Monday, March 25, 2013

Poems for March 25 - discussion

A good poem for me, acts like Luis Alberto Urrea’s books: he says they are “ ways to toss a love note over the fence.” In this case, snapshots of the everyday, playing tennis with art...

Days of Future Dwell by Samuel Amadon (contemporary poet, lives/works in Houston)
String Quartet by Carl Dennis
Abstract Expressionism -- by Tony Hoagland
Homeland Security – by Patrick Cotter
Of the Divine as Absence and Single Letter by Idra Novey

Each one of the poems addressed in some form the viewer/reader's experience in front of a work of art -- whether it be a poem, music, a painting. Week after week, our discussions allow 18-25 "live" participants to share how a poem touches them, drawing on a variety of work and life experiences including retired teacher, social worker, psychologist, environmentalist, accountant, musician, artist, and many more.

Days of Future Dwell:
What does the title "associate" ? Days of Future is not usually followed by the biblical, prayer-tone of "Dwell" -- and how does this poet use the quatrains to his advantage,
and repeating "ell" sound.

David suggested that we read it twice, in a row, to hear the words spoken by different people.

One person was reminded of refrigerator art...Martin commended the poem for reproducing the way the mind stumbles over things...David appreciated how random detail turned metaphorical...
and the more we discussed, the more layers appeared to what ostensibly is a story of selling a house in which one used to dwell, but which will only linger to what is "tied to its bell". Could be cowbells, so one doesn't lose them; bells as warning -- or doorbells... or the sounds that fill a house, the voices that identify the people who live there.
In the first stanza, "windowed, countered,/ surfaced" act both as adjectives and multiple-meanings of verbs -- perhaps like an offer/counter offer; what's put on the table; seen/passed through the window, and all that is revealed when suddenly the physical shell will change hands.

For Marcie, it addressed unreadinesss that’s going to happen anyway which started a discussion about our individual smallness in face of life. That reminds me of ee cummings
and his Impressions VII from Tulips and Chimneys where he breaks down in-
into a long column with two small i's.

Carl Dennis starts out Quartet with this line: "Art and life, I wouldn't want to confuse them." And then proceeds to compare listening to a quartet with a conversation. We all immediately recognized the flow -- or the person who has to play the "solo" part, the cello playing (Don thinks Pachelbel's canon) the same plodding line over and over. Favorite line:"voices of the quartet/In resisting the plots time hatches to make them unequal,

He returns to the crux of the matter here with a five line stanza question: "Would I be moved if I thought the music/Belonged to a world remote from this one,/If it didn't seem instead to be making the point/That conversation like this is available/At moments sufficiently free and self-forgetful?

We are moved when we make connection -- enriched when art enables us to do so.

On the same subject, Tony Hoagland's poem, Abstract Expressionism, gave rise to peals of laughter as we recognized ourselves in various personalities in front of a painting:
the amateur, naively going with associations/suggestions he tries to imagine as existing, the academic, the painterly painter. But really, standing in front of abstract expressionism is like standing in front of our own lives... paying attention to what is evoked in us.

Also from the Cortland Review is Patrick Cotter's poem which also has a dog. Unlike Hoagland's dog who has missed the boat, yet was there before it, Cotter's dog can "morse his message" which brings the speaker to wonder about how we decode messages -- whether in raindrops or barks. "If there are rules to this game/ I don't know what they are"

It is refreshing to laugh -- to have fresh and delightful ways of thinking about communication, art, how we are. The poem which had no artifice at all came at the end.
Idra Novey paints a perfect picture, as Marcie put it, of "hopeful expression of hopelessness." Re-read the title, "Of the Divine as Absence and Single Letter" and more appears as mystery. A suggestion, a hint, a real-ness in what is not.

Indeed, the details are real, oppositions of Holiday Inn and green; a beautiful flower called Joe Pye weed and peeling plaster; In the third stanza, the O sounds appear, a small tick of D on wind (hidden perhaps), owl, silo sliding to sticking, the doubled O in sorrow.
I’m listening to G now
but mean the owl, a wind playing the silo,
a sticking sorrow,

which then leaps to the actual snore of the visitor... and almost a prayer:
"make me kinder "-- and the double negative of "I’m not far from unfathoming it all."
Just as we cannot say the name of God, Yahweh, cannot fathom and cannot unfathom, if such a thing could be-- but there lies the confirmation of the mystery.

No comments: