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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Losing Streak:

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet
Paperback
Translated and with a Foreward by Stephen Mitchell


Quote:
STILL MORE of Mitchell's poetic efforts.

More Rilke.





Quote:
No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. (-- pgs. 6-7)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Losing Streak:

What the Living Won't Let Go
Paperback
By Fellow Frostback Lorna Crozier




Quote:
WILDFLOWERS

Wild Western Bergamot, Larkspur,
Closed Gentian near the Manitoba border,
Windflowers in the Cypress Hills.
I read the names out loud,
flip page after page as if the past were
a botanist with whom I've made a pact.
Evening Primrose, Yarrow, Wild Flax -
what would Sorrow look like, what fruit
would it bear? I have in mind no colour.
Yellow, red, or blue it would bloom
in rich abundance this July, its flowers
a burden, a fragrant heaviness,
between my fingers its leaves softely
furred, the fine hairs of a lover's wrist.
If I touched the sepals with my tongue
I'd say anise and then repeat it, an aftertaste,
a hint of time. Wild near the marsh
I find a kind of Rue where only yesterday
leopard-spotted frogs leapt in imitation
of the heart's strange fondness
for what is lost.

(-- p. 96)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Yorker
Magazine Subscription
Works on Paper
The letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell
By Dan Chiasson
Nov. 3/08




Quote:
Bad childhoods are a human misfortune, but for writers they are often a stroke of luck. Both Lowell and Bishop were aware that growing up lonely sponsored their imaginative lives. In the seventies, Lowell, in his great poem “Ulysses and Circe,” chose a baffled and emasculated Ulysses for his self-portrait. A few years earlier, Bishop, in “Crusoe in England,” had picked, for hers, a retired Robinson Crusoe nostalgic for his island days.

Both were ways of representing an essential strandedness that had its origins in childhood. Lowell was the unwanted only child of a belittling mother and a father who grew, in Lowell’s eyes, “apathetic and soured.” Bishop’s father had died when she was eight months old. When she was five, her mother was placed permanently in a sanitarium. Bishop never saw her again, though her mother lived nearly twenty more years. Bishop was then subjected to several experiments in child rearing. She was happy in Nova Scotia with her mother’s parents, but her father’s parents, burghers in Worcester, Massachusetts, felt they could provide better for her. That arrangement soon failed, and she was sent to live with her aunt Maud, in Revere, Massachusetts. Maud nursed her back from the ailments she suffered in Worcester: asthma, bronchitis, eczema, symptoms of St. Vitus’ dance, and allergies to practically everything in her grandparents’ house. (Later, reading Proust, she discovered a voluble fellow asthma sufferer and decided wryly that she hadn’t “capitalized” enough on her condition.) Aunt Maud had pet canaries and Italian neighbors with beautiful surnames that Bishop never forgot.

Poets live on two tracks: on one, life chugs along in the usual ways. On the other, art, which starts late but soon catches up, has its own landmarks and significant episodes. Interiority isn’t mapped by biographical fact; that happens on the other track. And so “life” is an exceedingly difficult and unpromising subject for art. Bishop aimed for a dispassionate, even eerie objectivity, an effect that was incompatible with autobiographical writing. Lowell, the gifted parodist of persons and manners, found it comparatively easy to turn to his own person and manners, but in doing so he risked giving up the dazzling special effects of his early, Miltonic poems.

Compared with all the grand things that people have done with poems—justifying the ways of God to men, shoring fragments against their ruins, and so on—telling one’s life story in more or less factual terms might seem to be a very modest goal. But Lowell was obsessed by the idea that this could be done without sacrificing poetry’s ambition, its power and sweep. “Confessional” poetry—a brand inadvertently launched by Lowell’s groundbreaking 1959 book, “Life Studies”—is in his practice really self-satire with the sadness left in. Bishop had a distaste for the “suffering business” of confessional poetry, but she loved “Life Studies,” and thinking about why she loved it helped her define her own, very different method:

I am green with envy of your kind of assurance. I feel that I could write in as much detail about my Uncle Artie, say—but what would be the significance? Nothing at all. He became a drunkard, fought with his wife, and spent most of his time fishing . . . and was ignorant as sin. . . . Whereas all you have to do is put down the names! And the fact that it seems significant, illustrative, American, etc., gives you, I think, the confidence you display about tackling any idea or theme, seriously, in both writing and conversation. In some ways you are the luckiest poet I know!

