SCARRIET POETRY BASEBALL STATS

Amazon.com: Woody Allen wearing a baseball uniform Photo Print (24 ...

The first place LA Gamers were in last place when they signed Woody Allen (7-2).

WINS

Rimini Broadcasters  Owner, Fellini, Manager Claudius, Motto, “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.”  50-62, Fifth

Maurice Ravel 4-1
Samuel Coleridge 8-6
George Orwell 10-7
Jacques Lacan 6-5
Vladimir Nabokov 9-15
Giacomo Leopardi 6-10
Paul Valery 3-7
Alfred Hitchcock 1-5

Corsica Codes Owner, Napoleon Bonaparte, Manager, Alexander the Great, Motto “Let the more loving one be me” 57-55 Second

William Logan 3-1
Homer 13-6
Hegel 13-7
Kant 8-9
Balzac 8-11
Cicero 7-11
Hesiod 3-7
Edmund Wilson 2-3
Wislawa Szymborska 0-0

Madrid Crusaders  Owner, Philip II of Spain, Manager Christopher Columbus, Motto “If in my thought I have magnified the Father above the Son, let Him have no mercy on me.” 57-55 Second

Beethoven 9-2
Handel 14-4
Mozart 5-4
Thomas Aquinas 9-13
GK Chesterton 4-5
St. John of the Cross 4-5
George Berkeley 5-7
Plotinus 3-7
Scarlatti 2-2
Joan of Arc 1-0
Tolkien 1-2
Lisieux 0-3

Paris Goths Owner, Charles X, Manager, Arthur Schopenhauer, Motto “Every great enterprise takes its first step in faith.” 60-52 First

Francois Chateaubriand 16-7
Oscar Wilde 13-6
Johann Goethe 12-8
Goya 7-8
Thomas de Quincey 2-0
AW Schlegel 3-4
Gautier 2-4
Dostoevsky 1-1
Camille Paglia 0-2
Baudelaire 3-13

Rome Ceilings  Owner, Pope Julius II, Manager Cardinal Richelieu, Motto “They also serve who only stand and wait.” 60-52 First

GE Lessing 6-3
John Milton 12-7
Ludovico Ariosto 12-8
JS Bach 10-7
Augustine 10-9
John Dryden 8-10
Octavio Paz 1-1
George Gascoigne 1-4
Vivaldi 0-1

Berlin Pistols  Owner, Eva Braun, Manager Randolph Churchill, Motto “A life subdued to its instrument.” 49-63 Fifth

TS Eliot 12-10
William James 11-9
Richard Wagner 7-5
Rufus Griswold 4-3
George Santayana 4-9
Ezra Pound 3-4
Ernest Hemingway 3-8
Horace Greeley 3-6
Hugh Kenner 1-2
Wyndham Lewis 1-6

London Carriages  Owner, Queen Victoria, Manager, Prince Albert, Motto “Ours but to do and die.” 57-55 Third

Andrew Marvell 13-7
Henry James 11-10
Virginia Woolf 11-11
William Hazlitt 9-13
Charles Lamb 3-1
Descartes 3-2
Charlotte Bronte 3-2
Jeremy Bentham 3-9

Florence Banners Owner, Lorenzo de Medici, Manager, Erasmus, Motto “The One remains, the many change and pass.” 60-52 Second

Percy Shelley 15-7
Virgil 13-8
Leonardo da Vinci 10-8
Dante 11-10
Marsilio Ficino 2-1
Boccaccio 5-6
Sandro Botticelli 2-4
William Rossetti 1-3
Bronzino 0-2

The Devon Sun  Owner, PM Lord Russell, Manager, Winston Churchill, Motto “A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.” 51-61 Fourth

John Ruskin 7-3
Bertrand Russell 7-3
Aldous Huxley 11-9
Ralph Emerson 10-12
JS Mill 6-9
Thomas Carlyle 8-15
Henry Thoreau 2-6
Christopher Ricks 0-3

Dublin Laureates Owner, Nahum Tate, Manager, President Ronald Reagan, Motto “Luck is bestowed even on those who don’t have hands.” 64-48 First

Jonathan Swift 16-3
Livy 10-5
Pascal 6-2
Robert Louis Stevenson 9-3
Samuel Johnson 8-8
JD Salinger 2-1
Dana Gioia 2-1
Hans Christian Anderson 1-0
Robert Boyle 4-5
Thomas Peacock 2-7
Edmund Burke 3-9
Arthur Conan Doyle 0-0

Westport Actors  Owner, Harvey Weinstein, Manager, Johnny Depp, Motto “I am no hackney for your rod.” 48-64 Fourth

Chaucer 11-7
Petronius 10-10
Sade 8-8
George Byron 7-7
Norman Mailer 4-7
Richard Rorty 2-3
Henry Beecher 3-7
Andre Gide 1-4
Flaubert 0-6
Hugh Hefner 0-0
Erich Fromm 0-0

Virginia Strangers  Owner, David Lynch, Manager, Bram Stoker, Motto “So still is day, it seems like night profound.” 43-69 Fifth

Alexander Pope 11-9
HP Lovecraft 5-3
Franz Kafka 5-5
Robert Bloch 2-2
Friedrich Nietzsche 7-12
Salvador Dali 3-7
Samuel Beckett 3-9
Shirley Jackson 2-5
Albert Camus 2-11
Philip K Dick 1-3
Luis Bunuel 0-2
Antonin Artaud 0-3
Jean-Luc Godard 0-0

Connecticut Animals  Owner, PT Barnum, Manager, Walt Disney, Motto “Majesty and love are incompatible.” 60-52 Second

Amy Lowell 16-4
Jules Verne 14-9
Ovid 13-8
A.A. Milne 5-4
Melville 7-15
Robert Bly 2-5
Jose y Ortega Gasset 2-0
Gerard de Nerval 1-6
Christopher Hitchens 0-0

The New York War Owner, JP Morgan, Manager, Machiavelli, Motto “The fire-eyed maid of smoky war all hot and bleeding will we offer them.” 60-52 Second

Jack London 5-1
Erich Remarque 15-8
Walter Scott 12-6
William Shakespeare 11-7
Julius Caesar 4-4
Giordano Bruno 2-2
David Hume 9-13
Edward Gibbon 1-4
Richard Aldington 1-6

Boston Secrets Owner, Ben Franklin, Manager, George Washington Motto “We come in the age’s most uncertain hour and sing an American tune.” 71-41 First

Plato 18-6 -leads league
Pushkin 13-4
Edgar Poe 11-8
Moliere 10-9
Thomas Jefferson 5-1
James Monroe 4-2
James Madison 2-1
F Scott Fitzgerald 2-2
Alexander Hamilton 1-1
F Scott Key 4-7

Kolkata Cobras Owner, Satyajit Ray, Manager Rupi Kaur, Motto “Is it true that your love traveled alone through ages and worlds in search of me?” 58-54 Second

Gandhi 14-10
Rumi 13-8
Rabindranith Tagore 13-12
Hermann Hesse 8-10
Kabir Das 4-5
Nissim Ezekiel 2-0
Raja Rao 1-0
Faiz A Faiz 1-1
Krishnamurti 1-1
Kannada 1-2
Ramavtar Sarma 1-2
Acharya Shivapujan Sahay 0-1
Hoshang Merchant 0-1
Suryakant Tripathi 0-0
Sri Ramakrishna 0-0

The Tokyo Mist Owner, Kurosawa, Manager Eiji Yoshikawa, Motto “In Kyoto, hearing the cuckoo, I long for Kyoto.” 45-67 Fifth

Yukio Mishima 12-10
Yone Noguchi 9-9
Issa 10-14
Basho 7-11
Haruki Murakami 3-3
Kobe Abe 2-7
Takaaki Yoshimoto 1-1
Heraclitus 1-2
Murasaki Shikibu 1-3
DT Suzuki 0-5
Mitsuyo Kakuta 0-2

Beijing Waves Owner, Chairman Mao, Manager Jack Dorsey, Motto “Death gives separation repose.” 58-54 Second

Lao Tzu 15-7
Voltaire 14-9
Confucius 8-4
Lucretius 12-11
Rousseau 8-13
Lu Xun 1-0
Lenin 1-0
Khomeini 1-4
Friedrich Engles 0-1
Ho Chi Minh 0-3

Santa Barbara Laws Owner, Dick Wolf, Manager Moshe Rabbenu, Motto “In poetry everything is clear and definite.” 57-55 Third

Francis Bacon 13-11
Aristotle 11-10
Horace 10-12
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. 8-9
Ferdinand Saussure 5-3
Mark Van Doren 4-2
Quintilian 3-3
Ring Lardner Jr. 1-0
Yvor Winters 1-1
ML Rosenthal 1-2
Frank Stella 0-1
Frederick Law Olmstead 0-1

Los Angeles Gamers, Owner Merv Griffin, Manager, Bob Hope, Motto “He thought he saw an elephant that practiced on a fife” 60-52 First

Menander 11-4
Woody Allen 7-2
Democritus 10-6
Lewis Carroll 11-10
Charlie Chaplin 5-3
James Tate 5-5
Christian Morgenstern 3-3
Clive James 2-1
EE Cummings 1-0
Muhammad Ali 1-0
Garrison Keillor 1-2
Derrida 1-7
Antoine de Saint Exupery 0-1
Charles Bernstein 0-4

Arden Dreamers Owner, Pamela Digby Churchill Harriman, Manager, Averell Harriman Motto  “Not the earth, the sea, none of it was enough for her, without me.” 50-62 Fifth

Mary Wollstonecraft 8-4
Margaret Atwood 11-10
Anais Nin 10-13
Jane Austen 4-2
Floyd Dell 4-4
bell hooks 2-1
Helene Cixous 2-1
Michael Ondaaatje 1-0
Jean-Paul Sartre 2-3
Louise Gluck 1-3
Simone de Beauvoir 2-6
Germaine Greer 2-8
William Godwin 1-4
Frida Kahlo 0-0
Diego Rivera 0-0

Manhattan Printers Owner, Andy Warhol, Manager, Brian Epstein, Motto “The eye, seeking to sink, is rebuffed by a much-worked dullness, the patina of a rag, that oily Vulcan uses, wiping up.” 52-60 Fourth

Hans Holbein (the Younger) 10-2
John Cage 6-2
Marcel Duchamp 7-7
Marjorie Perloff 8-13
Hilton Kramer 4-3
Toulouse Lautrec 3-2
Paul Klee 6-7
Guy Davenport 1-1
F.O. Matthiessen 3-4
RP Blackmur 2-4
Stephanie Burt 1-6
Mark Rothko 1-8

Chicago Buyers Owner, John D. Rockefeller, Manager, Charles Darwin, Motto “Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?” 61-51 First

Paul Engle 13-11
Mark Twain 12-7
Sigmund Freud 12-10
Walt Whitman 9-11
Helen Vendler 5-4
Judith Butler 3-2
J.L. Austin 2-3
WK Wimsatt 1-2
Monroe Beardsley 1-2
Thomas Hart Benton 0-0

The Philadelphia Crash, Owner, AC Barnes, Manager Cezanne, Motto “But for some futile things unsaid I should say all is done for us.” 55-57 Third

John Crowe Ransom 12-7
Pablo Picasso 7-3
John Dewey 12-10
Ludwig Wittgenstein 10-11
Walter Pater 8-11
Jackson Pollock 4-6
Walter Benjamin 1-0
Clement Greenberg 1-2
IA Richards 0-3
Kenneth Burke 0-1
Roger Fry 0-1

The Phoenix Universe, Owner Steven Spielberg, Manager, Billy Beane, Motto “I know why the caged bird sings.” 59-53 Second

Jean Cocteau 8-1
Raymond Carver 8-3
Czeslaw Milosz 7-2
Harriet Beecher Stowe 9-10
Martin Luther King Jr 5-4
Michel Foucault 4-3
Harold Bloom 5-6
Lucien Freud 4-5
Marge Piercy 3-5
Lionel Trilling 2-3
Eric Said 2-3
Randall Jarrell 3-6
Timothy Leary 0-0

HOME RUNS BY TEAM

EMPEROR DIVISION

Robert Burns Broadcasters 20
Anne Sexton Broadcasters 16
Rainer Maria Rilke Broadcasters 16
Jim Morrison Broadcasters 10
Mick Jagger Broadcasters 6
Gregory Corso Broadcasters 6

Victor Hugo Codes 29
WH Auden Codes 25
Jean Racine Codes 21
Wole Soyinka Codes 12
Derek Walcott Codes 8
Jules Laforgue Codes 6

Anne Bradstreet Crusaders 23
Aeschylus Crusaders 23
Mary Angela Douglas Crusaders 15
Joyce Kilmer Crusaders 10
Phillis Wheatley Crusaders 9
Saint Ephrem Crusaders 8

Sophocles Goths 25
Heinrich Heine Goths 21
Torquato Tasso Goths 14
Madame de Stael 8
Friedrich Holderlin Goths 7
Thomas Chatterton Goths 6
Dan Sociu Goths 3

Euripides Ceilings 20
Edmund Spenser Ceilings 14
William Blake Ceilings 8
Michelangelo Ceilings 8
John Milton Ceilings 7
Tulsidas Ceilings 5

GLORIOUS DIVISION

Yeats Pistols 29
James Joyce Pistols 22
Ted Hughes Pistols 18
John Quinn Pistols 12
DH Lawrence Pistols 9
Alistair Crowley Pistols 8
Ford Maddox Ford Pistols 5
T.S. Eliot Pistols 5

Henry Longfellow Carriages 22
Alfred Tennyson Carriages 18
Robert Browning Carriages 15
GB Shaw Carriages 11
Paul McCartney Carriages 11
Sylvia Plath Carriages 6
Elizabeth Barrett Carriages 5

Friedrich Schiller Banners 29
DG Rossetti Banners 19
John Keats Banners 14
Ben Mazer Banners 10
Stefan George Banners 9
Christina Rossetti Banners 8
Dante Banners 5
Glyn Maxwell Banners 4

William Wordsworth Sun 26
Matthew Arnold Sun 16
Rudyard Kipling Sun 16
Horace Walpole Sun 13
HG Wells Sun 11
Ralph Emerson Sun 8
Margaret Fuller Sun 5

Alexandre Dumas Laureates 24
Charles Dickens Laureates 24
Aphra Behn Laureates 18
JK Rowling Laureates 13
Sarah Teasdale Laureates 12
Ghalib Laureates 12
Boris Pasternak Laureates 8
Oliver Goldsmith Laureates 6
John Townsend Trowbridge Laureates 6

SOCIETY DIVISION

Thomas Nashe Actors 22
Hafiz Actors 19
Amiri Baraka Actors 10
Gwendolyn Brooks Actors 7
Leonard Cohen Actors 6
Johnny Rotten Actors 4
Marilyn Hacker Actors 3
Audre Lorde Actors 3

Francois Rabelais Strangers 22
Arthur Rimbaud Strangers 22
Theodore Roethke Strangers 18
Knut Hamsun Strangers 7
Mary Shelley Strangers 3

Edward Lear Animals 16
Wallace Stevens Animals 14
Seamus Heaney Animals 10
Lawrence Ferlinghetti Animals 8
Marianne Moore Animals 8
Jack Spicer Animals 7

Stephen Crane War 16
Harry Crosby War 15
Phillip Sidney War 11
Wilfred Owen War 11
Apollinaire War 10
James Dickey War 9
William Shakespeare War 5
Robert Graves War 5
Howard Nemerov  War 5

Robert Frost Secrets 24
Emily Dickinson Secrets 20
Woody Guthrie Secrets 13
Kanye West Secrets 10
Nathaniel Hawthorne Secrets 8
Cole Porter Secrets 6
Stephen Cole Secrets 5
Paul Simon Secrets 4
Edgar Poe Secrets 4

PEOPLES DIVISION

Vikram Seth Cobras 22
Jadoo Akhtar Cobras 21
George Harrison Cobras 20
Gajanan Muktibodh Cobras 10
Anand Thakore Cobras 9
Allen Ginsberg Cobras 8
Kalidasa Cobras 4
Jeet Thayil Cobras 4
Adil Jussawala Cobras 4
Daipayan Nair Cobras 3

John Lennon Mist 19
Hilda Doolittle  Mist 18
Sadakichi Hartmann Mist 16
Yoko Ono Mist 8
Haruki Murakami Mist 6
Gary Snyder Mist 5
Natsume Soseki  Mist 5

Li Po Waves 26
Tu Fu Waves 18
Karl Marx Waves 18
Li He Waves 6
Bertolt Brecht Waves 4

John Donne Laws 22
Thomas Hardy Laws 17
Martial Laws 13
Donald Hall Laws 7
Jane Kenyon Laws 6
Reed Whitmore Laws 6
Antonio Machado Laws 6
Walter Raleigh Laws 5

Eugene Ionesco Gamers 26
Billy Collins Gamers 25
Thomas Hood Gamers 17
Joe Green Gamers 8
Ernest Thayer Gamers 4
John Betjeman Gamers 4

MODERN DIVISION

Sharon Olds Dreamers 24
Edna Millay Dreamers 22
Louis MacNeice Dreamers 20
Jack Gilbert Dreamers 10
Stevie Smith Dreamers 9
Richard Lovelace Dreamers 8
Louise Bogan Dreamers 5
Carolyn Forche Dreamers 4

Aristophanes Printers 24
John Updike Printers 24
Garcia Lorca Printers 11
John Ashbery Printers 10
Andre Breton Printers 9
Lou Reed Printers 7
Hart Crane Printers 6
Christopher Isherwood Printers 5
Marcel Duchamp Printers 5
James Baldwin Printers 5

Elizabeth Bishop Buyers 30 —leads  league
Dylan Thomas Buyers 25
Robert Lowell Buyers 17
Edgar Lee Masters Buyers 8
Kenneth Rexroth Buyers 8
Walt Whitman Buyers 6
Robert Penn Warren Buyers 5
Duke Ellington Buyers 5

Allen Tate Crash 20
Stephen Spender Crash 19
Franz Werfel Crash 11
Donald Davidson Crash 8
Archilochus Crash 8
John Gould Fletcher Crash 6
John Crowe Ransom Crash 6
WC Williams Crash 3
Stanley Kunitz Crash 3

