Sure, argue with your critic. But if you have to employ a logical fallacy, how about not item 1, which makes even your pet hamster roll its eyes into Colorado?
Poplars by Donald Revell from Poetry Daily.
Audio by me below.
Hm. This one was hard for me to pull together and I have questions about it. On a broad level I read it as an environmental lament, on global warming, specifically. The most successful stanzas for me were S3 and S4 and I enjoyed the car-dump/poplar/dusty air image in S3. What is the significance of poplars, as opposed to any other tree? Rows, maybe, poplars are good for rows. Why the reference to tentacles, which evokes octopus, which evokes 8, which is then countermanded by “12 exactly”? Not clear to me who the narrator is – the earth, perhaps, the planet? I liked the last two strophes but fret over the shift to China – would that be for overpopulation, strain on natural resources, neglect of the environment? That would work. (Why Peking, rather than Beijing?)
Looking at In Another Year of Fewer Disappointments by Eliza Griswold from Poetry Daily.
The double-edgedness of life, in the midst of which we are in death and vice versa; watch what you wish for, you may get it. Killer opening line, really enjoyed the label “the minor angel” without thinking too hard about what a major angel might conceivably be. I love the small boat image, the gale, the high style, the gunwale and especially especially the seagulls.
And it’s not the end, it never is, as long as you have even the smallest thing to build from, or of. (I’m hearing: as long as there is a woman element in the shattered new beginning, but maybe that’s just me, heh.)
I read this aloud, click below to listen (I have no idea if there are copyright issues involved in posting a recording of someone else’s poem on your blog if you link to the text elsewhere, but some kind person will no doubt tell me.)
Some lovely sonic moments – the first line; wrecked grace; the small boat of our souls; high style; splintered and sunk; jittery, pea-brained. Very nice. Sonic beefs would include: His face—if this is his face—this mask. Ouch, hard to read.
Overall though, great stuff.
Here’s a maze. The Hampton Court maze, to be precise. Does anyone picture the Minotaur’s maze as something like this — as a hedge maze?
Would Minos have commissioned the famed architect Daedalus to design a hedge maze? And would such leafy hedginess have been capable of imprisoning a raging half-bull-monster with vast grievances for years and years?
But Julie points to hedges and they therefore bear thinking about. They would also explain the catalogue of green.
Although in my head the Minotaur’s maze is dank and dark. And stone. And covered, now I think about it.
Oh well. Thanks, Julie.
Inside the Maze by Hadara Bar-Nadav from Poetry Daily.
By and large this worked very well indeed for me. I’m always a sucker for thoughts from inside famous dead heads. In this case, the Minotaur. Smooth choice of detail and I like how the thoughts run on from each other and the overall feel of the piece. One section that didn’t work for me is the one with all the greens — (shouldn’t that be “fir” not “fur”?) in the middle of part IV. I enjoyed the sonics of the green catalogue, but couldn’t work out its significance in the scheme of things (possibly because I just don’t see leaves or greenness when I visualize maze? Or some mythological reference I just don’t get?)
One chronology nit — Daedalus and Icarus didn’t do their waxed-wing thing until after the Minotaur was dead (they got locked up in their tower in the first place because Minos was mad Theseus escaped from the maze after killing the Minotaur), so the Minotaur couldn’t have seen them fly over the maze.
But detail-schmetail, what’s poetic license for, after all? I love that whole scene as described here, positively cinematic. Also seriously digging the ending, beginning with: “This morning the starlings…”. It struck me as luminous and poignant, both for itself and in view of how things actually played out, and has stayed with me all day. Evoked a Plot Against the Giant feeling, have to think about why.
One serious issue, though, and am hoping someone can help me out here: the format. I can’t see how this complements, plays into, or in any way supports the content of the piece. Four one-word columns arranging text to be read in traditional left-to-right horizontal format. At first I thought there might be some vertical cleverness going on too, hence the columns, but if there is, I couldn’t discern it.
So how does the format help, people? Claiming it evokes a maze seems to me rather a stretch. So far all I am seeing it contributes is a stop/start rather dragging read, which I think detracts from the content.
On a Woodpecker Drinking from a Knothole Still Full of the Last Rain by Maurice Manning, from Verse Daily.
Lots to like here, starting with the title. Just too cool – so beautifully long and almost a poem in itself and the content of the piece such a non sequitur on the face of it. Nice conversational diction, no fancy stuff with sonics, but still whimsically clever, even if a bit self-consciously. Although I had an early moment of irritation working out the interplay between the two metaphors (sun, horse? horse, sun? what, what? – how is that supposed to work?), it did come together for me in the end and I loved this piece all the way to S9L1.
Where it should have ended.
After that the tone gets a bit too priggishly didactic for my taste. Until then it was clean and honest – like a horse, like the sun.
Gratuitous mention of another piece by the same author. Yaay, a punctuation assassin after my own heart, and that No. 6 is the loveliest thing I’ve read all week.
Comments welcome, as usual.
Why Bother Resurrecting the Dead by Jane Springer, from Verse Daily.
I read this as a doctrinal poem, in the sense that the narrator seems to be laying out a credo. One that is not in favor of organized religion and perhaps, more specifically, not enamored of Christianity’s tenets – the concept of life after death, of Christ as savior etc. The title, S1 and S4 are the most evocative in this regard. My sense is that the narrator finds that kind of context stultifying and passé and is therefore advocating for a more spontaneous, less intellectualized experience of religion – possibly something New Agey?
The weakest stanza seems to me to be S5, particularly these lines:
the finite magic of a discourse,
Not sure if its because they lack the grounding in the concrete seen in the other stanzas, or whether because the actual words “finite” and “discourse” and “already drawn” have zero sonic (although there is not much attention to sonics overall here), visual or conceptual appeal (to me, anyway). Am not sure this stanza is even necessary to the whole.
Very much enjoyed S7-9, particularly the ideas of the first place always moving on and the first word never being spoken.
just as the sparrow stays among the palmetto fronds
is a delightful line – sparrow, palmetto and fronds are lovely words and the overall image is very appealing. Strong ending, I thought.
Comments welcome, as usual.
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