No poet wants to hear that he is lucky, and Lowell never responded to this rather damning praise. What makes him a great poet isn’t confidence about his own centrality but his yearning, brilliantly expressed throughout his work, for rest, for peace, for an integrated life. “I am tired,” he wrote. “Everyone’s tired of my turmoil.” (-- p. 108)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Omens and Lucky Charms:

Winter Hours
Hardcover
By Mary Oliver


Quote:
More of the book.

STILL MORE Mary Oliver poems.

Truro Bear essays and poems.





Quote:
The material issue of a house, however, is a matter not so much of imagination an spirit as it is of particular, joinable, weighty substance - it is brick and wood, it is foundation and beam, sash and sill; it is threshold and door and the latch upon the door. In the seventies and eighties, in this part of the world if not everywhere, there was an ongoing, monstrous binge of building, or tearing back and rebuilding - and carting away of old materials to the (then-titled) dump. Which, in those days, was a lively and even social place. Work crews made a continual effort toward bulldozing the droppings from the trucks into some sort of order, shoving at least a dozen categories of broken and forsaken materials, along with reusable materials, into separate areas. Gulls, in flocks like low, white clouds, screamed and rippled over the heaps of lumber, looking for garbage that was also dumped, and often in no particular area. Motels, redecorating, would bring three hundred mattresses in the morning, three hundred desks in the afternoon. Treasures, of course, were abundantly sought and found. And good wood - useful wood - wood it was a sin to bury, not to use again. The price of lumber had not yet skyrocketed, so even new lumber lay seamed in with the old, the price passed on to the customer. Cut-offs, and lengths. Pine, fir, oak, flooring, shingles of red and white cedar, ply, cherry trim, also tarpaper and insulation, screen doors new and old, and stovepipe old and new, and bricks, and, more than once, some power tools left carelessly, I suppose, in a truck bed, under the heaps of trash. This is where I went for my materials, along with others, men and women both, who simply roved, attentively, through all the mess until they found what they needed, or felt they would, someday, use. Clothes, furniture, old dolls, old highchairs, bikes; once a child's metal bank in the shape of a dog, very old; once a set of copper-bottomed cookware still in its original cartons; once a bag of old Christmas cards swept from the house of a man who died only a month or so earlier, in almost every one of them a dollar bill. (From PART ONE, Building the House, pgs. 8-9)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Will to Win:

Sonnets to Orpheus
Hardcover
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Edward Snow
Bilingual Edition


Quote:
More Rilke.





Quote:
23

Not till that day when flight
no longer for its own sake
climbs into the silent skies
propelled by sheer bravura,

so that in shining profiles,
means to its own end,
it plays the wind's favorite,
slender, sure, agile, --

not till a pure "out there"
dispels boyish pride
in the power of instruments,

will one breathless from winning
and closing in on distances
be what his solo flight attains.

O erst dann, wenn der Flug
nicht mehr um seinetwillen
wird in die Himmelsstillen
steigen, sich selber genug,

um in lichten Profilen,
als das Gerat, das gelang,
Liebling der Winde zu spielen,
sicher schwendend und schlank, --

erst, wenn ein reines Wohin
wachsender Apparate
Knabenstolz uberwiegt,

wird, ubersturzt von Gewinn,
jener den Fernen Genahte
sein, was er einsam erfliegt.

(From First Part, pgs. 50-51)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Yorker
Signing Ceremony
By Clive James
Dec. 1/08




Quote:
Signing Ceremony

Hotel Timeo, Taormina

The lilac peak of Etna dribbles pink,
Visibly seething in the politest way.
The shallow vodka cocktails that we sink
Here on the terrace at the close of day

Are spreading numb delight as they go down.
Their syrup mirrors the way lava flows:
It’s just a show, it might take over town,
Sometimes the Cyclops, from his foxhole, throws

Rocks at Ulysses. But regard the lake
Of moonlight on the water, stretching east
Almost to Italy. The love we make
Tonight might be our last, but this, at least,

Is one romantic setting, am I right?
Cypresses draped in bougainvillea,
The massed petunias, the soft, warm night,
That streak of candy floss. And you, my star,

Still walking the stone alleys with the grace
Of forty years ago. Don’t laugh at me
For saying dumb things. Just look at this place.
Time was more friend to us than enemy,

And soon enough this backdrop will go dark
Again. The spill of neon cream will cool,
The crater waiting years for the next spark
Of inspiration, since the only rule

Governing history is that it goes on:
There is no rhythm of events, they just
Succeed each other. Soon, we will be gone,
And that volcano, if and when it must,

Will flood the slope with lip gloss brought to boil
For other lovers who come here to spend
One last, late, slap-up week in suntan oil,
Their years together winding to an end.

