A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S. POETRY

Phillis Wheatley, Poems on various subjects, religious and moral - Age of  Revolution

1650 Anne Bradstreet’s The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America: By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts published in London.

1773 Phillis Wheatley, a slave, publishes Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. During the American Revolution she wrote to George Washington, who thanked her, praised her poetry, and invited her to his headquarters.

1791 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is published in Paris, in French.  Ben Franklin’s Autobiography appears in London, for the first time in English, two years later.   Had it been published in America, the Europeans would have laughed.  The American experiment isn’t going to last, anyway.

Franklin, the practical man, the scientist, and America’s true founding father, weighs in on poetry: it’s frivolous.

1794  Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey make plans to go to Pennsylvania in a communal living experiment, but their personalities clash and the plan is aborted.  Southey becomes British Poet Laureate twenty years later.

1803  William Blake, author of “America: A Prophecy” is accused of crying out “Damn the King!” in Sussex, England, narrowly escaping imprisonment for treason.

1815  George Ticknor, before becoming literature Chair at Harvard, travels to Europe for 4 years, spending 17 months in Germany.

1817  “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant appears in the North American Review.

1824  Byron, who wanted to travel to America (he met George Ticknor in Europe), dies in Greece.

1824  Lafayette, during tour of U.S, calls on Edgar Poe’s grandmother, revolutionary war veteran widow.

1832  Washington Irving edits London edition of William Cullen Bryant’s Poems to avoid politically offending British readers.

1835 Massachusetts senator and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier mobbed and stoned in Concord, New Hampshire.

1835  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow appointed Smith Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard.

1836  Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes 500 copies of Divinity School Address anonymously.  He will not publish another book for 6 years.

1838  Poe’s translated work begins appearing in Russia. Dostoevsky, influenced by Poe, publishes him.

1843  Transcendentalist, Unitarian minister, Harvard Divinity School student Christopher Pearse Cranch marries the sister of T.S. Eliot’s Unitarian grandfather; dedicates Poems to Emerson, published in The Dial, a magazine edited by Margaret Fuller and Emerson; frequent visitor to Brook Farm.  Cranch is more musical and sensuous than Emerson; even Poe can tolerate him; Cranch’s poem “Enosis” pre-figures Baudelaire’s “Correspondences.”

T.S. Eliot’s family is deeply rooted in New England Unitarianism and Transcendentalism through Cranch and Emerson’s connection to his grandfather, Harvard Divinity graduate, William Greenleaf Eliot, founder of Washington U., St. Louis.

1845  Elizabeth Barrett writes Poe with news of “The Raven’s” popularity in England.  The poem appeared in a daily American newspaper and produced instant fame, though Poe’s reputation as a critic and leader of the Magazine Era was well-established.  During this period Poe coins “Heresy of the Didactic” and “A Long Poem Does Not Exist.”  In a review of Barrett’s 1840 volume of poems which led to Barrett’s fame before she met Robert Browning, Poe introduced his piece by saying he would not, as was typically done, review her work superficially because she was a woman. Poe dedicated his 1845 Poems to Elizabeth Barrett. Then Robert Browning entered the picture.

1845 Poe accuses Longfellow of plagiarism.

1847  Ralph Waldo Emerson is in England, earning his living as an orator.

1848  Charles Baudelaire’s first translations of Poe appear in France.

1848  James Russell Lowell publishes “A Fable For Critics” anonymously.

1848 Female Poets of America, an anthology of poems by American women, is published by the powerful and influential anthologist, Rufus Griswold—who believes women naturally write a different kind of poetry.  Griswold’s earlier success, The Poets and Poetry of America (1842) contains 3 poems by Poe and 45 by Griswold’s friend, Charles Fenno Hoffman. In a review, Poe remarks that readers of anthologies buy them to see if they are in them.

1848  Poe publishes Eureka and the Rationale of Verse, exceptional works on the universe—and verse.

1849 Edgar Poe is apparently murdered in Baltimore; leading periodicals ignore strange circumstances of Poe’s death and one, Horace Greeley’s Tribune, hires Griswold (who signs his piece ‘Ludwig’) to take the occasion to attack the character of the poet. There is no press notice of Poe’s unusual passing. Baltimore Sun writer, Joseph Snodgrass, who happens to live close to where Poe is found in distress, and Poe’s hated cousin Neilson Poe (who happens to appear) are prime suspects according to Scarriet. The Baltimore Sun, like the New York Tribune, covers up any hint of foul play with bland and brief coverage.

1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes The Scarlett Letter. There is recent speculation the work is loosely based on Edgar Poe, Fanny Osgood, and Rufus Griswold.

1855 Griswold reviews Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and calls it a “mass of stupid filth.”  Griswold, whose second wife was apparently a man (their divorce is very complicated, involving Griswold lending out his daughter) fills his review with words such as “vileness,” “rotting,” and “shame.”  Whitman later includes the Griswold review in one of his editions of Leaves.

1856  English Traits, extolls the English race, claiming it was the English “character” that vanquished India, is published in the U.S. and England, by poet and new age priest Ralph Waldo Emerson, as England waits for the inevitable Civil War to tear her rival, America, apart.

1859.  In a conversation with William Dean Howells, Emerson calls Hawthorne’s latest book “mush” and furiously calls Poe “the jingle man.”

1860  William Cullen Bryant introduces Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union; the poet advises the new president on his cabinet selection.

1867  First collection of African American “Slave Songs” published.

1883  “The New Colossus” is composed by Emma Lazarus; engraved on the Statue of Liberty, 1903

1883  Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox rejected by publisher on grounds of immorality.

1888 “Casey at the Bat” published anonymously. The author, Ernest Thayer, does not become known as the author of the poem until 1909—he is the uncle of Scofield Thayer, who will publish “The Waste Land” in the revived Dial.

1890  Emily Dickinson’s posthumous book published by Mabel Todd and Thomas Higginson.  William Dean Howells gives it a good review, and it sells well.

1893  William James, the “nitrous oxide philosopher,” Emerson’s godson, becomes Gertrude Stein’s influential professor at Harvard.

1896 Paul Laurence Dunbar publishes Lyrics of Lowly Life.

1897  Wallace Stevens enters Harvard, falling under the spell of William James, as well as George Santayana.

1904  Yone Noguchi publishes “Proposal to American Poets” as the Haiku rage begins in the United States and Britain, mostly due to Japan’s surprising victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Imagism, eventually celebrated as “new,” is merely a copy of haiku, and belongs to the same trend.

1910  John Crowe Ransom, Fugitive, Southern Agrarian, New Critic, takes a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.

1910  John Lomax publishes “Cowboy Songs and Frontier Ballads.”

1912  Harriet Monroe founds Poetry magazine; in 1880s attended literary gatherings in New York with William Dean Howells and Richard Henry Stoddard (Poe biographer) and in 1890s met Whistler, Henry James, Thomas Hardy and Aubrey BeardsleyEzra Pound is Poetry’s London editor.

1913  American Imagist poet H.D. marries British Imagist poet Richard Aldington.

1913 The Armory Show in New York, which brings modern art to America, occurs under the guidance of Pound and T.S. Eliot’s attorney and modern art collector, John Quinn.

