THE FINAL FOUR AS MARCH MADNESS CONCLUDES!

ISLANDS > KARINA SMIGLA-BOBINSKI

Scarriet finishes its March Madness Poetry Tournament (the Sublime) for the year 2020 in this post. Congratulations to all the participants, in this our 10th anniversary season.

The crowds are fevered, excited, massing in great numbers into the arena with whoops and screams, as Final Four play descends upon March Madness Island.

Ovid (Classical Bracket) It is art to conceal art.

Matthews (Romantic Bracket) Green dells that into silence stretch away.

Fitzgerald (Modern Bracket) So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Sociu (Post-Modern Bracket) The quakes moving for nothing, under uninhabited regions.

When it comes to the sublime, we have no time to think.

The sublime stops thought as it overwhelms our senses.

But paradoxically, poetry is not sensual—poetry is born of a priori thought; it is a medium made, and that medium, language, is a system of signs, not something which, in itself, is sensual; nor does the creative impulse have anything that we can recognize as sensual—we cannot “see” the chess player thinking, nor do we know how the moves of the chess pieces are shaped by the mind, or what sensuality belongs to any decisions as such.

And, as opposed to the mere 64 square chess board of the mere chess player, the blank page of the poet contains many more possible “moves” than a chess board, which nothing physical could understand in real time and not be overwhelmed and defeated before it starts.

Perhaps the sublime is the paradoxical attempt of thought to be physical—the poem understood physically is sublime by this very fact, beyond any “content” per se.

But this does not seem quite right—content must matter.  The sublime simply cannot be codified in words.  And  yet—would the sublime be satisfied with no definition of itself?

I suppose one could attempt a formula for the sublime, as Poe did, with his “Raven”—what is the best way to write a popular, yet learned poem?  How many lines?  What subject?  What structure?

To attempt a definition of the sublime right here and now (as fans at this moment are filling the arena, and before Marla Muse has appeared on the scene):

A sublime expression requires two compact, highly simple, and distinct, ideas which war and unite in a wave/particle state of paradox, in a manner which gives us a pleasant, non-thinking experience.

Ovid: It is art to conceal art.

If art is good, then we should not want to conceal it, and if art is bad, then art is good to conceal itself, but how can art be both good and bad?—in both cases Ovid’s assertion would seem to be false.

Unless art is both good and bad—bad when it is not concealed, good when it is concealed, and therefore good when it conceals itself, and therefore the concealing (which if it is good, we don’t see) is the good action, and therefore it does fit our definition: “two compact, highly simple, and distinct, ideas which war and unite in a wave/particle state of paradox.”  But does it meet the second requirement?  Does Ovid’s “It is art to conceal art” give us a “pleasant, non-thinking experience?” For the cheering, singing, and excitable Ovid fans, the answer would seem to be yes.

“Green dells that into silence stretch away” would seem—

But now it is too late.  Play has begun, Marla Muse has turned down the lights; fires lit all around dance to the collective urges of the fans.

Away, away stretch the green dells…

The vista resists the concentrated might of the screaming circle in the center of the throng.

The art of each opponent looks for an opening, creates an opening—but to enter, or to trap?

What risks are taken!  The “art” is momentarily exposed, and a gasp goes up from the crowd!  Matthews suddenly brings what he has from silence, into the green dells…

The play is unbelievable!

The fans are going crazy!

Ovid concealed a bit too long!

Cornelius Matthews wins! He’s going to the championship!

~~~~~~~~~

In the other Final Four match-up, F. Scott Fitzgerald has us “beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

We attempt to go forward, but the current takes us back.

Here is the whole passage:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an æsthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Fitzgerald’s passage has so many marvelous parts: “that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house…”

Please open your gold filigree program, Poetry March Madness acolytes, to Dan Sociu’s poem (Marla will bring up the lights in just a moment):

Nimic Nu Mai E Posibil

Nothing is possible anymore between me

And a nineteen year old girl, just as nothing

was possible when I was nineteen

years old. I listened to them carefully, they ruffled my hair,

they’d gently reject my touches, no, Dan,

you are not like this, you are a poet. They came

to me for therapy, they’d come with their eyes in tears

to the poet. I was a poet and everyone was in love

around the poet and none with him.

The poet would go out every evening

quaking like a tectonic wave and

in the morning he’d come back humiliated

in his heart—the quakes moving

for nothing, under uninhabited regions.

******

Here, then, the paradox which slams us in the heart as true:

“they’d come with their eyes in tears to the poet. I was a poet and everyone was in love around the poet and none with him.

Dan Sociu defeats F. Scott Fitzgerald!