With any luck, they’ll see what we have seen:
Not just the picture postcard, but the splash
Of fire, and know this flowering soil has been
Made rich by an inheritance of ash.

Only because it’s violent to the core
The world grows gardens. Out of earth we came,
To earth we shall return. But first, one more
Of these, delicious echoes of the flame

That drives the long life all should have, yet few
Are granted as we were. It wasn’t fair?
Of course it wasn’t. But which of us knew,
To start with, that the other would be there,

One step away, for all the time it took
To come this far and see a mountain cry
Hot tears, as if our names, signed in the book
Of marriage, were still burning in the sky?

(-- 58)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Garden Gambles:

Door Into the Dark
Hardcover
By Seamus Heaney


Quote:
More of Nobel Prize-winning Heaney.

More of the lyrical Fighting Irish.





Quote:
The Outlaw

Kelly's kept an unlicensed bull, well away
From the road: you risked fine but had to pay

The normal fee if cows were serviced there
.
Once I dragged a nerous Friesian on a tether

Down a lane of alder, shaggy with catkin,
Down to the shed the bull was kept in.

I gave Old Kelly the clammy silver, though why
I could not guess. He grunted a curt 'Go by

Get up on that gate'. And from my lofty station
I watched the business-like conception.

The door, unbolted, whacked back against the wall.
The illegal sire fumbled from his stall

Unhurried as an old steam engine shunting.
He circled, snored and nosed. No hectic panting,

Just the unfussy ease of a good tradesman;
The an awkward, unexpected jump, and

His knobbled forelegs straddling her flank,
He slammed life home, impassive as a tank,

Dropping off like a tipped-up load of sand.
'She'll do,' said Kelly and tapped his ash-plant

Across his hindquarters. 'If not, bring her back.'
I walked ahead of her, the rope now slack

While Kelly whooped and prodded his outlaw
Who, in his own time, resumed the dark, the straw.

(-- pgs. 16-17)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures
Poems and Essays
Hardcover
By Mary Oliver


Quote:
More of the book.

Mary on the Winter Hours.

Thirst.

Dream Work.





Quote:
The Chance to Love Everything

All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby --
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,
grinning through their many teeth,
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly - something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house --
I imagined the red eyes,
the broad tongue, the enormous lap.
Would it be friendly, too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
shambling tonnage.
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope --
the dark heart of the story that is also
the reason for its telling?

(-- pgs. 1-2)


Quote:
The Truro Bear

There's a bear in the Truro woods.
People have seen it - three or four,
or two, or one. I think
of the thickness of the serious woods
around the dark bowls of the Truro ponds;
I think of the blueberry fields, the blackberry tangles,
the cranberry bogs. And the sky
with its new moon, its familiar star-trails,
burns down like a brand-new heaven,
while everywhere I look on the scratchy hillsides
shadows seem to grow shoulders. Surely
a beast might be clever, be lucky, move quietly
through the woods for years, learning to stay away
from roads and houses. Common sense mutters:
it can't be true, it must be somebody's
runaway dog. But the seed
has been planted, and when has happiness ever
required much evidence to begin
its leaf-green breathing?

(-- p. 44)


Quote:
The Snow Cricket

Just beyond the leaves and the white faces
of the lilies,
I saw the wings
of the green snow cricket

as it went flying
from vine to vine,
searching, then finding a shadowed place in which
to sit and sing -

and by singing I mean, in this instance,
not just the work of the little mouth-cave,
but of every enfoldment of the body -
a singing that has no words

or a single bar of music
or anything more, in fact, than one repeated
rippling phrase
built of loneliness

and its consequences: longing
and hope.
Pale and humped,
the snow cricket sat all evening

in a leafy hut, in the honeysuckle.
It was trembling
with the force
of its crying out,

and in truth I couldn't wait to see if another would come to it
for fear that it wouldn't,
and I wouldn't be able to bear it.
I wished it good luck, with all my heart,

and went back over the lawn, to where the lilies were standing
on their calm, cob feet,
each in the ease
of a single, waxy body

breathing contentedly in the chill night air,
and I swear I pitied them, as I looked down
into the theater of their perfect faces -
that frozen, bottomless glare.

