Thursday, February 5, 2015
Oasis: Poems for February 5
You Reading This, be Ready by William Stafford
The Kindness by Jan Beatty
Travellers by Philip Larkin (compare it to Perlman
from Poets Walk
Dear Father, Dear Sound by Kazim Ali
Bus Stop by Laure-Anne Bosselaar (-- from A New Hunger. Copyright © 2007)
For a complete alphabetized list of the poems and bio on the poets: http://artdrop.democratandchronicle.com/poets-walk
Sadly, not here to moderate, but I trust people will have fun with the poems.
read line by line. Then, re-read, stanza by stanza. It’s up to the reader to determine the pause or not at the end of the line. It’s like a fermata in music – the conductor is the one who determines how long, sometimes showing a new tempo before going on.
How does this change your understanding?
**is the sound is "softened" in a paradoxical way --
*** the waiting is drawn out?
**** this/the line: enjambment drops to New glimpse; as if to ask us to lift it up;
***** another “interval” of silence added before reading "reading'
He has used 14 lines --is it an unrhymed sonnet? The volta (turn) after 8 lines, is the actual word, "turn", repeats at the end of the poem. The "starting" begins the first and last line as well as in the first line of the 3rd stanza. The title warns us to be Ready. The starting brings us to "now" and forces the reader to re-examine the idea of "starting" which never ends.
The line breaks only contain one comma, in the penultimate line, which draws attention to the lines which seem to have an invisible comma, as well as give a "rubato" to the "now," -- a drawn out pause. Perhaps, one could argue that the comma turns "now" within the question. This rubato effect could be used to emphasize the words, "right now" (7th line) associated with the place of now, in the last line "right in this room"(say slower with emphasis) -- the R doubles in "right" and "room" as if to underline the meaning of right as "exactly" and "correct" -- a double underline on the understanding and value of "now".
In this poem, have one person read the italics so they stand out. Read phrase by phrase – so up to the colon; up to periods. AFTER DISCUSSION, read the author’s note –does it reflect the poem the way you understand it?
“In ‘The Kindness’ I speak about the breathlessness of the single gesture. The woman in the poem is transported between worlds inside of one moment—and then saved by the unassuming movement of the baby elk/the human hand.”
Larkin contrast with Perlman (see discussion Jan. 5)
Contrast Ali with Bosselaer
Ali's poem from “The 40th Day” should be read in couplets. It might also help to know more about the entire book. At one point, Kazim decided to play with having a poem have couplets reduce to single lines.
Could any couplet in this poem be “reduced”?
Does it feel disembodied, with an “I” and a “You” that can’t converse with each other?
Do couplets establish any polarity? Any moment of surprise? Or is it a collage, where the sound covers like paint on a canvas. Does it make you curious, or frustrated?
Rochester connection: Ali lived in Rochester, taught at MCC, is a BOA poet, and gave a reading at Steve Carpenter’s Gallery before becoming an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College and teaching in the low-residency MFA program of the University of Southern Maine and the Stonecoast MFA program. A founding editor of Nightboat Books, Ali is also the translator and author of novels, including Quinn’s Passage (blazeVox books), named one of "The Best Books of 2005" by Chronogram magazine.
This poem captures one moment of overheard conversation. How does the setting play (title); what do we know about the man both from his words, but also by the way he holds his cell as if holding a physical presence... A good narrative sets up a moment of surprise – how has Laure-Anne done it here?
Background: Bosselaar grew up in Belgium, where she worked for Belgian radio and television. Fluent in four languages, she moved to the United States in 1986. She lives in New York City and is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College. Her books of poems include "A New Hunger" and "The Hour Between Dog and Wolf," both published by BOA Editions. She read in the Writers & Books Visiting Writers Series