~~~~~~~~~~

Dan Sociu faces Cornelius Matthews in the 2020 March Madness Championship!!

Sociu has saved the best for last.

“Green dells that into silence stretch away” has concision, it has painterly beauty, and loftiness and yes, sublimity.

And now the conclusion of Sociu’s poem:

The poet would go out every evening

quaking like a tectonic wave and

in the morning he’d come back humiliated

in his heart—the quakes moving

for nothing, under uninhabited regions.

The arena erupts. The fans are now pure energy. The sounds of the arena blare across the sea, the news hesitant and anxious no longer. Even the children know.

Dan Sociu has won the 2020 Poetry March Madness.

 

 

55 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 30, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Congratulations to Don Sociu!

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    THEY’RE BRINGING YOU FLOWERS BEYOND THE LINES

    they’re bringing you flowers beyond the Lines

    and hoping you havent disappeared

    and hoping you still have warm socks on

    and won’t fall victim to your fears.

    your mother is darning the hole in the sun

    your father tills the moon

    your sister is playing run sheep run

    her tennis shoes soaked with dew.

    somewhere the world with cherry pie

    where plum and peach are still put by

    misses you most when you sip broth and want to cry

    though every tear is rationed.

    some night a space in the clouds will appear

    and God will thread you a ladder of light

    and youll climb out of the dungeons drear

    and find fresh comfort in old delights.

    mary angela douglas 30 march 2020

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 30, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Very festive tournament Tom. I think I can see from here at the moment fireworks over the castle. And now Im going to go back and read every single line to the full. Best March Madness ever. In every respect. Homer to Sociu. Sublime.

  4. carter7878 said,

    March 30, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Sociu’s poem is embarrassingly self-important, as almost any poem about the poet is. Jeezus.

    • March 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      This has to be Jefferson Carter. I knew this guy on PoemHunter. He always says, “Jeezus.” Pretty good poet. He’s the Billy Collins of Arizona. Needless to say, that won’t hold much gravy with this crowd.

      Carter, it’s Frank from PoemHunter, you bastard.

      • carter7878 said,

        March 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm

        Frank, damn, it’s good to hear from you! Jeezus. I admit my prejudices, one of them being against poems about poetry, which 9 times out of 10, are hymns to the author’s specialness (like this “winner.”) How you doing? XXOO Speed

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 30, 2020 at 10:40 pm

      Carter, thanks. The poet who writes about himself writes about us. The term “self-important” is a dubious term. What does it mean? Is Sociu bragging in his poem? No. Self-observation leads to profound expression. If this is “self-important,” so be it.

  5. carter7878 said,

    March 31, 2020 at 2:29 am

    No, Thomas, he doesn’t write about us. He writes about himself as A POET, someone specially sensitive, someone unique, as if poets aren’t just regular people deeply engaged with words. Notice how the girls revere him as an abstraction (the typical trope) but from a distance, hurting his horny little heart.
    Silly poem.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 31, 2020 at 5:21 pm

      Carter, that’s the thing, we’re ALL poets, we’re ALL revered as abstractions. We all get our horny little hearts broken. I see what you are seeing, but feel the opposite. You condemn the universal, which the sublime requires; your taste prefers the particular and the unsentimental and the objective, drained of all human selfishness, I guess…I don’t see that leading anywhere, but it could be it’s productive for you, I don’t know…