Bob Dylan Universe 24
Juvenal Universe 22
Paul Celan Universe 14
Anthony Hecht Universe 10
Delmore Schwartz Universe 9
Chuck Berry Universe 7
Maya Angelou Universe 7

~~~

THE GAMERS!!

Mayor Calvin Pebley and Bob Hope on their way to California Angels ...

Bob Hope’s Gamers are on fire in the Peoples Division

Here’s what the Peoples Division in the Scarriet Poetry Baseball League looked like at the All Star Break:

Kolkata Cobras 47 33 –
Santa Barbara Laws 41 39 6
Beijing Waves 39 41 8
Tokyo Mist 36 44 11
LA GAMERS  35 45 12

Here’s what it looks like now!

LA GAMERS 60 52 –
Beijing Waves   58 54 2
Kolkata Cobras  58 54 2
Santa Barbara Laws  57 55 3
Tokyo Mist       45 67 15

“The minor, melancholy poets who haunt the bench, staring and moving slowly, in the shadows of the dugout—this inspires me more than the throaty crowds,” Gamers third baseman Joe Green said, almost in a trance, after he homered to lead the Gamers to their 14th win in 16 games.

In the beginning of the year, the starting pitchers for Merv Griffin’s Gamers were Lewis Carroll, E.E. Cummings, James Tate, and Jacques Derrida.

The starting rotation is now Carroll, Democritus, Charlie Chaplin, and Woody Allen.

Manager Bob Hope and Jacques Derrida didn’t get along from the start. Derrida’s fancy pitching was too often completely out of the strike zone, or right over the plate–there wasn’t enough painting of the corners. Antoine de Saint Exupery was brought in to replace Derrida, but his uncanny and charming delivery didn’t work, either, and he was replaced by Woody Allen (7-2).

James Tate was a .500 hurler who didn’t get along with the manager, either—Garrison Keillor was brought in, a good fast ball, a good knuckle curve, but he and Bob Hope had issues, too, and when Charlie Chaplin became available Merv Griffin got out his checkbook—the silent comedian is 5-3.

Democritus began in the bullpen, and is 8-4 since replacing E.E. Cummings in the starting rotation.

Lewis Carroll, the one starter still there, has found his groove, tossing back to back shutouts in his last two starts—his curve is now sharper than ever.

The Gamers were a circus of errors in the beginning of the year, but a sense of humor has helped the team not to get down on itself and they’re fielding much better lately.

When Carroll out-dueled Aristotle 3-2, Billy Collins fielding a double neatly off the wall, relaying to Green—whose throw just beat John Donne at the plate for the win—something stirred in the Gamer “team soul.”

The Gamers were 26 and 38 when Lewis Carroll beat the Laws in that game, and they’ve been 33 and 14 since.

“We have 3 teams right beyond us in the standings,” Hope reminded the press, “so we have to stay as relaxed as we were when we were in last place.” And he grinned.

Hope’s managing style is not all fun and games, however. Off-the-field tensions are an everyday thing for the Gamers, a team of poets who don’t take themselves too seriously, but nonetheless want to win.

Menander, the Gamers bullpen work horse, put it this way: “When Bob [Hope] doesn’t like you, he lets you know right away. A good joke from you is the only thing that can save you,”

Menander is 5-0 in relief during the Gamers’ successful run. The Gamers have recently welcomed MC Ecsher and Muhammad Ali into the bullpen as relief specialists.

“We really want to win this thing,” Joe Green said.

Here’s what the other divisions look like.

The Laureates are not quite as hot as the Gamers, but they now have a four game lead over the Dante-Shelley-Virgil Banners, who were the team to beat in the first half of the season. Starters Blaise Pascal, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jonathan Swift—none with the Laureates when the season began—are the reason for the Dublin’s success, along with the hitting of Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens.

Dublin Laureates 64 48 –
Florence Banners 60 52 4
London Carriages 57 55 7
Devon Sun           51 61  13
Berlin Pistols       49 63  15

~~~~

In the Modern Division, it’s still a close race between Rockefeller’s stable Buyers and Steven Spielberg’s every-changing Universe. The Philadelphia Crash has moved into third place, with starting pitchers Ransom, Dewey, and Wittgenstein finally starting to pile up wins. The Buyers’ Elizabeth Bishop, who cooled off a bit in July, still leads the league with 30 home runs. Bob Dylan leads the Universe with 24.

New York Buyers 61 51 –
Phoenix Universe 59 53 2
Philadelphia Crash 55 57 6
Manhattan Printers 52 60 9
Arden Dreamers 50 62 11

~~~~

In the Society Division, Ben Franklin’s Boston Secrets continue to dominate, with the best record in the league—71 wins!  Poe is finally looking like an ace—and Plato is already an 18 game winner; both the Secrets starting pitching and clutch-hitting have been unmatched. Boston catcher Emily Dickinson (20 homers) recently missed two weeks, and Stephen Cole (5 homers) filled in admirably. The Secrets’ Robert Frost 24 homers leads the Society Division.

Boston Secrets 71 41 –
New York War  60 52 11
Connecticut Animals 60 52 11
Westport Actors  48 64 23
Virginia Strangers  43 69 28

~~~~

The Ceilings, with Milton as their ace, Bach as their stopper (and they just added Vivaldi as a middle reliever) are tied with the Goths—who just added Dostoevsky as their stopper, and feature Goethe as their ace. The Crusaders, the devout team from Madrid, are close behind in second, tied with Napoleon’s Codes.  Madrid now has Scarlatti in their bullpen, and since they added Mozart and Beethoven as starters, they are stellar contenders; the Corsica Codes featuring Homer, Cicero, and Hegel as starters, and Kant in the bullpen, round out the four clubs which look good to win the Emperor division. The Broadcasters, with George Orwell used as starter and reliever as needed, and Coleridge and Nabokov in the starting rotation, are 10 back in fifth place. Victor Hugo of the Codes leads the division with 29 homers; Sophocles leads the first-place Goths in long balls with 25.