1914 Robert Frost meets Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell in London.

1914  Ezra Pound works as Yeats‘ secretary in Sussex, England.

1915  Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology published.  Masters was law partner of Clarence Darrow.

1916 Witter Bynner and Arthur Davison Ficke publish Spectra, a poetry hoax spoofing Imagism and everyone is fooled.

1917  Robert Frost begins teaching at Amherst College.

1920  “The Sacred Wood” by T.S. Eliot, banker, London. Decries “Hamlet.” Writes, “immature poets imitate, mature poets steal.”

1921  Margaret Anderson’s Little Review loses court case and is declared obscene for publishing a portion of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is banned in the United States.  Random House immediately tries to get the ban lifted in order to publish the work.

1922  T.S.Eliot’s “The Waste Land” awarded The Dial Prize before Ezra Pound has finished editing it.

1922  D.H Lawrence and Frieda stay with Mabel Dodge in Taos, New Mexico.

1923  Edna St. Vincent Millay wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1923  William Butler Yeats wins Nobel Prize for Literature

1924  Robert Frost wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

1924  Ford Maddox Ford founds the Transatlantic Review.   Stays with Allen Tate and Robert Lowell in his lengthy sojourn to America, and helps to found the American Writing Program Era.

1924  Marianne Moore wins The Dial Prize; becomes editor of The Dial the next year, as E.E. Cummings elopes with the retiring editor Scofield Thayer’s wife.

1924  James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children opens.

1925  E.E. Cummings wins The Dial Prize.

1926  Yaddo Artist Colony opens

1926 Dorothy Parker publishes her first book of poems, With Enough Rope.

1927  Walt Whitman biography wins Pulitzer Prize

1927 Laura Riding, who published poems in The Fugitive, together with Robert Graves, influence William Empson and the New Criticism with their Survey of Modernist Poetry. She’s almost killed jumping out a 4th story window 2 years later.

1929 Harry Crosby, Black Sun Press editor, free verse poet, nephew of JP Morgan, dies at 31 in suicide pact with his lover.

1930  “I’ll Take My Stand” published by Fugitive/Southern Agrarians and future New Critics, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate defend ways of the Old South.

1932  Paul Engle wins Yale Younger Poet Prize, judged by member of John Crowe Ransom’s Fugitive circle.  Engle, a prolific fundraiser, builds the Iowa Workshop into a Program Writing Empire.

1933  T.S. Eliot delivers his speech on “free-thinking jews” at the University of Virginia.

1934  “Is Verse A Dying Technique?” published by Edmund Wilson.

1936  New Directions founded by Harvard sophomore James Laughlin.

1937  Robert Lowell camps out in Allen Tate’s yard.  Lowell has left Harvard to study with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College. The trip by Lowell was recommended by the Lowell family psychiatrist, the Fugitive poet, Merrill Moore.

1938  First Edition of textbook Understanding Poetry by New Critics Brooks and Warren, helps to canonize unread poets Williams and Pound, while attacking Poe.

1938  Aldous Huxley moves to Hollywood.

1938 Delmore Schwartz publishes In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, at 25, a smash-hit volume of short stories and poetry.

1939  Allen Tate starts Writing Program at Princeton.

1939  W.H. Auden moves to the United States and earns living as college professor.

1940  Mark Van Doren is awarded Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

1941 F.O. Matthiessen publishes American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman.

1943  Ezra Pound indicted for treason by the United States government.

1946  Wallace Stegner founds Stanford Writing Program.  Yvor Winters will teach Pinsky, Haas, Hall and Gunn.

1948  Pete Seeger, nephew of WW I poet Alan Seeger (“I Have A Rendezvous With Death”) forms The Weavers, the first singer-songwriter ‘band’ in the rock era.

1948  T.S. Eliot wins Nobel Prize

1949  T.S. Eliot viciously attacks Poe in From Poe To Valery

1949  Ezra Pound is awarded the Bollingen Prize.  The poet Robert Hillyer protests and Congress resolves its Library will no longer fund the award.  Hillyer accuses Paul Melon, T.S. Eliot and New Critics of a fascist conspiracy.

1949 Elizabeth Bishop appointed U.S. Poet Laureate.

1950  William Carlos Williams wins first National Book Award for Poetry

1950  Gwendolyn Brooks wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1950 W.S Merwin tutors Robert Graves‘ son in Majorca.

1951  John Crowe Ransom, the Modernist T.S. Eliot of the American South, is awarded the Bollingen Prize.

1953  Dylan Thomas dies in New York City.

1954  Theodore Roethke wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1955 John Ashbery wins Yale Younger Prize for Some Trees. Judge W.H. Auden requested the manuscript.

1957  Allen Tate is awarded the Bollingen.

1957  “Howl” by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg triumphs in obscenity trial as the judge finds book “socially redeeming;” wins publicity in Time & Life.

1957  New Poets of England and America, Donald Hall, Robert Pack, Louis Simspon, eds.

1959  Carl Sandburg wins Grammy for Best Performance – Documentary Or Spoken Word (Other Than Comedy) for his recording of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the New York Philharmonic.

1959  M.L Rosenthal coins the term “Confessional Poetry” in The Nation as he pays homage to Robert Lowell.

1959 Donald Justice wins the Lamont Poetry Prize for Summer Anniversaries.

1960  New American Poetry 1945-1960, Donald Allen, editor.

1961  Yvor Winters is awarded the Bollingen.

1961  Denise Levertov becomes poetry editor of The Nation.

1961  Louis Untermeyer appointed Poet Laureate Consultant In Poetry To the Library of Congress (1961-63)

1961 Robert Graves appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford—holds the post until 1966.

1962  Sylvia Plath takes her own life in London.

1964  John Crowe Ransom wins The National Book Award for Selected Poems. His Kenyon Review is where Plath and other poets were most eager to publish.

1964  Keats biography by W.Jackson Bate wins Pulitzer. The Burden of the Past and the English Poet by the same author predates, and is a more readable version of, Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence.

1965  Horace Gregory is awarded the Bollingen.  Gregory had attacked the poetic reputation of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

1967  Anne Sexton wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1968  Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, directed by Zeffirelli, nominated for Best Picture by Hollywood.

1971  The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner published.  Kenner, a friend of William F. Buckley, Jr., saved Pound’s reputation with this work; Kenner also savaged the reputation of Millay.

1971  W.S Merwin wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1972  John Berryman jumps to his death off bridge near University of Minnesota.

Berryman’s classes in the 50’s were filled with future prize-winners, not necessarily because he and his students were great, but because his students were on the ground-floor of the Writing Program era.

1972  Frank O’Hara wins National Book Award for Collected Poems

1974 Anne Sexton commits suicide.

1975  Gary Snyder wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1976  Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow’s novel on Delmore Schwartz, wins Pulitzer.

1976 John Ashbery wins Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award for Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror

1977 Gerald Stern wins the Lamont Poetry Prize, Judges Alan Dugan, Philip Levine, and Charles Wright.

1978  Language magazine, Bernstein & Andrews, begins 4 year run.  Charles Bernstein studied J.L Austin’s brand of ‘ordinary language philosophy’ at Harvard.