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 31, 2020 at 6:14 am

    Nobody asked me but I dont understand this discussion about the winning poem. It is a lyric poem.Lyric poetry which before this flighty age was considered the highwater mark of poetry in all cultures throughout recorded and unrecorded time and throughout literary history begins with drawing the material of one’s soul and experience to a point of tension where it transposes into something that illuminates the experience of others. It is difficult poetry to achieve and it is beautiful. it is not selfish at all. I think the chosen poem is beautiful in this way.It affected me very much toward the end where it did achieve its singular sublimity. You try to find a corresponding music words in their inner sounds to your exact dilemma and in this form it exists as a peculiar turning of language specific to the poet. Dictators over time have hated this kind of poetry. That should tell us something. But we cannot hear the deeper music in this poem because we arent hearing the Romanian music of it in its origin. To call another poet self important or another poem self important is a little rude. How can you know that? You didnt write it.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 31, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks, Mary. Spoken by a true poet.

      There was another rebuke—Desdi didn’t like Marilyn Chin’s poem, finding it self-absorbed, but I think there’s a great deal more going on in her poem, and as Mary said, lyric poetry is “drawing the material of one’s soul and experience to a point of tension where it transposes into something that illuminates the experience of others.”

      I read a lot of so-called worldly and sophisticated disparagement of poems about poems, or poems about poets, and I think this criticism misses the point, entirely. What do people think poetry is? Wikipedia?

    • carter7878 said,

      March 31, 2020 at 7:10 pm

      Well, Mary, I’m not going to comment about your strangely distorted history of lyric poetry.

      Rude? What, poetry is somehow offbounds to
      frank criticism? If poetry really is the sublime cry of the precious soul, I suppose it’s not nice to pan it. I see poetry as a kind of writing organized by line, stanza, and other constraints such as rhyme.

      How do I know the poem or the author is self-important? I don’t. I know the speaker of the poem is self-important because he sounds self-important. Jeezus.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 1, 2020 at 12:49 am

        Didn’t Sidney say a poem cannot lie, because it doesn’t tell the truth? So one can put a lie into a poem, but ‘the poem’ never lies. The formula of self-importance works in the reverse—a poem is always self-important, given the self wrote it, and for that very reason there’s no room in a poem for an actual person’s importance.

  7. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 31, 2020 at 9:37 am

    HOW OVERCAST THE EARTH WHEN MEN MUST KEEP THEIR JOBS

    (to the courts of Heaven in an evil time)

    how overcast the earth when men must keep their jobs

    and let the Dragon live where what is to be done is nothing

    but the lucrative

    not mention to the one dim rising star

    where God is I am though it be too hard

    let brimstone leak where man soft hour by hour

    let the Dragon the lost town devour

    than speak one word of comfort to the few

    who stand in wind and fire to spoil the view

    how overcast, how sorrowful the Sun

    that casts itself into a summer sea

    and would forever for true liberty

    and for the sake of love that does not quail

    lose all

    lose all

    lose all.

    mary angela douglas 31 march 2020

  8. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 2, 2020 at 10:33 am

    THIS APRIL BRANCHING IN AN OFT TROD DREAM

    this April branching in an oft trod dream

    I seem to catch in the rushing of waters over stone

    as I wander on and as the moon

    lifts the latch on the house of night.

    when in flight though from whom I cannot tell

    I cast no magic spell but find in the petals

    lifted from the trees a flower light

    I know I dreamed before.

    how shall I knock at the door of God

    all else being starlight and I so poorly shod

    when walking is weeping and I cannot tell the way

    ahead from the road behind.

    these questions border on the attic mind

    sorting through silks and odd letters

    the scent of brine though there is no sea

    no inkling of the me I may have been

    or was, parting the grasses on either side

    as if I were a wind

    still, floating on invisible tides

    ruffling the surface honor of things

    I cannot, will not name.

    mary angela douglas 2 april 2020

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 3, 2020 at 11:13 pm

      in the petals

      lifted from the trees a flower light

      I know I dreamed before.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 4, 2020 at 4:12 am

        Thank you Thomas;you caught the main image.

  9. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 4, 2020 at 4:14 am

    ON THE MATTER OF CRYSTAL TOWERS PUBLIC HOUSING FOR LOW INCOME ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED SOULS WHERE NO ONE IN MANAGEMENT CAN BE BOTHERED WITH HAVING THE FLOORS CLEANED AND DISINFECTED FOR WEEKS NOW.
    DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC…

    (Dulce et decorum est to die for one’s country.(Wilfred Owen)

    I will put healing angels on every floor

    that the poor people here will not lie at death’s door

    Crystal Towers. angel of death fly over us please.

