Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2

Deep Lane [June 23rd, evening of the first fireflies] by Mark Doty, 1953
Gravy by Raymond Carver
Everything That Happens Can Be Called Aging by Carl Adamshick 

June 15th, 8pm  by Marge Piercy
 August by Peter Cole
Self-Portrait on the Street of an Unnamed Foreign City by Jennifer Grotz

Ah... our group reconvenes after a month's break... I hope that everyone continued to read poetry...
and hopefully people will share their picks.  I will be away August 30, and September 6th and would appreciate people filling in for one of the weeks and will ask Judith to present Ballads for one of the others.  Note, I will be sending the poems of September 13 FAR IN ADVANCE, as I return to the US the night of September 12. 

 I shared with the group a great book recommendation:  “Spellbound” by David Kwong.
Yes, about principles of illusions you can apply to magic, but also marketing and…. Poetry!  
Poems give us a small bite, ask us to reflect from title to final line, on the world created for us— and like the last poem today by Jennifer Grotz, allow us to create our self-portrait in it…

Mark Doty's poem creates an intimacy, not only of tone, but a sense that we, the privileged reader, are experiencing his world, next to him in his poem. June 23rd, at 8 pm, witnessing not just the first fireflies, as the title prepares us to believe, but much more.
We are in a cemetery... and with a dog, Ned, whose erect head tells us " that he has something he believes he is not allowed to have," -- which perhaps makes our minds think that we are having an experience, not usually allowed...
and then that word "gathering" which dusk is doing... but I think of the French, "recueillement", the meditative gathering
of thoughts, perhaps of Hugo thinking of his dead daughter...(Demain dès l'Aube) or Baudelaire in his sonnet of that name... but those are my associative ideas... Doty leaps from dusk to the pondering about what we gather-- and who benefits from the harvesting...) and the astounding final paragraph:  turns out the dog has one of the 4 stakes marking a new grave:  

of vanishing—three poles now—and how it’s within their recollection,
their gathering, she’ll live. Evening of memory. Sparklampsy: in the grass.
I stand and watch him go in his wild figure eights,
I say, You run, darling, you tear up that hill

Strange that "tear" could be be verb and noun as expression of grief-- of course we read the verb... the wth the impression of the noun overlaid...Comments included how the dog is a positive life force... and the whole poem has an insistence on the present moment.  

Gravy... So much gravy... such a funny expression...a misspelled French word for spice, associates with "grave"--both serious and of the tomb. We read this poem line by line, which allowed us the appreciation of line breaks.
The tempo is engaging.  Note the 3 sentences, 12 syllables of the first line.  How Gravy ends the line, begins the next, comes back two more times, sandwiched.  The poem speaks for itself.  He was going// 
nowhere but down.  and that volta... yes, we are all going... but the choice is how... and will you call that Gravy?

My question for the next poem was how the title and content worked together...
It seems a disconnect to say: Everything That Happens Can Be Called Aging by Carl Adamshick
 and then to start so many lines with "I need"... If you are an extrovert, aging might be a good thing... if not, something that depletes… at which point Judith sang
Mud mud… all you need for your blood… and we were reminded of mud and the Buddhist lotus... 
It's a  poem which reminds people about a lot of things… as John said, like Zorba… the full catastrophe… embrace the complete disaster…

Accidental Pastoral by Maggie Smith    -- the title is intriguing.  Pastoral?  Shepherdesses?  and how accidental?  And then the body of the poem goes to memories of a parade...  horse droppings and hard candy..   I looked up Webb’s Marathon, in Centerburg, OH…where you find
"Webbs Marathon is a business that other business's should strive to be. The commitment to serving their customers is top notch. They stand behind their work".  What's a pastoral
doing with small town parades? even the clouds tell them... 

June 15th, 8pm  by Marge Piercy. We know from the title, it's summer... evening...
 What is gathered?  unrolls… different from gathering of twilight…a sense of unfolding...
lovely sounds.. pinning of a moment.

The ten-part poem "August" recreates a sensual garden... the kind of poem that needs to be
appreciated visually as it pulls apart, then comes together again.  stanza 6 does a repeating
whose variation is perhaps  better appreciated visually.. but like music... repetition, variation
is at play.  Enchanting.  As Paul said... "I wasn't sure about this one, but it sure came alive in the reading of the group.".  This is one of those poems where the epigraph and dedication add to that appreciation.   
The Homage to Morton Feldman: A major figure in 20th-century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. Feldman's works are characterized by notational innovations that he developed to create his characteristic sound: rhythms that seem to be free and floating; pitch shadings

And the epigraph: only these words from —1 Kings 7:49
"before the oracle, with the flowers"

 And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold

Then look at the erasures... 

The last poem by Jennifer Grotz (UR, local and Paul brought in the UR magazine that tells about her fine achievements.
How is her poem a "self-portrait" and what does that mean?  Who are we in a foreign country?  How perceived…
We discussed at length the last two lines:
"I went to distant cities, it almost didn’t matter
which, so primed was I to be reverent. "

How are we primed?  How is it to be "reverent" ?  


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