1980  Helen Vendler wins National Book Critics Circle Award

1981 Seamus Heaney becomes Harvard visiting professor.

1981 Carolyn Forche wins the Lamont Poetry Prize for The Country Between Us.

1981  Derek Walcott founds Boston Playwrights’ Theater at Boston University.

1981  Oscar Wilde biography by Richard Ellman wins Pulitzer.

1982  Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems wins Pulitzer.

1984  Harold Bloom savagely attacks Poe in review of Poe’s Library of America works (2 vol) in New York Review of Books, repeating similar attacks by Yvor Winters, Aldous Huxley and T.S. Eliot.

1984 Charles Bernstein at a poetry conference in Alabama mentions the “policemen of official verse culture.” Gerald Stern presses Bernstein to name names. He does not—except to mention T.S. Eliot as being disliked by WC Williams.

1984  Marc Smith founds Slam Poetry in Chicago.

1984  Mary Oliver is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1985 Gwendolyn Brooks appointed U.S. Poet Laureate for 1985-6.

1986  Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, a novel in verse, is published.

1987  The movie “Barfly” depicts life of Charles Bukowski.

1988  David Lehman’s Best American Poetry Series debuts with John Ashbery as first guest editor.  The first words of the first poem (by A.R. Ammons) in the Series are: William James.

1990 Robert Bly publishes Iron John.

1991  “Can Poetry Matter?” by Dana Gioia is published in The Atlantic. According to the author, poetry has become an incestuous viper’s pit of academic hucksters.

1996  Jorie Graham wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1997 Kent Johnson and Tosa Motokiyu are suspected authors of Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada, one of the richest and greatest controversies in world letters.

1999  Peter Sacks wins Georgia Prize, Jorie Graham, judge.

1999  Billy Collins signs 3-book, 6-figure deal with Random House.

2002  Ron Silliman’s Blog founded. Silliman will attack “quietism” while defending the poetry avant-garde.

2002  Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club wins Pulitzer Prize.

2002  Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems published.

2004  Foetry.com founded by Alan Cordle. The site looks at Poetry Prizes, judges, and poets, in a controversial manner. Shortly before his death, Robert Creeley defends his poetry colleagues on Foetry.com.

2004  Franz Wright wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

2005 Ted Kooser wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

2005 The LA Times call Alan Cordle “the most despised…most feared man” in American poetry.”

2005  William Logan wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

2006  Fulcrum No. 5, editors Philip Nikolayev, Katia Kapovich, appears, featuring works of Landis Everson and his editor, Ben Mazer, also Eliot Weinberger, Glyn Maxwell, Joe Green, and Marjorie Perloff.

2007 Joan Houlihan dismisses Foetry.com as “losers” in a Poets & Writers letter. Defends the integrity of Georgia and Tupelo press.

2007  Paul Muldoon succeeds Alice Quinn as poetry editor of The New Yorker.

2007 Frank Bidart wins the Bollingen Prize.

2009 Fanny Howe is awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

2009  The Program Era by Mark McGurl, published by Harvard University Press, an historic look at college creative writing.

2009  Following the mass banning of Alan Cordle, Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman from The Poetry Foundation’s Blog Harriet (which soon bans all public comments), they decide to create Blog Scarriet (September 1 2009 to present)

2010 Sir Christopher Ricks publishes True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound.

2011 Rita Dove publishes her Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry. Helen Vendler and Marjorie Perloff object to her choices. Scarriet defends Dove.

2012 Natasha Trethewey is appointed U.S. Poet Laureate

2013 Mark Edmundson, U VA professor, attacks the quality of contemporary poetry in Harper’s magazine.

2013 Sharon Olds wins the Pulitzer for Stag’s Leap.

2013 Don Share becomes editor of Poetry.

2013 Patricia Lockwood’s poem “Rape Joke” goes viral on social media.

2013 Paul Lewis, professor, brings Poe statue to Boston—the Jingle Man returneth.

2014 Billy Collins interviews Paul McCartney.

2014 Maya Angelou dies.

2014 Peter Gizzi publishes Selected Poems.

2015 Derek Michael Hudson is controversially published as Yi-Fen Chou in David Lehman’s Best American Poetry series, Sherman Alexie, guest editor.

2015 Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric wins multiple poetry and criticism awards, and is on New York Times bestseller list in nonfiction.

2016 Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in Literature.

2016 Ron Padgett writes 3 poems for the film Paterson.

2016 Helen Vendler reviews Collected Poems of John Crowe Ransom, editor, Ben Mazer, in NYR

2017 John Ashbery dies.

2017 William Logan, poet, and the best-know poetry reviewer in America, accuses Norton editor Jill Bialosky of plagiarism. Her book is called Poetry Will Save Your Life.

2017 Garrison Keillor, who broadcasts contemporary poems in his Writer’s Almanac, accused of sexual harassment.

2017 Jorie Graham wins the Wallace Stevens Award with a stipend of $100,000.

2017 Kevin Young becomes poetry editor of The New Yorker.

2017 Kenneth Goldsmith lives and dies by “found poem.” Autopsy of Michael Brown causes outrage.

2018 Anders Carlson-Wee apologizes for his poem in the Nation.

2019 Marilyn Chin is awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.

2020 Ben Mazer resurrects the poems of Harry Crosby.

2020 Louise Gluck wins Nobel Prize for Literature.

2020 Don Share resigns as editor of Poetry for publishing poem by Michael Dickman.

2021 Amanda Gorman reads at Joe Biden’s inauguration.

2021 Thomas Graves, a Scarriet editor, publishes Ben Mazer and the New Romanticism.

WHAT IF EMBARRASSMENT IS TRUE?

Suburban Autumn by Janet Dyer - acrylic painting | UGallery

What if embarrassment is true?
What if embarrassment and truth are the same?
I wouldn’t be embarrassed by my poetry
If you didn’t know this already—but I think you do.
We drove around,
A middle-aged couple,
In quaint neighborhoods to see
If there was a wilderness,
Or maybe a gigantic tree,
Under which, undetected,
We could undress and kiss.
Walking on a country road, a car
Slowed down, and I,
For a moment, remembered
Especially how absurd
We had been. I imagined us
In that car; love wants
To be the one, to be the one
One loves, not loving another,
Knowing love to be love,
Must in a pure light be confined—
Unless bold curiosity
And philosophy and freedom
Embarrass us in the other manner
As we were that other time.

YOU HAVE NO APPOINTMENTS WITH ME

THOMAS ROWLANDSON, THE DANCE OF DEATH, SELECTION OF IMAGES,

You have no appointments with me.
All love, and even my sweetest poetry,
Simply remains. And when you fall off the cliff,
Your last appointment (your death),
In the downward fall, unable to catch your breath,
Accelerate past the big fraud of your if—
O the speed! O the speed!
The incredible amount of your need
At last you will know
As you hit the distant rocks below.
I didn’t make any appointments with you.
Didn’t you figure out how love works?
Love has nothing to do
With important professionals, appointments,
Hope fed to you by all those jerks.

