Thursday, January 19, 2017

Poems for January 17-18

At the Entering of the New Year by Thomas Hardy
Remember by Joy Harjo
Autumn Ritual with Hate Turned Sideways by Brenda Hillman
You Can’t Put Muhammad Ali in a Poem, by Juan Felipe Herrera, (+ vimeo
The Shapes of Leaves by Arthur Sze
Resolution by Lia Purpura

The first poem, written Dec. 31, 1917, is set up of contrast between the "old style" and "new style" to celebrate Christmas holidays and preparations for a new year. The former has a lively sound, and one senses the delight of lively dancing,
a sense of promise. The end-rhyme falls on alternate lines: 2-4; 6-8. Men, again, echo in "casements, line 5;
In the second stanza, booming/lambings; almost rhyme, bounds/rounds, delight/sight continue the pattern,
as do the non-rhyming "duly"/"promise".he

In the "new style" there is no break with the alternate end-rhymes.
Muffled, steal, bereaved, lend a mournful tone... dusk of a pine-tree limb -- not branch or trunk, but severed member;
"to feature" harkens to a bleak future... where "Youth" is unmasked, untied -- but not associated with promise.
Who is the "good friend"? Youth-- the ghost? No blame for the wish not to converse...

I find the poem inspiring in form... a way to review perhaps the transition from 8 years of one President who is a compassionate, articulate leader, to the unknown of a president-elect who may well put well-being of the common man and the world at high risk.

Remember, by Joy Harjo, repeats the command like a meditative prayer. "You dance not for yourself, but with all your ancestors before you. Remember the earth whose skin you are: -- 5 different colors... how we, along with plants, trees, animals and all the histories are the living skin... Everything is "alive poem"-- history included.

Brenda Hillman may well have known the nursery rhyme about the 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed, but here, pulls 4 letters, treats them like children to bed to rest... What happens to "hate" when E turns sideways into
a suggestion of the bottoms of windows. The H, swings from the first stanza like a rope. A is pushed to the left. T pushed to the right. Like a Cross. A weapon. E on its back... Hate cannot be spelled to mean something.
Autumn ritual -- like burning leaves... the end of a season as winter approaches.

We listened to Herrera read his poem. Muhammad Ali,who said, "float like a butterfly,sting like a bee"...
He changed his name from Cassius Clay-- the old tradition of taking on a new name/identity -- perhaps to do those things which do not have a name... Just like the boxer, the letters dance on the page.
It would be interesting to listen to the poem with the audience saying the words in parentheses.

The Arthur Sze poem also very powerful-- beautiful enjambments. Second line... "our emotions resemble leaves,
and alive" -- like the bright EE in tree, grief, field, speak, leaf. Contrast of the network of roads with veins in a leaf... how pure anger, aspen gold can being both light, beauty, yet convey spilled and molten.
Some saw the anger as something like Judo, when one deflects another's energy to one's benefit...
Is it an elegy? Reminiscent of Bin Dahn's work.

The final poem we read both line by line and segment by segment up to a comma. The more you look at it, the more clever is appears... 3 times "morning", followed by a parenthesis echoing 3 times "more, more, more?)

So much more to say... the discussions were rich, inspiring people to speak about much more than the poems..

No comments: