Wednesday, May 9, 2012

O Pen -- May 16

We will start with a prélude, followed by the Kenneth Patchen we did not read/discuss last week, followed by two more love poems by him, a serenade. If time, Jane Kenyon’s
reference to Mme. Bovary
Prelude by Oliver Bendorf (posted in Linebreak April, 2012)
As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each Other – Patchen (see last week)
The Sea is Awash with Roses -- Kenneth Patchen
There are not Many Kingdoms Left – Kenneth Patchen
Serenade by Kevin Young (posted on Knopf, 4/22)

So many of the poems left us puzzled, or out of words... so I shared eight more below.

An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatic Poet W. Shakespeare by John Milton
two poems by Alice Ostriker:
The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog
The Vow of the Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog
Dogma by Nick Courtright
Crystal Flowers, 1949 by Florine Stettheimer
two poems from the book, Lasting: Poems on Aging, Edited by Meg Files
A brief history of fathers by David Citino
From Hafiz on Aging... translated by Daniel Ladinsky
That’s Not Me by Ruth Stone


The prelude feels enigmatic -- Kim's idea of transgender makes sense -- two neckties... tampered pronouns..
David brought up the reference of "olive tree limbs" and the story of Odysseus' bed which only he and Penelope know about--
so another secret. How does poetry allow us to enter "hidden" territory?
Starting with Patchen's love poems, how to understand a title, "As we are so wonderfully done with each other"... filled with beautiful sonorous images such as "floors of music" ... lips splashing the speech of flowers... and the tactile appreciation of soft curving...Sleep is an entry to a different milkwhite cloak of childhood lies but why the desire to stay there...
is it a love poem? the idea of love-making as spent energy, and sleep as refuge from waking relationship hints perhaps at the complexity beyond the (marriage) bed.

The sea awash with roses, with the repeating first and final stanza; the repeating pleasure (small p, end of line) and Pleasure (capital, beginning of line) speaks to the ephemeral which yet continues. We spoke of customs throwing flowers out to sea after people have died.

The next love poem, is filled with beautiful images all the ways to write beyond words -- write the lips of moon on a shoulder -- stillness over all the swans of the world; a pen of rivers and mountaintops -- and places -- on her pillow, her hair, and then to add a political note -- where the outside world can only be profanation.

Serenade, to continue with the music, is an odd mood for such a title -- a bit bitter (that'll fix me/for trying sleep)
It is anything but a serenade -- rather a tirade against sleep set as a plea, leaving the reader feeling the frustration of the speaker bathed in milky dark...

Thinking of Mme. Bovary evokes the novel -- flies, hot boring countryside... and then the curious crocus piercing through an oak leaf -- appetite -- not just for the luxury of sun -- but like Emma.. wanting so much more.
and then the ant... and a discussion of Methodists... (4 methodists hide a 5th) and Mary's point: is the twig put there to help or hinder the ant?

I like that we had no answers -- and could be comfortable with extra time, although I filled it with other poems that might have been discussed. The fun of helping poems along, how we might write an Alice Ostriker poem -- taking it to a narrative... finding wit in the dogs of dogma, and the skinny stanzas of Crystal Flowers --

all different ways of feeling different people feeling the world.

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