Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 16

Telescope by Louise Glück (Rundel: 9/24)

Three poems referred to in Tonight, I am in love by Dorianne Laux
Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount by Ben Jonson 1572–1637
Whenas in Silks by Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert: Dulnesse

Tonight, I am in love by Dorianne Laux

You Make the Culture – by Amy King
A Sweet Disorder by John Ashbery
A Sweet Disorder – by Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

The first poem is the sort to be read several times in different ways, and after a third reading, I started to experiment with ending the poem in different places, as if the poem were two separate poems: one addressing an otherworldliness, to which a telescope links us,
the other, a problem of understanding, how it is not perception, but our relationship to it that is difficult. Whether read as a philosophical, psychological, cosmological poem, there is a hint of Keats, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" in the cold hill... and his famous "negative capability" -- that is being able to hold uncertainty, mystery, doubt.
What is our field of vision, as we focus on a far-away object... can we be lost in this the same way without the telescope? How do we bring things into our vision?

For the poem by Dorianne Laux, I selected three of the references, which reminded us of why a delicious use of word and image makes us glad for it. Ben Jonson, as the passionate poet, brings us the slow, slow... the four drops... the tearing tears (eye rhyme producing a sense of torn and teary)and the heavy fall of grief. If you couldn't imagine the grief of Echo and Narcissus, Ben provides you with it. Love, pining, pining away...

The Herrick shimmers with the physicality of silk,the texture of "taketh me" filling the mouth as if kissing... Discussion included the time period of Herrick -- the idea of bringing science into poetry, such as "liquefaction" (applied to garments slipping). A Sensuous read aloud indeed!

The Herbert brought up Bakhti Yoga, (Love of God in personal way); and restlessness in the Gita which asks us to do the work only to which you are you entitled, not the fruit thereof"
Donne: but that you ravish me... batter my heart 3 person god.
Herbert also wrote the Pulley.. God with a glass of blessings...withholds the blessing of rest.
The poem for me rests on this:
Where are my lines then? my approaches? views?
Dulness... next door to the melancholy. Herbert seems to include the reader as he implores God to help him learn to praise Him.

I love Dorianne's poem... indeed, I am in love... with poetry -- which the richness, and love how she weaves in lines from other authors, leaving the feeling her own imagination is infused with them. The pacing, sounds, work like a beautiful jazz improvisation on all poetry provides, has provided, will continue to provide.

Amy King's poem calls on contemporary culture, a very different tone, as if piecing together shards of what is broken. "I break bread with the handwriting of words." -- we commune, breaking a larger spiritual piece, to join together...

The two "Sweet Disorders" made me want to put Ashbery with Herrick in the same room to see who could outwit whom, and who would have more fun doing so! Both have a marvelous conversational flow as they address the imagination.

Summary of Rundel:
The opening poem, Telescope set the tone for the sense of things going in one direction, then changing to another.
References to the Dorianne Laux poem also included Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick and George Herrick… but her words, wound around the inspirations of the old, translate the emotion of what draws us to love…

Ending with two poems with the same title, but over 400 years apart completed the plate. Ashbery/Herrick: Why enter into a surrealist dream, except that the out-of-context conversation leaves you feeling that you recognize something you too understand in terms of emotional response to a situation? Is Ashbery presenting a bad dream or a movie about a bartender and person ordering a “Surely Temple” and all the layers of cherry, Shirley… a flashback about a once lover… Pardon my sarong becomes Pardon my past… and a poke at the idea one should be, look, act a certain way. Do I wake or sleep… and on to odes to Nightingales and Keats…
And Herrick’s disorderly couplets sustaining what Dean Young might call “The Art of Recklessness”.

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