MY EX IS LIKE AN ALZHEIMER’S PATIENT

Red tulips Painting by Elena Sokolova | Saatchi Art

My ex is like an Alzheimer’s patient
Remembering nothing. I look at her
And remember us—I sent
Poems. She responded with her own. We were
The lovers who took their place
In hills on top of hills.
I watched the love in her face.
Now she looks at me with a blank expression.
The mirror catches it. The triumphant film
Has no answers. The last scene:
Trees outside a window. She forgets
Not only the intimacy, but everything
As it gradually becomes everything
Which is the thing everyone forgets.
The everything everyone forgets
Is a flower, and is still a flower
Blooming in every petal; red, shiny petals of regrets.
She forgot. Did I forget?
Not yet. Not yet.

BEN MAZER’S THE HIERARCHY OF THE PAVILIONS—A REVIEW BY THOMAS GRAVES

The Hierarchy of The Pavilions: Mazer, Ben: 9781952335129: Amazon.com: Books

Poets—like diplomats—know what not to say. There is none more reticent than the true poet.

This is all the more remarkable to say, given that a poem (unlike most persons) is a person with his whole being talking.

This is not a metaphor; if you read a letter from your lover saying they are leaving you (for instance) when you are reading that letter, that letter is your lover. A poem is a talking person. No more, no less.

If ‘a person with his whole being talking’ is what a poem really is, how is one reticent in it?

It’s impossible to be reticent in it. We can use words like “pure” and “art,” but we cannot reconcile the two truths we have just posited.

It is difficult to read an excellent book of poetry in one sitting—is one supposed to do such a thing? When I finished Ben Mazer’s The Hierarchy of the Pavilions (Madhat Press) the idea which came to me was “the inevitability of chance.”

Ben Mazer’s poetry has no rules; it does exactly what it wants, and yet it is reticent to a degree unparalleled in the history of letters.

I am a poet less skilled than Mazer; it could help if I compare myself to him, and show you, in my role as a critic and poet, how extraordinary Mazer as a poet is. Here is a poem I wrote:

WHY DIDN’T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU?

I guess it was my fault. I went off to write my poems
Inspired by you, but since I’m not a portrait painter
You didn’t think you needed to be there. In my mind
You were fine and gradually you weren’t there at all.
My poems were the last to notice; they became so good
They brought you back more real than you had been
When you were here and we laughed and sighed in our sin.
The lonely make the best poets; my desire for you
Wrote the poems; having you, did not. Simple painting
Would have solved everything. Poetry is more complex.
As for you, let me guess:
You woke up one day and realized: poets love us less.
Poetry doesn’t care that people are apart.
It’s true, Rosalinda. Poetry lives only in my heart.

I wrote this poem, obviously, with “something to say.” “Why Didn’t You Let Me Love You?” is not reticent at all. It explains its head off, and this is its weakness, in terms of art. One can see that writing a poem like this starts with a clear idea, in which one person is talking to another. Formally, the rhymes are intrusive. There is really no poetry here. It is nice talk, but that’s all it really is.

But here is Ben Mazer.

It rains. One steps up through the haze is the first poem in The Hierarchy of the Pavilions, and here it is in its entirety:

It rains. One steps up through the haze
of tan and violet to the maze
of memory—misty where one stands,
twisting, separating strands.

The hour’s dim, and no one calls;
obligation mutely falls
through floors of mountains, origin:
anonymously you begin.

The blasted lantern of the nerves
lights up the sky, where starlight curves;
below, on earth, some few pass by
sheer constructs of identity.

They swirl and plaster every sense,
unto a law of difference:
not clear how long, or what direction,
subsume the nerves in their inspection.

The skeleton’s examination
evokes, incites, brief procreation:
filed away, some future date
astonished memories locate.

The seraphs of pedestrians
seep into violets, into tans,
breaching desire’s boulevards;
throw down the last of evening’s cards.

There is no way to formulate
identity’s raw nervous state:
it seems to slip into the world,
by stellar facts and atoms hurled

into the mythic stratosphere.
Ideas formulate the seer.
Genesis sans generation.
A change of trains at London station.

Every phrase, “It rains,” every line, to the final “A change of trains at London station,” every word here—is poetry, and poetry of the highest order. It is not someone talking. It is a spell. As Philip Nikolayev says in his brilliant afterword, “We are as if beckoned to step out of whatever mental state we happen to be in—and into the rain.”

This is precisely it. We are taken out of our own “mental state” and into the poem’s—which, although it uses words, is not like the talking which goes on around us, or in our heads every day. It is a “mental state” produced by every rhythm, every sound, every shard and nerve of the poem’s language which fulfills the impossible prophecy—Ben Mazer’s poem is talking; sure, it’s a person—but it is reticent. It is art.

To quote Nikolayev again:

Identities that seem definite and self-determined are “sheer constructs,” illusions. The unfurling and dissipation of one’s identity is what constitutes one’s destiny, and Mazer’s poetry is very much a poetry of destiny. Luckily, a poet’s identity has a way of dissipating into poetry rather than into the stratosphere.

Once the abstract quest for identity has failed, we simply shake it off—as the dream and head trip and poem that it is—as we refocus our senses on something as concrete and contingent as a change of trains in a major European metropolis. The poem starts with one change of mental state and ends with another, setting the tone for the whole collection, which comprises a large percolation of mental states. The poem’s London is the London of the poet’s personal experience, but it also stands for the context of English poetry, important to him.

philip nikolayev. the hierarchy of the pavilions afterword

Ben Mazer stands at the center of English poetry—all poets of Mazer’s stature writing in English cannot help but be both American and British poets—and poets of the world as much as the best translations permit. That he is a scholar, as well, is a given—one cannot do in poetry what Mazer does in poetry without swimming in it.

The paradox of poetry without personhood I am chewing on can be illustrated by Mazer’s own words from his “The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics,” a series of metaphysical propositions, blessedly included in The Hierarchy of the Pavilions—making this volume even more indispensable:

“2.23. God gives and takes away. What He gives is poetry, what He takes away is the poet.”

The poet knows he doesn’t count—but his poetry does. This may be wrong, but it is the only way to write great poetry; or at least Mazer makes it seem so—for himself, if not the rest of us.

As a scholar, Mazer is singularly pure, just as he is in his poetry. He doesn’t divide himself; he doesn’t take sides in effusive but finally useless debates. His peerless focus on what’s important is demonstrated effortlessly by another gem from “The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics”—this assaulted my eye, lying near to its brother above:

“2.18. “Traditional” and “avant-garde” are interchangeable terms referring to formal mastery of the range of available techniques (including the not yet articulated).”

Mazer cannot be argued with—he will not argue, aesthetically, about “traditional” vs. “avant-garde” but defend both as “formal mastery,” and who but a truculent blowhard without discrimination or patience would disagree? And this is why his poetry stuns and weaves spells none can escape—he has studied and learned not to be argued with; there is no arguing with his pure poetic affect.

If this seems all too simple, well:

“2.20. The mature poet aspires to greater incomprehensibility and less complication.”

Look at this short poem, The black-gold wallpaper, which demonstrates “incomprehensibility” with “less complication,” a poem which says a great deal without really saying anything—just to briefly move in the book from what I could quote from all day (“The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics”) to the poetry:

The black-gold wallpaper,
the scarabs sealed in glass,
our beds set close apart,
how slow the hours pass,
in the great depths of night,
enclosed within the city,
I read from an old book,
with wonder and with pity.

The music is flawless.