Paris Goths  60 52 –
Rome Ceilings 60 52 –
Madrid Crusaders 57 55 3
Corsica Codes  57 55 3
Rimini Broadcasters 50 62 10

~~~~

Scarriet Baseball Poetry reporting

 

SCARRIET POETRY BASEBALL ALL-STAR-BREAK STANDINGS AND STATS!

An Essay on Modern Education-Jonathan Swift-1740 – Advocatetanmoy ...

Swift. The Dublin Laureates are only 2 games out of first in the Glorious Division—thanks to his 12-1 record.

MODERN DIVISION

NEW YORK BUYERS ROCKEFELLER  43 37 –
PHOENIX UNIVERSE SPIELBERG   42 38 (1)
MANHATTAN PRINTERS WARHOL 40 40 (3)
PHILADELPHIA CRASH BARNES 36 44 (7)
ARDEN DREAMERS HARRIMAN 36 44 (7)

WINS

Hans Holbein Printers 5-1
Marcel Duchamp Printers 6-2
Mark Twain Buyers 11-6
Paul Engle Buyers 10-7
Margaret Atwood Dreamers 9-6
John Crowe Ransom Crash 7-5

Relief

Pablo Picasso Crash 9-3
Jean Cocteau Universe 3-0
Czeslaw Milosz Universe 5-2
John Cage Printers 5-2

HOME RUNS

Elizabeth Bishop Buyers 22
Sharon Olds Dreamers 19
Aristophanes Printers 19
John Updike Printers 19
Dylan Thomas Buyers 18
Edna Millay Dreamers 17
Juvenal Universe 15
Bob Dylan Universe 14
Robert Lowell Buyers 14
Louis MacNeice Dreamers 14
Stephen Spender Crash 14
Paul Celan Universe 11
Garcia Lorca Printers 10

The closest race in the league is the dogfight in the Modern Division between Rockefeller’s Buyers (who once led by a wide margin) and Spielberg’s Universe—a game apart, and the Printers are only 2 games away from the Universe. Robert Lowell has been hot at the plate for the Buyers, Bob Dylan for the Universe. Pitching-wise, Mark Twain has been hot again for the Buyers (and leads the division in wins), and Raymond Carver (replacing Randall Jarrell in the rotation) has been hot for the Universe (4-2). MLK Jr is 3-2 in his 8 starts since joining the Universe, and Spielberg has added Jean Cocteau (3-0) to the bullpen, a move he feels will put the Universe over the top. But Andy Warhol’s Printers made moves, too. Hans Holbein the Younger joined the rotation, and is 5-1. Paul Klee is a new lefty starter (3-3). Toulouse Lautrec (3-2) filled in admirably for the injured Duchamp (a toilet fell on his toe). Aristophanes and John Updike have both slammed 19 homers for manager Brian Epstein and his Printers. John Ashbery, who has seven homers from the lead off spot, and is one of the best fielding third basemen in the league, predicted the Printers would win it all. “Why shouldn’t I say that?” he asked. The Crash and the Dreamers, tied for last, are not that far out (seven games) and so every team is truly in the hunt in this division. John Crowe Ransom of the Crash did not win his first game until the end of May, and now at 7-5 he’s among the pitching leaders. John Dewey is 3-0 in July, Wittgenstein and Pater are 2-1 in July. Has the moment arrived for the Crash? Picasso has won 9 games for the Crash in relief. Franz Werfel has replaced the injured John Gould Fletcher in left, and has already begun hitting homers. Stephen Spender leads the Crash in that category. Stevie Smith, playing for the hurt Louis MacNeice, clubbed four homers for the Dreamers, and the home run power of Edna Millay (17) and Sharon Olds (19) has been on display all year for Pamela Harriman’s club. MacNeice himself has 14. The Dreamers have been doing everything they can to fix their bullpen (Germaine Greer has been a huge disappointment) but relief pitching is a tricky affair. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have joined the team, but all sorts of off-the-field issues have resulted in not much action—a blown save by Kahlo.  Jean Paul Sartre, however, has gone right to work—he’s 2-3 in relief in some very close games. As for the starting rotation, William Godwin pitched well but went 1-4 filling in for Simone de Beauvoir (2-7), losing to Ransom 4-3 on her first start back. Mary Wollstonecraft has joined the Dreamers and is 3-1 in 8 starts. Anais Nin is 8-8. Margaret Atwood has regained her early season form, and is 9-6. Don’t count out the Dreamers!

PEOPLES DIVISION

KOLKATA COBRAS S. RAY 47 33 –
SANTA BARBARA LAWS DICK WOLF 41 39 (6)
BEIJING WAVES MAO 39 41 (8)
TOKYO MIST KUROSAWA 36 44 (11)
LA GAMERS MERV GRIFFIN 35 45 (12)

WINS

Jalal Rumi Cobras 11-3
Rabindranith Tagore Cobras 11-7
Mahatma Gandhi Cobras 10-6
Lao Tzu Waves 10-6
Yukio Mishima Mist 9-6
Yone Naguchi Mist 8-5
Oliver Wendell Holmes Laws 8-6

Relief

Confucius Waves 7-2
Mark Van Doren Laws 4-1
Menander Gamers 6-3

 

HOME RUNS

John Donne Laws 18
Vikram Seth Cobras 18
Li Po Waves 17
Jadoo Akhtar Cobras 16
John Lennon Mist 15
Billy Collins Gamers 15
Hilda Doolittle Mist 15
George Harrison Cobras 14
Eugene Ionesco Gamers 14
Thomas Hardy Laws 14
Karl Marx Waves 13
Tu Fu Waves 13
Sadakitchi Hartmann Mist 11

The Kolkata Cobras have 3 good hitters and 3 good pitchers, and a six game lead in the Peoples Division. Vikram Seth is tied with the division lead in homers with 18, Jadoo Akhtar has 16 round-trippers, and George Harrison, 14 (though Harrison strikes out way too much). We could also mention Allen Ginsberg of the Cobras, batting .301 with 7 homers. The three big starters for the Cobras are Rumi, Tagore, and Gandhi. Kabir Das has improved in the bullpen; the Cobras have been healthy, and don’t plan on any big moves. The Laws, in second place, are also healthy; they added Ferdinand Saussure to their relief corps, but otherwise are staying with the team they’ve had since the beginning, and has arrived at the all star break 2 games over .500: Martial, Donne, and Thomas Hardy with 40 homers in the middle of the lineup, Aristotle, their ace who was hot, but lost 4 straight as they hoped to close in on the Cobras, Bacon, 10-4 since going 0-5 to start the season, Horace 4-2 in the last 5 weeks, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, pitching well, but not getting run support lately, as is the case with Aristotle. Donne is the only one hot at the plate right now. The Waves are 8 back, and slipping a bit lately, as Lao Tzu has been their only consistent pitcher; Confucius made a big splash in the beginning of the year, winning all sorts of late inning games—he’s just 1-0 in the last 5 weeks; Voltaire and Rousseau continue to disappoint. Tu Fu and Karl Marx have cooled off at the plate somewhat. Brecht and Neruda are not hitting. “The whole team has dropped off,” Jack Dorsey, the Waves manager said, “and it’s time we get back in this. We have an amazing team.” The Tokyo Mist got a boost when Yukio Mishima (9-6) replaced Heraclitus, and Yone Naguchi has quietly compiled an 8-5 record, but the two top starters for the Mist, Basho and Issa, have been a study in frustration. Issa gets no run support; Basho’s ERA is too high. Haruki Murakami (2-1) may be the bullpen ace they need, but it’s too early to tell. The Mist would love to have some of relief pitcher Kobe Abe’s (2-7) losses back. The Mist are not really hitting right now. John Lennon and Hilda Doolittle lead the team with 15 homers apiece—but most of those were hit in May. The Mist are a game out of last place—occupied by the LA Gamers. Billy Collins is probably the hottest hitter for the Gamers right now, which isn’t saying much; he has 15 dingers (We can imagine Collins writing a poem on the word ‘dinger’) and Ionesco is right behind him on the team with 14. Collins, the left fielder, and Joe Green, the third baseman, came within an inch of a nasty collision chasing a pop foul down the left field line last week. “We almost lost 20 homers,” manager Bob Hope said. And maybe 20 errors. Collins has been a circus in the field. If a last place team is going to make a run, it will be the Gamers. Merv Griffin’s club has added the following to their pitching staff—Democritus (5-5) is now starting for E.E. Cummings. Charlie Chaplin (2-1) is now starting for Garrison Keillor (1-2), who replaced James Tate (5-5).  Woody Allen (2-2) has replaced Antoine de Saint Exupery (0-1), who replaced Derrida (1-6). Muhammad Ali (2-1) and MC Escher, a lefty relief specialist, have joined the Gamers bullpen, which has been mostly patrolled by Menander (3-2) and Morgenstern (2-2). Charles Bernstein is 0-4. Clive James joined recently, and is 1-1. Gamers fever is still high!

SOCIETY DIVISION

BOSTON SECRETS BEN FRANKLIN 51 29 —
NEW YORK WAR JP MORGAN 42 38 (9)
WESTPORT ACTORS WEINSTEIN 40 40 (11)
FAIRFIELD ANIMALS PT BARNUM 38 42 (13)
VIRGINIA STRANGERS DAVID LYNCH 31 49 (20)

WINS

Alexander Pushkin Secrets 10-1
Amy Lowell Animals 11-2
Plato Secrets 13-5
Walter Scott War 11-5
George Byron Actors 7-4
Moliere Secrets 8-5
Chaucer Actors 8-5
Erich Remarque War 10-7
Alexander Pope Strangers 8-7
Gaius Petronius Actors 8-7

Relief

Thomas Jefferson Secrets 4-1
HP Lovecraft Strangers 4-2
Sade Actors 6-4

Home Runs

Emily Dickinson Secrets 19
Thomas Nashe Actors 18
Theodore Roethke Strangers 18
Stephen Crane War 16
Hafiz Actors 14
Arthur Rimbaud Strangers 14
Robert Frost Secrets 14
Harry Crosby War 13
Francois Rabelais Strangers 11
Wallace Stevens Animals 11
Woody Guthrie Secrets 11
Seamus Heaney Animals 10
Amiri Baraka Actors 10

Ben Franklin’s Secrets own the best record in the league (51-29) and have the biggest division lead (9 games). Pushkin and Plato have nearly half the Secrets wins, while Moliere, their fourth starter, has a nifty 8-5 mark, as Poe, their ace continues to struggle (6-7)—but most of it is due to low run support. Poe threw his first shutout right before the all star break. The Secrets’ Emily Dickinson leads the Society Division with 19 homers; Frost has 14, Woody Guthrie 11, and Kanye West leads the team in homers over the last couple of weeks; he now has 7, as does Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Secrets lead off hitter (.299, 9 stolen bases, 6 triples). With a solid, Founding Father, bullpen, the Secrets have no real weaknesses, and Boston has got to feel happy about the way things are going—although manager George Washington never looks happy. The second place War are 4 games over .500, have been getting good starts from Walter Scott and Erich Remarque, and manager Machiavelli is hoping Shakespeare (7-7) will come back stronger after his rehab (newly signed Julius Caesar is 2-2 with a shutout in his absence). The War’s Stephen Crane leads JP Morgan’s club with 16 homers, and Harry Crosby has been a surprise with 13. Jack London is new in the Wars bullpen, which has been shaky. The two Connecticut teams, Harvey Weinstein’s Actors (Byron and Chaucer their best pitchers, Nashe and Hafiz their best hitters) and PT Barnum’s Animals (Amy Lowell 11-2 the only star so far; they’ve added AA Milne in the bullpen) have some catching up to do, eleven and thirteen games back, respectively. Norman Mailer (3-3) is a new pitcher for the Actors.  Finally, the Strangers. They are 20 games out. David Lynch and manager Bram Stoker made a big move and got Franz Kafka. He’s 0-2 in relief and 0-6 as a starter. Salvador Dali is new, and he’s 1-2, stepping in for Becket (3-8). The Strangers ace, Alexander Pope, is either brilliant or so-so; he has 4 shutouts, but he’s 8-7. Theodore Roethke has cracked 18 homers for the Strangers (Rimbaud has 14, Rabelais has 11) but the team strikes out too much and hits into too many double plays. Twenty games out in this division may be too big a climb for David Lynch’s Strangers. Manager Bram Stoker merely stared at us coldly when we mentioned this.

GLORIOUS DIVISION

FLORENCE BANNERS DE MEDICI 46 34 —
DUBLIN LAUREATES NAHUM TATE 44 36 (2)
LONDON CARRIAGES QUEEN VICTORIA 43 37 (3)
BERLIN PISTOLS EVA BRAUN 34 46 (12)
DEVON SUN JOHN RUSSELL 34 46 (12)

WINS

Jonathan Swift Laureates 12-1
John Ruskin Sun 6-1
Andrew Marvell Carriages 12-3
Virgil Banners 10-4
Percy Shelley Banners 11-5
William James Pistols 9-5
Leonardo da Vinci Banners 8-4
Virginia Woolf Carriages 9-8

Relief

Livy Laureates 9-3
Bertrand Russell Sun 6-3
Richard Wagner Pistols 5-3

HOME RUNS

William Yeats Pistols 25
Friedrich Schiller Banners 18
Charles Dickens Laureates 18
Henry Longfellow Carriages 17
William Wordsworth Sun 17
Aphra Behn Laureates 17
James Joyce Pistols 15
Ted Hughes Pistols 14
Alexandre Dumas Laureates 13
Robert Browning Carriages 13
Arthur Tennyson Carriages 11
DG Rossetti Banners 11
HG Wells Sun 10
Matthew Arnold Sun 10
GB Shaw Carriages 10

Right now the Glorious Division is a 3 team race—the Banners, led by the bat of Friedrich Schiller (Keats is finally starting to hit a little) and a great starting rotation, led by Virgil and Shelley, are in first. But right behind the Banners are the Laureates, who now have Pascal (3-1) and Robert Louis Stevenson (4-1) in their starting rotation to go with Jonathan Swift (12-1), and they’ve picked up JD Salinger and Hans Christian Anderson in relief, just in case they need them. Charles Dickens, Aphra Behn, and Alexandre Dumas are smashing homers for Nahum Tate’s Dublin club, who were playing quite well even before they made these changes. Watch out for the Laureates. Some see them as a populist joke. Especially since they’ve added Pascal, and with the way Swift is pitching, they are not. The Carriages are in third, and in the thick of it, too. Paul McCartney has smashed 9 homers from the lead off spot (and is batting .340), George Bernard Shaw has clubbed 10 off the bench, and then you have Tennyson, Browning, and Longfellow belting out 41 between them in the middle of the order. Andrew Marvell (12-3) is London’s towering ace, but after that, including the bullpen, the pitching is thin. To remedy a weak bullpen, they just added Descartes. In limited use, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Lamb haven’t been too bad in relief. Virginia Woolf (9-8) has tossed a lot of innings as their no. 2 starter. If the Carriages keep hitting (and they do win on the road) they can take this thing. The Devon Sun and Berlin Pistols, tied for last at 34 and 46, and 12 games out of first, have pretty good bullpens (Bertrand Russell anchors the Sun pen, Richard Wagner, the Pistol’s) they can hit the ball out of the park (Yeats, Joyce, and Ted Hughes for the Pistols, Wordsworth, HG Wells and Matthew Arnold for the Sun) but starting pitching is their doom. The Pistols’ T.S Eliot lost his first five starts and has battled back to 9-9. The Pistols’ Ezra Pound began the year at 1-3, including losses of 27-3, 24-7, and 22-14. Pound was replaced by Hemingway (0-2) and then Horace Greeley (3-6). Maybe they will try Pound, again. The moody William James is the Pistols best starter. He’s 9-5.  After Santayana won 3 in a row in May, he can’t win. The Sun’s woes are similar. Emerson is 6-10. John Stuart Mill (4-6)—spelled by Ruskin, the Sun’s best pitcher so far—Aldous Huxley (6-8), and Thomas Carlyle (5-10) have been no better than Emerson. Ruskin, who helps Thoreau and Russell in the bullpen, has 4 shutouts (his phenomenal run when he briefly replaced Mill); the rest of the staff has one (Emerson). Maybe it’s time to put Ruskin back in the starting rotation. “I will pitch where the manager [Winston Churchill] wants me to pitch,” said Ruskin. Churchill, and the Sun’s owner, John Russell, likes Emerson, Mill, Huxley, and Carlyle. So we’ll see.

 

EMPEROR DIVISION

Rome Ceilings Pope Julius II  44 36 —
Paris Goths Charles X  41 39 (3)
Corsica Codes Napoleon Bonaparte 41 39 (3)
Madrid Crusaders Philip II 40 40 (4)
Rimini Broadcasters Fellini 38 42 (6)

WINS

Francisco Goya Goths 7-2
Ludovico Ariosto Ceilings 9-4
George Orwell Broadcasters 7-3
Homer Codes 10-5
GWF Hegel Codes 9-5
George Friderik Handel Crusaders 8-4
Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand Goths 10-6
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Broadcasters 6-4
John Milton Ceilings 8-7
Oscar Wilde Goths 7-6
Wolfgang Goethe Goths 7-6

Relief

Maurice Ravel Broadcasters 4-0
JS Bach Ceilings 9-5

HOME RUNS

WH Auden Codes 20
Anne Bradstreet Crusaders 19
Sophocles Goths 19
Heinrich Heine Goths 18
Victor Hugo Codes 18
Aeschylus Crusaders 16
Euripides Ceilings 14
Mary Angela Douglas Crusaders 13
Rainer Maria Rilke Broadcasters 12
Robert Burns Broadcasters 12
Jean Rancine Codes 12
Edmund Spenser Ceilings 11
Torquato Tasso Goths 10
Anne Sexton Broadcasters 10

The Ceilings still lead the Emperor Division, with a 3 game lead over the recently surging Goths—tied for last not long ago. The Ceilings once invincible starting pitching has faltered, and they look human and beatable. Milton went 7 straight trips to the mound without a win; Dryden got hurt and has only won once since early June; Augustine is win-less in his last nine starts; Ariosto, however, continues to pitch well, Bach is still a miracle in the bullpen, and Euripides and Blake are hitting and scoring runs. Goya came out of the pen where he was 3-0 and has won 4 as a starter for the Goths, replacing Baudelaire (2-9) in the rotation.  Thomas de Quincey is a recent bullpen acquisition. Tasso, playing for the hurt Ronsard, has 10 homers, adding to the melancholy duo of Sophocles (19) and Heine (18) for the Goths. W.H. Auden has smashed a division-leading 20 for Napoleon’s Codes, 41-39—like the Goths, and Homer (10-5) and Hegel (9-5) have emerged as their lethal starting duo. In a tight division race, Madrid’s Crusaders (4 games out) and the Remini Broadcasters (6 games behind) are in striking distance. The Crusaders, a .500 team for a while now, are being lifted by music: Handel (8-4) leads the team in wins; Mozart (3-2) and Beethoven (4-1) who joined the team in June, hope to eventually push them over the top. Joan of Arc is the new lefty in the bullpen. The Crusaders have plenty of pop with Anne Bradstreet (19 homers), Aeschylus (16 homers) and Mary Angela Douglas (13 homers)—the contemporary poet who won a starting job off the bench—replacing an injured Saint Ephrem at shortstop—when she starting hitting homers. The Broadcasters are Fellini’s team, and this currently last-place team is difficult to define: Rilke and Burns lead them in homers, Mick Jagger leads them in stolen bases, Jim Morrison leads them in doubles, Anne Sexton leads them in batting average, George Orwell, who is both starter and reliever, leads them in wins, Samuel Taylor Coleridge is their best starting pitcher right now, and Maurice Ravel is slowly becoming a star in the bullpen. “The musicians are beginning to change Scarriet Poetry Baseball,” Ravel said. “A memorable phrase of music is just a good as an epigram.”

 

 

IT’S A RACE! SPIELBERG MAKES CHANGES, GAINS ON ROCKEFELLER’S BUYERS

Transformers 3D ride opens at Universal Studios with pyrotechnics ...

Spielberg shakes things up in the Modern Division

the Modern Division

Rockefeller’s New York Buyers 37 27
Spielberg’s Phoenix Universe 33 31 (4)
Warhol’s Manhattan Printers 32 32 (5)
Harriman’s Arden Dreamers 30 34 (7)
Barnes’ Philadelphia Crash 25 39 (12)

A week ago, The Buyers, the Madison Avenue club, had the best record in the entire league.

That’s no longer true.  The Secrets, who lead the Society Division, and the Cobras, first in the Peoples Division, now have more wins than Rockefeller’s team. Like the Ceilings in the Emperor Division, the Buyers are stalling in the summer heat.

Now we have Rockefeller, owner of the Buyers, oil millionaire—stingy, stubborn, domineering, conservative, unchanging—against a cheerful director/producer, who is emptying his purse and trying everything.

The Buyers were doing so well, there was no reason to change.  It will be interesting to see what happens now. Time to panic?  Rockefeller’s team has a 4 game lead, and more than half of the season left.

The Buyers’ Elizabeth Bishop still leads the league with 22 homers, but she’s only hit 2 in her last 19 games. Robert Lowell, who has 10, hasn’t hit a home run in 17 games. So what’s happening with this pair of sluggers?  This has to be a concern for manager Charles Darwin. The Buyers have been outscored 61 to 45 in their last 16 games.  True, this included a 12 game road trip, but a drought is a drought.

Then there’s the Buyers’ starting pitching.

Rockefeller paid a lot for Walt Whitman, their ace. Before their current slide, Whitman was 4-2, with a few well-pitched no-decisions.  He’s 1-3 in his last 4 starts.

Paul Engle. Is the poet and creative writing entrepreneur really that good? The Buyers pitcher got to 9 wins almost faster than anyone—but he’s lost his last 3 starts.

The lefty starter for the Buyers, Mark Twain, like Engle, couldn’t lose in the months of May and June, but lately he’s 1-3, and got rocked 21-10 in his last start.

Sigmund Freud, another big bucks purchase for Rockefeller, quickly won 5 games, then slumped. Now he’s turned it around somewhat.

Rockefeller has gone with a modest bullpen, and so far he’s done alright with it—Helen Vendler, W.K. Wimsatt, Monroe Beardsley, and Judith Butler.  Eight wins out of the pen. Which is fine.

Does Swami Vivekananda, Rockefeller’s advisor and pitching coach see any pitching moves coming from his boss?  “No.”

Does Darwin plan on shuffling the lineup at all?  Charles, the manager, says, “No.” (Louis Simpson is playing okay right now for the Buyer’s injured center fielder, Robert Penn Warren.)

But some Buyer fans don’t like their team’s conservative attitude, especially when they see what Steven Spielberg is doing with his Universe—11-5 in their last 16 games—outscoring opponents 85 to 62. Paul Celan now has 10 homers, tied for second on the team with Bob Dylan; Juvenal has 14 homers to lead the club, and Delmore Schwartz is red-hot has 7 homers to go with a .381 batting average.

Universe manager Billy Beane and pitching coach Tom Hanks have made big changes to the Universe’s starting pitching. (The Universe have not signed Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera; some snags still have to be worked out—these two may go to Harriman’s Dreamers.) Harriet Beecher Stowe is still the Universe’s ace, and she picked up her 4th and 5th win of the season, recently. Beecher Stowe has not pitched like an ace, yet, but Spielberg has faith.  Milosz, Trilling, Said, and Foucault are still in the bullpen.

But the following changes have been made.  Spielberg has sent Harold Bloom (4-5) to the bullpen (“He’ll do better there:” Hanks) and replaced him in the starting rotation with left-hander Lucien Freud. Raymond Carver has replaced Randall Jarrell. And here’s the big one. Martin Luther King, Jr., signed at the end of June, has stepped into the starting rotation to replace Marge Piercy.

Lucien Freud is 3-1, Raymond Carver is 2-0, and King is 1-1, including a 1-0 masterpiece in which he beat the Buyers’ Paul Engle.

Here comes the Universe.

OK. But let’s not forget Andy Warhol’s Printers, who are turning their season around.

In a bold stroke, Warhol has added Old Master Hans Holbein the Younger, a southpaw junk pitcher to the starting rotation. He’s 3-0.  “He can paint,” Warhol said. “That helps.” Paul Klee, another lefty, has replaced Stephanie Burt (1-6), and he’s 2-1 since taking over. Marjorie Perloff remains a fixture with 7 wins. Duchamp, the Printers ace, is out for 3 weeks; Toulouse Lautrec is 2-1 so far in his place. John Cage has added a new pitch, and is doing better in relief.

The Printers have also seen a power surge recently—Aristophanes and John Updike both have 18 home runs, tied for second in the division; the Buyers Garcia Lorca has 5 triples and 9 homers. Printers Manager Brian Epstein: “We were the laughing stock of the division for a while. No one’s laughing now.”

Pamela Harriman’s Dreamers, once in first place, are two games behind the Printers. Edna Millay leads the club with 17 round-trippers. Louis MacNeice has 14 dingers, but is out for three weeks with a sore back; Stevie Smith will play first base (and she quickly stroked 3 home runs) in his absence. Ace pitcher Simone de Beauvoir was beginning to establish herself after a long, rough, start, but she’s out now for a couple of weeks—William Godwin has stepped in and pitched very well, but he’s 0-3 in three close games. Also hurt, the Dreamers no. 2 starter, Floyd Dell; Mary Wollstonecraft is 2-1 in that spot. Anais Nin and Margaret Atwood (she began the year 4-0) have been steady lately as starters, and Jean-Paul Sartre joins Germaine Greer, Louise Gluck, bell hooks, Helene Cixous, and Michael Ondaatje in the bullpen. So let’s not forget the Dreamers, either.

What to say about the last place (12 games out) Philadelphia Crash?  Their ace John Crowe Ransom was win-less, finally found his stuff (4-0, 1.10 ERA), but meanwhile, their other 3 starters, Dewey, Wittgenstein, and Pater go 1-9.  Philly fans are screaming for changes, but none seem to be forthcoming. Picasso still anchors a bullpen with Jackson Pollock, I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, and Walter Benjamin. “We’ve got the greatest artistic and philosophical minds around,” said A.C. Barnes, who owns the Crash. “You don’t make a change just to make a change.” Stephen Spender leads the team with 11 homers. Allen Tate, John Gould Fletcher, William Carlos Williams, and Richard Howard need to hit more. Manager Giorgio de Chirico is under to pressure to do something, but if Barnes isn’t willing to spend money, what can he do? Some want Giorgio fired, and Henri Matisse, the pitching coach, or Paul Cezanne, the first base coach, to replace him. It really comes down to the performance of these three pitchers: Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Dewey, and Walter Pater. Will the Crash finally lose patience with them?

We talked to one of them, John Dewey.

Scarriet: Hi John, thanks for talking to us.

Dewey: Nice to be here.

Scarriet: You were 4-4 at the end of May.

Dewey: Yeah, I felt I was doing really well!

Scarriet: Wittgenstein was 4-5; Pater had only 2 wins, but was 6-6 in games he started.

Dewey: Everyone is so good in this league. You can’t expect to win all your games!

Scarriet: But John Crowe Ransom, your ace: 2-10 in games he pitches.  And no wins for John.

Dewey: Yeah, that was tough to watch. He’s brilliant. He was upset. We were all upset.  He’s the best we’ve got.

Scarriet: Was there a ripple effect? The whole team was affected? By John not winning?

Dewey: Oh, it was awful. And there was nothing we could do. His mechanics were okay, there was nothing wrong, per se.

Scarriet: And the whole team feels it.

Dewey: Oh, sure. Games are emotional. But they shouldn’t be. The emotion from winning and losing, that has nothing to do with playing well.

Scarriet: It must have felt good when John won his first game.

Dewey: Yes! He beat the Buyers! 5-1.  We all felt good. Oh, it was great.

Scarriet: The fans want changes. Ransom finally wins, and then you guys, the other guys in the rotation, you have trouble…

Dewey: I know! After Ransom beat Whitman, 5-1, Freud beat me 2-0! Out-pitched me. Then we won that strange game, 4-0, Witty pitches great, Pablo got the win; and then Walter Pater loses 4-2, to Engle. I felt like we could have swept that series. Changes? We have a great pitching staff; we really do. There’s just so many good pitchers in this division…  Every game is…impossible!

Scarriet: And the smallest things, even luck, can mean a win or a loss. Don’t give up! I hope the city of Philadelphia stands behind you.

Dewey: Oh the fans have been alright… I’m proud to play for this team. And Mr. Barnes is a wonderful owner. He is. And now that John is winning, we feel good. It’s a long season. We’ll come back.

Scarriet: John Dewey. It’s a pleasure. Thank you.

Dewey: Thank you.

~~~

 

THE FIVE DIVISIONS IN THE SCARRIET POETRY BASEBALL LEAGUE SO FAR

Gary McKeon on | The beatles, Beatles pictures, Paul mccartney

Paul McCartney, lead-off hitter for the London Carriages, has 6 home runs.

EMPEROR DIVISION

The Rome Ceilings have outscored their opponents 84-49 at home—holding them to 2 runs per game, as their spacious outfield, (as big as the Colosseum) and fleet center fielder Edmund Spenser, gobbles up would-be home runs; Milton, Dryden, Ariosto (7-2) and Augustine, with Bach in the bullpen, is all pitching coach Marco Polo, and manager Cardinal Richelieu need. If the Corsica Codes are going to catch the Ceilings, they’re going to have to pitch better, and play better on the road. In his last 5 starts, no. 3 starter Hesiod is 0-5.  Victor Hugo (2B) and W.H. Auden (SS) are hitting a ton, but Napoleon’s infield (Callimachus 1b, Derek Walcott 3b) leads the league in errors. The Madrid Crusaders have to be happy that Mary Angela Douglas played so well filling in for Saint Ephrem at shortstop—Douglas, Aeschylus, and Bradstreet were a murderer’s row from late May to early June. St. John of the Cross and Handel have pitched really well recently. But the big news: Cervantes, the Crusaders manager, has met with Mozart and Beethoven—if either one of these join the Crusaders pitching staff, all bets are off.  The Paris Goths (22-26) are out of contention because of one starter—Baudelaire is on a 9 game losing streak; the ‘cursed’ pitcher has had poor run support (10 runs in his last 7 starts). The Goths’ position players have been dogged by injuries; Tasso and Holderlin, tied with the 3rd most homers on the club, began the year on the bench. Manager Schopenhauer might put Baudelaire in the bullpen for a spell and use newly acquired Goya as a starter. The Rimini Broadcasters, at 22-26, in last place with the Goths, need to decide what to do with George Orwell, who pitched well for the damaged Samuel Coleridge—who is now healthy. The Broadcasters need pitching help (Ben Jonson, their no. 2 starter, has been lackluster) and are close to signing Lacan, Gurdjieff, Frida Kahlo, or Salvador Dali. Nero, the Broadcasters manager, has spoken to all of them.

