Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rundel : Sept. 17

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963 (see Sept. 2)
And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name by John Ashbery (see Aug. 3)
Breezeway by John Ashbery (see Aug. 3)
The Blues by Billy Collins (see Aug. 3)
My Heart Leaps Up by William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850 (see Sept. 30)
One Art by Elizabeth Bishop (see Sept. 30)

I love the first John Ashbury poem which I have used previously -- and I love that I can bring the same poem at a different time, to a different group of people, and listen to an entirely different discussion.

For me, the idea of personifying the Horatian advice, "as in painting, poetry" is sheer delight, as that is one of my most favorite things to present in lectures and share, blending my work as docent at the MAG and as poet, especially with the Poets Walk, outside the MAG.

Since the poem came hard on the heels of I, I, I and Frostian choices, the you, you, you, and avuncular advice about what is more or less an ars poetic applied to a poem-painting, seemed rather pretentious with a slightly irreverent tone.
Well... I thought it was funny... tongue-in-cheek, looking at the richness in a world of possibilities -- and a desire to communicate it(the longest line in the poem -- not just desire, but this contradictory "Rousseau-like foliage of an empty mind's desire" --
and this idea of understanding you, deserting you, and the idea of an endless realm of creation, with the act of understanding understood to be something once begun, as an undoing.
Back to that opening line: You can't say that anymore.

Breezeway also struck people as surreal, with everything on a dangling thread.
and one person wondered if it was a way of addressing the need for empathy.
Imagine if we didn't club someone because we don't get along with that view of the universe...
imagine if we weren't like a new catalogue from which a Batman promptly turns away.

The contrast in the easy manner of "The Blues" bringing a healing sense of feelings was much appreciated.

Leaving behind the late 20th and early 21st century, it was pleasant to return the the rhyming of the romantic Wordsworth (1770-1850) -- the poem "surprised by joy" and whose heart leaps up at the sight of a rainbow. Such confidence and exuberance in the exclamation point!
The paradox of being still a child, even in our adult selves, the blending of natural world to spiritual... isn't there some of the Noah seeing the rainbow as God's promise?

We ended on the villanelle by Elizabeth Bishop -- this too was not so well-received...
which put a damper on my ability to coax the deeper layers -- the "aster" as the star in disaster; the contradiction of saying losing is an art not difficult to master, when it is anything but easy. Intellectually, we can say losing keys, 3 houses, a watch, cities, realms, is perhaps a regrettable loss... but to turn to the you, to lose a lover, may look like disaster. And so she writes it, a fourth time, balanced with the four times "the art of losing isn't hard to master". From the impersonal, loss is no disaster; missed opportunities, neither will bring disaster; it takes two more stanzas and an accumulation of losses to arrive at
"I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster". Are you convinced by the final stanza of the necessity of mastering the art of losing?

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