Back to “The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics.” Here is another example of how Mazer’s paradoxical and ultimately triumphant mind works:

“2.39. Decisiveness. The same as decisions. If it is impossible to tell the number of these, literally impossible, because there are so many of them, then the poem is a job well done.”

And in this next one the impact is almost akin to hypnosis:

“2.49. Clouds do not have to be clouds. This is as simple an expression of number as I can think of.”

It’s not surprising that a mind like this will also produce, in another mood, humor, with the same singleness of purpose. Nothing stops Ben Mazer’s mind. The Hierarchy of the Pavilions features over 13 pages of something very funny, entitled, “The Magazine Review of Books.”

Ben Mazer writes pure poems “too deep for tears,” and these are almost too deep for laughter:

HELP ME OUT MAGAZINE
SAY THAT AGAIN MAGAZINE
EXCUSE ME MAGAZINE
THE WHY NOT REVIEW OF BOOKS
WANT ME MAGAZINE
ME TOO MAGAZINE
THE ME TOO REVIEW OF BOOKS
MANSTAND
THE TROUBLER
CONFLICT MAGAZINE
MARGERINE
TUNE ME OUT REVIEW OF BOOKS
MICHAEL MAGAZINE
THE HOWARD REVIEW
THE HOWARD REVIEW OF BOOKS
HOWARD MAGAZINE
JILL
BEGGAR MAGAZINE
LOOK OUT MAGAZINE
OFTEN MAGAZINE
CLAMP MAGAZINE
CLIVE REVIEW OF BOOKS
GLIMPSE MAGAZINE
MAKES NO DIFFERENCE MAGAZINE
BIG IDEAS
BOB
BEAR WITH ME REVIEW OF BOOKS

The list get increasingly crazier:

SHAKE MY BOTTLE REVIEW OF BOOKS
BRAIN POWER MAGAZINE
SECRET MEANINGS REVIEW OF BOOKS
NOT A MATTER FOR SPECULATION MAGAZINE

and crazier:

YOU MAY NOT BE GETTING IT REVIEW OF BOOKS
I TOLD YOU BUT YOU DIDN’T LISTEN MAGAZINE
I’M GIVING YOU ANOTHER CHANCE MAGAZINE
I NEVER GET PIMPLES I CAN’T BELIEVE IT MAGAZINE

and crazier:

THIS FEELS FINE I FEEL REALLY GOOD FOR SAYING ALL THIS REVIEW OF BOOKS
PLEASE DON’T HATE ME OR JUDGE ME TOO QUICKLY MAGAZINE
I’M REALLY YOUR FRIEND THAT IS IF YOU’RE NOT A MEAN PERSON REVIEW OF BOOKS

ending after 13 pages, with:

THINK IT OVER CAREFULLY THINK IT OVER CAREFULLY THINK IT OVER CAREFULLY THINK IT OVER CAREFULLY MAGAZINE
JUST LET IT COME TO YOU JUST LET IT COME TO YOU JUST LET IT COME TO YOU JUST LET IT COME TO YOU REVIEW OF BOOKS
THE ELBOW OF THE CHIN SMILES UPSIDE DOWN

I’ll close with a poem which hints at what poetry means for us:

SMOOTH AS A SILKEN BEE

Smooth as a silken bee you found that talk
came honeyed to your lips, the dropped leaflets
of cold war verse did more than just rehearse
the country gossip of another time.
First in milking, first in being read
to the old principal’s confirmed delight
till the days passed, and tall before the dean
you learned that you’d be given every chance,
so that even now you are self-chosen.
When the map wants to look you are the town.

A half a pint would get you half a poem
and one of ham and mustard get you one
so in the shuffle of the boys’ salon
under an optic tutelage by rote
you learned to put your claim upon the light,
translating it to mimicry of sound
just as you had when praying to the ground
in the morning light that knew no names for things
but that which, from the town, the father brings.
In poetry you found a foster home.

Ben Mazer is currently editing, under contract with both the Delmore Schwartz estate and Farrar Straus Giroux, the collected poems of Delmore Schwartz.

This is cause for celebration.

But I think it is tragic how few know how valuable this living poet is.

YOU’RE NOT SMART

Bobby Rivers TV: Marilyn Monroe Was Robbed

The greatest insult, she felt,
Was the implication she was not smart.
Admit her beauty was not perfect
Or she did not possess a pure heart,
You’ll see anyone, with a smile,
Own these flaws, but not: “I’m not smart.”

“I don’t remember things, I’m crazy,
I don’t know many things by heart.
I don’t read literature, or know certain answers,
But don’t you ever tell me I’m not smart.
It isn’t even empathy or justice—
Hard choices must be made in the heart.
No, I wanted to end you—
When you assumed I wasn’t smart.”

Do you remember Marilyn Monroe?
How she delighted to be in photos reading books?
Or wearing glasses? Being an intellectual?
She wanted smart more than fame and looks.

But Marilyn proved to be not smart, didn’t she?
She thought JFK would leave Jackie and marry her.
What kind of embarrassment is this?
Are you smart? You’re not. I wish you were.

I proved smarter than you at last.
I said, Stay where you are.
(My poems? I wrote those in the past.)
You don’t need to leave him for me.
I will kiss you next week in your car.

WHY DIDN’T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU?

10 Paintings That Show How Solitude Can Be Your Best Companion - Art - Art

I guess it was my fault. I went off to write my poems
Inspired by you, but since I’m not a portrait painter
You didn’t think you needed to be there. In my mind
You were just fine and gradually you weren’t there at all.
My poems were the last to notice; they became so good
They brought you back more real than you had been—
When you were here and we laughed and sighed in our sin.
The lonely make the best poets; my desire for you
Wrote the poems; having you, did not. Simple painting
Would have solved everything. Poetry is more complex.
As for you, let me guess:
You woke up one day and realized: poets love us less.
Poetry doesn’t care that people are apart.
It’s true, Rosalinda. Poetry lives only in my heart.

I ONCE LOVED

Active Repertoire: The 2021 Challenge – pianodao

I once loved a passage in a work so desperately
I only heard the work in relation to the part
Which stood alone (I thought, for me)—
A space in the whole leaving room for my whole heart
To grieve for a beauty too brief
To complete the building of any belief,
Or anything I might use to build a religion;
But like a worshiper at the end of each day
I listened, my whole mind pleasantly far away.
I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the song,
Waiting for only this one part:
A divine melody, a mystery—
Like loves which hurt more the more moral and upright my heart.
Did the composer know this gem (never repeated in the piece elsewhere)
Would be the soul of the entire piece? And that I
Listened inside all its other music for it—
Inside the shadow of its brown piano—
A pause, there! that first, second, now that third note? Love? Why?

WHAT DO WE KNOW

Into The Night Air by Linda O'Neill (Acrylic Painting) | Artful Home

What do we know when someone
Says what they say? We don’t know.
It’s some kind of ironic day. If we shut
The door, the circus of air doesn’t
Get a chance to build up strength
And sail in, with her voice, in our direction,
A voice that tortures language, that
Tortures the air, tortures what they forget.
Did you think what they say is what they are?
That’s like saying yesterday’s light is that star.
Close the door. You can’t hear them.
Shut the door and change the world.
I was six feet from her
When she said, “I don’t love you anymore.”
This is not true. Look. The door.
I know she loves you. She does care.
She didn’t say that. It was the air.