Standings

Ceilings  Pope Julius II, 31-17  “They also serve who only stand and wait”
Codes Napoleon Bonaparte 25-23 “Let the more loving one be me”
Crusaders Phillip II of Spain 24-24 “If in my thought I have magnified the Father above the Son let Him have no mercy on me”
Broadcasters Federico Fellini 22-26 “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name”
Goths Charles X 22-26 “Every great enterprise takes its first step in faith”

WINS

Chateaubriand Goths 7-2
Ariosto Ceilings 7-2

Handel Crusaders 6-2
Milton Ceilings 6-4

Homer Codes 5-3
Hegel Codes 5-3
Nabokov Broadcasters 5-4
Aquinas Crusaders 5-5

Relief

Bach Ceilings 5-2

GLORIOUS DIVISION

The first place London Carriages swept the Laureates in Dublin—as Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Bronte combined to throw a 4-0, 11 inning shut out, and William Hazlitt beat Samuel Johnson in a 2-1 pitching duel. When the Laureates tried to repay the favor, and beat the Carriages 3 out of 4 in London; Virginia Woolf avoided the sweep, out-pitching Thomas Peacock 2-1.  The Carriages (27-21) swept the Florence Banners (25-23) when they first visited London, Andrew Marvell beating Dante 5-0. The second time the Carriages hosted the Banners, they lost 3 out of 4 to de Medici’s club, as Virginia Woolf prevailed over Shelley, 3-2.  That’s the difference between the first three teams.  The Devon Sun would be in last place, except John Ruskin won 5 straight replacing the injured J.S. Mill, Bertrand Russell is 5-1 in relief, and William Wordsworth hit some clutch homers. The Sun are tied with the Pistols, who they beat 23-18 and 27-3 in Berlin; however, the Pistols have beat the Sun 6 out of 8 since then. T.S. Eliot finally began winning (5 straight, 2 shutouts) a cursed Pound was sent to the bullpen, and the Pistols enjoyed a power surge from Ted Hughes, John Quinn, and Alistair Crowley.

Standings

Carriages Queen Victoria 27-21
Laureates Nahum Tate 25-23
Banners de Medici 25-23
Pistols Eva Braun 22-26
The Sun PM John Russell 22-26

WINS

Andrew Marvell, Carriages 7-2
Percy Shelley, Banners 7-4

Jonathan Swift, Laureates 6-1
William James, Pistols 6-2

John Ruskin, Sun 5-1
Leonardo da Vinci, Banners 5-2
Virgil, Banners 5-4
Virginia Woolf, Carriages 5-6
T.S. Eliot, Pistols 5-7

Santayana, Pistols 4-4
Samuel Johnson, Laureates 4-4
Dante, Banners 4-5
Emerson, Sun 4-6

Relief

Bertrand Russell, Sun 5-1
Livy, Laureates 5-1

SOCIETY DIVISION

The Boston Secrets have 10 wins in relief, while starters Plato and Pushkin have excelled; starters Poe and Moliere have been disappointing, and the Secrets haven’t exactly knocked the cover off the ball, but defense, and coming out on top in close contests, find Ben Franklin’s team solidly in first. No other team in the Society Division is playing over .500—the Connecticut Actors (24-24) are relying on Byron (6-0 in his last 8 starts) Chaucer (3 shutouts), and Thomas Nashe (12 home runs) and not much else. The Manhattan War need Shakespeare to pitch better, but he has won 5 games, and has been out-dueled a couple of times; he’ll be fine. Stephen Crane is the only one really hitting for the War. Philip Sidney (4 home runs) has been playing hurt (foot).  The Fairfield (Connecticut) Animals are tied with the War, and scoring runs is even more of a problem for them—Wallace Stevens, their clean-up hitter, has only 5 home runs. Seamus Heaney, their leader, has 8. P.T. Barnum’s club is scoring enough for Amy Lowell—she has one of the best records in the league. Herman Melville has been a study in futility, however. He’s 1-9. The Virginia Strangers are losing close games; Lovecraft is not scaring anyone in relief; Camus is 2-8; Pope, their ace, is 5-4. Rimbaud, Rabelais, and Roethke are providing pop. Manager Bram Stoker is talking to Luis Bunuel and Jean-Luc Godard about helping the Strangers bullpen.

Standings

The Secrets Ben Franklin 29-19
The Actors Harvey Weinstein 24-24
The War J.P. Morgan 23-25
The Animals P.T. Barnum 23-25
The Strangers David Lynch 21-27

WINS

Plato, Secrets 8-3

Amy Lowell, Animals 7-1

Walter Scott, War 6-2
Byron, Actors 6-3
Remarque, War 6-4
Verne, Animals 6-5

Pushkin, Secrets 5-1
Chaucer, Actors 5-3
Pope, Strangers 5-4
Nietzsche, Strangers 5-4
Shakespeare, War 5-4

Petronius, Actors 4-3
Hume, War 4-6

Relief

Lovecraft, Strangers 4-1
Shirley Jackson, Animals 4-1

PEOPLES DIVISION

The Kolkata Cobras were not happy when Tulsidas agreed to play right field with Lorenzo de Medici’s Ceilings, but the Cobras have done just fine without him, depending heavily on the 20th century and English. Ramavtar Sarma and Acharya Shivapujan Sahay were just added to the bullpen, to help Kabir Das, Nissim Ezekiel, Krishnamurti, Faiz A. Faiz, and Raja Rao, as manager Rupi Kaur and pitching coach V.S. Naipal struggle to find the right combination there. Herman Hesse is 3-5 as the fourth starter, but Rumi, Tagore, and Gandhi are a combined 21-7.  Javed Akhtar, Vikram Seth, George Harrison, and Anand Thakore have combined for 145 RBIs, while Samar Sen and Allen Ginsberg have scored 55 times at the top of the order. The Beijing Waves, in second place, are 17-7 at home, with Lao Tzu as a starter and Confucius in relief, their top hurlers. Khomeini in the bullpen, and Voltaire and Rousseau as starters, have been big disappointments. Ho Chi Minh, Lenin, Engles, and Lu Xun are in the mix in relief. Jack Dorsey, the Waves manager, is at his wit’s end trying to find pitching for Chairman Mao’s team. Li Po, Tu Fu, and Karl Marx are hitting well in the middle of the order, but they need more from Brecht, Li He, and Neruda. The Santa Barbara Laws are playing much better away from home than the Waves, and are tied with them for second place, as John Donne and Thomas Hardy lead the Laws in homers. The good news for the 25-23 Laws is the recent performance of 3 of their starters—Aristotle, Francis Bacon, and Oliver Wendell Holmes are all 4-1 in their last 6 starts. Quintilian has been added to help Mark Van Doren in relief. The Tokyo Mist and the LA Gamers are the current bottom feeders in the Peoples Division. Yukio Mishima (6-4, 2.10 ERA)  has been a pleasant surprise for the Mist, filling in for the injured Heraclitus as the no. 3 starter, and has certainly earned a spot on the team. Basho and Issa as starters, Kobe Abe and D.T. Suzuki in relief, have not been good. John Lennon, Hilda Doolittle, and Yoko Ono are not hitting in Tokyo, as the Mist have a terrible home record.  The Mist are 4-12 against the Waves, but are playing .500 against everyone else. The Gamers are 1-7 against the Cobras. James Tate has started to win, but Derrida is 0-4 in his last 4 starts, and Democritus replaced the injured E.E. Cummings only to go 1-4. Lewis Carroll, the Gamers ace, has contributed to the slide, not able to win in his last 4 starts. Ionesco leads the Gamers with 11 homers. Manager Bob Hope is talking to both Woody Allen and Muhammad Ali about joining the bullpen. Merv Griffin is also trying to woo W.H. Auden away from Napoleon’s Codes in the Emperor Division. Auden, critically esteemed, yet a champion of Light Verse, would be an ideal fit for the Gamers.  But Auden is leading his division in homers and seems to love playing in Corsica, so that move is doubtful.

Standings

The Cobras, Satyajit Ray 29-19
The Waves, Chairman Mao 25-23
The Laws, Dick Wolf 25-23
The Mist, Kurosawa 20-28
The Gamers, Merv Griffin 19-29

WINS

J. Rumi, Cobras 7-1
R. Tagore, Cobras 7-3
M. Gandhi, Cobras 7-3

Lao Tzu, Waves 6-2
Yukio Mishima, Mist 6-4
Lucretius, Waves 6-4

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, Laws 5-2
Yone Noguchi, Mist 5-3
Lewis Carroll, Gamers 5-5
James Tate, Gamers 5-5
Francis Bacon, Laws 5-6

Relief wins

Confucius, Waves 6-2

MODERN DIVISION

The Chicago Buyers have the best record in the whole league, even as Freud has stopped winning and their bullpen has not been effective.  But Freud started out 5-0, and now the other 3 starters have taken over: in their last 6 starts, Whitman is 3-1,  Twain is 4-1, and Paul Engle is 4-1. Elizabeth Bishop has more home runs than anybody (20), plus Dylan Thomas has 14, and Robert Lowell has 10. The Arden Dreamers have cooled after a hot start and now they’re in second place—under .500 and 9 games behind the Buyers. Margaret Atwood and Anais Nin have each won 5 for the Dreamers, but Germaine Greer is 2-6 in relief. Manager Averell Harriman would love Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to join their bullpen. Talks are underway. Run-scoring is not a problem for the Dreamers. Sharon Olds, Edna Millay, and Louis MacNeice have knocked in 129 runs between them. Bob Dylan (.311 batting average, 9 home runs) finally got hot for the Phoenix Universe, but manager Billy Beane knows they have to make a move, as they are 10 games out of first and not one of their pitchers has been outstanding. Steven Spielberg’s Universe is talking to everyone, including Jack London, Octavio Paz, and MLK Jr. The Manhattan Printers have been playing much better lately. John Updike is their home run leader with 14, and Duchamp and Marjorie Perloff have been on fire—Duchamp is 4-1 and Perloff is 5-0 in their last 7 starts; Stephanie Burt, and Mark Rothko, however, have been dismal; Burt is 0-4 in his last 6 trips to the hill, Rothko has not won in his last 5 outings. That leaves us with the Philadelphia Crash, 13 games out of first.  The only bright spot is Pablo Picasso in relief (7-2). Allen Tate leads them with 8 homers. Walter Pater hasn’t won in 6 starts, John Dewey is 0-1 in his last 4, and their ace, John Crowe Ransom, has yet to notch a win. Manager Giorgio de Chirico and Henri Matisse are doing what they can to keep Ransom’s confidence up. The Crash lost Ransom’s first four starts by one run, and he was tossed for throwing at hitters in one of those close games. Pitchers Clement Greenberg and Roger Fry are said to be close to signing for the last-place Crash.

Standings

The Buyers John D. Rockefeller 32-16
The Dreamers Pamela Harriman 23-25
The Universe Steven Spielberg 22-26
The Printers Andy Warhol 21-27
The Crash A.C. Barnes 19-29

WINS

Paul Engle, Buyers 8-2

Mark Twain, Buyers 7-2

Margaret Atwood, Dreamers 5-3
Anais Nin, Dreamers 5-4
Marjorie Perloff, Printers 5-4
Freud, Buyers 5-4

Walt Whitman, Buyers 4-2
Duchamp, Printers 4-3

Relief Wins

Picasso, Crash 7-2

HOME RUNS  —LEAGUE LEADERS

Elizabeth Bishop, Buyers 20 (Modern Div)

William Yeats, Pistols 16 (Glorious Div)
Charles Dickens, Laureates 16 (Glorious Div)

James Joyce, Pistols 15

WH Auden Codes 15 (Emperor Div)

Sharon Olds, Dreamers 14
John Updike, Printers 14
Dylan Thomas, Buyers 14

Edna Millay, Dreamers 13
Aristophanes, Printers 13
Louis MacNeice, Dreamers 13
Aphra Behn, Laureates 13
Aeschylus Crusaders 13
Sophocles Goths 13
Anne Bradstreet Crusaders 13
Stephen Crane, War 13 (Society Div)

Victor Hugo Codes 12
Friedrich Schiller, Banners 12
Thomas Nashe, Actors 12
Vikram Seth, Cobras 12 (Peoples Div)
Javed Akhtar, Cobras 12 (Peoples Div)

Heinrich Heine Goths 11
Arthur Rimbaud, Strangers 11
Ionesco, Gamers 11
Li Po, Waves 11

Lord Tennyson, Carriages 10
Ted Hughes, Pistols 10
Emily Dickinson, Secrets 10
George Harrison, Cobras 10
John Donne, Laws 10
Robert Lowell, Buyers 10

Edmund Spenser Ceilings 9
Rilke Broadcasters 9
Robert Burns Broadcasters 9
Robert Browning, Carriages 9
William Wordsworth, Sun 9
Alexandre Dumas, Laureates 9
Thomas Hardy, Laws 9
Karl Marx, Waves 9
Bob Dylan, Universe 9
Juvenal, Universe 9

Tu Fu, Waves 8
John Lennon, Mist 8
Seamus Heaney, Animals 8
Mary Angela Douglas Crusaders 8
Jean Racine Codes 8
Allen Tate, Crash 8
Stephen Spender, Crash 8
Muriel Rukeyser, Dreamers 8
Matthew Arnold Sun 8
Henry Longfellow Carriages 8
GB Shaw Carriages 8

Anne Sexton Broadcasters 7
Robert Frost, Secrets 7
Francois Rabelais, Strangers 7
Theodore Roethke, Strangers 7
Billy Collins, Gamers 7
Thomas Hood, Gamers 7
Anand Thakore, Cobras 7
Hilda Doolitte, Mist 7
Martial, Laws 7
Paul Celan, Universe 7
Kenneth Koch, Printers 7
John Quinn Pistols 7
HG Wells Sun 7
Basil Bunting Sun 7

Woody Guthrie, Secrets 6
Harry Crosby, War 6
Hafiz, Actors 6
Euripides Ceilings 6
Kenneth Rexroth, Buyers 6
Anthony Hecht, Universe 6
Hart Crane, Printers 6
Wole Soyinka Codes 6
JK Rowling Laureates 6
Sara Teasdale Laureates 6
Paul McCartney Carriages 6
Haruki Murakami Mist 6
Sadakichi Hartman Mist 6

Joe Green Gamers 5
Tasso Goths 5
John Paul II Crusaders 5
Holderlin Goths 5
Wallace Stevens Animals 5
Phillis Wheatley Crusaders 5
Jim Morrison Broadcasters 5
Knut Hamsun Strangers 5
Amiri Baraka Actors 5
Gwendolyn Brooks Actors 5
Lawrence Ferlinghetti Animals 5
Boris Pasternak Laureates 5
Christina Rossetti Banners 5
Ben Mazer Banners 5
Alistair Crowley Pistols 5
Sir John Davies Sun 5
Yoko Ono Mist 5
Donald  Davidson Crash 5
Federico Garcia Lorca Printers 5
Robert Penn Warren Buyers 5
John Gould Fletcher Crash 5
Stevie Smith Dreamers 5
Richard Lovelace Dreamers 5
Jack Gilbert Dreamers 5

Maya Angelou Universe 4
Edgar Lee Masters Buyers 4
Duke Ellington Buyers 4
John Crowe Ransom Crash 4
Andre Breton Printers 4
John Ashbery Printers 4
Kalidasa Cobras 4
Donald Hall Laws 4
Ghalib Laureates 4
DG Rossetti Banners 4
Dante Banners 4
Geoffrey Hill Carriages 4
Phillip Sidney War 4
Shakespeare War 4
Derek Walcott Codes 4
William Blake Ceilings 4
Thomas Chatterton Goths 4
de Stael Goths 4
John Milton Ceilings 4
Michelangelo Ceilings 4

Oliver Goldsmith, Laureates 3
John Townsend Trowbridge Laureates 3
Glyn Maxwell, Banners 3
Ford Maddox Ford, Pistols 3
D.H. Lawrence, Pistols 3
Olga Rudge Pistols 3
Filippo Marinetti Pistols 3
Alfred Orage Pistols 3
Margaret Fuller Sun 3
Rudyard Kipling Sun 3
Horace Walpole Sun 3
Carol Ann Duffy Carriages 3
Elizabeth Barrett Carriages 3
Carl Sandburg Secrets 3
Nathaniel Hawthorne Secrets 3
Paul Simon Secrets 3
Robert Graves War 3
Marianne Moore Animals 3
Ovid Animals 3
Jack Spicer Animals 3
Reinhold Neibuhr Crusaders 3
Robert Herrick Goths 3
Callimachus Codes 3
Jules Laforgue Codes 3
Mick Jagger Broadcasters 3
Francois Villon Codes 3
Gottfried Burger Laws 3
Reed Whitmore Laws 3
Jane Kenyon Laws 3
Antonio Machado Laws 3
Ernest Thayer Gamers 3
Noel Coward Gamers 3
Bertolt Brecht Waves 3
Gary Snyder Mist 3
Natsume Soseki Mist 3
Izumi Shikabu Mist 3
Li He Waves 3
Allen Ginsberg Cobras 3
Walt Whitman Buyers 3
Carolyn Forche Dreamers 3
Lou Reed Printers 3
Archilochus Crash 3
WC Williams Crash 3
Chuck Berry Universe 3
Delmore Schwartz Universe 3

Joyce Kilmer Crusaders 2
Saint Ephrem Crusaders 2
James Russell Lowell Ceilings 2
Mina Loy Codes 2
John Clare Codes 2
Vladimir Nabokov Broadcasters 2
Giacomo Leopardi Broadcasters 2
Gregory Corso Broadcasters 2
Edgar Poe Secrets 2
Cole Porter Secrets 2
Wilfred Owen War 2
Apollinaire War 2
Alan Seeger War 2
T.E. Hulme War 2
James Dickey War 2
Robinson Jeffers Animals 2
Mary Shelley Strangers 2
Marilyn Hacker Actors 2
David Bowie Actors 2
Lucille Clifton Actors 2
Rod McKuen Laureates 2
Van Morrison Laureates 2
Thomas Wyatt Banners 2
Stefan George Banners 2
Thomas Moore Banners 2
Guido Cavalcanti Banners 2
John Keats Banners 2
T.S. Eliot Pistols 2
Gertrude Stein Pistols 2
Carl Jung Pistols 2
Dorothy Shakespeare Pistols 2
Ralph Waldo Emerson Sun 2
Marilyn Chin Sun 2
Joy Harjo Sun 2
Joseph Addison Sun 2
Richard Steele Sun 2
Philip Larkin Carriages 2
Sylvia Plath Carriages 2
Simone de Beauvoir Dreamers 2
Jorie Graham Buyers 2
Marcel Duchamp  Printers 2
Larry Levis Universe 2
Christopher Isherwood Printers 2
Stanley Kunitz Crash 2
Franz Werfel Crash 2
Galway Kinnell Universe 2
James Baldwin Printers 2

Scarriet Poetry Baseball Reporting

BUYERS LEAD THE MODERN DIVISION

Biography: John D. Rockefeller, Senior | American Experience ...

John D. Rockefeller, owner of the Chicago Buyers, knew what he wanted.

A good starting pitching staff built on iconic confidence and swagger.  A savvy manager who understands what it takes to win. A bullpen by committee.  A starting lineup of respectable, accessible poets.  No fancy theory. No avant-garde. No messy, melancholy, romanticism. No light verse. No children’s lit goofiness.

So far it’s paid off, as the Chicago Buyers and their manager, Charles Darwin, lead the Modern Division with a 32 and 16 record.