    I will pray. though you are cast away

    though those who hold you in their charge

    mock and scorn or just ignore

    accuse you of stealing hand sanitizers.

    perhaps thinking you will die and they will be spared

    any further trouble from you.

    I spoke up for you though my heart was bleeding

    I spent hours and heedless days pleading pleading

    I spoke up for you and it bears repeating

    if we die let this be my last poem

    if we die here let this be my last poem

    mary angela douglas 3 april 2020

    Crystal Towers Public Housing For Low Income Elderly And Handicapped

    Winston Salem NC

    PSALM 37

  10. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 4, 2020 at 10:05 am

    AHEAD OF THE EVICTORS

    coming back from tea

    it starting to rain

    we stood in a portico.

    this was in a dream

    and thought about great literature

    as it used to be esteemed

    and wondered at the tearose

    colour of the clouds.. what meaning there ie

    in the unspoken gestures of the sky

    the evanescence of snows.

    this is another kingdom I know

    a place I could have stayed granted one

    bubble wanded wish of a summer’s day

    and afforded small sandwiches

    to tide me over.

    in the world as it is now

    where is there to stay.

    any sparrrow in a nest can be dislodged

    because some one eyes prime real estate

    and wants to make a killing in a time of plague.

    still within a dream I dreamed of great music

    Beethoven in the hereafter

    Chopin half in love with his own nocturnes

    things of this nature.

    now I will live in no country at all

    or stay momentarily at petaled corners

    unsure of the crosswalks.

    my soul having vacated the premises

    ahead of the evictors.

    mary angela dougla 4 april 2020

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 5, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      THE NURSERY OF TIME EXPLAINED

      up the honeyed ladder of the sun

      remembering by Your grace all shall be done

      and knowing we are rich beyond compare

      knowing you are with us everywhere

      our Grandmothers sang to us in the nurseries of Time.

      how shall the flower be blighted now

      when petal by petal you showed us how

      to dwell in comfort while the storm rages ineffectually.

      i know my mother, my grandmother can see

      out the windows of Heaven me

      raising a flag however small waving to the God of all

      I’m here I’m here just as in childhood years

      knowing you are holding onto me.

      mary angela douglas 5 april 2020

      • carter7878 said,

        April 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm

        “i know my mother, my grandmother can see

        out the windows of Heaven me”?

        Jeezus. Pretty awful 19th-century magazine verse. Why mimic the conventional rhyming poetry of the past if you’e not going to make it
        newly original and vivid? Even if I did subscribe to the notion of an all-powerful, benign Christian god (which I don’t), this derivative, technically awkward piece would leave me cold.

        • thomasbrady said,

          April 5, 2020 at 8:11 pm

          Carter, Poe countered Coleridge: the fancy and imagination differ only in degree—the imagination does not “create.” You want the “fancy” of Douglas to be “imaginative” and “original,” but no poet “creates;” they only, as Poe said, re-combine. There’s nothing new under the sun. I think if you were sincere in your charge that Douglas is not original, you would be able to cite poets from the past who write like she does, who use the same imagery in the same manner she does, and I don’t think you can—because she is original. I don’t know any poet who pursues her theme with the same abandon. You are confusing a critical refutation of her work with your own personal (and not original) rejection of feelings she invokes—which, I’m guessing, embarrass you.

          • carter7878 said,

            April 5, 2020 at 8:56 pm

            Thomas, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Aside from the fact Poe is an AWFUL poet, these semi-philosophical theories about the imagination are simply bogus. There are plenty of new things under the poetic sun, not ideas, perhaps, but techniques and poetic strategies. I could quote plenty of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century poetasters who sound just like Douglas when she writes,

            remembering by Your grace all shall be done

            and knowing we are rich beyond compare

            knowing you are with us everywhere.