I WONDER IF YOU KNOW

New England Landscape With Cemetery Painting by Mountain Dreams

I wonder if you know,
In easy walking reach,
I walk daily to the beach
Which faces your house,
Behind trees, a river, and a bay,
A mile away?
I was a lion,
And now I’m a mouse—
I held you in my arms.
We were king and queen
On every bay and inlet
And every river in-between.
I would steer you into shadows
Where marsh-reeds grew
And declare my love.
And I would kiss you.
But now I watch
The sun dissolve in this hazy sky
Above tracks where occasionally
Trains go by,
Distantly, between you and me.
I wonder if you’re home
And if you’re thinking of me.
The lion lived in your head
And was invited into your house
To stain your sheets—
But now I know: true love
Is not a lion. True love is a mouse.
I was never a lion.
Upon the marsh. Or in your house.

NOW WE NEED TO GET RID OF THESE POEMS

COVID-19 gives a new perspective to Dante's Inferno - The Johns Hopkins  News-Letter

Now we need to get rid of these poems
Which are actually prose.
Poems as prose can be great, as far as that goes.
Prose is more detailed and exquisite.
Place names! Ship names! Let’s go and visit.
Let’s meet the prose-poem writer, who is a regular guy.
You’ll read about the death of his wife and you will cry.
The children around the bed, the good wife
Trying to say goodbye through a tube. Prose captures life.
The great poets get closer and closer to prose
As life becomes more modern. A poem? I once wrote one of those.
I received high praise from the high school teacher
Who acted quite a bit like a nineteenth century preacher.
But when I got older, I learned in the tawdry bar
From graduate students verse wasn’t going to take me very far.
All of the cool things prose does it does so well
Poetry survives only in that Italian poem about hell.
Tomorrow they’ll make fun of Dante on SNL
And then it will be over—poetry will be dead
And live, but in silence, in the stars overhead.

MACHIAVELLI TAUGHT ME HOW TO TRIUMPH OVER LOVE

Leonardo-da-Vinci---Drawings---Animals--Horses 1.jpg | Horse drawings,  Animal drawings, Horse painting

I always do what I need to do—
Not for me, necessarily;
I always consider you.

Loving or hating, it’s all the same—
As long as there is passion
Which the investigators blame.

Investigations come up short.
There’s always some nuance
They don’t report.

As I loved you deeply, I found
You loved, too, but doubting
In love is always profound.

By my intelligence, I knew—
Or should I say in my heart—
You loved me. That’s why I loved you.

There is a theory—
Love is more mutual than we know.
“Does she love me?” an important query—

If you love someone truly
It is because they love you—
Not if they happen to be Betty or Julie.

But with certainty
Came ironically whispering doubt—
A certain doubt in you and me.

Doubt is always the price we pay
When certainty is the goal—
Certainty finds doubt along the way.

But I did what I had to do—
With certainty you loved me—
But I did what I did with nuance, too.

Love should not require nuance,
Eyesight, or quickness;
Love is not a jungle pounce.

Yet…sweetest love must navigate
Those shadows, those villains
Of secretive desire and hate.

Passion has a cunning eye
Which treasures love,
But naturally is a cunning spy.

But most of all give me a calm mind
To check undue passion—
So love’s considerate and kind.

I own such a mind—this story
A poet wouldn’t tell
Unless it ended in glory.

But three’s the number, not one or two—
This is what I did
And what I did I did for you.

You were sought by another
In the manner of sisterly things.
He pretended to be your brother.

The jealousy of him, outside—
But with an inner position—
Began to turned the tide.

But there was no tide to turn—
I knew our love was a sea,
A star, a book—to memorize and learn.

I tried to be light, but I was stern.
There were doubts. There were doubts.
Things of love are tedious to learn.

How shall the good take action? Delicately.
I bore witness to his position—
This was not expected of me.

You were put in a place
Where he would have less influence.
You avoided my face.

The shifting landscape saw
Anger instead of love.
You left it to the law.

You were blamed as much as me—
Though I was blamed
Slightly more, officially.

Surprised, you hated.
Surprised, stunned, offended.
Weeping at times, I waited.

You still love me—I knew.
Is that sad? My story is over.
My love was great, but finished with you.

We suffered this whole while.
I waited for years—remembrances of nuances!—
A poet with a sad and puzzled smile.


MUCH BETTER TO BE BETTER

Joaquin Sorolla / 'Walk on the Beach', 1909, Oil on canvas, 205 x 200 cm.  Painting by Joaquin Sorolla -1863-1923-

Once you decide the chorus of the gospel song
Will change you forever and you will go along
On the hiking trip and behind the ocean
Lyrics of the sea become an interesting notion,
And because you were one of the first to learn
You better move slightly when the others turn,
And every time you feel the urge, you see more
Reasons for more and more and more—
It will be a while before the chorus turns electronic
And Dionysus will no longer seem frightening,
And the others no longer influence you,
And the dull routines resume,
But then it will be too late;
Love will confuse you—it will be like hate.
Much better to be better and be left out.
Much better to not go along. To doubt.

Once you decide the chorus of the gospel song
Will change you forever and you will go along
On the hiking trip and behind the ocean
Lyrics of the ocean, the ocean, the ocean!
And because you were one of the first to learn
You better move slightly when the others turn,
And every time you feel the urge, you see more
Reasons for less and less and less—
It will be a while before the chorus fades away
And Apollo will no longer seem reassuring,
And the others no longer influence you,
And the regrets crowd in,
But then it will be time, at last,
To not think. To forget the past.
When you’re put in the boat, better to row.
To be off. To love. To know.

MARCH MADNESS SEMI-FINALS AND CHAMPIONSHIP

Pink Floyd - Steve®™ 💎 on Twitter: "And a new day will dawn for those who  stand long, And the forests will echo with laughter.. #LedZeppelin #Art… "

LED ZEPPELIN -BABE I’M GONNA LEAVE YOU/STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

vs

THE RONETTES -BE MY BABY/BABY I LOVE YOU

The Ronettes recorded “Be My Baby” July 5, 1963 and it raced to the top of the charts ahead of “She Loves You,” the Beatles’s first big single, recorded July 1, 1963. When The Ronettes toured England in early 1964 the Rolling Stones opened for them—and John Lennon met Phil Spector, Ronettes producer, and they became life-long friends. The drumming in “She Loves You” (big and busy) sounds similar to “Be My Baby.” The overall production value is stronger in “Be My Baby” than “She Loves You”—and the excitement of the chorus (which included Cher in her first ever recording gig) is through the roof. “Baby I Love You” followed “Be My Baby” in the fall of 1963 and did not chart as well, but still has a great sound and a thrilling chorus.

The Ronettes is the only act in the Final Four with choral excitement and harmony, a timeless dramatic and musical strategy—which The Ronettes exploited as well as anyone. Real magic here.

Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (1969) has dynamics and drama completely opposed to “Be My Baby.” A powerful solo voice over an acoustic guitar laments and boasts for six minutes—a whole different feel from the orgy of adolescent giddiness conveyed in 3 minutes by “Be My Baby.” Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s lead singer, is desperate and autumnal—though “summer” is when he must “go away,” increasing the feeling of sorrow. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” does have a ghost of a chorus towards the end as its big drumming flourish lifts up the song’s hopeful agony. “Stairway To Heaven” goes even further in the art of dynamic range—again, there’s no chorus, but flute and acoustic guitars are effective voices and the song continues to build over strange, evocative lyrics (Plato’s bucolic nightmare is expressed in “and the forest will echo with laughter”) becoming self-consciously heavier in its rock sound until dionysus enters full-blown as Page’s electric guitar. The song ends quietly with “And she’s buying a stairway to hea-ven.”

Both well-crafted Led Zeppelin songs end—The Ronettes songs, after reaching their ecstatic heights, fade out.

WINNER: Led Zeppelin

~~~~~~~

NINA SIMONE -I’LL LOOK AROUND/JUST SAY I LOVE HIM

vs

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE -WHITE RABBIT/LATHER

There is no chorus or big guitar solo in Nina Simone’s 1961 slow rock song—“Just Say I Love Him,” a duet between a languid, earnest, muted, electric guitar and Simone’s intimate and melancholy vocals. The whole song is “a guitar solo”—and Simone’s voice—actress, as well as a musical instrument—triumphs over the instrumental backing which is perfectly ideal for her. “I’ll Look Around” (1961, same album) takes a similar approach—Simone’s vocals intimately propound the poetry, and this time a lovely piano solo helps steer the song to its mournful but beautiful conclusion.

“I’ll Look Around” has especially marvelous lyrics.

I know somewhere spring must fill the air
With sweetness just as rare
As the flower that you gave me to wear

And the sweetness of spring is invoked by the piano’s tinkling solo.

And look at this intelligent and subtle passage:

I’ll look around and when I’ve found
Someone who sighs like you
I’ll know this love I’m dreaming of
Won’t be the old love I always knew

The delicacy here of considering a new love with the rueful admission that the new love “won’t be the old love I always knew…” This is unbelievably touching.

“White Rabbit” (recorded in the fall of 1966) by Jefferson Airplane might be the most perfect rock song ever made—the vocals, the instruments, the lyrics, the way it builds, and concludes. Is there anything better?

But this is a Two Song tournament. What about “Lather?” This, too, is an amazing recording, from early 1968:

“And I should have told him, no you’re not old…”

Here are some of the extraordinary lyrics:

His mother sent newspaper clippings to him
About his old friends who’d stopped being boys
There was Harwitz E. Green, just turned thirty-three
His leather chair waits at the bank
And Seargent Dow Jones, twenty-seven years old
Commanding his very own tank
But Lather still finds it a nice thing to do
To lie about nude in the sand
Drawing pictures of mountains that look like bumps
And thrashing the air with his hands

***

Lather was thirty years old today
And Lather came foam from his tongue
He looked at me eyes wide and plainly said
Is it true that I’m no longer young?
And the children call him famous
What the old men call insane
And sometimes he’s so nameless
That he hardly knows which game to play
Which words to say
And I should have told him, no, you’re not old
And I should have let him go on, smiling, baby wide

The effects, the lyrics, the haunting tune, the landscape and the life it creates! The only drawback is that it fades out too quickly.

WINNER Nina Simone

~~~

THE CHAMPIONSHIP

NINA SIMONE

vs

LED ZEPPELIN

Led Zeppelin songs “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Stairway To Heaven” have better parts; Nina Simone’s “I’ll Look Around” and “Just Say I Love Him” are better as whole songs with every intricate element intermingling. The Nina Simone songs have sightly better lyrics; “Stairway To Heaven’s” lyrics are brilliant, but suffer a bit from too much mysticism. Robert Plant’s vocals are all you could ask for—Nina Simone’s are all that, and then some, but in a quieter way. If you are alone at midnight, or with someone you love, you will be better able to appreciate Nina Simone in her quiet and sad repose. In a more calculating mood, when the sun is shining, you will likely swear Led Zeppelin is uncanny and stronger in every way. How will this be judged many, many years from now? This contest never really ends.

AND NOW THE CHAMPION…

I’LL LOOK AROUND/JUST SAY I LOVE HIM

CONGRATULATIONS TO NINA SIMONE and those who made her album FORBIDDEN FRUIT.

This ends the 2021 Scarriet March Madness tournament—thanks for watching. Goodbye everyone. –Marla Muse

SHE COUNTERED HER VOLUPTUOUSNESS WITH THE MUNDANE

Long Live the Queen | JewishBoston

She countered her voluptuousness with the mundane.
Her looks, therefore, drove me insane.
You cannot imagine what it is like to walk
With beauty in a wool sock.
“I had no childhood,” she said—
I, being child-like, felt a cold dread.
She would watch golf in her underpants.
She didn’t sing, nor would she dance—
Except once, in tears,
As if exhausted by every bit of grief through the years.
I held her, swaying, close to my side;
I pressed her tears to mine
For ten minutes—ten little minutes I stuck by her side
And in my mind, I was by her side forever after:
Desperate, in an old house, holding on to a rafter.

THERE ARE TWO THINGS

Rhythm in Art - Master Painting Examples - Draw Paint Academy

There are two things, and only two—
Me—and the persistent stupidity of you
Who insists on some kind of interest in me.
What an idiot you are; you read my poetry.
“Some kind of interest” is a really ugly phrase
But you’ve been poking around my pages for days.
I don’t suppose you know how much I dislike you.
I like myself—when I take walks, who do you think I’m talking to?
You bought a 300 year old house and can’t glue a tile.
You’re happy—not having fixed anything in a while.
When I try to fix something you become enraged—
Instead of being grateful, you’ll tear out the page.
I’m faced not only with stupidity but stupidity hateful and odd.
You thrive. How? Only by the grace of God.
“There are two things.” I was dreaming this idea
In such a manner I lost it when I woke up.
I am more foolish and idiotic than you,
Writing dumb poetry at 3 AM:
“There are two things, and only two.”
Well, your stupid pets woke me.
Yeah. That’s what they do.
But I’ll go right back to sleep.
Later, a long walk in the fresh air,
Talking to myself. Have you guessed myself is you?
I’m going to ruin a perfectly good poem
By defining reality’s two things—
Past and present? Oh. No doubt.
No. It. And me trying to figure it out.

FINAL FOUR IN POP MUSIC MARCH MADNESS

Spanky and Our Gang - Wikipedia
Can underdogs Spanky And Our Gang go all the way?

BOLLOCKS BRACKET

The Bee Gees upset the Beatles! “Lonely Days” and “Stayin’ Alive” prove too much for the Liverpool lads’ “She’s Leaving Home” and “It’s All Too Much.” Beatles fans can’t believe it. Bee Gees fans knew it could happen.

A titanic struggle between The Rolling Stones (the haunting “Two Thousand Light Years From Home” and the fiery “Gimme Shelter”) and Led Zeppelin (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Stairway To Heaven”). Did Brian Jones contribute to “Gimme Shelter?” We will probably never know—Brian was present, but not credited on the song—yet it has crunchy elements which feel like Brian—obviously the great guitar lead is Keith’s. Led Zeppelin’s two songs both begin and end strongly. Led Zeppelin wins!

BRAHMS BRACKET

Nina Simone defeats Ray Charles—because she is the queen. If you haven’t heard “I’ll Look Around” and “Just Say I Love Him” from the album Forbidden Fruit, go breathe the magic!

