Saturday, October 11, 2014

Poems for Lunch -- October 9

At the Coast by Peter Sears
My Dance Card Is Full by Vicki Snitzler
No Problem by Peter Sears
Night Fishing by Peter Sears
At the Old Cemetary Outside of Fossil by Peter Sears

The poems by Peter Sears are part of his "new and selected" entitled, "Small Talk". It's super special for me, as he was one of my advisors at Pacific U. I'm glad he was elected as Oregon's Poet Laureate and that this new book came out. My selections... somewhat haphazard, to give a "sense" of humble self-confidence that combines a certain lightheartedness with depth… Sears knows how to string us along, for instance, nodding with approval at the audacity of the speaker of the poem who is involved with being himself, as if not even aware he is SOP only to realize maybe he's more weird than we might like. I respect Sears because of his unique and inventive way of thinking.


“At the Coast” was also the last poem in his book, “Tour” — so even though he makes a comment that he's not sure it "coheres", he’s hanging on to it as. His comment, recently re-reading this poem written in 1970, in Lincoln City, OR where he first penned it: "Looking back now at the poem, I think it sounds better than it is. In the last stanza it opens into a love poem and then, in the last sentence, reverts to the "I". The question of the last sentence is asked of the "you."
Reading aloud, it comes alive… reminded Jim of “Suzanne takes you down” and Leonard Cohen… For me, it made me think of “aporia” — where Socrates gets you at a loss to say something to respond( especially to that last sentence…) I noticed you used “glaze” for a different poem — was curious if there were a connection with pottery. We tried different sorts of possible understandings of the “you" — all of them OK.)

The Snitzler gave us different impressions from the poem title — is it a sense of elation — MY dance card is FULL! Yippee—
Or sorry— no room for anything else… just going to join the square dance and keep dancing home…
Flavors of dance, and a sense of the different partners — how we change flavors because of the music, the partner…

“No Problem” came from Green Diver, last poem in the first section…
(we LOVED the surprise at the end — the inventiveness which corrects assumptions!)

At the Old Cemetery Outside of Fossil. : (so good, we just oohed and continued reading more.7 sentences. 3 lines, 3 lines, 2 lines, 2 lines -- (which imitate the feel "a little snaky/as if I'm trespassing) ... the double mention of whirl,(about "my size" and leaning to left/right... and the surprise ending of the wind wanting to dance with the SOP, alone there in the cemetery ). Brilliant.

The Old Woods: (The setting balances dream, childhood,the memory of the kid; the halloweenish spookishness twitching without saying the word “witch” or spell, or magic; the aliveness of the interplay w/ present.)

Night Fishing: from his book, "The Brink" in the section called "Night Fishing"... Love the teddy-bearish feel of loneliness. How great to know it breathes easily… love the mystery of rain blurring… )

Long After I’m Gone: made us all choke up, the metaphor, the feel of time from long ago with a kerplunk like Sal's blueberries... Jim decided this poem should be posted in Laundromats...
Father/daughter... how a memory will rise up like toast... ornery blue jeans spinning until "dry as crackers"...
The daughter's comment, "this is taking// a lot longer, dad, than you said it would"... how that helps
against "each day falling faster and faster away".

7. Dear Giant Squid #2. I had to read the other one in his chapbook, "Luge" too we loved it so much.
This first letter starts out, "This is a fan letter. I don't care what the Japanese scientists say, I saw them on TV getting all excited about how they have photos of you....etc.

Part of the fun was reading the poems in different ways: one person/one stanza; one person/one line — then repeat — one person one sentence — so a short sentence really stands out. Like “The Old Woods” - 4th line: “I’m small.”

I love doing this — so people really notice the pull of syntax against line break, pay attention to the choices.

We left feeling we had spent a valuable hour with a man who produces good work, revitalized, appreciative of the power of imagination,
Feeling Just a little more connected to our human realities.

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