THE MEANING OF MARCH MADNESS

Ma, I lost.

There’s been a lot of buzz since Jack Hirschman’s “The Painting” went down in defeat to New Critic icon Robert Penn Warren’s “Night Walking” in the first round of play.

Hirschman’s poem, “The Painting” considered a controversial work of art, the banned “painting of the late black heroic/mayor of Chicago/in woman’s underwear,” a work of art as controversial as anything shown in the Salon des Refuses, if not more so, and surely still as controversial today, as then.

So what is an icon, and how is it made?  What is sacred, and how is the sacred constructed, and who is the sacred for?  Does meaning itself require that there be something sacred?  Is the sacred something found in life, or does it pre-date the things of this world?

Some find Scarriet’s March Madness itself an iconoclasm—one that does not respect its subjects, or the art.  (We find this objection nonsensical.)

Can you have art without iconoclasm?

Can you have art without icons?

Eileen’s Vision

One night I was home alone
quite late past eleven
and my dog was whining and
moaning and I went over
to stroke her & pat
her & proclaim
her beauty &
then I returned
to my art review
but Rosie wouldn’t
stop. Something was
wrong. & then
I saw her.
It looked like a circle
a wooden mouth
in the upper third
of my bathtub
cover which
was standing
on its side
it is the Lady I thought
this perfect sphere
on the wooden
bathtub cover
incidentally separating
kitchen &
middle room
in my home
where I
live &
work. That is
all. I’m just
a simple
catholic girl
I had been
thinking, pondering
over my
review. That’s
why it’s
so hard
for me but the
Lady came &
she said, stay here
Eileen stay here
forever finding
the past
in the future
& the future
in the past
know that it’s
always so
going round &
it is with
you when
you write

& she didn’t
go, she
remains, a stain
on the bathtub
cover, along with
many other stains,
the dog’s leash &
half-scraped lesbian
invisibility stickers
and other less specific
but equally permanent
traces of paper &
holes  four of
thens and they
are round too
like the Lady
& I don’t have to
tell anyone.

Eileen Myles!  Has she got a chance against Frank O’Hara?

To John Ashbery on Szymanowski’s Birthday

Whitelight, keenair, someone
with a Polish accent: j’ai septembre,
et les milles-fois-retours d’Ashes,
like so many violins, from Paris.

The memory of seven sickening seconds
at the top of Carnegie Hall, where
the bow was pulled off its horse-hairs
and the insect suddenly started

humming, unwinding the silver cord
that binds the heart. That was
a concerto! simply-moving glacier
of northern sympathies, sliced banyans

wrapped in glistening green leaves,
lying in an enormous white freezing unit.
Did you practice the piano, John,
while you were gone? summoning thunder

as the delicate echoes of Slavic
nostalgia pretend to have defeated
Napoleon? and have, heaving into a
future of crystaline listening.

I am conducting you in his Symphonie
Concertante. Remember our successes
with the Weber Konzertstuck? It is no
repetition, when the marvelous

is like taking off your earmuffs
at the North Pole. I am writing to invite
you to the Polish Embassy for cocktails,
on this superb fall day, musicien americain.

Eileen Myles wins, 67-45 as her honest mysticism crushes O’Hara’s show-offy cuteness.

Marla, did you think Myles would have such an easy time with O’Hara?

MARLA MUSE: O’Hara shot clunkers all night, so I don’t know if the ‘real’ O’Hara showed up at all.  He had the moves, but the ball wasn’t going through the hoop.  O’Hara was like a comic who was on fire, but just not getting laughs.  Then he began to press…

Yes, Marla, and Myles just stayed within herself, played good defense, nothing fancy, but the result was an easy victory!

4 Comments

  1. Noochinator said,

    March 9, 2011 at 10:35 am

    It’s halftime now
    With an even score,
    Let’s go to a message
    From Marianne Moore.

    http://moore123.wordpress.com/

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      A great site on Moore: you can see she was a player,
      Her fame certainly resting on her friendship with Thayer.

  2. Noochness said,

    March 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Eileen’s Vision

    One night I was home alone
    quite late past eleven
    and my dog was whining and
    moaning and I went over
    to stroke her & pat
    her & proclaim
    her beauty &
    then I returned
    to my art review
    but Rosie wouldn’t
    stop. Something was
    wrong. & then
    I saw her.
    It looked like a circle
    a wooden mouth
    in the upper third
    of my bathtub
    cover which
    was standing
    on its side
    it is the Lady I thought
    this perfect sphere
    on the wooden
    bathtub cover
    incidentally separating
    kitchen &
    middle room
    in my home
    where I
    live &
    work. That is
    all. I’m just
    a simple
    catholic girl
    I had been
    thinking, pondering
    over my
    review. That’s
    why it’s
    so hard
    for me but the
    Lady came &
    she said, stay here
    Eileen stay here
    forever finding
    the past
    in the future
    & the future
    in the past
    know that it’s
    always so
    going round &
    it is with
    you when
    you write

    & she didn’t
    go, she
    remains a stain
    on the bathtub
    cover, along with
    many other stains,
    the dog’s leash &
    half-scraped lesbian
    invisibility stickers
    and other less specific
    but equally permanent
    traces of paper &
    holes
    four of
    them and they
    are round too
    like the Lady
    & I don’t have to
    tell anyone.

    Eileen Myles

  3. Noochness said,

    March 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    To John Ashbery on Szymanowski’s Birthday

    Whitelight, keenair, someone
    with a Polish accent: j’ai septembre,
    et les milles-fois-retours d’Ashes,
    like so many violins, from Paris.

    The memory of seven sickening seconds
    at the top of Carnegie Hall, where
    the bow was pulled off its horse-hairs
    and the insect suddenly started

    humming, unwinding the silver cord
    that binds the heart. That was
    a concerto! simply-moving glacier
    of northern sympathies, sliced banyans

    wrapped in glistening green leaves,
    lying in an enormous white freezing unit.
    Did you practice the piano, John,
    while you were gone? summoning thunder

    as the delicate echoes of Slavic
    nostalgia pretend to have defeated
    Napoleon? and have, heaving into a
    future of crystaline listening.

    I am conducting you in his Symphonie
    Concertante. Remember our successes
    with the Weber Konzertstück? It is no
    repetition, when the marvellous

    is like taking off your earmuffs
    at the North Pole. I am writing to invite
    you to the Polish Embassy for cocktails,
    on this superb fall day, musicien américain.

    Frank O’Hara


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