Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Poems for September 15

With the Fringe coming up, this week, we discussed a few Cummings poems, which you will be able hear set to to contemporary music -- a different way of "making things new".
There are many different types of poems that Cummings writes... which is a reminder that it is not fair to judge a poet by just a handful of poems. The larger question,
is how others can approach a poem, enjoy it, feel they have seen a piece of the poet, a piece of themselves in a larger part of art.
Flaubert: “Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.”
Poetry isn’t about “getting it” for art is not something to “achieve” succeed in
or fail at, but rather invites us to have a conversation and relationship with it.
I look forward to our conversations!

Poems by Cummings
1. who are you,little i
2. may my heart always be open to little (New Poems, #19; 1938
3. supposing i dreamed this (is 5: 1926; IX from FOUR)
4. Song (but we've the may)
5. your little voice (Tulips, 1925, Amores, I)
6. imagine i'm/ from XAIPE (Greek word for “rejoice”)
(dedicated to Hildegarde Lasell Watson), 1950
7. in the rain- (Tulips, 1925, Amores II)

I find it interesting to compare the comments of the Thursday group with the Monday on the first poem -- "little" seems to be one of those key words for Cummings -- and in addition to looking at the parentheses, the peering of a smaller i, Martin noted that "five or six years old" could also refer to the passage of time--- not necessarily confined to a child, but a feeling which may have happened five or six years ago... Elaine noted the colon after "feeling:" which accentuates the importance of it. Marcie was reminded of the style of A.A. Milne who captured the magical tone of childhood... and Jan shared an anecdote of her 5 year old grandson, who didn't want his mother to grow old. Judith reminded us that English is the only language that capitalizes "I" in the nominative case.
We tried reading the poem aloud in different ways, as we did on Thursday -- a male voice, a female voice, a voice for what is inside and outside the parentheses... each voice finding a unique cadence as the poem unfolded in multiple understandings.
May my heart always be open to little / is a perfect poem to read line by line, pausing to allow each line to carry its own meaning, before attaching it to the next line. The slant rhymes are rich -- fail/smile; eye-rhymes of wrong/young; the juxtapositions of old/stroll; separating of hungry and thirsty with fearless and supple (echoes of "pull" in usefully, truly). Cummings weaves a rich texture with simultaneous sounds and possibilities. We discussed as well the missing "much", which would have ruined the rhythm and not allowed "love yourself so" to stand on its own next to "more than truly". I asked if people felt "pulling the sky over w/ a smile" was a little too sentimental, still thinking about the critique of Cummings as a minor poet, stuck in adolescence. What word other than smile would foil the "fail"?

Supposing i dream this... we noted how the wind does wrap -- words are pulled closer together separated by commas without spaces, and no one swells to noone'echoing the double "o" of fool...and latter "poor".
The 'f" wonderful/flower/laughing juxtaposes with dark jealousy -- and one senses a
complex view of a couple... We commented also on how Cummings, even when embracing a serious theme, still seems to have fun-- not to say that there is a playful tone here, but(one senses even with the darkness, the roaming, unhinged wind)he is enjoying the way he is crafting the feeling. 2nd Stanza, "since the best he can do/ is to peer through windows,unobserved -- the "he" seems to be self-observing...

Just as Thursday's group noted, everyone concurs how a Cummings' poem keeps growing in breadth and scope the more you decipher in it.

"But we’ve the may" as a first line, introduces syntax as an entity unto itself... what does "may" mean as subjunctive (will, possibility, uncertainty, desire, doubt) or as month, when one dances around the may pole? Must, when, now, until follow suit --
saying, doing, growing -- "without until". Marcie pinpointed how we use "until" --
da-da-da-da-da of life goes on until... and something ruins it, or changes it...

There was a typo -- 4th stanza -- it is "dim" not drim -- although we enjoyed the neologism.

Your little voice: Elaine noted the sense of witnessing whirling dervishes with the dizzy spacing and how the tone rises to an ecstatic otherness... We all enjoyed the sense of random capitalizations (and how they are NOT random! ex. up/Up which connects the alliterative "delicious dancing"(up) "Up" to the contradictory "pale important" //
how Humorous makes you think of medicinal humors and humerus bones
This is such a contrast from the first poem, where "little" is important to his emotional interior. Martin wondered about his poems as dreams where reality is a dreamscape where disparate things merge...)

imagine i'm ... we discussed at length the shape -- a breast with a nipple, pregnant lady, half a spinning top, a French soldier's helmet, a diamond cut in half… crosses of Calvary… drawn back bow or arrowhead. We tried reading it in different ways to capture the sense of interruptions...
i’m asking you dear to…
what else could a…
no but it doesn’t…
of course but you don’t seem to realize /i can’t make
it OR..
i can't make it clearer…
war just isn’t what we imagine …
but please for god’s…
O what the hell/ yes it’s true…
(it's true that was me)
That was me but that me isn’t me…
can’t you see now…
no not any — christ (swearing) but you
(but you) must understand
i am

Yes, I made a typo with yell... which works pretty well, but it is what the hell.
What is the O... god's O... omega, fullness, and the only capitalized letter in the poem? Kathy summarized it as "inner thoughts about war" -- the turmoil of it...

We ended on in the rain --
and spent some time on "rarely-beloved" rare as unusual… what is coined in sunset...

Back to little i... and the wonder of day linked by sunset to night... and the morning starts again, thinking of one's lover... how rare and precious...

So much more to say. I have tried to point out possibilities that lie in our very rich, very marvellous discussion.

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