Friday, November 28, 2014

Poems for lunch November 13

“ What troubles me is a sense that so many things lovely and precious in our world seem to be dying out. Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what's to come. - Galway Kinnell

“To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment”— Galway Kinnell


Wait – by Galway Kinnell
Suitcase by James Longenbach
On Beauty by James Longenbach
Exquisite Candidate by Denise Duhamel
Little Champion by Tony Hoagland

My question for Wait: what lines work for you? How?
Does the poem work without a story?

Wait, as noun, as verb, and even if pinned down in syntax, quivers according to tones -- commands,
desperate plea, gentle suggestion. If you pin a poem down to an aphorism such as "time heals all wounds" it loses in power, but here, there's a tinge of sadness, navigating past and future, repetitions -- "no one is tired enough" leads to another wait -- hair has become music of hair, pain, music of pain, and instead of seasons and gloves becoming lovely again, a music of looms weaving all our loves again...
a unique and singular time worth waiting for, only heard when exhausted. Death? or the idea that we cannot change until we are pushed to the limit? However one understands it, there is need, enormous emptiness carved out of our tiny beings, asking to be filled...

The Longenbach poem felt Kafka-esque by contrast -- mysterious or perhaps sinister as the suitcase allows us to imagine the excitement of leaving-- and then that curious contrast of packing a suitcase, like organizing choices,unlike building a fire, with necessary space for air. Why would the former be one of life's greatest pleasures? Perhaps the suitcase is a metaphor for a poem -- the packing, the writing.

On Beauty is almost surreal-- capacity to be overwhelmed by the beautiful-- telling a story of survival in gruesome war time.

The Duhamel a romp through satire.
People didn't warm up to the Hoagland. Not even a chuckle at "heteronormativity".

I asked what lends itself to a satisfaction level... The opening Kinnell poem allowed more universals, includes us as opposed to the thought of the butterfly, who gives solace to the speaker of the poem, who we regard as an outsider.

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