Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

Culture

January 10, 2015

2014 Best American Poetry

 

How to Read a Poem?

(You may need help.)

 The current state of Poetry is that there are a spate of aspirants and a dearth of audience.  There is also a spate of hierarchy and a dearth of quality.  You needn’t read much further to deduce this latter than the current “Best American Poetry 2014”.  I’m two thirds the way through my reading of it, and I’ve come across four poems I’d read again, none especially timeless, and yet, nearly to a person their bios detail honors, awards, recipientships, publications, fellowships, and prestigious academic positions up the yin yang.  The introductions and bios run for pages and pages.  Topically, the poems run the same playlist as People Magazine, Facebook and the tabloids.

So.  Here we have me, just one person – some tiny little non-entity, who writes poetry with some small success with a nearly non-existent audience, from a fly-over state, – versus, them, who apparently write poetry with great success and a virtually non-existent audience also!  And I find them seriously lame.  But who is to know?

In many ways the situation of Poetry has parallels with the situation of Jazz.  Each suffers a dearth of (earthly) success, but a spate of aspirants.  And the reaction of the general public, to each, is to toss up their hands.  However, each, as the years pass, spawn their aspirants and their fanatics.

I mention Jazz because of this piece by Adam Gopnik, (which I am just going to crib shamelessly from the New Yorker), discussing the work of the American Thinker and Sociologist, Howard Becker:

 

“Tristano taught simple ways of solving puzzles that come up in improvising – for instance, ways of adding flatted fifths and minor ninths to otherwise too familiar chord sequences.  “He showed how to create an essentially unlimited set of possibilities to work with as I played through an evening in a bar,” Becker recalls.  Jazz solos, he learned from his models, were concocted almost entirely “from a small collection of ‘crips,’ short phrases that can be combined in a million ways, subjected to all possible variations.”  The lesson that social performance, even of the highest kind, was more a string of crips than an outpouring of confessions remained at the root of Becker’s understanding of the way the world works.”

Noodle as Editor

Perhaps the reason the majority of poems in the 2014 Anthology seem lame to me, is because I don’t understand what these Poets are doing.  One Poet, Tony Hoagland, whose poem, “Write Whiter” was included in the Anthology, and who has always seemed to me to be preternaturally discerning, wrote this about his poem in his bio:

 

“I don’t consider “Write Whiter” a great poem, nor an exceptional example of TH’s volcanic talent.  Someone easily could have written it.  However, it defines, like a station of the cross, a place in the conversation we are having; its ticket needed to be punched, and so I punched it.”  (italics mine)

 

Perhaps what these poets are doing is playing crips of tunes cribbed from People Magazine and the other ‘Glossie’ Media.  Not being cognizant of the crips – or perhaps being too cognizant of the crips and the source material as heavily clichéd, trite and intellectually shamless leaves me passe’ (to say the least).  Neither their ‘crips’, nor their placement of them, hold the charm for me apparently as they do for their true believers.

But what aggravates me no end is of the beautiful sound, rhythm and meaning which is either abandoned or not even considered in order that the included poem and poet become an included part of the current ‘conversation’.   Most of the beauty (and enjoyment) of poetry is tossed aside, in order to make the secret handshake, pay the coin of the realm, and be taken in by this secretive league of poetry Brahmin.  I’m all for social organizations, but not when their bent is to go about ruining art.

Hey!  I get indignant.

 

Or – perhaps I don’t understand what Art is?  (This realization really chills me…)

 

(Hey!  You don’t care.)  (smiley face)

 

…and I just like Beauty.

 

Poesy

October 7, 2014

Shopping Cart1

Sunday Edition

I read in the Sunday paper this morning

that a man had been arrested transporting a body

in a shopping cart nearby where I used to live.

He had been trying to get him to a dumpster.

It’s nice that the people there, since I’ve left,

have been trying to pick up after themselves.

 

It can be the little things that breed crime:

broken windows, graffiti,

speaking to your neighbors.

Apparently the fellow and the corpse

had known each other.

 

So it didn’t start right out in violence.

Heck, it might have taken years

of conversation over the back fence.

He may have borrowed a rake or a hoe,

or been a little late to return

an axe or a bullet.

 

Definitely it had become something more

than a hot casserole could handle.

The tighter you become, the more at stake, that’s for sure.

Until one thing leads to another, and it all goes downhill…

and out of hand so fast,

it’s as if things begin to occur of their own volition!

 

While you were… detached, floating above it all,

as if from another world,

as if watching yourself in a movie.

In a word, it seemed fated.

 

Which is why I moved to an uphill neighborhood.

 

Photo from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

May 27, 2014

Editor’s Note:  My Memorial Day Poem is a little late, but started on time.

Spuds

soldiers

The big grocers sell potatoes; but around here we grow spuds:

those hefty, solid, compact tubers,

the kind of vegetable that thrives outside small towns,

avoids schooling, and feels at ease in the dirt.

They marry early, often, and keep watch over whatever kids are around,

set a null course, and end up feeding the military.

Cause spuds don’t mess around.  They give their all.

Aside from navy beans, there is probably no vegetable more patriotic.

You eat a spud, and you’re eatin’ something which gave you your freedom.

You eat a spud and you’re tastin’ sacrifice and honor.

An’ if you’re afraid of a little dirt in your food…

Hell, you don’t know this land.