They’ve already opened up a 9 game lead on the second place Dreamers, Pamela Harriman’s club which began fast behind pitcher Margaret Atwood, but has faltered.

The Buyers’ success can be summed up in four words: Whitman, Freud, Twain, Engle.

Walt Whitman 4-2,  2.79 ERA
Sigmund Freud 5-4, 3.32 ERA
Mark Twain 7-2, 3.18 ERA
Paul Engle 8-2, 2.88 ERA

Paul Engle is the no. 4 starter!  And look at him!

Helen Vendler and Judith Butler have each won 3 games in relief.

Elizabeth Bishop (2b) has been the offensive surprise for the Buyers, clobbering 20 homers!

She likes playing with shortstop Robert Lowell, who has contributed 10 dingers.

Dylan Thomas has hit 14 homers, Kenneth Rexroth has 6, Robert Penn Warren has 5, and Duke Ellington and Edgar Lee Masters each have 4.

With Thomas at third, Lowell at short, Bishop at second, and Masters at first—that’s 48 homers from the infield!

Whatever the Buyers are selling, people are buying—whether it’s Whitman’s holy extravagance, Freud’s naked symbolism, Twain’s gilded era wit, or Paul Engle’s Cold War Writing entrepreneurship—these starting four, together with Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and Dylan Thomas’ hitting, seems real enough to carry this team to a Poetry Baseball title. When asked to confirm, manager Charles Darwin merely looked up from his beard and ponderously mumbled a barely discernible assent.

Here’s a snapshot of the Modern Division:

The Buyers John D. Rockefeller 32-16
The Dreamers Pamela Harriman 23-25
The Universe Steven Spielberg 22-26
The Printers Andy Warhol 21-27
The Crash A.C. Barnes 19-29

WINS

Paul Engle, Buyers 8-2

Mark Twain, Buyers 7-2

Margaret Atwood, Dreamers 5-3
Anais Nin, Dreamers 5-4
Marjorie Perloff, Printers 5-4
Freud, Buyers 5-4

Walt Whitman, Buyers 4-2
Duchamp, Printers 4-3

Relief Wins

Picasso, Crash 7-2

F.O. Matthiessen, Printers 3-0
Hilton Kramer, Printers 3-1
Judith Butler, Buyers 3-1
Vendler, Buyers 3-2
Foucault, Universe 3-2

HOMERS

Elizabeth Bishop, Buyers 20

Sharon Olds, Dreamers 14
John Updike, Printers 14
Dylan Thomas, Buyers 14

Edna Millay, Dreamers 13
Aristophanes, Printers 13
Louis MacNeice, Dreamers 13

Robert Lowell, Buyers 10

Bob Dylan, Universe 9
Juvenal, Universe 9

Allen Tate, Crash 8
Stephen Spender, Crash 8
Muriel Rukeyser, Dreamers 8

Paul Celan, Universe 7
Kenneth Koch, Printers 7

Kenneth Rexroth, Buyers 6
Anthony Hecht, Universe 6
Hart Crane, Printers 6

 

Scarriet Poetry Baseball reporting

 

 

 

 

 

SCARRIET POETRY BASEBALL—HERE WE GO!

Lord Byron In Albanian Dress - 1813 Painting by War Is Hell Store

George Byron in a pensive mood, before taking part in the opening day Scarriet baseball ceremonies.

Happy Easter!

Scarriet has expanded and restructured its baseball league!!

Gone the 2 leagues of 20 teams led by 20 American poets—Eliot, Pound, Frost, Poe, Williams, Stevens, Moore, Dickinson, Millay, Jorie Graham, Ginsberg, Ransom, Cummings, Whittier, Whitman, Bryant, Longfellow, James Lowell, Ashbery, and Emerson.

Now poets like Emerson, Eliot and Poe can be player/managers—to contribute to their teams both at the plate and in the field.

The field is more international—Scarriet Poetry Baseball is now 25 historical teams from all over the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The gods and muses must be pleased with our ten years of Poetry March Madness and our first Poetry Baseball season, where poetry is worshiped through time and space in a manner which no one has ever seen.

Fortunately one of the Muses has always been here to help us, Marla Muse.

Marla Muse: They are indeed pleased, Tom!

You have spoken to the other muses who live in other realms, in those shadowy timeless realms where time is one and poetry lights up suns distantly—

Marla Muse: Yes, and they approve! The stars in the heavens love you more than you know… I would rather die than see poetry die.

This baseball season is different. Mysterious and wealthy owners throughout time and space are bidding, some in secret, for players to fill their rosters.

In the Great Emperor League, we have the Broadcasters. Their motto is “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name” and they feature Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Gregory Corso, Anne Sexton, Bobby Burns, Omar Khayyam, Rilke, Coleridge, Leopardi, Anacreon, Sappho, and Ingrid Jonker.  They are rumored to be owned and funded by a business group led by Federico Fellini, and their ballpark is in Rimini, Italy.

These ballclubs are timeless, in every sense of the word (these teams compete, with actual statistics, where chance unfolds out of space, out of time) but real money, blood money, purchases these players.  We know JP Morgan, for instance, wanted Shakespeare and bid heavily to get him.

The Pistols, who play in Berlin, are said to be associated with Eva Braun, but this cannot be confirmed; one older muse claims to have overheard Eva say, “I take care of this. Adolf is too busy talking to bankers and architects. He doesn’t have time for poetry.” But honestly we cannot say who owns the Pistols.

Nahum Tate, owner of the Laureates, for those who do not know, re-wrote a popular King Lear with a happy ending (after Shakespeare’s death when, for a long period, the Bard was out of fashion,) and was chosen as Poet Laureate of England in 1692. 

Dick Wolf produces Law & Order on television, and appears to have a controlling interest in the Laws, playing out of Santa Barbara.  He’s got Aristotle, Lord Bacon, and Horace.

John Rockefeller opened his purse to get Walt Whitman, and he thinks that will be enough to win a championship.  We don’t know.  We do know baseball is all about pitching.  All you need is a few good arms which dominate, defense behind them, and some clubhouse chemistry, and not too many injuries. It’s a crap shoot, in many ways, and this is why Rockefeller grumbled he wasn’t going to waste money on superstars who hit home runs and have a high batting average. He’s probably right.  A team that wins 2-1 is better than a team that wins 7-4, by pure mathematics, even though the former score wins by 1 and the latter by 3 runs. It’s the ratio that counts.  2-1 = 2. 7-4 = 1.7  This simple reason is why defense wins in every sport. Rockefeller is using this formula, and the oil baron was also advised that you can’t buy a pennant—throwing money at sluggers doesn’t do any good; it’s 90% pitching and luck. Just put a a poet with critical depth on the hill and three good versifiers in the infield and sit back.

Some of the rosters might have some question marks, but that’s what happens in a free market.  It’s an historical fact that Longfellow did meet Queen Victoria in person. But no one expected him to play for her!

And W.H. Auden just “wanted to play for Napoleon, I don’t why.”

Marla Muse: I can’t wait for the season to begin!  Spring is in the air! Around Rome, and in those still fairer isles… Let’s forget about plagues and the starvation for awhile. Songs are going to sing.

Here then, are the Teams, their Mottoes, and the preliminary rosters—they are always changing (there’s a big minor leagues!)

~~~~~~

THE GREAT EMPEROR LEAGUE

Federico Fellini, Rimini  The Broadcasters [Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name]
-Mick Jagger, Sappho, Gregory Corso, Charles Bukowski, Paul Valery, Anne Sexton, Omar Khayyam, Robert Burns, Ben Jonson, Coleridge, Jim Morrison, Edmund Waller, Nabokov, Rilke, Giacomo Leopardi, Anacreon, Ingrid Jonker, Swinburne

Napoleon, Corsica The Codes [Let the more loving one be me]
-W.H. Auden, Homer, Hesiod, Racine, John Peale Bishop, Edmund Wilson, Mina Loy, William Logan, Irving Layton, Villon, Jean-Baptiste Tati-Loutard, Wole Soyinka, Jules Laforgue, Derek Walcott, Callimachus, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius

King Philip II, Madrid The Crusaders [If in my thought I have magnified the Father above the Son, let Him have no mercy on me]
-Saint Ephrem, G.K. Chesterton, Tolkien, Thomas Aquinas, Hilaire Beloc, John Paul II, Saint Theresa of Lisieux, Joyce Kilmer, Saint John of the Cross, Mary Angela Douglas, Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Countee Cullen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Aeschulus

Charles X, Paris  The Goths [Every great enterprise takes its first step in faith]
-A.W. Schlegel, Baudelaire, Goethe, Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Madame de Stael, Chateaubriand, Sophocles, George Herbert, Heinrich Heine, Robert Herrick, Clement Marot, Ronsard, Saint-Beuve, Catulus, Thomas Gray, John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Theophile Gautier

Pope Julius II, Rome  The Ceilings [They also serve who only stand and wait]
-Milton, Michelangelo, William Blake, Robert Lowell, Petrarch, G.E. Lessing, John Dryden, Klopstock, GE Horne, Ferdowsi, Ariosto, Luis de Camoens, Swift, Tulsidas, Edmund Spenser, Kwesi Brew, Pindar, Euripides

~~~~~

THE GLORIOUS LEAGUE

Eva Braun, Berlin The Pistols [A life subdued to its instrument]
-Ted Hughes, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W.B. Yeats, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Hugh Kenner, Wyndham Lewis, DH Lawrence, Alistair Crowley, George Santayana, F.T. Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Richard Wagner, Jung

Queen Victoria, London The Carriages [Theirs but to do and die]
-Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett, Robert Browning, Longfellow, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Hazlitt, Paul McCartney, Geoffrey Hill, Henry James, Andrew Marvel, John Suckling, Virginia Woolf, Theocritus

Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence The Banners [The One remains, the many change and pass]
-Percy Shelley, Dante, William Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, DG Rossetti, John Keats, Marlowe, Guido Cavalcanti, Glyn Maxwell, Ben Mazer, Friedrich Schiller, Thomas Moore, Philodemus, Virgil, Stefan George, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci

P.M. Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, Devon The Sun [A good indignation brings out all one’s powers]
-Emerson, Horace Walpole, Thomas Carlyle, Thoreau, Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling, Aldous Huxley, Matthew Arnold, Sir John Davies, Margaret Fuller, Robert Southey, Marilyn Chin, Joy Harjo, Basil Bunting, Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye

Nahum Tate, Dublin  The Laureates [Luck is bestowed even on those who don’t have hands]
-Ghalib, Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Peacock, Leigh Hunt, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Sara Teasdale, Pasternak, Louis Simpson, Dana Gioia, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke, Aphra Behn, Rod McKuen, JK Rowling

~~~~~

THE SECRET SOCIETY LEAGUE

Harvey Weinstein, Westport CT The Actors [I am no hackney for your rod]
-John Skelton, Langston Hughes, Henry Ward Beecher, Chaucer, Amiri Baraka, Lord Byron, Hafiz, Thomas Nashe, Marilyn Hacker, Petronius, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jim Carroll, Lucille Clifton, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Jimmy Page, Andre Gide

David Lynch, Alexandria VA  The Strangers [So still is day, it seems like night profound]
-Jones Very, Alexander Pope, William Burroughs, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Robert Graves, Laura Riding, Weldon Kees, Berryman, Mary Shelley, Rabelais, Charles Simic, Eric Satie, Labid, Roethke, Camille Paglia, HP Lovecraft, Nietzsche, Samuel Beckett

P.T. Barnum, Fairfield CT  The Animals [Majesty and love are incompatible]
-Ovid, Gerald Stern, Robinson Jeffers, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Seamus Heaney, Jack Spicer, Kay Ryan, Leslie Scalapino, Mary Oliver, W S Merwin, Melville, Camille Saint Saens, Edward Lear, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Gerard de Nerval, Robert Bly

J.P. Morgan, Madison Avenue  The War [The fire-eyed maid of smoky war all hot and bleeding will we offer them]
-Shakespeare, Louis Untermeyer, Apollinaire, T.E. Hulme, Richard Aldington, Rupert Brooke, Sir Walter Scott, Philip Sidney, James Dickey, Harry Crosby, Keith Douglas, Wilfred Owen, Howard Nemerov, Stephen Crane, Erich Remarque, Alan Seeger

Ben Franklin  Philadelphia  The Secrets [We come in the age’s most uncertain hour and sing an American tune]
-Paul Simon, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edgar Poe, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, F. Scott Key, Cole Porter, Plato, Hawthorne, Pushkin, Walter Raleigh, Moliere, William Cullen Bryant, Amy Lowell, Emma Lazarus, Carl Sandburg, Pete Seeger, Natasha Trethewey, Amelia Welby, Woody Guthrie, JD Salinger, John Prine, Kanye West, Stephen Cole, Bob Tonucci

~~~~~

THE PEOPLE’S LEAGUE

Sajyajit Ray, Calcutta The Cobras [Is it true that your love traveled alone through ages and worlds in search of me?]
-Tagore, Allen Ginsberg, Jeet Thayil, Rupi Kaur, Anand Thakore, Dhoomil, G.M. Muktibodh, Rumi, A.K. Ramanujan, Samar Sen, Daipayan Nair, R. Meenakshi, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Hermann Hesse, Persius, George Harrison, Adil Jussawalla, Tishani Doshi, Sushmita Gupta, Vikram Seth

Kurosawa,  Tokyo  The Mist [In Kyoto, hearing the cuckoo, I long for Kyoto]
-Basho, Hilda Doolittle, Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, D.T. Suzuki, Yone Noguchi, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Kobayashi Issa, Lady Izumi Shikibu, Cid Corman, Sadakichi Hartmann, Heraclitus, Richard Brautigan

Chairman Mao, Beijing  The Waves [Death gives separation repose. Without death, grief only sharpens]
-Tu Fu, Lucretius, Karl Marx, Voltaire, Rousseau, Guy Burgess, Amiri Baraka, Brecht, Neruda, Li Po, Li He, Bai Juyi, Lu Xun, Guo Moruo, Ho Chi-Fang, Yen Chen, Billie Holiday, Khomieni, Lu Ji , Wang Wei, Lao Tzu, Gary B. Fitzgerald, Wendell Berry

Dick Wolf, Santa Barbara  The Laws [In poetry everything is clear and definite]
-Ajip Rosidi, Aristotle, John Donne, Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon, Donald Justice, Anna Akhmatova, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Campion, Frederick Seidel, Antonio Machado, Mark Van Doren, David Lehman, Lord Bacon, Martial, ML Rosenthal, Horace, Gottfried Burger, Yvor Winters