(-- pgs. 36-37)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Welshers:

British Heritage
Magazine Subscription
The National Eisteddfod of Wales
With its roots in the bardic tournaments of the 12th century, scores of thousands gather every August for the rites, competitions and festivities of this fanciful clebration of Welsh identity
By Siân Ellis
July, 2007


Quote:
DON'T MISS! the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to the Opera.





Quote:
... The National Eisteddfod of Wales, alternating location each year betweent the north and south part of the country and lasting up to nine days, is Europe's largest popular festival of competitive music, poetry, literature and performances. Bolstered by 800 years of traditiion, it remains (pace erstwhile doubters) a flourishing icon and bastion of Welsh arts, language and culture. ...

On average some 8,000 adults and children pit their skills, with passion and excellence, in contests as varied as folk singing and step dancing, choral performances and monologues. Months before the eisteddfod at Swansea, I spoke to Layton Watkins, top tenor with Morriston Rugby Football Club Male Choir ... and he had confided that "the boys" had begun practising their pieces as early as the previous November. "It's not the prize (£750), it's the honor of winning a National Eisteddfod that is the motivation," he said. ...

To get an idea of just what special place the eisteddfod occupies in Welsh hearts, you need to dip into its evolution. Eistedd is Welsh for "sit" and the term "eisteddfod" originally denoted a meeting of bards, either in poetic contest or to discuss professional matters. The earliest known Welsh bards worked in the courts of princes in the 6th century, competing to win a seat of honor at the lord's table that would bring patronage and a livelihood.

The first recorded bardic tournament, however, was not until 1176, held at Cardigan Castle by Rhys ap Gruffydd. Called a gwledd arbennig (special feast) rather than eisteddfod, it offered two miniature silver chairs as prizes for poetry and music, and attracted competitors from England and Scotland as well as Wales. The term eisteddfod was used for the first time at Carmarthen in the middle of the 15th century, an occasion that was significant also for tightening the rules governing strict Welsh poetry. You need to be a mental gymnast to understand the intricacies of cynghanedd - poetry that involves patterns of consonance, alliteration and internal rhyming in prescribed meter. Further eisteddfods at Caerwys in 1523 and 1567, sought to safeguard professional standards by licensing three classes of bard: anyone who didn't make the grade had to find alternative labor or be treated as a vagbond. ...

... To be admitted to the ranks of the bards amid the Gorsedd circle of stones is considered a great honor and is bestowed on those who have made a distinguished contribution to the Welsh nation, language and culture. Members range from world-famous opera singer Bryn Terfel to former rugby star Gareth Edwards and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (coincidentally a native of Swansea). (-- pgs. 18-21)


Renee Fleming and Bryn Terfel
Under the Stars
DVD

(Way, way better than Terfel's tired performances with an otherwise enchanting Cecilia Bartoli. The magic of the home crowd, perhaps, or the soft summer night by a lake).
Watch the Youtube video of Renee singing Dvořák's Song to the Moon from Rusalka at the 2003 festival - in Czech.



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Omens and Lucky Charms:

The Capilano Review
Magazine Subscription
Tristram's Book
By an otherwise unreadable Frostback, Brian Fawcett
Based on the tragic romance of Tristan and Iseult
No. 19 (1981)


Quote:
More on this and other interpretations of this extraordinary old story at the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Opera.



The story:

Quote:
Isolde was the daughter of the King and Queen of Ireland. Her mother, also named Isolde, was a powerful healer who taught her daughter that uncommon skill. The younger Isolde was called Isolde the Fair, and she was known near and far as an intelligent and extraordinarily beautiful woman.

The world of Tristram and Isolde was the Arthurian world, which is to say, a world of political and religious intrigue, small and vulnerable national kingdoms, and heavily structured systems of loyalty and commitment that were meant to provide human beings with the means to live within the maelstrom of war and venal ambition around them. Tristram entered that world when, after an education that made him a master of music, hawking and hunting, he came as a young man to live in Cornwall with his uncle. He was handsome, tall and muscular, and skilled in battle beyond his years.