            In fact, here’s the justly forgotten poet Mary Masters (1759):

            More gen’rous precepts in his Gospel shine,

            Mercy and truth embellishing each line,

            And of all virtues none I think so fair

            None can with Christian charity compare.

            As I said, even if I were a Bible-thumping Christian and swore by such comforting religious fairy-tales, I’d still find Douglas’ expression of them
            hackneyed and banal as if she’s unfamiliar with any poetry after 1900.

            • thomasbrady said,

              April 6, 2020 at 1:17 am

              Carter, Coleridge is famous for making a deep distinction between the fancy and the imagination—according to Coleridge, the fancy “combines” while the imagination “creates.” Poe disagreed with Coleridge, saying both the fancy and the imagination combine; only God “creates.” Poe as poet is not the point here, but since you mentioned it, connoisseurs rate Poe’s metrical ear as divine. Poetry distinguishes itself from prose by the ear. Some have tin ears; therefore there’s no help. It is unfair to call Mary Angela Douglas “bible-thumping.” Her work is delicate; Poe called delicacy the poet’s el dorado. Mary Masters, who was born at the end of the 17th century, wrote poetry at a time when the Gospel was the subject at hand, and she deserves credit for getting into print as a woman, when that was not easy to do. One can find plenty of examples in which “poetry after 1900” sounds exactly the same. Douglas uses vivid imagery in her poems; to the untrained ear, all rhymed and metrical poetry sounds alike, but of course this is not true, not even in the examples you found. And Douglas speaks of “grace” which shall “be done” and God being “everywhere,” which is not the same as praising “Christian charity.” These are two different emotions and ideas. You did take the trouble to find an example; I don’t doubt your sincerity; your feedback will always be welcome.

              • carter7878 said,

                April 6, 2020 at 2:21 am

                Well, again, Thomas, pseudo-philosophical/psychological proclamations about poetry don’t really further our understanding of the art.

                This “connoisseur” finds the poetry of the “jingle man” (Emerson’s term for Poe, not mine) contrived and melodramatic. Poe’s most famous poems are flawed, employing bouncy anapestic rhythms to express dread and misery.

                I didn’t say the two samples I quoted have the exact same subject;
                I said they both sound like conventional 18th and 19th century verse.

                “Getting into print as a woman” back then wasn’t as rare as you think.
                In Masters’ case (as with other minor women poets), well-to-do neighbors and patrons subscribed to her little book so it could be printed.

                Contemporary rhyming, metered poetry, unless in the hands of a master like Richard Howard, inevitably emits the stench of the mausoleum. In my sincere opinion.

                • thomasbrady said,

                  April 6, 2020 at 4:09 pm

                  Carter,

                  Emerson was so afraid of Poe’s criticism he never wrote one word on Poe. The “jingle man” remark is known because a young writer shared it—Emerson was mentoring a poet named Channing who Poe destroyed in a review; Emerson inquired of the young writer whether he had ever heard of Channing, (this was years after Poe had died) and he replied, “Only through a review by Edgar Poe.” Emerson became enraged and pretended not to even know who Poe was. When the young writer, unable to believe Emerson had never heard of Poe, pressed him, Emerson, flabbergasted, said, “Oh you mean the jingle man?” Emerson’s opinion has no merit whatsoever—it was uttered under duress. Emerson certainly knew who Poe was. You said “anapestic.” You mean dactylic. The “stench of the mausoleum,” unless by Richard Howard? Richard Howard practically invented that stench. I’d rather read Douglas any day.

              • maryangeladouglas said,

                April 7, 2020 at 1:26 pm

                God is the fountainhead of Poetry. I am not ashamed of that.

                • carter7878 said,

                  April 7, 2020 at 5:47 pm

                  God is the fountainhead of poetry? God who?
                  I thought Ayn Rand was.

                  • maryangeladouglas said,

                    April 7, 2020 at 6:48 pm

                    Look buster. Ive had blood and lumph fluid leaking out of my leg for six weeks now and Im still writing poetry. What the hell are you doing.

                    • carter7878 said,

                      April 7, 2020 at 7:01 pm

                      Maybe “God” will cure you? Or the Great Spirit? Or Buddha? Or Vishnu? Or Allah? Or…

                      The fountainhead of poetry is a love of words.

