Thursday, November 15, 2012

discussion of November 12

11/12/12... not quite ready for 2013!

We did start with the Tom Leonard "Jist ti Let Yi No" contrasting with the William Carlos Williams, "This is just to say" -- the two poems mirror the structure, but what a contrast in tone: the unapologetic, almost angry Dr., vs. the heartwarmingly honest beer snitcher which the Scottish accent (to me) makes even more appealing. What draws us to a poem and how to understand it? What makes a poem new?
It is surprising to stumble across a poem written in the early 19th century which can be so universal, one thinks it has just been published almost two centuries later!
So it is the case with Thomas Hood's "No!" It must have been a bad day for him, or maybe he is observing someone in an apocalyptic mood...
How different the contemporary "Last November" by Jason Miller, which in three parts gave us almost 25 minutes of discussion. First images, looking to see links, and how the verbs advance the narrative. What is it about the last line "between her teeth" that continues to gnaw at us. The final part which starts with Shakina, who lives without similes (that mark the first two parts in an irksome way) allows a re-reading of the world and the poem with her eyes, where "leaves" are potato chips, handful after handful crunching between her teeth. The paucity of her life, compared to the crab-scuttle of oaks, minnow-scatter of willow, barbed-wire vines help us rethink the world. Read the poem and enjoy the auditory effects, the different ways of imagining a war scene, a suburban scene, the nature of leaves... and the mechanical crunching, the feeling of caught, just like the paratroopers...

Job Search by Prija Keefe, a local poet, is a brilliant use of ads, of jargon and captures not only the wierdness of looking for a job, but catalogues an overtone
of what kind of jobs are out there... and would you want any of that?

Although I had to leave for the discussion of the last two poems, my question for the Nin Andrews was to ask if it was a prose poem, or simply a passage -- and would that change your feeling about it? Apparently a discussion about a bipolar girl, or typical adolescent came up. The knock-your-socks off last sentence, is haunting to me -- real enough to apply to anyone, not just the girl: "empty rooms inside her and someone hiding in every one." If we are a body, holding in spirit, what is it that
we make "room" for -- what lies in wait?

In praise of Noise certainly has music going -- and made me want to write a poem
using the rhythm of Psalm 100 -- so I did -- to allow the last line -- the song of everything -- which cannot be sung, but yet plays each day through.

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