A short time after Tristram arrived, a huge knight, the brother of Queen Isolde of Ireland, landed in Cornwall to extract from King Mark a tribute of money and young women. As was the custom of the day, the tribute would have to be paid unless this knight, called the Morholt, could be defeated in single combat. ... Young Tristram then offered himself as Cornwall's champion ...

A long and vicious battle ensued. It ended in victory for Tristram, who drove his sword through the Morholt's visor into his skull, where a shard from the sword broke off and remained. Tristram did not escape injury either; the Morholt wounded him in the groin with an envenomed sword.

Lacking the expected tribute, the Irish ship departed the harbour at Tintagel, bearing the corpse of the Morholt with the shard still lodged in his skull. Tristram quickly sickened with his poisoned wound. No cure could be found for him, and a soothsayer made it known that a cure could be obtained only in the land in which the venom was brewed. So Tristram was transported to Ireland, put ashore and abandoned by men rightfully fearful for their Cornish lives. He waited there for what was to befall him, playing on his harp sad songs ... to ease his passage into death's dark kingdom. But death did not hear him. Isolde the Fair heard him, and she marvelled at the lonely music, its sadness and its beauty.

Isolde the Fair took him in and healed his wound. He, in return, played for her pleasure and soon they were friends, walking together across the flowering heath day after day until his strength returned. It was in Ireland that Tristram first killed a dragon ... , and with that brave deed he paid the debt of his healing. ...

... She saw his sword, which he had carelessly left exposed, and noticed the notched blade. She recalled the shards taken from the skull of her uncle, the Morholt, fitted them with Tristram's sword, and felt all her affection for the young turn to rage and hate. ...

So Tristram returned to the castle of King Mark and to the rejoicing of Cornwall's people. Once there, Tristram sang the praises of Isolde the Fair to one and all, and especially to King Mark. ...

King Mark demanded, since this Isolde was so fair, and since he, Mark, was both queenless and without an heir, that Tristram return to Ireland to obtain the hand of Isolde the Fair in marriage for him. ... Tristram's praise of the young woman who healed him grew out of desire and not merely gratitude. Yet Tristram had no alternative because it was his nature and the nature of the times for him to do the bidding of his chosen king. He left in sadness and with little hope.

By a fortunate turn of winds, his ship became lost, and Tristram found himself in the realm of King Arthur, where by chance, also was the King of Ireland, who had been summoned there by accusations of treason and commanded to do battle for his honour against Sir Blamor de Ganis, cousin of Sir Lancelot. The Irish King feared for his life until Tristram championed his cause and defeated Blamor, receiving as his prize an irretractible boon ... the hand of Isolde in marriage - not for himself, but for King Mark.

From that time to the promised marriage, events passed as they were meant to, except for one. Isolde was unhappy at the prospect of marriage to an enemy, a middle-aged uncle of the man she had sought so lately to kill. Her mother, Queen Isolde, gave to Brangwen, the lady-in-waiting to Isolde the Fair, a potion made of wildflowers. This potion had the singular property of giving whoever drank it a lifelong passion for the person first looked on afterward. The Queen instructed Brangwen to give the potion to Isolde and King Mark in their chambers after the nuptials in order to seal their marriage with delight in one another.

But as the ship carrying Tristram and Isolde neared Tintagel, they grew thirsty, and, finding nothing to drink, they searched through the luggage and found the bottle that contained the potion. It looked and tasted like wine - a very good wine - and they drank it all in the presence of the other. They conceived a passion for each other they could not deny, then or ever.

There were resultant intrigues. ...

The third episode takes place in France, where Tristram travelled to help a young Duke named Cariados. This duke had a younger sister who was also named Isolde, Isolde of the White Hands. One day, some time after the Dukedom had been secured from its enemies, Tristram, now a man of around fifty, sat by the seashore with his harp, singing songs in praise of his Isolde. Cariados came upon him and, thinking the songs were meant for his sister and wanting to repay the debt he owed to his much-loved benefactor, devised to have them marry. Tristram was too worn with care to refuse and, seeing no alternative save the gravest of insults to Cariados, married the young woman. Yet true to Isolde the Fair, he came to his senses and did not consummate the marriage, revealing to the younger woman his life-long love of the other Isolde.

