Saturday, July 1, 2017

poems for June 28

Cellular  by Lizzie Harris
 The Soul by Tracy K. Smith. (see June 21) 
Mirthful Elm on the Edge of the Lawn, Perhaps Beside an Elated Basket of Laundry (Bob Ross) by Catherine Moore
Song of the Shattering Vessels  by Peter Cole
 Thesis/Antithesis  by Bryce Emley  
Where to Put It  by Taije Silverman
In the Middle  by Amichai.

Oh my, oh my.  I will miss these weekly sessions, but also will be glad for a little rest for the month of July to be able to attend to my own writing and enjoy my family.
I confess, some of my "write-ups" of the discussions of the poems are not great writing,
nor do they attest to the quality of the discussion or art of the poets and poems selected.
I am selfishly content when I do write up the poems, to re-read them, and in my mind,
I have echoes of all the voices first reading them, then adding thoughtful comments.
Thank you all!  

We have discussed the idea of the title as being a friendly hand offered to the reader...
the title as all important, as in the poem with only the words "wait" and "now"; the title as coat hanger on which connected thoughts will hang, etc.  

So, let us begin wth "Cellular".  Where do you go?  Cell.  biology.  Cell.  Terrorism.  Cell phone.
I was so in the mood to read this opening sentence:  There’s no law that says/
life needs to get more complicated.

I invite you to write as many lines as you would like starting with:
There's no law that says...

I am attracted to tongue-in-cheek humor.  It allows me to accept this line without too much over-thinking:

"Humanity has always been improbable " and to float over the stanza break into the surprising

"but occurred when two single cells
floated—perhaps they wanted
each other?—into one. "

Oh, you will WANT to read this poem.  Taste the texture of this language-- the fun of hyphenating redwoods so they stretch

woods stretched, shellfish bristled the floor.

The poet about this poem:  This is part of a collection of poems that examine the emergence of the Internet as an apocalyptic event: a permanent shift in how we connect with the world around us. This particular poem is a bit of an outlier, in that it obsesses about similar themes of time, relationships, and identity, but uses a more fundamental shift—from simple (single-cell organisms) to complex life—as a backdrop.”
—Lizzie Harriis
Snippets of our discussion: Buddhism:  one does not exist without the other… form is emptiness…
book:  Medusa and the Snail…
Technology part of our organism…
If I had a hammer… but the hammer did not become our way of life…
Is it a sonnet?
Poetry:  take big idea and compress… get it across in an elegant way…
craft:  sacrifice:  red -- blood
I am very grateful to Marcie for doing the imitation of Bob Ross, artist, stoned out of his mind as making "happy" drawings.
This helps those who do not know Bob Ross, to understand the title with "Mirthful trees" and "Elated Basket of Laundry".
Again, if you are in the mood for such a poem, you will not be disappointed.  the "undirected graph" (between Earth and sky), "Happy conflict" between line and none... oh dear... we arrive at the "merciless branch", "pitch raptor" "poisoned fable" and the final question:
am I the linen-washed duvet                          
draping your outstretched limb?

Well, am I chopped liver for reading this? !   No!  No one is. I'll have you know what a hoot we had both reading and discussing.

The title, Song of the Shattering Vessels   allows the noun, "vessel" to layer nicely from pottery to ships of red corpuscles as the opening lines set up a recurring theme in a ghazal-style of repeated words and rhyme.

Either the world is coming together,
or else the world is falling apart —

I could tease you and show you where "impossibly" and very possibly inserts...
might come... if we are willing... as we know... without our knowing.
But go read the poem.  It's satisfyingly delightful.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the set up in the manner of Immanuel Kant with "Thesis/Antithesis" to address grief.   Judith started singing from Gilbert and Sullivan about German philosophers... 
although I can't find the lyrics...  The poem stands on its own and I was glad it received notice 
from Nimrod as a second place for their Neruda prize.

Where to put it (grief) brought up a discussion of rooms... and room... as in, do we have room for... in the poem by Taije Silverman.   The image of the room "of the water-shaped tenable " is brilliant.  Room:  is there room… \

poetic consciousness… grief…
title is key… Where to put this grief… There are 100 places I cannot go…
there is no memory of him here.   Millay.

We closed on the Amichai poem... a meditation of 70 years ago, that could be anytime, recognizing that just/unjust are alike… albeit in our culture, we might not choose to call them both "lovely."
How do we remember?   I am haunted by image at the end where he writes the name (of the beloved) in the dust on the table.  

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