I don’t revise much these days…except in the interest of a more passionate syntax
These words by Yeats were said later in his life to poet John Berryman on their one and only meeting. The idea in them is fascinating, the great poet having gotten to a point where the technical matters got down to phrasing, which is saying.
a more passionate saying
This is something I aspire to in my own writing, but also in my own reading. Weekly, I strive to find things that stop me for one reason or another.
In this week’s poem “Leave It To Me Blues” by Joel Oppenheimer, he goes about his particular saying through straightforward language and a lyric subtlety that disarms as much as surprises.
* this week’s round and round *
Leave It To Me Blues – Joel Oppenheimer
from the heart of a flower
a stalk emerges; in each fruit
there are seeds. we turn our
backs on each other so often,
we destroy any community of
interest. yet our hearts are
seeded with love and care sticks
out of our ears. but there is no
bridge unless it is the wind which
whistles our bare house, tearing
the slipcovers apart and constantly
removing the tablecloth covering
it (the table) like a shroud (the
shroud of what the table could mean,
if only we were hungry enough to
care), and we cut ourselves off
because we discovered each man is
an island, detached. man, the
mainland is flipped over the moon.
all i have to depend on is effort,
and the moon goes round and round
in the evening sky. my sons will
make it if they ever reach age,
but how to take care i dont know.
it doesn’t get better. on the other
hand, even with answers, where
would we be, out in the cold, with
an old torn blanket, and no one
around us to cry
*poem found in the anthology A Controversy of Poets.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged A Controversy of Poets, arts, astrology, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, Gemini, Joel Oppenheimer, John Berryman, Jose Angel Araguz, literature, lyric poems, National Poetry Month, Pisces, poetry, scorpio, short lyric poems, the friday influence, Virgo, writing, Yeats | Leave a Comment »
The two year anniversary of the Influence is here and I must admit: it snuck up on me.
I had all these great ideas about what to do (party hats! balloons! poems recited inside of a cake!), but then life kinda kept happening.
As life happened, so did the Influence, though, which is the goal ultimately.
The life of a blog is like the life of a flag: as long as the wind keeps up, the colors keep flying.
This week’s poem “Lives of the Poets” by Kim Addonizio (fresh out of the latest issue of Poetry magazine) is apt for our little celebration.
When I started this blog, I was happy to have it become a reader’s blog, a place for me to share the poems that were rockin’ my world at the time. It has been a pleasure to see the readership of this blog grow. Thank you to each of you who drops by.
I hope to continue sharing the highlights of the life of this poet and that it may mean something to the life of the poet in you.
* two years makes me this happy *
Lives of the Poets – Kim Addonizio
One stood among the violets
listening to a bird. One went to the toilet
and was struck by the moon. One felt hopeless
until a trumpet crash, and then lo,
he became a diamond. I have a shovel.
Can I turn it into a poem? On my stove
I’m boiling some milk thistle.
I hope it will turn into a winged thesis
before you stop reading. Look, I’m topless!
Listen: approaching hooves!
One drowned in a swimming pool.
One removed his shoes
and yearned off a bridge. One lives
with Alzheimer’s in a state facility, spittle
in his white beard. It
turns out words are no help.
But here I am with my shovel
digging like a fool
beside the spilth and splosh
of the ungirdled sea. I can’t stop.
The horses are coming, the thieves.
I still haven’t found lasting love.
I still want to hear viols
in the little beach hotel
that’s torn down and gone.
I want to see again the fish
schooling and glittering like a veil
where the waves shove
against the breakwater. Gone
is the girl in her white slip
testing the chill with one bare foot.
It’s too cold, but she goes in, so
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged anniversary, arts, astrology, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, creative writing, flags, Jose Angel Araguz, Kim Addonizio, Leo, literature, lyric poems, National Poetry Month, poetry, Poetry Magazine, the friday influence, Virgo, writing | 2 Comments »
There are some poems essential to my psyche that I’m surprised I haven’t posted on here yet.
This week’s poem by Zbigniew Herbert is one of them.
I remember reading it the first time years ago and just being floored. How the subject, a pebble, can be meditated upon and become some larger than itself is profound. You can see the mountain forming in reverse from the pebble of the lyric.
* who, me? *
Pebble - Zbigniew Herbert
is a perfect creature
equal to itself
mindful of its limits
with a pebbly meaning
with a scent that does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire
its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity
I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth
- Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye
Translated by Peter Dale Scott and Czeslaw Milosz
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged arts, astrology, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, Jose Angel Araguz, literature, lyric poems, poetry, Polish poetry, scorpio, the friday influence, The Pebble, Virgo, writing, Zbigniew Herbert | Leave a Comment »
Bill Knott’s death last week had me digging through my journals to find this week’s poem. It’s a sonnet I wrote in homage to the man after reading his book The Unsubscriber.
I did a post on his work last November (which can be checked out here) in which I shared some of my sketches. Bill was kind enough to stop by the blog and say some encouraging words. This gesture moved me for many reasons, not the least of which is the nature of blogs and communities online.
I share this week’s poem (along with my impromptu sketch of the man) as a tribute to the poet as well as to all of you kind enough to stop by and read.
* knott bad, but knott great either *
to Bill Knott – Jose Angel Araguz
He had time on his hands,
he could feel it – seconds itch
like you wouldn’t believe – really, bitch
all you want of boredom: lands
of it exist in every story.
Heroes bored until heroic, villains bored
until dead. He was never bored.
All that living, heroic or gory,
passed him by like a wind,
and like a wind left him
nothing. Seconds itch, minutes sting. He
would hold a pen for hours. Find
a clock: that ticking, that’s him.
Pulse is the man. Time, he.
p.s. a fine article on Knott (and the inspiration for my sketch) here.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Aquarius, arts, astrology, Bill Knott, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, drawing, Jose Angel Araguz, literature, lyric poems, poetry, sketching, sonnet, the friday influence, The New Yorker, Virgo, writing | 2 Comments »
Just wanted to do a quick post and share the news that I have been selected to be CantoMundo 2014 fellow!
Check out the official announcement here.
See you Friday!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged CantoMundo, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, fellowship, Jose Angel Araguz, poetry, Virgo | 4 Comments »
This week’s poem “Bus Stop” by Donald Justice rounds out the recent syllabic kick on the Influence.
I recently read an illuminating essay by Justice where he breaks down some of the thinking that went into the poem, both the conceptual thinking and the structural.
He describes walking his dog around his neighborhood in California around the same time when people would be coming home from work. His sense of the memory is that everything was already there for the poem, the world of it just had to be organized.
I remarked to someone just this week that Justice’s work always surprises me. An undisputed technical master, he makes you forget all about technique by earning such moments as the one below where he fills a line with: Black flowers, black flowers.
* Bus Stop with Chola *
Bus Stop – Donald Justice
Lights are burning
In quiet rooms
Where lives go on
The quiet lives
That follow us—
These lives we lead
But do not own—
Stand in the rain
When we are gone,
So quietly . . .
And the last bus
Comes letting dark
Black flowers, black flowers.
And lives go on.
And lives go on
Like sudden lights
At street corners
Or like the lights
In quiet rooms
Left on for hours,
* photo by Craig Carlson found here.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged arts, astrology, California, Cincinnati Ohio, Corpus Christi Texas, creative writing, Donald Justice, Jose Angel Araguz, Leo, literature, poetry, short lyric poems, syllabics, the friday influence, Virgo, writing | Leave a Comment »