News of the marriage travelled to Isolde the Fair, and she, half-crazed with love and rage, sent word to Tristram of her rage alone, and that she would not consent to see him ever again. Tristram grew despondent and, letting down his normal guard, fell prey to one of Mark's assassins, a dwarf cousin who had long dogged Tristram's way and, who, in the dark of night, managed to wound Tristram in the groin with an envenomed spear. Tristram wasted slowly away and, on his deathbed, asked that word be sent to Isolde the Fair, for he had known for long that in her alone was to be found a cure.

Tristram instructed the messenger to raise white sails on the returning ship is Isolde the Fair was coming to his side, black if she refused. Isolde of the White Hands heard these words and, as a white-sailed ship came into harbour bearing Isolde the Fair, Tristram, too weak to rise, asked his unloved wife what colour sails the ship bore to the winds, knowing black sails would be his funeral shroud.

"The sails are black," she said. (-- pgs. 5-9)


Quote:
Tristram's Book was recorded on June 23rd, 1980 as a rdio performance for five voices and was subsequently aired on CFRO 102.7 (FM) Vancouver Cooperative Radio on June 30th, 1980. Voices were Jon Furberg, Alban Goulden, Penelope Connell, Brian Fawcett and Bill Schermbrucker. Al Neil accompanied the voices with piano improvisations.


The poems:

Quote:
A lousy bargain I was given
Tristram sad in exile

in return for an eternal love.
Sadness takes the comfort from home

no love is possible
to have and hold

without home. Taken
from me, given

in return
this eternal return

looking for you where no love
can thrive. This

is the first forest
I lost you in.

(-- p. 13)


From the Will to Win:

Quote:
Only a fool believes a single fire
can burn down a whole forest.

Yet in the face of ordinary logic, love
is a torch in the hand

of a pyromaniac. Or is it ordinary logic
in the face of love.

Between these, ordinary lovers hold hands
and build small fires to keep their love alive

believing in small fires and the existence
of the whole forest
.

In the face of which
despite love and logic

it begins to rain.

(-- p. 28)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poetry, like philosophy, may be a transferable skill ... but maybe not.

Vanity Fair
Magazine Subscription
Wall Street on the Tundra
Iceland's de facto bankruptcy - its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance - resulted from a stunning collective madness. What led a tiny fishing nation, population 300,000, to decide, around 2003, to re-invent itself as a global financial power? In Reykjavik, where men are men, and the women seem to have completely given up on them, Michael Lewis follows the peculiarly Icelandic logic behind the meltdown
April, 2009


Quote:
More of the story on Iceland's financial meltdown.

More on the global financial crisis - and how to fix it!

More notable Scandinavian Gambles.





Quote:
Iceland’s then prime minister, Geir Haarde, is also the head of the Independence Party, which has governed the country since 1991. ...

What he might say to them about their collapse is an open question. There’s a charming lack of financial experience in Icelandic financial-policymaking circles. The minister for business affairs is a philosopher. The finance minister is a veterinarian. The Central Bank governor is a poet. Haarde, though, is a trained economist—just not a very good one. The economics department at the University of Iceland has him pegged as a B-minus student. As a group, the Independence Party’s leaders have a reputation for not knowing much about finance and for refusing to avail themselves of experts who do. An Icelandic professor at the London School of Economics named Jon Danielsson, who specializes in financial panics, has had his offer to help spurned; so have several well-known financial economists at the University of Iceland. Even the advice of really smart central bankers from seriously big countries went ignored. It’s not hard to see why the Independence Party and its prime minister fail to appeal to Icelandic women: they are the guy driving his family around in search of some familiar landmark and refusing, over his wife’s complaints, to stop and ask directions.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Ultimate High-Stakes Gamble:

At Blackwater Pond
Clothbound Audio CD
Poems by Mary Oliver featuring selections from in order House of Light, Dream Work, Why I Wake Early, House of Light, New and Selected Poems Vols. I and II, White Pine and Owls and Other Fantasies
Read in a slow, clear, sonorous and purposeful voice by the poet
A classic!


Quote:
More Oliver.

STILL MORE Oliver.




Quote:
... As the world changes from the long winter into spring, and everything takes on a freshness and a spiritual meaning, just so poetry can quicken, enliven the interior world of the listener.

Much of the work of a poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, "to finish, to complete." The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet's, which I think it has.

When I step onto a stage to read poems, the anticipation and even the hope of the audience is palpable. The people sitting quietly in the chairs - they have come not to rest, but to be awakened. They have come for some worthwhile news.