                    • maryangeladouglas said,

                      April 7, 2020 at 9:09 pm

                      Are you a robot? The first word spoken, phrase spoken Let there be light is the fountainhead of poetry. And of life itself. Light is the fountainhead of poetry not darkness. But we live in a time where darkness is the gold standard. And oh so trendy. Coupled with vacuous ridicule. Count me out and yes God is already healing me you buzzard. I never go to the doctor so it is very clear to me. But whatever you do or dont do is up to you. You’re making your soul day by day by the superficial things you say. You are an SOB and you are proud of it. I dont know what you even have to do with poetry in the real sense. It seems to me your avocation is mockery. And your problem is envy.

            • April 6, 2020 at 10:24 pm

              I always enjoy reading Carter’s posts, but I’ll have to disagree with this bad-boy. Poe’s one of our best poets. He had an impeccable ear for rhythm, and what an imagination! My kids read the poems out loud and know them by heart. Eddie Poe turned me on to poetry. I was tripping at the time. (Long story)

              No one should feel the necessity to defend Edgar Allen Poe. His works stand on their own.

              Carter wants everyone to write poems like Bukowski, and I like Bukowski too, but in the mid-nineteenth century, I don’t think that was possible. They would have laughed him out of Baltimore for that shit.

              • April 6, 2020 at 10:41 pm

                I found several wonderful articles on Poe. Modern articles about a writer from 170 years ago. Let that sink in. Here is a good one.

                https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/04/27/the-humbug

                • thomasbrady said,

                  April 7, 2020 at 1:07 am

                  Jill Lepore reviles Poe. I read this when it came out. This is one nasty hit piece. Why Poe brings this out in certain people—and he really does, is puzzling. That’s how good he was, perhaps? Not only during his life, but long after his death, he provokes intense hatred—for no accountable reason. Imagine feeling a grudge like Lepore does, for a writer–a good one—who lived almost 200 years before you.

                  • April 7, 2020 at 1:33 am

                    A grudge? I don’t think she was critical of his writing, only that he was impoverished and a drunk, which he was.

                    • April 7, 2020 at 1:55 am

                      If there had been no Poe, there would have been no Bukowski. No Eliot, no Cummings, no Ginsberg, no Plath.
                      Who do you think taught these kids to love poetry in the first place?

                    • carter7878 said,

                      April 7, 2020 at 5:37 am

                      “If there had been no Poe, there would have been no Bukowski. No Eliot, no Cummings, no Ginsberg, no Plath.
                      Who do you think taught these kids to love poetry in the first place?”

                      I’m leaving this Poe discussion because it revolves, as most discussions about literature do, around personal taste. I’d like to make one comment before i leave: except, perhaps, for Cummings, Poe has very little to do with the existence of those modern poets Gary names. If they have an ancestor, it’s Whitman. When I taught poetry writing, my bete noire was Poe; the kids who liked him wrote the worst kind of rhyming Gothic melodrama. They didn’t love poetry; they loved Poe, which stifled and warped whatever poetic talent they had.

                    • thomasbrady said,

                      April 8, 2020 at 11:55 am

                      Her critical views of someone’s impoverishment and drunkenness. Valuable to someone—I’m sure.

              • carter7878 said,

                April 7, 2020 at 7:04 pm

                Now, Pop, you’re distorting. I don’t even like Bukowski. I want poems that employ surprising but appropriate figures of speech, vivid and intense images, form that re-inforces content, fresh diction. Is that too much to ask for?

                • April 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm

                  Only if you don’t put the poet in the context of their times. I’d rather have a Ferrari than a Model T Ford, but.my grandfather didn’t have that option.

                  • carter7878 said,

                    April 7, 2020 at 8:57 pm

                    Yes, but he could have a Model T instead of a horse-drawn buckboard.

                    • April 7, 2020 at 9:02 pm

                      My point exactly! Poetry that looks simple and quaint today may have been revolutionary in its time.