T. Rex out-grooves the Zombies. “Bang A Gong” is as fun as it gets, and “Cosmic Dancer” is interesting, as well.

BEETHOVEN BRACKET

Jefferson Airplane in a very close contest with Spanky And Our Gang. “White Rabbit” and “Lather” are perfect—but discomforting and depressing. “Sunday Will Never Be The Same” and “I’d Like To Get To Know You” entrance on every level. The irony is that “escapism” is the subject of the Jefferson Airplane songs, as Spanky And Our Gang attempt to triumph with pure pop escapism in their arrangements and hooks. Jefferson Airplane advances to the Elite Eight.

Don McLean edges Love with the sweep of his classic, “American Pie.”

BACH BRACKET

The Animals get by Leonard Cohen. “House Of The Rising Sun” and its blistering organ overcomes the suavity and sweetness of Leonard Cohen. We must leave him down by the river with Suzanne.

The Ronettes‘ infectious “Baby” chorus cancels the Temptations swaying smoothness and their great social commentary song, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”

The ELITE EIGHT

Led Zeppelin defeats the Bee Gees— Led Zeppelin reaches the Final Four.

Nina Simone defeats T. Rex—Nina Simone reaches the Final Four

Jefferson Airplane defeats Don McLean—Jefferson Airplane reaches the Final Four

The Ronettes defeat The Animals—The Ronettes reach the Final Four

THE FINAL FOUR

LED ZEPPELIN—BABE I’M GONNA LEAVE YOU/STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

NINA SIMONE—I’LL LOOK AROUND/JUST SAY I LOVE HIM

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE—WHITE RABBIT/LATHER

THE RONETTES–BABY I LOVE YOU/BE MY BABY

THE SUNNY SON

The Red Sun - Artist PopLab

The sunny son is not afraid
Of anything, except laughter hiding in the shade!
The sunny son decided he
Would try his hand at poetry.
He started out on the highway of cliche—
And he actually began to make some headway—
But when thousands love you, you don’t belong.
You cannot progress, when everyone is copying your song.
The sunny son wrote what none
Could understand. There goes the glorious sun.
“Why do they say that beauty is truth?” I thought you knew.
The terribly funny is the thing that’s true.

POPULAR MUSIC MARCH MADNESS ROARS TO ITS CONCLUSION

Sgt. Pepper - The album cover - Goldmine Magazine: Record Collector & Music  Memorabilia
The Big Pop Music Dance is now down to 16…

The 32 acts in the Two Songs 2021 March Madness tournament who prevailed in Round One were mostly helped by one iconic song—so let’s take this moment to review these classic popular songs which everyone ought to know.

You can probably build all you need for any popular song from these. Do you need anything else?

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)
Wild Thing (The Troggs)
Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Creedence)
Sunshine Superman (Donovan)
Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
Cosmic Dancer (T. Rex)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
Be My Baby (The Ronettes)
American Pie (Don McLean)
She’s Not There (The Zombies)
Someone Like You (Adele)
Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Temptations)
Love—no smash hits, 2 songs from “Forever Changes”
Crazy (Patsy Cline)
Staying Alive (Bee Gees)
Cannonball (The Breeders)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Good Golly Miss Molly (Little Richard)
Is That All There Is? (Peggy Lee)
Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)
Are You Experienced? (Jimi Hendrix)
Nina Simone—no smash hits, 2 songs from “Forbidden Fruit”
Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
Wild World (Cat Stevens)
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
The End (The Doors)
What I’d Say (Ray Charles)
It’s All Too Much (The Beatles)
House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)
Sunday Will Never Be The Same (Spanky & Our Gang)

The major upsets
Bob Dylan—his “Like A Rolling Stone” ran into the buzz saw which is the Animals classic “House of the Rising Sun”
Elvis—an iconic artist, but wasn’t able to overcome Cat Stevens and “Wild World.”
David Bowie—was edged out by Pink Floyd (inner space song Comfortably Numb beat outer space’s Space Oddity)
Elton John—The Rocket Man fell to Adele
Marvin Gaye—couldn’t get past Nina Simone
Buddy Holly—lost to Hendrix
The Who—tripped up by McLean’s American Pie
Stevie Wonder—fell to the Zombies
Roberta Flack—a victim of the Ronetttes
Janis Joplin—lost to Love
Bruno Mars—knocked out by Nrivana
Frank Sinatra—booted by the Stones
Hank Williams—Creedence did him in
Beach Boys—pushed aside by Spanky & Our Gang

SECOND ROUND

BACH Bracket

The Animals beat Michael (Beat It) Jackson.
Leonard (Suzanne takes you down…) Cohen defeats The Breeders (they were having too much fun)
The Temptations win over Fleetwood Mac (who must go their own way).
The Ronettes prevail over Simon and Garfunkel (the crooners from Queens must make a new plan, Stan)

BEETHOVEN Bracket

Spanky And Our Gang make it the end for the fiery Doors!
Love (and their uncanny sound) upend Jimi Hendrix (too much experience?)
Jefferson Airplane (aren’t they slick?) eliminate The Troggs.
Don McLean denies Nirvana another slice of pie!

BRAHMS Bracket

Ray Charles has this to say: you’re gone, Cat Stevens.
Nina Simone says there will be no more revival for Creedence Clearwater.
T. Rex gives a passionate farewell to Little Richard.
The Zombies send Patsy Cline walking after midnight.

BOLLOCKS Bracket

The Beatles become Peggy Lee’s fatal fever.
The Rolling Stones have Adele’s number.
Led Zeppelin find Donovan a very mellow fellow.
The Bee Gees stay alive against Pink Floyd (too much gravitas?)


And that’s our Sweet Sixteen.

Next, the Elite Eight.

Scarriet thanks you for watching.



THE KING OF STUPID IS STILL KING

King Cotton Diplomacy was one of the Southern battle strategies. King  Cotton Diplomacy was methods employe… | Mexican american war, American war,  American civil war

Collapsible poems? The poet king has written a few.
The flesh is shared, the flesh I gave to you.
Standardizing the standards of liking,
Pay the discord’s resolution. Pay. It’s due.
The king of stupid is still king.

Are you happy to pay these parking fines
Based on the placement of my parking signs
Placed to make less room?
Fine. Blame the king for the lines.
Meanwhile the late await their doom.

The check the president cut for you
Is your money. This flesh this flesh grew,
Admiring itself for the sake of all.
Admire the poem. It is made of you.
Watch this carefully. It may fall.

WHAT IT IS HIDES WHAT IT DOES

Cinema Style File--Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw Heat Up in Casual Classics  | GlamAmor

The easy photograph
And all the passive pleasure you enjoy,
No doubt, you deserve—
Why should I take away your joy?
The curvature of the model,
The movie hunk’s wink,
Teach you instantaneously
You—the passive one—don’t need to think.
Unthinking pleasure is pleasure,
You feel. And love
Is simply when photos start to move.
Why should I, who love you,
Contradict your vision
With sadness just because
What the thing is hides what it does?
I have thought long about this—
Ever since I wept on seeing Keats’
Urn where lovers for eternity cannot kiss.
We cannot kiss. Here’s a poem, instead.
This remains. This. All we did is dead.

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