But, as I say, there are other ways to fall into the enchantment besides the live reading. I once read a story about an old couple in New York City; the wife kept house, and the husband went every day to the public library and read, and copied into a notebook, the poems of Keats. He had fallen under the spell of the English poet - these were the poems he loved, and would have written if he could have written poems at all. His wife in the evening read his notebook, and found the poems astonishing and, also, thinking her busband had written them himself in the solitude of the library, she could not believe she had such good fortune, to be married to such a man. (From Performance Notes included along with color photos of the poet in the woods probably near her home)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Hosers, eh?

Prepositions for Remembrance Day
Paperback
By Jon Furberg, a formidable English instructor at Vancouver Community College (VCC), Langara Campus, who contended, alas, in vain against the milk-fed presses of the wintry east grown fatuous, lazy on Canada Council grants while western poets languished. Yet another who left too soon
.

Quote:
Down

down in history
through layers of bones,
shells of feasting, and also
rifle shells, casings from
heavy artillery - history
a succession of wars, their causes
and means, and the manner
of their ends - in bodies
twisted beyond number

but down on the street
two old men meet and embrace.
How excellent! their bodies
rocking in bent arms -
hats, canes, shoes askew
in a little jig of recognition,
gratitutde, even love,
you've seen it, tough sinew
of legs rocking down
to knotted feet

down the street in peace
to the beer parlour,
down on nothing but luck,
essentials - enough cash
for more of what we need.

Food, drink, talk - it is
one another's company they keep
in passing: We must have
a long talk right now,
very long and lively.
old men drinking the evening
down, drinking down history.
And very old women
who still laugh

passing on. passing down.
the old warriors wink
and smile, then they cry
and don't know why,
but the ladies do, they know
why they cry, old flowers
along the wall wearing red hats
and so resemble poppies, sacred
flower of this day's lapel -
glasses full of amber emptied
down the holy tube

(-- pgs. 36-37)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Losing Streak:

Changing on the Fly
The Best Lyric Poems of George Bowering
Paperback




Quote:
JUST AS WE LOSE

Just as we lose the last innocence
one comes to tell us there's more;
her date of birth is unimaginable,
no one has seen her before.

Goodness and mercy are such temptations,
love is a bear in the street;
all our old friends are resting their angers,
shuffling their cards and their feet,
shuffling their hands and their feet -
calling off war with the last of our innocence
one swaggers down to defeat.

(-- p. 82)


Quote:
... When you are a young poet you might not be clear about what a lyric poem is, except that it has something to do with sounding good accompanied by the poet's fingers on a lyre. M.H. Abrams, who assigned himself the task of defining literary terms for undergrads, said that a lyric poem is "any short poem presenting a single speaker (not necessarily the poet himself) who expresses a state of mind involving thought and feeling." That's not bad for a description that values a combination of terseness and clarity. In fact, I would argue only with the very "expresses." I hold to the ancient fancy that my poems are permitted from elsewhere, not squeezed from inside.

So here follows a collection of my lyric poems. They have dates on them - that's how it works. Time receives our signatures, and leaves its own on us and our work. These were occasions, as Rilke put it, when the poet was lucky enough to see the visible and the invisible at once.

George Bowering, 2004 (From Preface: Years of Lyrics)


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Children's Literature:

Poetry for Young People
Langston Hughes
Hardcover
Edited by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad
Illustrated by Benny Andrews


Quote:
View the fabulous Four Seasons Productions YouTube video from its Moving Poetry Series, featuring a reading of Weary Blues along with vintage Harlem footage.





Quote:
The Weary Blues

Hughes called this "my lucky poem" after it won first prize in a literary contest sponsored by Opportunity magazine in 1925. The poem includes the first blues verses he'd heard as a child growing up in Lawrence, Kansas. It is also one of the first poems where Hughes began to experiment with how to incorporate African-American musical motifs from the blues, jazz, and spirituals into his verse.

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway...
He did a lazy sway...
To the tune 'o those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan -
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more -
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied -
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singe stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

(-- p. 24)


Listen:

Weary Blues
With Langston Hughes, Charles Mingus and Leonard Feather
Audio CD




Contains 33 of Langston Hughes' poems set to music composed, arranged and conducted by Mingus and Feather, recorded in 1958.

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