                • April 7, 2020 at 9:42 pm

                  You’re describing Poe, Jeff.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 7, 2020 at 1:37 pm

        I CERTAINLY CAN IMAGINE BLUE BLAZING LIGHT

        for Ray Bradbury on his 100th birthday

        I certainly can imagine blue blazing light short circuiting out of his fingers at the typewriter

        and Sistine instances, paragraphs of gold so that the sun on hold ready to make its next scheduled appearance fumes behind clouds

        who is this Bradbury, anyhow bumbling among the blackberries

        denizen of summer self crowned King, American Orpheus

        and in the end casting green shadows into his ravines

        our sanguine hero departs and breaks his heart on the stars for us

        so that everything green apple delicious

        is peremptorily won over so that they are now best buds.

        the sun and ray, ray of the sun

        coveting all summers forever so that what is told is vintage

        even before old age with its fantastical fantastic ear trumpet

        still held out for the gramaphonic rains ceaselessly silver or

        melon ripe thumped oh stories you have

        become forever the pink and green slices picnic dribbled or

        winged from his dovecote and arcing rainbows altering

        this river of dreams so that we can no longer distinguish

        the streams from the seas the earth from the sky

        or the allegiance we pledge torn in half because we cannot decide

        which we love more

        while we stand children on the banks of it astonishment’s own

        at this prodigious imagination flowering past us zone past hyacinth zone

        and radioed in:

        crackling dont just stand there, DO something

        and we think to ourselves there is a tangle of berries

        long forgotten let us tarry there and in the raspberry thickets

        lay aside the selves we thought we were and old despairs and take

        and take on the colours of everything chameleon bright

        or the armor of light lit up like a thousand stained glass windows on Mars

        all that you think or are or could be if you tried

        maiden and dragon transposed or it’s suddenly snowing

        chaplets of the stars and me with my one ruby candle, candlestick reading him

        calliope proud and whispered aloud to a chimeless midnight

        or in the baked bread of the day we pose I and my soul

        ribboned rosed and beaded flummery on flummery and slipping past us he goes

        into our own parades so that we feel he’s still with us, mist! and then it fades.

        missing him, all we need do weeping mirages. adagios

        is turn the next page his children of rust clutching our amulets

        and we are on it in the zenith of the zinnias at autumn’s cusp.

        mary angela douglas 7 april 2020

  11. April 5, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Man, I gotta call Lamont and Mike Acker.

    • noochinator said,

      April 5, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      Mike Acker who is “[s]peaking to
      advance leadership, goals, and life”?
      Looks like he makes good money,
      Both in good times and in strife.

  12. noochinator said,

    April 5, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you for quoting Douglas & Masters—
    Their words will comfort as I face life’s disasters.

  13. April 6, 2020 at 2:45 am

    I never read poetry; can’t stand the stuff
    and who could blame me?
    The bad ones make me gnash my teeth
    and the good ones only shame me.

    • noochinator said,

      April 6, 2020 at 7:05 am

      Many associate poetry
      With clapping the erasers—
      They’d rather watch a flick on Prime,
      E’en if The Firechasers.

  14. noochinator said,

    April 6, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Love this one by Richard Howard, and I beg his pardon for removing his spacing—it was done out of love!

