Tuesday, August 20, 2013

poems for August 19

Where is summer going?
Although I won't be physically moderating next week I will want to hear the discussion!
No meeting September 2 (Labor Day)


Frost: Meeting and Passing and Putting in the Seed
How To Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids in Her Future
by Ira Sukrungruang
The Composer Says This is How We Should Live Our Lives by Patricia Fargnoli
Paradoxes and Oxymorons by John Ashbery
Mutability -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Frost's sonnet, Meeting and Passing, opened up a discussion on what gives us delight such as the metaphor of geometrical figures morphing into the image of a man and woman (possibly Robert and Elinor and a memory of their meeting in 1890) and the use of the parasol,as in a Chekhov play, whose point does the speaking. Kathy thought of the Venn diagram to explain how Frost addresses the complexity of being one self, not yet two, but more than one. Martin brought up the Jungian slant of going down, into the psyche, the travel allowing experience to be understood with new eyes.
We ended with "Putting in the Seed", discussing the how to behind sensuous passion-filled apple blossoms and Spring composting.

In contrast, the denial of birth appears in the Sukrungruang poem, posted on the same day as the bombing of Hiroshima. How do you tell the old generation you are not going to carry on the family seed and what does this mean? We laughed at the excuse of "work crying in your briefcase"; noted the order of wishes for three more lives where work, dreams come before mother, but within that one, a shift from a conditional to future tense, promising many Siamese warriors. There are many possibilities -- not being able to have children is one, not choosing to is another, with a variety of reasons -- unliveable conditions, whether environmental or horrific twists of war, unjust society, etc. We tried a "variety" of possible responses, with particular attention to the role of wish.

The Fargnoli poem with its bounding tercets directed by a fairly invisible baton or a conductor was lots of fun to read outloud. We admired the cleverness of the conceit matched by the run-on, single sentence, filled with repetitions, hyphenated adjectives. It seemed to halt here:
... and the sea-wind

where there are no trees to stop it rollicks

making it difficult to match subject and verb -- rather like losing a theme in too many notes, without neat divisions of bar lines; likewise:

the wind and the white-capped

plum-blue ocean and a man's foot measuring time

combines a swell of wind, sea, and conductor -- the plum, resonating with "plumb", and depth, just as time
is both measure for music, but also our organization of years and seasons.

How do we live? Ashbery invites us to risk, be in the moment where you do something you aren't familiar with.
The playful tone he establishes works beautifully, for paradox and oxymoron, rather like Frost's ulteriority, saying one thing and meaning another.

The opening stanza is a case in point:

You have it but you don't have it. (paradox of meaning)
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other. (subject/object switch, double meaning of miss; to a reflexive loaded with meaning, which isn't missed at all, but very present, although unpinnably untranslatable!)

What is lost in the "steam and chatter of typewriters."? machine/human as Ashbery softly switches the human "you" to become the created poem. Pleasing brilliance.

How make an inanimate thing an animate thing?
How does metamorphosis work? Shelley's "Mutability" provided a discussion on attitude, on shifts and sways that are part of what we all navigate as humans. we hang on to things... we cannot control these things... we sing
carpe diem only to complain there is no free will and ended up with a tribute to the resilience of humans to keep on going, no matter the circumstances.


how do people learn...
time moves us from one thing or another...
no constancy.
quotable.. 3rd stanza. Pretend your happy, and you can be happy.
brush your teeth, Washing your hair, put on lipstick...
we hang on to things...
we cannot control these things...
carpe diem.
no free will.
romantics invented modernity... devotion to subjective...
the beautiful forevers... Kathy: rage against ...
resilience of humans...

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