Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poems for February 12 - Oasis

Ode to Bicycles by Pablo Neruda
Poets Walk poems: also discussed at O Pen Jan. 26
passage from San Ildefonso Nocturne by Octavio Paz
beware : do not read this poem by Ishmael Reed
Which Side Are You On? Janine Pommy Vega
Touched by Deborah Tall

if time this one:
Telephone Repairman by Joseph Millar

In today's discussion, I didn't mean to be the one talking so much, instead of listening...

Ode to Bicycles: questions -- what would the Spanish sound like -- did the translator stay faithful to the form? is a phrase such as "giving/ their eyes/ to summer" an example of multi-layering with an antiquated feel?
I sense workers and girls giving... their eyes to summer -- as in, looking at summer...

only moving... allows us to feel alive -- we come alive when we sense we're needed -- like the bicycle... Lovely loping of lines... to tell a snippet of story...

see Jan. 26: Octavio Paz... Poets Walk poems.
If you don't know where San Ildefonso is, if you do not know the whole poem but only this passage, what do you understand? What keeps it from feeling like a sermon, or somewhat didactic diary? Is the translation imitating the original?
The back and forth of the lineation allows a sense of breath balancing between choices, ideas of what poetry, history, truth as revealed in our lives... A noun such as "sun-on-the-stones,
and the dissolution of the name in the "beyond of stones" is a beautiful place called "poetry"-- the suspension bridge between history and truth--- but then to find out history is not a path to somewhere... but a place where we are given a chance to know ourselves.

Jan 26 post:
Ishmael Reed's "Beware of this Poem" was a great hit -- the play of mirrors, the way the poem itself becomes alive, and when asking Ishmael about the poem, his response: Glad that you liked my poem. I didn't know how to end it. The statistic cited during a radio broadcast gave me the last lines. I don't think the broadcast could have come up with disappearance as "only
a space in the lives of their friends...
Today, Feb. 12 -- Lincoln's birthday, black history month... and George mentioning that Ishmael Reed was the speech writer (he thinks) of Martin Luther King's speeches... 1968 as the radical year... year of assassinations, disappearances... a great poem to match with Beverly Pepper's "Vertical Ventaglio" or "Six Cubes" in the MAG's sculpture garden.

Janine Pomy Vega: see Jan. 26 comments

As a beat poet, she creates a poem which shows tangents, disconnections... the poem itself a "temple of possibility". What are "yellow helmets" -- symbols of war-- what you wear when you go into the deep caverns of self? helmets with lights on them to mine underground...

The poem tile is "gift on the altar" which is how the words feel. She mentions Kabir and Rumi,
with some contemporary spin: "Read the coins you've thrown down into the dirt,
they spell integrity"...
Now what does that mean? (see discussion Jan. 26) perhaps like being on both sides of a mirror -- the part of you put on for appearances or the part inside no one but you can see... Perhaps also a poem written in the Vietnam war period -- taking sides -- who is right? wrong? the sides... might include the "in" and "out" of sides... The question in both title and final line -- how can language help us find the answer?

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