Thursday, October 6, 2016

Poems for October 12 / some of which for Rundel October 20

Bavarian Gentians by D. H. Lawrence (1929)
Sonnet 60 by William Shakespeare*
Propositions Related Poem by Stephen Dunn*
Speculations about “I” – Toi Derricotte*
Old Man At Home Alone in the Morning by W.S. Merwin *
Love at First Sight by Jennifer Maier
Sonnet 137 by William Shakespeare

*Discussed at Rundel October 20. a few more comments below.

What is meditation, and what is poem? How does time influence the way words work?
Who was "I" in 1929 or in Shakespeare's time? What specifics please the universal ear?

Bavarian Gentians:
A little background:
Autumnal : Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is celebrated on the 29th of September every year. As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days; in England, it is one of the “quarter days”. Gentians + death. believe in the blood wiser than the flesh... Gentian... bitter taste and yet medicinal qualities...

The opening line: "Not every man has gentians in his house" could be interpreted as "not everyone knows how to be truly alive in the flesh /beauty like flowers..."... and we discussed the Jungian slant of the unconscious and how not everyone ready to explore it... It is difficult to explore the dark. (someone mentioned, "with bit and briddle for intellect... vs. passion. ).
Laurentian: loves to talk about way we are full of opposites. flower as voice of underworld in this world... darkness inside us... Thinking about his own his dying...

Sonnet 60:
First Quatrain: waves end on a pebbled shore; Second Quatrain: life crawls to maturity, light suffers crookèd eclipse; 3rd Quatrain nature scythed down finally the couplet: addressing the enemy time with the one thing wave, life, nature cannot do: only worth can survive, to be praised by verse .
There are reversed initial feet: (not the usual iambic pentameter): Like as
So do, Crawls to, Crookèd, Time doth, Feeds on, Praising... which according to Helen Vendler in her magnificent book, draws attention to the hastening of the waves, the attacks by eclipses and by time only to return to the iambic in the couplet... and nothing stands. The final beat: shall stand is an unshakeable confirmation of the strength of verse Stand is twice accentuated by the stress.

The idea of exchange -- past/present, and constant flux appears in the language...
luscious language:
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth sensuality
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth, delicicious and delicate...
Thy -- both individual addressed in sonnet and incorporates all of us.
Sonnet 73, same idea, but more intimate.

Propositions Related Poem by Stephen Dunn..
A terrifically fun poem -- performance. This / not this. BUT.
I asked... would you memorize this? Judith no. no mouth feel.
would it be possible...? It would be as difficult as the poem points out
difficulties about being honest...The long, sentences imitate the real in life which happens in the back and forth.
humor as we identify ourselves.

Comparing Shakespeare ((richness of language) to Dunn (richness of concept/idea)... we return again to what is poetry... how we deal with uncertainty.

Toi Derricotte:
John said it had a hypnotic effect on him and reminded him of Trout Fishing in America – Richard Brautigan.

13 ways of looking at... a blackbird, or "i" and the I's story.
Intricate, beautifully intimated... G-d and T-i and the idea of I as part of God, i
as the particular...
David quoted Richard Eberhardt. "If I could only live at a pitch of madness. immaculate ego.vs. one w/ world self-consciousness... ( confession of a psychotic...)
Somewhat confessional... the story of being Afro-American as well as the personal story perhaps?
operation of id / ego/superego...
toi – (you)in French, sounds like toy in English -- only language which capitalizes “I”.
Writing vs. I – the being that is not expressed...

The Merwin: comes from his new book: At first, it seemed like meditation to me...
but reading it line by line one can sense the thoughtful calm he creates and transmits.
Kathy gave a fine review and referred to his poem "The Laughing Child"... in his mother's memory... as infant, laughing, at nothing, so hard it jostles his carriage... which changes his mother..."
"The writing is limpid poetically tuned to autumn tones, some repetitions of t and u but nothing pyrotechnic.
Often Merwin says things we know but in just the way to make you look at them afresh, as in his poem “The Wings of Daylight”.

… There is a lot of remembering in the poems, persisting, believing in a good world going on beyond him and after him. "A national-treasure-level talent for hope:"

Love at First Sight by Jennifer Maier: we read, but it was a full docket, so we didn't discuss.

Sonnet 137: I asked David why he said this was not one of Shakespeare's better sonnets.
As a response to Maier's poem, "Blind fool love... The eyes "know what beauty is, see where it lies, Yet what the best is take the worst to be."
but we concurred, the sonnet has too much intellect not enough heart...

(not everyone has gentians in his house...)
SONNET 60 by William Shakespeare
Propositions Related Poem by Stephen Dunn
Speculations about “I” – Toi Derricotte
Old Man At Home Alone in the Morning by W.S. Merwin

I love having two groups... both of whom bring different takes. See above

The Rundel group heard Sonnet 60 set to music and performed by Chris Lee, Colleen O’Brien
from Poetrymusic on Thursday October 6. The duo illustrated in song, vibraphone and pizzacato cello,
the musical textures of Shakespeare’s meditative spin on time.
The hard /k/ sound... like... contend... crawls... crown'd. crooked, resound in the first two stanzas.
the 8th line "And Time"
returns on the 9th line, "Time doth" and luscious f-v sounds in the 3rd quatrain.

The Dunn poem was lots of fun, and we noted the verbal conventions... How do we deal with uncertainty?
The long sentences imitate real life with the back and forth.

The group was less intrigued with the Toi Derricotte... but picked up on the importance of the "who I am" spider-man effect.

Merwin: Longest line : "I remember what are called the old days and there is..."

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