Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Poems for August 12

A Lemon and Cat's Dream by Pablo Neruda trans. by Alastair Reid
Remember the Moon Survives -- Barbara Kingsolver
Apotheosis by Barbara Kingsolver
Our Father Who Drowns the Birds -- By Barbara Kingsolver

Two poems by Neruda,translated from Spanish into English; three by Kingsolver translated from English into Spanish.
Even if you do not triangulate a third meaning from two languages, these poems work ideas into shape in spite of what language they use.
Will you think of a lemon the same way? And how do you dream? How would you use "moon" and "survive" in the same sentence? Apotheosis (from Greek ἀποθέωσις from ἀποθεοῦν, apotheoun "to deify"; in Latin deificatio "making divine"; also called divinization and deification) is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre. And finally, the prayer-like title, with the irony of a destructive God.

Notes from Elaine on the discussion:
The poems were complex and looking at them again reminds me of how much more we could say, even when the discussion is good.

On "Cat's Dream" we got into a dog discussionn briefly because Jim said he had a husky that was just like a cat (gave details) and I added that each dog is different, however, and one of mine is much more tuned into me than a cat. Then David said we need to get back to the poem and I seconded that. We pondered the "stone carved moustache" without much success. Someone said the details (as in most great poems) such as the "geology of the sand-colored tail" and the falling but the growing and relentlessness lead to the human condition beyond the cat's.

As I said about "Remember the Moon Survives," most agreed that it was a dark poem about abuse of women, or a woman, but I pointed out the hopeful flowers and the surviving moon (often connected to women). But the burglar and black widow, etc. keep the poem scary (sometime in there, Kathy related she feels mostly serious darkness about Kingsolver and can't get into her, though she nodded thoughtfully when David and I pointed out humor and strong characters and some novels with a lighter touch). The memory of the poison in the spider and "event" remain but also "eyes see through the dark."

We again mentioned the humor in her work with "Apotheosis." The miracle of the egg was so well done, so specific, a real delight to me. It gets serious with the "hand" that feeds and then robs us. But the images of the end of war and anger and the hunters shooting the birds of prey give some kind of hope while not ignoring the savagery. I can't remember who said what, but these are a few of my thoughts. I got a kick out of the "miracle in twelves"--dozen eggs plus the idea of a miracle in each. Lots to think about here. Lots of fun! Elaine

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