Merv Griffin, Los Angeles  The Gamers  [He thought he saw an elephant that practiced on a fife]
-Lewis Carroll, James Tate, E.E. Cummings, Tony Hoagland, Ogden Nash, Billy Collins, Eugene Field, W.S. Gilbert, Thomas Hood, Noel Coward, X.J. Kennedy, John Betjeman, Wendy Cope, Tristan Tzara, Heather McHugh, Charles Bernstein, Jack Spicer, James Whitcomb Riley, Joe Green, Menander, Morgenstern

~~~~~

THE MODERN LEAGUE

Pamela Harriman, Arden NY The Dreamers [not the earth, the sea, none of it was enough for her, without me]
-Sharon Olds, Edna Millay, George Dillon, Floyd Dell, Dorothy Parker, Stanley Burnshaw, Richard Lovelace, Stevie Smith, Louis MacNeice, Louise Bogan, Louise Gluck, Jack Gilbert, Marge Piercy, Carolyn Forche, Muriel Rukeyser, Jean Valentine, May Swenson, Propertius, Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir

Andy Warhol, East 47th St The Printers [the eye, seeking to sink, is rebuffed by a much-worked dullness, the patina of a rag, that oily Vulcan uses, wiping up.]
-John Updike, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, James Merrill, Hart Crane, Lorca, Thom Gunn, Stephen Burt, Frank Bidart, Mark Rothko, Marjorie Perloff, John Quinn, Duchamp, Aristophanes, Christopher Isherwood, Andre Breton, Lou Reed, John Cage

John D. Rockefeller, Chicago The Buyers [Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?]
-Walt Whitman, Alcaeus, Edgar Lee Masters, Kenneth Rexroth, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Helen Vendler, Jorie Graham, Franz Wright, Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Paul Engle, William Alexander Percy, Richard Hugo, Carl Philips, Harriet Monroe, Duke Ellington, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Sigmund Freud

A. C. Barnes, Philadelphia  The Crash [But for some futile things unsaid I should say all is done for us]
-Allen Tate, John Gould Fletcher, John Crowe Ransom, John Dewey, Cleanth Brooks, Donald Davidson, Merrill Moore, Walter Pater, Wittgenstein, Andrew Nelson Lytle, Archilochus, Anne Waldman, Stanley Kunitz, Jackson Pollock, WC Williams, Luigi Russolo, Stephen Spender, Richard Howard

Steven Spielberg, Phoenix AZ  The Universe [I know why the caged bird sings]
-Maya Angelou, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bob Dylan, Margaret Atwood, Paul Celan, Czeslaw Milosz, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Larry Levis, Claudia Rankine, Harold Bloom, Alice Walker, James Wright, Juvenal, Chuck Berry, Stephen King

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ballpark Road Trips in Review: 2018 - Ben's Biz Blog

 

 

SCARRIET 2015 MARCH MADNESS—THE GREATEST LINES IN POETRY COMPETE

BRACKET ONE

1. Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dales and field, And all the craggy mountains yield. (Marlowe)

2. Every Night and every Morn Some to Misery are born. Every Morn and every Night Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.  (Blake)

3. Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine; And I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion. (Dowson)

4. April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. (Eliot)

5. No motion has she now, no force; She neither hears nor sees; Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course, With rocks, and stones and trees. (Wordsworth)

6. If the red slayer think he slays, Or if the slain think he is slain, They know not well the subtle ways I keep, and pass, and turn again. (Emerson)

7. The sea is calm tonight, The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits;—on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. (Arnold)

8. When I am dead and over me bright April Shakes out her rain-drenched hair, Though you should lean above me broken-hearted, I shall not care. (Teasdale)

9. The soul selects her own society, Then shuts the door; On her divine majority Obtrude no more. (Dickinson)

10. We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile. (Dunbar)

11. This is the waking landscape Dream after dream walking away through it Invisible invisible invisible (Merwin)

12. I made a model of you, A man in black with a Meinkampf look And a love of the rack and the screw, And I said I do, I do. (Plath)

13. It is easy to be young. (Everybody is, at first.) It is not easy to be old. It takes time. Youth is given; age is achieved. (May Swenson)

14. There is no disorder but the heart’s. But if love goes leaking outward, if shrubs take up its monstrous stalking, all greenery is spurred, the snapping lips are overgrown, and over oaks red hearts hang like the sun. (Mona Von Duyn)

15. Long life our two resemblances devise, And for a thousand years when we have gone Posterity will find my woe, your beauty Matched, and know my loving you was wise. (Michelangelo)

16. Caesar’s double-bed is warm As an unimportant clerk Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK On a pink official form. (Auden)

BRACKET TWO

1. Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds Or bends with the remover to remove. (Shakespeare)

2. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. (Coleridge)

3. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. (Barrett)

4. Say to the Court, it glows And shines like rotten wood; Say to the Church, it shows What’s good, and doth no good: If Church and Court reply, Then give them both the lie. (Raleigh)

5. Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicaean barks of yore, That gently o’er a perfumed sea, The weary, wayworn wanderer bore To his own native shore. (Poe)

6. Some for the Glories of This World; and some Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come; Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go, Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum! (Omar Khayyam)

7. Yet it creates, transcending these, Far other worlds and other seas; Annihilating all that’s made To a green thought in a green shade. (Marvell)

8. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. (Gray)

9. O hark, O hear! how thin and clear, And thinner, clearer, farther going! O, sweet and far from cliff and scar The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying, Blow bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. (Tennyson)

10. I have a rendezvous with Death, At some disputed barricade, When Spring comes back with rustling shade And apple-blossoms fill the air. (Seeger)

11. I have put my days and dreams out of mind, Days that are over, dreams that are done. Though we seek life through, we shall surely find There is none of them clear to us now, not one. (Swinburne)

12. When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. (Whitman)

13. O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, Alone and palely loitering? The sedge has withered from the lake, And no birds sing. (Keats)

14. Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. (Frost)

15. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. (Stevens)

16. I was, being human, born alone; I am, being a woman, hard beset; I live by squeezing from a stone The little nourishment I get. (Wylie)

BRACKET THREE

1. The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow Through Eden took their solitary way. (Milton)

2. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we’ll go no more a roving By the light of the moon. (Byron)

3. I arise from dreams of thee In the first sweet sleep of night, When the winds are breathing low, And the stars are shining bright. (Shelley)

4. What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. (Owen)

5. We have heard the music, tasted the drinks, and looked at colored houses. What more is there to do, except to stay? And that we cannot do. And as a last breeze freshens the top of the weathered old tower, I turn my gaze Back to the instruction manual which has made me dream of Guadalajara. (Ashbery)

6. Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives. Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives. (Sassoon)

7. Why is it no one ever sent me yet One perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get One perfect rose. (Parker)

8. The shopgirls leave their work quietly. Machines are still, tables and chairs darken. The silent rounds of mice and roaches begin. (Reznikoff)

9. It’s not my business to describe anything. The only report is the discharge of words called to account for their slurs. A seance of sorts—or transport into that nether that refuses measure. (Bernstein)

10. I came to explore the wreck. The words are purposes. The words are maps. I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail. I stroke the beam of my lamp slowly along the flank of something more permanent than fish or weed. (Rich)

11. When I see a couple of kids And guess he’s fucking her and she’s Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm, I know this is paradise Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives (Larkin)

12. I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned with lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned. (Millay)

13. Those four black girls blown up in that Alabama church remind me of five hundred middle passage blacks in a net, under water in Charlestown harbor so redcoats wouldn’t find them. Can’t find what you can’t see can you? (Harper)

14. It’s good to be neuter. I want to have meaningless legs. There are things unbearable. One can evade them a long time. Then you die. (Carson).

15. On my way to bringing you the leotard you forgot to include in your overnight bag, the snow started coming down harder. I watched each gathering of leafy flakes melt round my footfall. I looked up into it—late afternoon but bright. Nothing true or false in itself. (Graham)

16. The rape joke is that you were 19 years old. The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend. The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee. Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. (Lockwood)

BRACKET FOUR

1. Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy. (Homer)

2. And following its path, we took no care To rest, but climbed, he first, then I—so far, through a round aperture I saw appear Some of the beautiful things that heaven bears, Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars. (Dante)

3. With usura, sin against nature, is thy bread ever more of stale rags is thy bread dry as paper, with no mountain wheat, no strong flour with usura the line grows thick with usura is no clear demarcation and no man can find site for his dwelling. Stonecutter is kept from his stone weaver is kept from his loom WITH USURA (Pound)

4. I am Marilyn Mei Ling Chin. Oh, how I love the resoluteness of that first person singular followed by that stalwart indicative of “be,” without the uncertain i-n-g of “becoming.” Of course, the name had been changed somewhere between Angel Island and the sea. (Chin)

5.  Dreaming evil, I have done my hitch over the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite. I have been her kind. (Sexton)

6. I loved you; and the hopelessness I knew, The jealousy, the shyness—though in vain—Made up a love so tender and so true As God may grant you to be loved again. (Pushkin)

7. We cannot know his legendary head And yet his torso is still suffused with brilliance from inside, like a lamp, in which his gaze is turned down low, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life. (Rilke)

8. So much depends on the red wheel barrow glazed with rain water besides the white chickens. (Williams)

9. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. (Ginsberg)

10. The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low: And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row. (Carroll)

11. What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things; Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, If she inspire, and he approve my lays. (Pope)

12. Harpo was also, know this, Paul Revere. And Frankenstein, and Dracula, and Jane. Or would you say that I have gone insane? What would you do, then, to even the score? (Mazer)

13. Come, read to me a poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day. (Longfellow)

14. So Penelope took the hand of Odysseus, not to hold him back but to impress this peace on his memory: from this point on, the silence through which you move is my voice pursuing you. (Gluck)

15. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so: From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow. (Donne)

16. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And vaster, Some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. (Bishop)

17. Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail; And I will cry with my loud lips and publish Beauty which all our power will never establish, It is so frail. (Ransom)

100 ESSENTIAL BOOKS OF POETRY

 

EYE Don Share

Collecting is where material pride, wisdom and love uneasily sit, an endless pursuit which moves product, an endless boon to any enterprise.  To collect is to amass, to buy, to own, to bring into one’s circle the niceties of some industry for one’s own comfort and inspection. The collectable items should be unique, if not numerous, and if not unique, at least very rare.  Collecting is to break off pieces of some whole, but the item, when found, bought, discovered, possessed, is a shining whole to the collector, and compared to it, the universe is a sad jumble—such is the profundity of collecting.

Poetry anthologies spread wealth; poetry is centrifugal; it scatters itself outward freely.  Except where it overlaps with the ‘rare book collector,’ poetry, despite its fecundity, is not collectable; collecting is centripetal; it waits in vaults and rooms crowded with unique paintings, coins, and cars.  To know coins, one must darken them in one’s palm; to know poetry, one merely glimpses what every other person glimpses.

The following list is not a rare book list; increasingly, great old poetry, important translated poetry, and all sorts of rare poetry, simply lives on the internet.

This, in many ways, is a perfectly centrifugal list, readily available to whatever soul—no matter how mysterious, no matter how centripetal, no matter how hidden, no matter how curious—happens to want it.

Poetry is against collecting.  Poetry doesn’t  hoard; you can be deeply poetic for free.

These are books you could own, or read, or memorize, or teach, or learn, and probably already have.

Good translations are necessary, but impossible.  Old poems are necessary, but impossible.  Good, new poetry is necessary, but impossible.

The list below is mundane, but necessary.  This—mostly from the top of the list—is what you read if you want to know poetry.

It is everywhere, but it still must hit you.

 

1. SHAKESPEARE SONNETS, AUDEN INTRODUCTION  Modern poetry begins here. A definite sequence: 1-14 children as immortality, 15-28 poems as immortality, etc.

2. POE: POETRY, TALES, AND SELECTED ESSAYS (LIBRARY OF AMERICA) Iconic poems, tales of poetic quality, even criticism of poetic quality

3. VIKING BOOK OF POETRY OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WORLD, RICHARD ALDINGTON  H.D.’s husband, got Eliot out of the bank, solid anthology by this Brit wounded in WW I who knew all the Modernists and hated most of them (375 poets)

4. PLATO: THE COLLECTED DIALOGUES, BOLLINGEN SERIES, EDITH HAMILTON, ED  Poetry being born

5. THE ARDEN SHAKESPEARE, COMPLETE WORKS  With Shakespeare the best is just to read, and forget all the notes

6. THE DIVINE COMEDY, DANTE, JOHN D. SINCLAIR, TRANSLATOR (OXFORD U. PRESS)  Verse translation hopeless; take the prose Sinclair with Italian on the facing page

7. THE ILIAD OF HOMER TRANSLATED BY ALEXANDER POPE (PENGUIN)  The king of men his reverent priest defied/And for the king’s offense the people died

8. THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY ALEXANDER POPE (MACMILLAN, 1911)  The man for wisdom’s various arts renown’d/Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound

9. EDNA MILLAY COLLECTED, NORMA MILLAY (HARPER)  Tragically undervalued as Modernism came into vogue, Millay’s Collected is a must

10. PHILIP LARKIN THE COMPLETE POEMS, ARCHIE BURNETT  recently published master of the short lyric

11. LYRICAL BALLADS, WORDSWORTH, COLERIDGE  A shame Coleridge didn’t contribute more

12. WASTELAND AND OTHER POEMS, T.S. ELIOT  The one Modernist who could really write poetry (and prose).

13. LEAVES OF GRASS, WHITMAN (1855 EDITION) The first edition, before it got too long-winded

14. THE COMPLETE POEMS OF JOHN MILTON WRITTEN IN ENGLISH (HARVARD CLASSICS) You can’t go wrong with melodious Milton

15. UNDERSTANDING POETRY, BROOKS AND WARREN Textbooks are propaganda—this most used anthology in the 20th c. attacked Poe and elevated Pound/Williams

16. SELECTED POETRY & LETTERS, BYRON, EDWARD BOSTETTER, ED  Byron was very, very unhappy

17. POCKET BOOK OF MODERN VERSE, OSCAR WILLIAMS (1954)  Okay. Some of modern verse is good

18. A BOOK OF LUMINOUS THINGS, AN INTRODUCTORY ANTHOLOGY, CZESLAW MILOSZ  International poetry collections are good things

19. SELECTED POEMS AND TWO PLAYS, WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, ROSENTHAL, ED  Yeats benefits from Selected as opposed to Collected

20. OVID, THE LOVE POEMS, A.D. MELVILLE, ED. And you can really learn something, lovers

21. THE BEST LOVED POEMS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, HAZEL FELLEMAN  Because these uncritical anthologies always have some gems

22. ROBERT BROWNING, THE POEMS, PETTIGREW, ED. 2 VOLS  Because it’s Robert Browning

23. A NEW ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN POETRY, SELDEN RODMAN (1938)   Great snapshot of poetry in the 1930s: lots of ballads of political anguish

24. 100 GREAT POEMS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, MARK STRAND, ED.  A very nice selection from a poet whose reputation is fading

25. POETRY OF WITNESS: THE TRADITION IN ENGLISH 1500-2001, CAROLYN FORCHE, DUNCAN WU, EDS   Poetry handles real horror

26. BEST AMERICAN POETRY 1988, LEHMAN, SERIES ED. ASHBERY, GUEST ED. The first volume in the series may be the best

27. ARIEL, SYLVIA PLATH  A whirlwind of rhyme and rage

28. PABLO NERUDA, TWENTY LOVE SONGS AND A SONG OF DESPAIR, DUAL-LANGUAGE EDITION (PENGUIN) Neruda may get you laid

29. GREAT POEMS BY AMERICAN WOMEN: AN ANTHOLOGY, SUSAN RATTINER (DOVER) Women once had a higher standing as poets

30. OXFORD BOOK OF LIGHT VERSE, W.H. AUDEN, EDITOR  Who said light verse was light?

31. PALGRAVE’S GOLDEN TREASURY, FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE (1861) Look out! Right-wing poetry!

32. LIBRARY OF WORLD POETRY, WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT Worth a peek

33. 100 POEMS FROM THE JAPANESE, KENNETH REXROTH  blossoms and other stuff

34. BLACK POETS OF THE UNITED STATES: FROM PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR TO LANGSTON HUGHES, JEAN WAGNER  Before rap

35. THE OXFORD BOOK OF NARRATIVE VERSE, PETER OPIE  A narrative poem does not exist?

36. A BOY’S WILL, ROBERT FROST  His first book, published in England while the 40 year old poet made contacts there

37. THE NEW AMERICAN POETRY 1945-1960, DONALD ALLEN   Dawn of the post-war avant-garde

38. BEST AMERICAN POETRY 1990, LEHMAN SERIES EDITOR, JORIE GRAHAM, GUEST EDITOR  Has that wonderful poem by Kinnell…

39. FIRST WORLD WAR POETRY, JON SILKIN, EDITOR  While being slaughtered, they wrote

40. SPANISH POETRY: A DUAL LANGUAGE ANTHOLOGY 16TH-20TH CENTURIES, ANGEL FLORES  Dual Languages are a must, really

41. THE HERITAGE OF RUSSIAN VERSE, DIMITRI OBOLENSKY  “From The Ends To The Beginning A Bilingual Anthology of Russian Verse” is available on-line

42. BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2007, LEHMAN, SERIES EDITOR, MCHUGH, GUEST EDITOR   One of the best volumes in the series

43. POETS TRANSLATE POETS, A HUDSON REVIEW ANTHOLOGY, PAULA DIETZ, ED.  Nice historical sweep…

44. ART AND ARTISTS: POEMS, EMILY FRAGOS (EVERYMAN POCKET LIBRARY)    Art really meets poetry; lovely poems

45. W.H. AUDEN COLLECTED POEMS Best poet of the 20th century; slighted by anthologies

46. POEMS 1965-1975 SEAMUS HEANEY  Never quite made it to major status

47. POEMS BEWITCHED AND HAUNTED, JOHN HOLLANDER, ED (EVERYMAN’S POCKET LIBRARY)  Some really darling pieces here

48. COMPLETE POEMS OF KEATS AND SHELLEY (MODERN LIBRARY) The two best—the best, the best

49. THE 20TH CENTURY IN POETRY, HULSE, RAE, EDS (PEGASUS BOOKS)   Wonderful idea: poems in close chronology throughout the century

50. VITA NOVA, DANTE, MARK MUSA, TRANSLATOR (OXFORD) A great book for so many reasons

51. CHAUCER: THE CANTERBURY TALES (PENGUIN) father of English literature, we hear

52. HYPERION; BALLADS & OTHER POEMS, LONGFELLOW (1841)  “Hyperion” is a very modern poem…

53. THE RAG AND BONE SHOP OF THE HEART: A POETRY ANTHOLOGY, ROBERT BLY, EDITOR  A lot of Rumi and Neruda

54. WORLD POETRY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF VERSE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT, WASHBURN, MAJOR, FADIMAN, EDS  The translations are terrible, the selections are generally weak, but kudos for the attempt

55. LES FLEUR DU MAL, BAUDELAIRE  Ah…Baudelaire!

56. VICTORIAN WOMEN POETS: AN ANTHOLOGY, LEIGHTON, REYNOLDS, EDS (BLACKWELL)  That backwards era when women poets sold better than their male counterparts

57.  IMMORTAL POEMS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, OSCAR WILLIAMS   Solid overview (150 poets) without too much emphasis on annoying moderns

58. ALEXANDER POPE, SELECTED (OXFORD POETRY LIBRARY) You could do worse than his verse

59. A TREASURY OF GREAT POEMS, LOUIS UNTERMEYER   Almost 2OO poets

60. AMERICAN POETRY: THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, HOLLANDER, ED, LIBRARY OF AMERICA   A good look around at two centuries ago

61. ANEID, VIRGIL, ROBERT FITZGERALD, TRANSLATOR  Poet of the silver age…

62. THE POETICAL WORKS OF ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, RUTH M. ADAMS INTRO  She was the famous poet when Robert met her

