poem by her was intended to be read with hers, we imagined a tornado drill and use of double negatives. If a poem makes us speculate too hard,
Is that good or bad?

Finally, A Prayer for Rain: beautiful metaphor for release and redemption perhaps… the walling up, and hardened stillness, as if after a bad fight, and the waiting for the repeat, only wishing this time, the mumbling of whatever will bring the rain.

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