 

Photo from Google Images

Travelling Expenses

November 2, 2012

…and Poet

The Bloke.
I’m not a good bet he said, I’ve been in the bush too long, too self reliant too independent,
I wouldn’t know what to do with a woman’s love.
Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but I think you’d be better suited to city bloke,
I’m from the bush you’re from the city, I’m all dust and hinterland, you’re pale and smell of roses, I love the earth, you love shopping. Our cultures are as alien to each other as the ocean is to the land.

I’m a simple bloke and you’re, well, you’re more than that.
I don’t even know how we met, how you did that, walked into me and took my heart.

I have nothing that you could value apart from my love, and I know that doesn’t work in the city. If there was some way I could change myself I would probably do it even though I know I wouldn’t be happy having done it, if it meant I could wake with you next to me.

The thing is, I kind of function okay on my own. I have no expectations to live up to.
If I spend my last dollar at the pub, I have no one to blame but myself, I can take my own blame but I couldn’t take yours.

So just know this. There is a heart out here in the outback that will always love you, always know you, and every time I have to chase down the herd, or break a brumby, my heart will beat with the same strength that it did when we made love.
You made me know I was a man; you let me know what love is.
Copyright Paul Eenhoorn 2013

Photo from “Sizzle Shoot”

Travelling Expenses

April 15, 2012

Editor:  Time to catch up with Paul.  Not hard, as he’s not moving very fast…

Taken on the set of The Divine Marigolds with Lorraine Montez as Ruby Marigold.

Climbing out of this mire is so hard
The past clings to my strength, trying to make me stay
To face the opposite and slip into the ease that would be death
And then there is you!
I am not sure which I want, when you cast your cloud over my heart
… I am not sure if the knife needs to be twisted, or removed
Would love win, or would I be drowned in the blood of this impasse
It’s going nowhere this debate, me, the protagonist, me, the antagonist.
I have no say, I just listen.
                                                                     – P Eenhoorn C 2012
 
Photo by Carl Nelson

Travelling Expenses

March 23, 2012

Editor:  Meanwhile, Paul’s been busy finding work, finding alcohol, losing his mind and writing poetry:

Paul Has Been Dealing with Life and Death Issues of Late

A Monologue From Men and Women

JAKE.
My Theory is, some of us are meant to love,
and we keep loving but it’s not enough,
… I don’t mean the room mate kind of marriage love,
I mean deep abiding heart destroying love,
and we think that should be enough, but it’s never enough,
we have to get a job, buy a house, a car, medical,
why can’t we just love? You see I think that shit kills love.
We keep falling in love you and I, deeper and
deeper each time until we meet “The One”.
The Big Kahuna, and when that happens
we’re gone because there is no coming back from that one.
You see each time we fall into a woman
we leave a piece of our heart there,
it’s like you cant get it back, and when you meet “Her”,
“The One”, instead of running which is what any sane person would
do you just walk towards her like a zombie and say,
“Rip what’s left of my Heart out Baby oh Yeah, I love the pain”.
And I have met her, I have loved her and I died for her.
So what I’m saying Jess is that you really you haven’t loved enough
yet! You’re still alive.
Paul Eenhoorn Copyright 2012

 Photo borrowed from one of Paul’s film projects. 

A Poets’ Lives with Lyn Coffin

January 18, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Lyn is leaving for the Republic of Georgia within the month in order to teach at a University.  She seems to live the here and there life of the Modern Poet, and has agreed to send us an update now and then from whereever ‘here and there’ might be.  We spoke with her while dining with a friend, Len Goodisman, in West Seattle, prior to a Seattle Playwrights Studio meeting at the theater across the street.

Onion Soup

Poet Eating

“I get a thousand lariats a month…” Photos by Carl Nelson

Poet’s Microphone

November 9, 2010

Editor’s Note:  One book editor famously compared poets to roaches.   And I have to say I’ve found this to be true – that you see one, there’s probably others.  Here’s the latest, (and a big one!), I found crawling around in my inbox when I turned on my monitor this morning.

"I feel I have really progressed artistically." Scot Bastian / Poet

MARY
(c)2010 by Scot Bastian
 
Mary had a little lamb
    the doctors were surprised.
 
Then Mary had a litle cow
    that one hurt, and how.
 
Next Mary had a little hippopotamous
    though that seems preposterous.
 
Finally, Poor Mary had her fill
    and she took a little pill.
 
The End

Poem by Scot Bastian / Photo by Carl Nelson

A Poem Beats Its Chest

November 5, 2010
Photo &  Poem by Carl Nelson / Voice by Molly Blades

The Most Exciting Thing I Can Imagine

October 20, 2010

Leavin' cheap motels surrounding cracked asphalt, leavin' the ratty backyards, leavin' off bakin' in the hot sun...

Editor’s note:  In school we read poems and then talk about them; discuss their meaning.  I would suggest finding an actor to ‘play’ the poem, while the students play director – adjusting the various bits of the actors performance for  ‘authenticity’.   This is how we go about it in the theater.  And it’s a valuable way of feeling one’s way into a piece of art, rather than thinking one’s way.  Artwork is often more revealing and receptive to this approach.  For example, in this poem we found that the narrator was an older Southern woman recounting one of her earliest adventures at age 15, when she ran off with her older boyfriend.

Voice by Molly Blades / Photo by Carl Nelson


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