Tuesday, April 21, 2015

poems for April 16

Enough by Katie Peterson (see discussion April 6)
Love (III) by George Herbert, 1593 – 1633 (see discussion April 6)
A Coat by W.B. Yeats
Do not go Gentle into that Good Night – Dylan Thomas
Forgetfulness – Billy Collins

There were only two participants with me today. It didn't help the flow of discussion to have two young men come in midway looking for a poetry workshop advertised on Craig's list, with their preoccupations of wanting to print their poems, put money in the parking meter... etc.

On we go... 5 poems, 3 of which are formal. My hope was that the form would engage the ear and interest. But aside from the two young men, I can understand how preoccupations at work, which require leaving early, or a busy mind, take precedence over even a richly sonic villanelle. Sometimes it doesn't matter how masterful a poet sets out words about his father's dying. This is not a negative judgement. Poetry is demanding, and discussion of it is as subjective as the people and circumstances. My hope is that the Herbert, Yeats and Thomas will be there to be remembered as needed. Some days we can articulate what words mean to us, some days we perhaps too much interferes. It was good to have a fun laugh at the end with Billy Collins-- maybe it is Alzheimers writing a love poem.

A few notes on the other poems:
Enough, which can rhyme with huff, or be a puff of gratitude opens in "forget-me-nots" and stars, that oppose the idea of "plenitude" with "scattering" in subtle contradiction. I, arrives in the third stanza, to ruminate on the complexity of the "they" introduced in the second stanza. The fundamental steadfast loyalty of a child to parents, seems to lead to an older adult child, who at the end who no longer has wishes for the parents, but simply, a recognition that there are blessings all of us would be better off remembering. **

The next two poems didn't seem to provoke much discussion -- simply a summary of
The Herbert as recounting love as experience and the Yeats as an 8-line tribute to internal authorship.
The patterns in both are worthy of note:
Yeats' poem with its embraced, or envelope rhyme in the first 4 lines (coat/throat)addressing the poet's song moves to a repeated 3-line rhyme which allow the 3 "it" of "song" embracing the world, to the slant rhyme "naked".
A BB A / the "ease" of embroideries/mythologies, opens to "I" of eyes/enterprise
The subtle craft of this reinforces a sense of the poet's role to himself and in the world.

Enough: Contrast with discussion April 6: different group of almost 20 people.
Such careful layering of a "they", onto which the reader seems to eavesdrop, creates a theatre in which the poem seems to promise a logical script, and yet the sense of disconnection as he and she look at the "dark woods", he with protractor and she with skeleton, mirror back to us to look at our own perishable pursuits.
This is a poem worth reviewing... our discussion left a desire to listen again, knowing more waits to be discovered.

Love, by George Herbert, known for his "shape poems" such as "Easter Wings", seemed to answer the questing speakers of the first poem. Love invites us as guest... and we can recognize how hard we resist the invitation to sit down and eat...

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