    Hanging the Artist

    We just can’t!—I trust you realize, Morimura-san, what a powerful and possibly traumatic impression these pictures of yours are apt to make on our Houston art-lovers… Perhaps the word is unfamiliar to you—no, not art-lover, traumatic. I must say it is truly impressive how much English you have managed to learn… Of course there will be some words you haven’t had the chance to master, words like traumatic—it means “deeply painful psychologically.” But what I mean is that for our audience, which to this day believes the camera can’t lie, photographs like yours… No, of course, how could there be any photographs like yours… except yours? I’m speaking purely hypothetically, if you know what that means. Oh, what the hell… Your work may cause pain as well as pleasure. I’ve tried, as you’ll see, to arrange the show to avoid the unfortunate kind of misunderstandings that arise in cases like yours—no, that’s not what I mean: there are no cases like yours, really, but provincial museum-goers (and Houston is provincial, there can be no doubt about that), even if they are art-lovers, tend to be repelled by images that seem to question or repudiate—you follow me?—the status quo of gender. Its seems to upset people when standard notions of male and female are so disoriented—if I may use such a word—that they are completely fooled, at least at first glance, and first glance is all most Texans will spare for what they don’t have to pay for… Now you have posed and photographed yourself with such verisimilitude, damn, so accurately as classic heroines of the screen in fabled predicaments—oh dear, let’s say in dramatic moments familiar to us all—not only recognizable but convincing, that I thought we’d best start with you as Kate Hepburn in Dragon Seed—no one could resent something as high-minded and as… Oriental as the scene you’ve chosen where Peony says, “Come into the garden. Wan Lung, bring a reed and a bowl of hot water, for I am with child.” And then we move on to the scene in Of Human Bondage where your Bette Davis screams at your Leslie Howard (wonderful, how you do them both), “You pity me? Well I pity you, you cripple !” After that, I think your images can make their own way in any order you like—Marlene and her marvellous coq feathers, Vivian Leigh in the gown made of green plush portieres, Liza Minnelli on that chair in Cabaret, down to your hallucinatory (don’t bother) version of Marilyn trying in vain to gain control over that little white dress. I know you sent us two Marilyns, but Morimura-san, we couldn’t show that first one: the dress was up to her waist, the girl was naked, I mean you were naked, and right in the middle of that big black bush of hair was a prominent penis (I know you know what those words mean). Morimura-san, believe me, the fact that it wasn’t a real penis makes no difference whatever. The Houston Contemporary Art Museum will not show Marilyn Monroe with a penis, now Get. That. Straight. How the rest of the show is hung is open to change. Let me repeat, I welcome you and your wonderful art to Houston, though I must remind you that there is a point of pro-vo-ca-tion beyond which tradition, and our trustees, will not be moved. I hope you’ve understood my English. Sayonara.

    Richard Howard

    http://www.luhringaugustine.com/artists/yasumasa-morimura/#

  15. noochinator said,

    April 6, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    A poem by a father after the drowning death of his daughter

    Maeve, you were my fair and piercing, blue-eyed daughter.
    I saved your life at birth by ripping open your caul with my teeth lest you drown
    before you breathed. For forty years we were graced by your high heart
    And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax
    At need and made you beautiful and fierce,
    Sudden and laughing

    Maeve could have called over the rim of the world
    Whatever woman’s lover had hit her fancy

    and took Dave my very precious son-in-law,
    a dear and loving husband, a father
    for a mother of strong children.

    Maeve, I am changed utterly by losing you and your remarkable, talented, loving
    eight-year-old son, Gideon.

    Friends who have lost children know well that there are things in life worse than
    your own death.
    You weep. You pray. You moan. You howl, Maeve.
    Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,
    And you no breath at all? You’ll come no more.
    Never, never, never, never, never.

    I shall carry you with me as I once carried you in the palm of my hand, always in
    my heart.

    Maeve, it’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide, in hope of God’s plan for the
    resurrection of us all.

    David Townsend

  16. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 7, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I believe in the love of words too. But for me every word I use in a poem is drenched in the light of God and imbued with his presence like tesserae. And I dont understand all the years I have been on Scarriet why I have constantly been subjected by various personalities or personas, not sure which, to extreme cruelty, ridicule and relentless bullying. You whoever you all are think you can do this with impunity.
    And you are mistaken. This is not a joke and poetry is not a joke. People have died for poetry and you sit and make jr. high schools jokes. I dont get it.

  17. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 8, 2020 at 11:20 am

    INTO STILL RADIANT SONG

    what is home now.

    a circlet of milk quartz stones.

    the wafting of pine boughs

    my footsteps soft on the pine needle ground

    and at the forest core. the mosses restored.

    what is home now lifts the fleecy sky

    into the coral folds

    the sky sheep drifting by

    we have lost all sense of direction

    cerise in our introspection

    still there is the crystalline perfection of stars

    the North Star on its own the bleating of winds.

    the moon shifting imperceptibly

    slid through clouds as a silver coin, coin of this realm could be

    past the poetic machinery into

    still radiant Song.

    mary angela douglas 8 april 2020


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