63. THE ESSENTIAL RUMI, COLEMAN BARKS, ED  Passion pushed to the limit of wisdom

64. EUGENE ONEGIN BY ALEXANDER PUSHKIN, STANLEY MITCHELL (PENGUIN) The most modern of all epics

65. DYLAN THOMAS, COLLECTED, PAUL MULDOON, INTRO Too drunk to write many poems; this may be good or bad

66. POETRY OF DEREK WALCOTT 1948-2013, SELECTED BY GLYN MAXWELL  Between obligation and pleasure, we read…

67. BRITISH POETRY SINCE 1945, EWARD LUCIE-SMITH.  The poor modern Brits, neither old nor quite modern

68. THE PALM AT THE END OF THE MIND, WALLACE STEVENS, SELECTED POEMS & A PLAY  Pretentious rot, but fun

69. ROBERT LOWELL, COLLECTED  Most overrated poet of the 20th century, but has his moments

70  AMERICAN PRIMITIVE, MARY OLIVER  Our little Wordsworth

71. GORGEOUS NOTHINGS, EMILY DICKINSON, WERNER, BERRIN, EDS (NEW DIRECTIONS)  A really bizarre document

72. ELIZABETH BISHOP, POEMS (FSG)  Another one of those poets who wrote few, but good, poems

73. A CHOICE OF ENGLISH ROMANTIC POETRY, STEPHEN SPENDER (DIAL PRESS)  Rare, if you can track it down…(it’s at the Grolier in Hvd Sq)

74. CHIEF MODERN POETS OF BRITAIN AND AMERICA, 5th Edition, SANDERS, NELSON, ROSENTHAL  Can’t get enough of those chief poets

75. NEW AMERICAN POETS OF THE 80s, MYERS & WEINGARTEN Look back into the recent, recent past

76. BIRTHDAY LETTERS, TED HUGHES  The poetry isn’t good, but interesting historical document

77. TRANFORMATIONS, ANNE SEXTON, FOREWARD BY KURT VONNEGUT, JR. Modernized fairy tales—very influential

78. THE ESSENTIAL HAIKU, ROBERT HASS, ED (ECCO)  We forget Imagism sprang directly from haiku rage in West after Japan won Russo-Japanese War

79. THE DIVINE COMEDY, CLIVE JAMES, TRANSLATOR. This new translation is worth a read

80. PENGUIN BOOK OF FRENCH POETRY 1820-1950  Good translation anthologies are few and far between

81. ESSENTIAL PLEASURES: A NEW ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS TO READ ALOUD, PINSKY, ED  Reading aloud is good

82. THE RATTLE BAG, SEAMUS HEANEY, TED HUGHES, EDS  Conservative selection: Shakespeare, Blake, Hardy, Lawrence, Frost, etc

83. MODERNIST WOMEN POETS, ROBERT HASS, PAUL EBENKAMP, EDS   Not a large number of poets

84. COLLECTED FRENCH TRANSLATIONS, JOHN ASHBERY (FSG)  Not the most trustworthy translator, but we’ll take ’em

85. VILLANELLES (EVERYMAN POCKET LIBRARY)  These editions are available and lovely—why not?

86. BRIGHT WINGS: AN ILLUSTRATED ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS ABOUT BIRDS, BILLY COLLINS, ED  All the best poems are bird poems—it’s really true

87. THE ETERNAL ONES OF THE DREAM: SELECTED POEMS 1990-2010, JAMES TATE Iowa Workshop poem par excellence, poignant, miserable, and cute

88. GOOD POEMS, GARRISON KEILLOR  As accessible as it gets

89. THE MAKING OF A SONNET, HIRSCH/BOLAND, EDS (NORTON) There’s no best sonnet anthology, but this one is good

90. MOUNTAIN HOME: THE WILDERNESS POETRY OF ANCIENT CHINA, DAVID HINTON, ED  Includes the major poets

91. SELECTED RILKE, ROBERT BLY, ED  Amazing how well Rilke sells in the U.S.

92. KING JAMES BIBLE  Yea, poetry

93. WELDON KEES, COLLECTED POEMS, DONALD JUSTICE, ED  Somewhat creepy—as modern poetry truly ought to be?

94. BILLY COLLINS, AIMLESS LOVE: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (RANDOM HOUSE)  Collins is America’s modern poet—get used to it.

95. JOHN ASHBERY, SELF PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR  His tour de force

96. NORTH OF BOSTON, ROBERT FROST (1915, HENRY HOLT) Like Emerson, Whitman, and Melville before him, interest by the English was the ticket to fame

97. HOWL AND OTHER POEMS, ALLEN GINSBERG  A Hieronymous Bosch nightmare

98. TALES FROM THE DECAMERON OF GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO, RICHARD ALDINGTON (1930)  this 14th century writer considered a ‘novelist’ but influenced Chaucer

99. EROSION, JORIE GRAHAM  Such promise!  Then along came Alan Cordle

100. LUNCH POEMS, FRANK O’HARA  Not repasts; snacks; the virtue of O’Hara is that he’s funny

 

 

 

‘WE ARE CHEMICAL THROUGH AND THROUGH” SOUTH BRACKET ACTION (PLUS NORTH RESULTS)

Intoxication in Romanticism is joyful or insightful, not depressing as in this Degas painting 

Moving to Romantic Poetry Madness South action, Keats and his Nightingale, no. 1 seed, match up against Philip Nikolayev, 16th seed, and his poem, “Litmus Test.”

Nikolayev’s poem ends with an homage to a potential mate: “You had changed my chemical composition forever,” after she rescues the poet with attention and hot soup after the poet has a scary LSD debauch before a Saturday morning lecture, which he barely makes: “I took faithful notes diagonally across my notebook (which was unliftable).”  The “Litmus Test” narrator desperately has to pee in his folly at the party through most of the poem, and has typically stoned thoughts: “I realized that we are chemical through and through, so determinate and so chemical…” before crashing in his student pad: “I stepped across some literature to my solitary bed…”

Nikolayev evokes a marvelous Pushkin universe of love, philosophy, young manhood, and intoxication—and Nikolayev’s poem grabs us with the classic college party invitation—-the one that always promises more than it delivers: “my buddy insisted sangria, perfect chance to chat up Jessica and Jake, so we went at midnight.”

John “To cease upon the midnight with no pain” Keats seems to be talking about a party, too: “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk…” and the desire to get wasted: “That I might drink, and leave the world unseen… but Keats, like the “Litmus Test” narrator, rejects wine and LSD (“I will fly to thee, not charioted by Bacchus and his pards”).  Keats isn’t after hot soup and a nice girlfriend; Keats desires to fly with poetry—which is the performance and which is the intoxication, and here is the genius of Keats’ famous poem.

“Litmus Test” is about something; “Ode to a Nightingale” is the something.

Plath, the no. 2 seed, puts her “Lady Lazarus” against the oldest poem in the tournament, Poseidippus’ “Dorchia,” from 300 B.C.

Here is the Poseidippus in this beautiful translation by Edward Arlington Robinson:

DORCHIA

So now the very bones of you are gone
Where they were dust and ashes long ago;
And there was the last ribbon you tied on
To bind your hair, and that is dust also;
And somewhere there is dust that was of old
A soft and scented garment that you wore—
The same that once till dawn did closely fold
You in with fair Charaxus, fair no more.

But Sappho, and the white leaves of her song,
Will make your name a word for all to learn,
And all to love thereafter, even while
It’s but a name; and this will be as long
As there are distant ships that will return
Again to your Naucratis and the Nile.

The “dust” of “Dorchia” is replaced in the Plath with “ash,” as memorium in the ancient poem is transformed in its 20th century equivalent.  Plath’s horror throws down against the placid Greek!  What a contest!

Marla Muse: Tom, I am forever amazed at how every poem in these Scarriet tournaments has a similar theme to its opponent—how does Scarriet do it?  First, we have Keats’ and Nikolayev’s theme of intoxication; then Poseidippus and Plath with their “dust” and “ash,” and now look at this one: Petrarch v. Bishop.

It’s a miracle; that’s all I can say.  It’s because Scarriet is the greatest poetry site and the Muses look upon us kindly.

Yes, Marla, the Petrarch advises to leave off hunting the deer, “since in a net I seek to hold the wind,” while the Bishop says, “I caught a tremendous fish…and I let the fish go.”

WHOSE LIST TO HUNT–Petrarch (trans. Wyatt)

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, alas, I may no more
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore.
I am of them that farthest cometh behind;
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the Deer: but as she fleeth afore,
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain:
And, graven with diamonds, in letters plain
There is written her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am;
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

The Petrarch and the Bishop are saying the same thing, but there is something sweetly mysterious and deathly serious about the Petrarch poem which moves us to a greater degree.

And for the final South battle today, Baudelaire (with translation help from Richard Wilbur) wars with Wordsworth:

L’INVITATION AU VOYAGE—BAUDELAIRE (trans Wilbur)

My child, my sister, dream
How sweet all things would seem
Were we in that kind land to live together,
And there love slow and long,
There love and die among
Those scenes that image you, that sumptuous weather.
Drowned suns that glimmer there
Through cloud-disheveled air
Move me with such a mystery as appears
Within those other skies
Of your treacherous eyes
When I behold them shining through their tears.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

Furniture that wears
The lustre of the years
Softly would glow within our glowing chamber,
Flowers of rarest bloom
Proffering their perfume
Mixed with the vague fragrances of amber;
Gold ceilings would there be,
Mirrors deep as the sea,
The walls all in an Eastern splendor hung–
Nothing but should address
The soul’s loneliness,
Speaking her sweet and secret native tongue.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

See, sheltered from the swells
There in the still canals
Those drowsy ships that dream of sailing forth;
It is to satisfy
Your least desire, they ply
Hither through all the waters of the earth.
The sun at close of day
Clothes the fields of hay,
Then the canals, at last the town entire
In hyacinth and gold:
Slowly the land is rolled
Sleepward under a sea of gentle fire.

There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.

Both Baudelaire and Wordsworth address a “child” in a cosmic, comforting landscape, the Frenchman painting more ambitiously fantastical scenery, the Englishman tempering his paean with slightly more realism—though both poems express exquisite transcendent power.

SONNET–WORDSWORTH

IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
   The holy time is quiet as a Nun
   Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea:
   Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
   And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder–everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
   If thou appear untouch’d by solemn thought,
   Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year;
   And worshipp’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
   God being with thee when we know it not.

The winners are:

Wordsworth 59  Baudelaire 51

Petrarch 68 Bishop 60

Plath 80 Poseidippus 78

Keats 90 Nikolayev 84

Philip Nikolayev made it a very close game against the no. 1 Seed, John Keats!

The North Bracket is now down to 8 poets:

Goethe (d. Justice)
Frost (d. Campion)
Catullus (d. Rimbaud)
Larkin (d. Traherne)
Suckling (d. Ashbery)
Burns (d. Auden)
Herrick (d. Roethke)
Blake (d. Stevens)

JANUARY 2013 POETRY MAGAZINE REVIEWED, PART 2

Baudelaire: Scared the hell out of Poetry magazine contributor Daisy Fried

We now come to the prose part of Poetry’s January issue, which includes a series of “Reconsiderations” of well-known poets, called “Antagonisms” in the Poetry Table of Contents—which is a terrific idea, and we think it should be a regular feature.

Some of the Poetry hires go right after their famous counterparts, but others get cold feet, apologizing to the editors: I want to take apart Baudelaire b-b-but I just can’t!

Dylan Thomas is the first titan up, and Michael Robbins fearlessly takes him on .

“Reconsidering Dylan Thomas,” or “The Child That Sucketh Long” begins with an amusing Michael Robbins observation: phrases from Thomas’ poems sounds like the names of Heavy Metal bands:

They appear to be the names of  heavy metal bands: Plague of  Fables; Star-Flanked Seed; Serpent Caul; Murder of Eden; Altar of Plagues; Seed-at-Zero; The Grave and My Calm Body; Dark Asylum; Mares of  Thrace; Herods Wail; Christbread; Binding Moon; Red Swine. In fact they are phrases culled from Dylan Thomas’s poems — except that I threw two actual metal bands in there. Didn’t notice, did you?

When Robbins indulges in pure fun, as above, he’s enjoyable to read, but we’re afraid we’re going to have to take Robbins to task for some of his Thomas-bashing.

Robbins faults Thomas for “disregard[ing] what part of speech a word usually is,” but in Robbins’  example, “I fellowed sleep who kissed me in the brain, /  Let fall the tear of time,” the culprit is metaphoric vagueness, not the word, “fellowed.”

Robbins errs again when he calls the following “sentimental:”

No. Not for Christ’s dazzling bed
Or a nacreous sleep among soft particles and charms
My dear would I change my tears or your iron head.
Thrust, my daughter or son, to escape, there is none, none, none,
Nor when all ponderous heaven’s host of waters breaks.

Robbins follows the quote with: “Who does the guy think he is?”

Modern and post-modern critics, habitually rejecting what has come to be known as Victorian sentiment, are often blind to every modern lapse which plagues contemporary poetry: obscurity, ugliness, and pretentiousness.  Robbins is wrong: if there’s a problem with the Thomas passage it’s the failure to depict more accessibly its sentiment.  It is Robbins, the critic, who is being sentimental here.

Robbins correctly finds the Hopkins influence: “No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief…” and says,

Hopkins sincerely believed the state of his soul was at stake. All that’s at stake for Thomas is whether his self-pity has been gorgeously enough expressed. 

Sincerely believed?  Now who is being sentimental?

Expression is all—whether we judge Tennyson or Ashbery, and supplying biographical information to imply that one poet “sincerely believes” more than another is, well, sentimental.  We are not sure how the desire to “gorgeously express a sentiment” translates into “self-pity,” but worrying about the “state of one’s soul” does not. The confusion Robbins suffers from arises, not because moderns are no longer mawkish, but because they’ve erected an anti-mawkish standard on what they don’t seem to realize is mawkish ground.

“Who does the guy think he is?” Robbins cries, but he should look in the mirror and see how he resembles the old Moderns who looked back at Keats, Shelley and Byron, and cried, “Who did these guys think they were?”  The response is, “Who do you think the guy has to be?”

Robbins finishes his essay on Thomas by pointing out some other moderns who fell into what Robbins calls  “mannered mush.”  But here’s the problem: All poetry worth the name is, in some way, mannered and courts, to a some degree, sentiment.  When we are shocked to find, upon careful inspection, that modern poetry rises (or falls) to mannered sentiment, well, we shouldn’t be.  The critic needs to tell us how the manner and the sentiment fail—because of course they often do, in every modern poet there is—it is time we stop hiding, in our false modern haughtiness, behind the generalized and slap-dash accusation of “mannered mush.”

Like Hart Crane’s, Thomas’s faults protrude embarrassingly from the wazoo. Crane’s are easier to forgive, since he had vision, and Thomas was myopic. But at his best he has, like Crane, a towering presence of mind, a stranglehold on the language. Perhaps I’d love him more if   I hadn’t loved him so much, so early. I’ve made my peace with other early crushes who came to seem so much mannered mush: James Wright, Rilke, Neruda. Rereading Thomas now for this piece, I found myself thawing toward him, as I slowly did toward those others, whom now I love anew, love more clearly. So get you gone, Dylan Thomas, though with blessings on your head.

We give Robbins’ essay C+.

Jason Guriel goes off on E.E. Cummings—who was at Harvard with T.S. Eliot and belonged very much to the Eliot/Pound/Moore/Williams Dial clique—who is an easy target, and Guriel doesn’t miss.  The essay’s title, “Sub-Seuss,” bodes its take-no-prisoners approach.

The message Cummings communicates here — and which langpo
types and concrete poets continue to internalize — is remarkably 
unambiguous: words are toy blocks, and poems, child’s play. No one else has made making it new look so easy.

But Cummings’s poems themselves were only superficially “new.” Beneath the tattoo-thin signifiers of edginess — those lowercase i’s, those words run together —  flutters the heart of a romantic. (Is there a correlation between typographically arresting poetry and emotional arrestedness?) He fancies himself an individual among masses, finds the church ladies have “furnished souls,” opposes war. He’s far more self-righteous, this romantic, than any soldier or gossip — and far deadlier: he’s a teenager armed with a journal.

Guriel gets the job done.  A-

Thank God for Laura Kasischke.  She punctures Wallace Stevens with delicacy, modesty, and humor, and it’s a rip-roaring good time because she calls out this overrated, sometimes Sub-Seuss, poet.

I know only too well that it is my own failings as a reader, a thinker, 
a poet, and a human being that I don’t like the work of  Wallace Stevens. I know that there are scholars who have devoted their lives to his work, and done so out of  the purest motives. I know that there are poets who, without Stevens’s work to inspire them, would never have taken up the pen themselves. I know that there are students for whom “The Emperor of Ice-Cream,” upon first being encountered, cracked open a world of thought and language and helped them to pull themselves out of the gutter of cable television and to worship forever after at the altar of Wallace Stevens. I know that hundreds — thousands! — of far better readers, thinkers, poets, and human beings love the poetry of Wallace Stevens. Spiritually. In all sincerity. And completely.

But, honestly, how can they? I placed a jar in Tennessee…?

“No! Don’t! Please!” someone (perhaps that poor secretary to whom he supposedly dictated the poems every morning) should have said. She should have said, “Wallace, no. Don’t use the word ‘placed.’ It makes you sound so… so …  so full of yourself ! As if you think that every time you toss a candy wrapper out the window the landscape rearranges itself around you. The whole idea that someone (you) has put (I mean placed) a jar on a hill and then written
a poem about it — that whole idea is so ludicrous and disturbing that it will be discussed for decades in cold rooms with bad lighting. And the music of it! omg! It did not give of bird or bush… 
You really are joking now, aren’t you? This is like that other line, the one with the concupiscent curds in it? Right? You’re just trying to make the kids in Poetry 101 with hangovers start up with the cold sweats, right?”

But perhaps she never dared to say that. He was a powerful man. He was never told by anyone that a poem with a line that required pronouncing the name “Tehuantepec” repeatedly, followed by a line about the “slopping” sea, was stomach-churning. And no one ever asked him to explain how, exactly, a man and a woman and a blackbird can be one. No one said, “Nuncle, you must reconsider this hoo-hoo-hoo and shoo-shoo-shoo and ric-a-nic. And, of course, ‘cachinnation’ is going to require yet another footnote, you know. Maybe just say ‘loud laughter’?”

Just now I took out the Norton, thinking I must be misremembering these lines. No poet as beloved as Wallace Stevens could have written them. But the first Stevens line my eyes fall upon is “Opusculum paedagogum.  / The pears are not viols.” At least I don’t have to worry about those lines getting stuck in my head all day.

Was that “poor secretary” Helen Vendler, by any chance?

Stevens is often viscerally annoying—and any metaphysical apology misses the point.  More than that: Stevens, as Kasischke reminds us, is pretentious (or just silly) in sound as well as sense—and it’s natural to get called out this way since we are talking about poetry.

Laura Kasischke, you get an A.

Peter Campion finds the novels and essays of D.H. Lawrence stronger than the poetry, but we think his best poems hold up better than his prose.  But I suppose if one slogs through Lawrence’s “Collected,” the preachy pessimisim would probably overwhelm.  We feel the best of his poetry will outlast everything else.

Campion finds the “fatalistic and tender” a important feature of Lawrence and British poetry (Larkin, Ted Hughes, Alice Oswald).  We suppose he has a point.

We’ll give Campion a solid B.

Daisy Fried is clearly intimidated by Baudelaire, and in a fit of American self-hatred, finally succumbs to his lurid seduction.

After all, he and Poe invented poetic goth. It’s not Baudelaire’s fault his modern-day followers are goofballs. And not their fault I’m a boring middle-aged American. 

Objections to sexism in this passage are anachronistic; Baudelaire’s always most revolted by himself.
We in America could use more romantic self-disgust. (Frederick Seidel thinks so. Ooga Booga is the Fleurs du Mal of our time.)

Fried earns a B.

Ange Mlinko was given the most difficult task: Elizabeth Bishop, who is virtually untouchable these days.  The dialogue format she chooses works pretty well, but the content isn’t terribly interesting.  Mlinko finds Bishop chummy, congenial, wishy-washy, and formally rote.  Which seems completely wrong.  Bishop is actually quite surly in her poems.

We give Mlinko a C.

We now come to the final two January 2013 Poetry essays—by Ilya Kaminsky and Peter Cole; instead of short and sweet “antagonisms, these are lengthy, dreary affairs, tedious, and self-important, the sorts of essays that blot the literary landscape with cool quotes, cool locales, cool names—and rhetoric which serves no other purpose than background to the cool quotes, cool locales, and cool names.

