Tuesday, March 25, 2014

O Pen : Poems for March 24

Every Day We Are Dancers by Mitch Roberson

(see March 13 + 20)
Analytic Poetry: (Ali Shapiro) +
Shakespeare Sonnet 18
William Carlos Williams, So Much Depends
Dylan Thomas, Do not go Gentle
Elizabeth Bishop, One Art

+ Parody
From Orient Point -- Marilyn Hacker
Era for Recovery by Lo Kwa Mei-en

We had a most "chuckling" discussion -- especially starting with the Roberson-- nine years old — does it feel fresh? Up-to-date? How does it stand up to the test of time?
How are we dancers in all aspects of our life -- from prosaic, to crossing a street with a mirror -- and how we mirror each other...
followed by re-imagining 4 chestnuts, with graphics, and two parodies.

For the Shakespeare... the group went much deeper than the graph provided...
and John brought up: I am but summer to your heart... Edna St. Vincent Millay:
No matter the season, no matter the comparison, is Shakespeare giving us just another Ars Poetica -- without him, no poem, without the poem, no souvenir of "thee" poem who is a different "thee"... Memories of lyrics, “Believe me with all these endearing charms...” and "Maybe I should have told you..." (You are always on my mind... Nelson...) and the saying, "I love you not for who are, but for who I am when I am with you."

After admiring the color wheel of the analytics for Williams' poem, the group went in two directions: 1) Is this poem a joke? and disappointment-- the sort of poem that might discourage people from reading poetry. vs:
2) exquisite image... Kathy recalled Neruda's Book of questions. "Is there anything sadder than a locomotive in the rain."
Bobby brought up the joyful, unexplainable quality of children’s painting...
Haiku. Zen Koan.
Even those who didn't like it at first, felt it captured something, helped us focus on something that isn't said, but only intimated, on which an unknowable "so much depends on" waits.

For Dylan Thomas -- the system of having one person for each repeating line occluded the continuity within each tercet. We remarked how only the final stanza was an imperative and hearing Thomas read it (
will convince you that it is not said as an imperative.

With Bishop's Villanelle, "disaster" is repeated, but not the entire line.
It is better read stanza by stanza. We had a long discussion about how to understand
(Write it!) with multiple valid directions, such as the urge to memorialize, or perhaps the urgency, the desperation, the pain of the loss so hard to put on paper, the poet's insistent voice speaking to herself. How do we wear the skin of another?

Marilyn Hacker's parody of it was fun... but after getting beyond the facile slipperiness of sounds, the advice is sound in such lines as these:

When someone makes you promises, don't trust her

to know she can afford what they will cost her
to keep until they're kept.

In other words, we cannot presume, assume anything about another.
"...Don't trust her

past where you'd trust yourself, and don't adjust her
words to mean more to you than she'd intend."

What is it we must muster to live?

The final poem, we attempted to read as three sentences... which helped a little bit, the overwhelmingness of a single block and also to be able to look at long and short sentences and patterns. It might be the sort of poem that would turn someone away from poetry. However, John had the genial idea of reading it as a monologue which worked quite brilliantly.

What a group -- what a discussion. We could have kept going even after an hour and a half.

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