Take Ilya Kaminsky’s “Of Strangeness That Wakes Us” (on Paul Celan).

Cool quotes: W.H. Auden: “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.”  Theodor Adorno: “It Is Barbaric To Write Poetry After The Holocaust.”  Anne Carson: “Celan is a poet who uses language as if he were always translating.”  Eavan Boland: “It is the poet’s process that needs to be translated.”Emily Dickinson: “I Felt A Funeral, in my Brain.” Robert Kelly: We sleep in language if language does not come to wake us with its strangeness.” Check.

Cool locales: Czernowitz, Vienna, Paris.  Check.

Cool names: Paul Celan, Cesar Vallejo, Walt Whitman, Marina Tsvetaeva, Ovid, Breton, John Berryman.  Check.

Kaminsky ponders at the start of his essay, “Is Celan’s work too obscure, as some claim?”

The answer is simple in ratio to the rhetorical labor Kaminsky expends to prove otherwise: Yes, it is too obscure.

If we are honest, and admit obscurity right away, we don’t have to waste our time quoting Emily Dickinson, Eavan Boland, and Robert Kelly.  As long as Kaminsky can dance and beat a drum, he drags in another well-known quote to prove the impossible, and it is painful to watch.

Kaminsky quotes Zbigniew Herbert (of course!):

INTERVIEWER: “What is the purpose of poetry?”
HERBERT: “To wake up!”

But how does it wake us up?  And it wakes us to what?

Kaminsky gives us the answer (rather gallantly) by quoting from Genesis (a Biblical quotation!) backwards and claims there’s “more poetry” when we read the passage in reverse. 

“And there was light let there be God and said waters.” 

I suppose it might please an atheist to read “let there be God,” but poetry isn’t meant to please one belief system over another, is it? 

Kaminsky can’t seriously be saying any text read backwards will be more poetic, and thus, wake us up

What Kaminsky does explicitly say is that lyric poetry “wrecks normal language,” but this observation, which is nearly a truism, cannot make obscure poetry less obscure.

In the Genesis example—the crowning jewel of the essay—Kaminsky takes sacred, elevated language (Genesis) and “wrecks” it.

The backwards reading of Genesis, altering the intended meaning, takes authority away from God and gives it back to language. Since humans are limited in their perceptions, the atheist position is how all humans (correctly or incorrectly) experience the universe. So the backward phrase, “let there be God,” which finds the human-writing (truth) of Genesis, “wakes” us up to the atheist reality within a sacred text.

This is an interesting religious argument, but it has nothing to do with Kaminsky’s defense of Celan’s poetry.

Likewise, distorting or punning on famous words, as Kaminsky does with Genesis, is done all the time in the popular press—would Kaminsky call this “poetry” that “wakes us up?”  If a pun gives a ‘haha’ moment, perhaps ‘wrecking’ language can give us an ‘aha’ moment. 

This is an interesting linguistic argument, but it has nothing to do with reading Paul Celan.

Kaminsky is not writing an essay, but tip-toeing through the tulips of argumentation, dazzling with quotations; in Kaminsky’s rarefied realm of Zbigniew Herbert quotes, he appears to miss the common sense implications of his own rhetoric.

This is how Kaminsky reads Celan in the opening of his essay:

The deciphering of the text proves the worthiness of the reader.

Some of Celania’s poems are modern psalms; here is one:

Of  too much was our talk, of
too little. Of  the You
and You-Again, of
how clarity troubles, of
Jewishness, of
your God.

Of
that.
On the day of an ascension, the
Minister stood over there, it sent
some gold across the water.

Of  your God was our talk, I spoke
against him, I
let the heart that I had
hope:
for
his highest, death-rattled, his
quarreling word —

Your eye looked on, looked away,
your mouth
spoke its way to the eye, and I heard:
We
don’t know, you know,
we
don’t know, do we?,
what
counts.
Zurich, the Stork Inn, tr. by Michael Hamburger

“Extreme clarity is a mystery,” says Mahmoud Darwish. “Clarity troubles.” Celan, often considered a difficult poet, is in this poem at his clearest.

Is Celan’s work too obscure, as some claim? Is it too hermetic? Too difficult? Real poems, Celan wrote, are “making toward something   …    perhaps toward an addressable Thou.” I would argue that, for any poet writing toward such a subject, regular words and syntax soon become inadequate (Hopkins, anyone?). Celan is an extreme case though, because he also had to contend with the inadequacy of the German language to express the experience of the Jewish poet, post-Holocaust. His is the lyricism of privacy (prayer is private, no matter with how many fellow congregants it is uttered or in how many prayer books it appears), not of hermeticism. In fact, Celan insisted to Michael Hamburger that he was “ganz und gar nicht hermetisch.” Absolutely not hermetic.

Does Kaminsky read Celan’s “modern psalm” backwards to understand it better? 

No.

Is Celan a punster? 

No.

Is Celan’s poem clear?

No.

Is Kaminsky able to make Celan’s poem less obscure for us?

No.

Is it at all clear what this “adressable Thou” is?

No.

The subject of Kaminsky’s essay simply doesn’t know itself.

Finally, Kaminsky’s main point is the “privacy” of the lyric poet—and he ends his essay:

A great poet is not someone who speaks in stadiums to thousands of  listeners. A great poet is a very private person. In his or her privacy this poet creates a language in which he or she is able to speak, privately, to many people at the same time.

But this doesn’t make any sense.  If one hears a poet’s words in a stadium among thousands of listeners, one is still responding as a private person to those words. “Creating a language to speak, privately, to many people at the same time” could signify a poet speaking in a stadium to thousands.  Why not?  And so where does this leave Kaminsky’s definition of lyric “privacy?”

We must give Kaminsky’s essay a C, because for all it brings, it is hollow at its center, arguing from scattered quotes rather than from common sense.

Peter Cole has something called, “The Invention of Influence: A Notebook/A Notebook: Seeking higher powers in the Middle East” in which he rambles, endlessly; like Kaminsky, Cole proffers quotation after quotation, never stopping long enough to  explore any one issue.  It’s the School of Harold Bloom: peeling the onion of reference after reference after reference to find at the center nothing but a tremendous ego who reads a lot.  Surely Peter Cole should be interesting—he reads so much! 

Cole’s essay is more personal than Kaminsky’s, which makes it ‘warmer,’ but also more helter-skelter; Cole made a much freer space for himself—though you end up wishing he hadn’t.  Cole tries to gives us: ‘here’s how I write/here’s how I think/here’s what’s going on,’ but ends up giving us, ‘would you look how much I travel/would  you look how much I observe/would you look how much I read.’  One cannot tell whether the failure of the essay is from the sort of person Cole is, or whether the failure is from the form the essay happened to take—and it speaks even worse for Cole that we cannot tell.  The essay is briefly everywhere and thus, nowhere.

When you read stuff like this from Cole’s essay, one can only think, will you please shut up?

Why did I have such a hard time coming up with an “antagonism” to write about for Poetry? Do the dead bite back? Or is it that I’m by temperament and training now so fastidiously turned against myself
that I lean into my antagonisms until they give way at a certain point like a secret door-in-the-wall to enthusiasm? James Merrill, for instance. Or Pope.

It’s a translator’s gift, and curse. A strategy of masking and, I suppose, also of evasion. Not only an ability to inhabit difference, but a desire and need to. As a source of pleasure, and nourishment — even wisdom. What others find in fiction?

Hence, too, the obsession of late with couplets, which I once despised. The desire to compose in rhymed couplets in such a way as to highlight the openness lurking in a certain closure. As organic as a pulse, or respiration.

It’s embarrassing to watch how ‘open and nice’ strive to hide ‘crazy and nasty.’  He’s too nice to give the Poetry editors an “antagonism.”  Well, not so much nice, as fastidiously turned against himself.  Too bad, Poetry editors. Mr. Cole fastidiously refuses.

Cole once “despised” couplets??  How can one “despise” couplets?  Oh, but dear friends, Peter Cole is now obsessed with couplets—in order to highlight openness lurking in a certain closure—and this (of course!) is organic. 

Good grief.

Cole gets a C-.

Finally, one lively Letter to the Editor is published, in which Philip Metres takes Clive James to task for “the idea that poems exist only for the page, [which] is lamentably myopic, and part of the predicament of  poetry’s marginalization in American culture.”

The lesson here, as we judge Poetry’s prose in their January issue,  seems to be: in Letters, antagonism is life and its opposite, death.

MOORE, MOORE, MOORE, HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

The reptilian Miss Moore: I had a letter from Elizabeth
a day or two ago which I am thinking of having tattooed
on me—in which she tells of Mrs. Almeyda’s identifiying
certain little specks in a white bowl, as “Them’s lizard.”

THE SAD BALLAD OF EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

Eleven poets agreed to choose
Fifteen 20th century clippings sure to stay news—
And none picked Anne Sexton or Edna Millay.
But Moore and Bishop, they said, should stay.

Pay no attention to Edna Millay!
Richard Howard will explain: “She has to go away.”
Jorie Graham, with the Washington Post-connected name,
Thrilled by Howard’s acumen, feels exactly the same.

The fish gasp for air, but here comes Mark Strand,
Watery and handsome, takes Edna by the hand,
Leads her to a room where rock bands play,
Whispers, “No, we can’t have Edna St. Vincent Millay.”

Charles Simic concurs, balled-up in the dark:
“Miss Moore is my sparrow! Gertrude Stein is my lark!”
Donald Hall is a man, not afraid of the fray:
“I prefer Moore and Bishop to Edna Millay.”

We put up the curtains for Ashbery’s stay—
John doesn’t like St. Vincent Millay;
John prefers peas, sautéed, over rice,
After they are sprinkled with sugar, and diced.

“We have all the woman poets we need,”
Said John Hollander, indeed!
“We have Bishop, and that other one, Moore!
What the hell do we need Edna St. Vincent Millay for?”

Rita Dove’s lips! Lips of Dove!  They’ve been kissed.
And they speak: “I’m afraid Edna Millay will not be missed.”
You can ask James Tate, who chose James Wright
(“The Blessing”—worst poem ever) and Bishop! Good night.

Quick! Get the opinion of Robert Bly!
He chooses one woman: Moore. No lie.
Sure, Moore edited the clique-ish Dial,
Broke no hearts, wore a neat New Critical smile.

Moore was new, she knew…she made a friend,
And isn’t this what all this bother is, in the end?
David Lehman: “Remember, all these choices, finally, are mine!”
(He chose Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Gertrude Stein.)

Fashion makes us all alike—another day
These sheep will die inside for Edna Millay;
But feeling and passion escaped this list,
As every hard heart wears the label modernist.

Obviously this is milk already spilt—
The 20th century goes to Vanderbilt.
I’d be rich if I had a dollar
For every choice who won a Rhodes Scholar,
Or crept on the ground in the house of Pound.

For Edna Millay, VIDA will cry no tears,
Or abstract ones; but then, they’re all bad poets,
And care only about their careers.

ARE MEN SUPERIOR TO WOMEN? CAN CAROL MUSKE-DUKES GIVE STEPHEN DUNN THE KISS OF DEATH?

The-Kiss-of-Death

Can Carol Muske-Dukes make it three out of four women in Scarriet’s 2011 March Madness APR Final Four?  Does she have what it takes to beat Stephen Dunn?  Both of their poems concern kisses, and maybe this is typical, maybe not—the man’s is a wild desire for one, the woman’s an actual dull one.

Women poets have done extremely well in the Scarriet March Madness Tournament, despite the pool being typically under-represented by women in the APR anthology, The Body Electric.  The split in the APR anthology is about 70/30 in favor of the men—yet 10 women poets reached the Scarriet Sweet Sixteen.

Vida has made headlines in American Letters recently by simply publishing some inescapable statistics: the percentages of women writers published in major literary magazines and anthologies—and the numbers are not good for women, especially in essays, criticism and poetry: women trail men in the Fine Arts of Letters—poetry and essays—by two to one.

We’re not talking about construction jobs, or all-time sports heroes, or U.S. presidents, or 19th century composers, or Italian homemakers. We’re talking about U.S. poetry and criticism in 2011: two to one in favor of men.  These numbers are staggering, and should be a wake up call to women everywhere.

The overall author split is 60/40 in favor of men, not too horrible, but in terms of reviewing (or criticism) the ratio is 4/1 in favor of men, and as Vida showed, the ratio of reviewing in The New York Review of Books is 5/1 in favor of men.  As we get more high-brow, as we get more intellectual, as we get more opinionated, as we get more philosophical, the women flounder, in terms of representation.

For every Harold Bloom, there’s a Helen Vendler or a Camille Paglia, for every Billy Collins, there’s a Mary Oliver or a Louise Gluck, for every John Ashbery, there’s a Jorie Graham or a Kay Ryan , for every Seamus Heaney, there’s a Sharon Olds or a Margaret Atwood. 

Generally, women have had great success in writing, and, in numbers of readers, women are surely equal, or very close to men, just in terms of literacy.  Women are well-placed in the readership and marketplace of Fine Letters; there is no craven, muscle-bound machismo element keeping them down.

Why, then, are the women so woeful and backwards in these key areas of poetry and essays and reviewing and criticism?

So, girls, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Criticism is the Head of Letters.  If you’re not reviewing consistently, or writing philosophical essays, or making your opinions known about writers and writing, then what do you expect?

We know you have opinions about nearly everything—why not writing?   You are nearly 50/50 in fiction, and fiction is great, but we all know most fiction is either thinly disguised diary and memoir or vampires having sex with each other. If Criticism is the Head, Fiction is the Rear.  And, in terms of opinions about writing, we don’t mean sweet, supportive blurbs for the sisters—we mean real criticism.

And here’s the thing: if you won’t write essays or reviews or philosophy or criticism, you’ll never change these numbers.

Vida, your numbers are shocking, but what do they really mean?  And how are we going to make those numbers better?

Any ideas, girls?

I recently found myself having an email dialogue, quite by chance, with one of the founders of Vida, whose stated mission is “to explore cultural and critical perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities.”

The conversation came about because she, the Vida founder, wanted clarification from me concerning gossip linking her to a powerful male poet mentor.  But such talk does not belong in public.  It has that smell which consigns it to the garbage pail. Robert B__ eloping with EB is glorious. Put it on the front page. Professor B__ helping to market EB’s poems?  Eh, not so glorious.

But every consideration, glorious or not, involving men, women and Letters has an impact every day on the cold facts of Vida’s statistics.  Somewhere, between the numbers, and the sorry state of things which those numbers point to, are actual stories involving actual men and women. Do we dare speak these stories and these names? Or do we traffic forever in statistics and polite reactions to them?

We can’t run from theses numbers, but we can run from the truth—of its smelly and corrupt windings—which those numbers signify.

Or, we can follow Ariadne’s thread; we can do the patient, historical work of patiently examining the lives of actual literary men and women, and what it finally means, philosophically.

Here’s an example: Elizabeth Barrett was an extraordinary poet, and better known than the male poet who eventually eclipsed her, Robert Browning.  When Mr. Browning came courting in 1845, Elizabeth was the famous poet, not Robert, and she had already published, to much acclaim, the type of dramatic poem Robert Browning would later glory in.  This is not to diminish the remarkable Mr. Browning, but only to point out how Miss Barrett fell under Browning’s shadow.  Barrett was depicted in the modern era as a rescued recluse known for one poem penned—to Browning, which fit right into the Victorian stereotype.  Who perpetuates such stereotypes?  The critics.  And the critics are men. Elizabeth Barrett Browning fades away, and takes with her a more accurate picture of the Victorian period, a richer selection of poetry, and a powerful example of a powerful woman poet.  All the male critics had to do was refute the Victorian era.  Women are larger-than-life figures—unless they are reduced by abstract critical thinking which rejects, in the name of “modern progress,” the actual life of women in the past.  The “progressives” are then insidiously reactionary.  All ahistoricism is reactionary.  Let us have improvements, but please let’s not pre-suppose that means chucking history.

A second example: Edna Millay, who wrote sonnets as good as any in the history of literature, was abused in the press by Ezra Pound’s clique: Hugh Kenner and Horace Gregory, to name two. We all know how one well-placed review can harry and destroy. This is the sort of ugly side of Letters which might be characterized as gossip, but we demean Letters by being squemish—so that we brush the ugly side of Letters under the rug. Unfortunately, thugs and bullies exist in “polite literature.”  But the bigger problem is, that because Pound and his group was associated with a certain avant-garde progressivism, “make it new” and all that, critics are not always objective in writing literary history or making critical judgments.  Because there is this excitable and revolutionary assumption that the avant-garde is always liberal and forward-thinking, we are blind to when the opposite is true.

It’s not too late to undo these mistakes, since literature always has a past, and is always being made anew within the context of that past.  But if women are on avant train they think is going in the right direction, but is not, those Vida numbers could get even worse.

One more example: Elinor Wylie (1885-1928) is a marvelous poet, an amazing, crazy, lyrical, predecessor to Plath and Sexton, but like MillayWylie fell off the Parade Float of Modernism.  The better-known American women poets, who were quietly conservative, such as Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, were close to Pound’s clique or Robert Lowell; actually, Moore was Bishop’s mentor, and Robert Lowell fell in quickly with Pound’s group via Tate and Ransom, so it’s all pretty cozy.  Wylie is a strong, but neglected, poet who would appeal to the same audience inspired by Sexton, and it certainly does not diminish a poet like Sexton to comprehend the significance of Wylie as her influence.  (Another neglected poet if we go back futher: Ellen Wheeler Wilcox.) Women in Letters will be hurt if women don’t celebrate good women poets right under their nose, or they only celebrate women poets annointed by men.  When it comes to literature, networking in the present can only go so far. Knowing history is invaluable.

So here’s the advice, so far.  1. Be critical, not timid and polite. 2. Be historical, intensely so; follow historical threads back to motivations, and groups who act clandestinely and corruptly.  These historical phenomena tend to be the rule, not the exception.  If the women say, “Leave the conspiracies to the men,” the women will only suffer accordingly, and the Vida numbers will get worse.

As far as The New York Review of Books, which we now know is 80% male, thanks to Vida, women, I think, would make an important statement if they boycotted that magazine, rather than pleading to be let in. The New York Review stats should not be read as an indication of failure by women, but rather as a failure by the New York Review, a scholarly failure, since the editors are infatuated with the very Modernism school that joyfully throws poets like Barrett, Millay and Wylie under the bus, and they review the same handful of canonized figures over and over again.  The researchers at Vida should analyze a few issues of the New York Review, and discover for everyone not just the numbers, but the faulty philosophy, history and scholarship.  Remember: Criticism, ladies, criticism!  Get in the face of the New York Review!  And enjoy doing it!  Letting the 5/1 ratio just sit there without comment, after the initial gasps, implies that women lack the talent to write for the New York Review and women better get cracking and improve themselves!  Is this the impression Vida wants to give?  No!  Go on the offense!

And speaking of offense, Carol Muske-Dukes, in her poem, “A Former Love, a Lover of Form,” is not particularly nice, which is not necessarily a bad thing:

When they kiss,
she feels a certain revulsion,
and as they continue to kiss

She’s trapped by a dull kiss.  She’s a victim.

The following sounds too much like all that bad confessional poetry composed in the 1970s:

Her glasses fall forward on her nose,
her mouth opens: all around
are objects that desire, suddenly, her.

Not just clothes, but open doorways,
love seats, Mother’s bright red
espadrilles kicked off in the damp grass.

The poem ends with more puzzlement and complaining:

 Is she seducer or seduced?

And which is worse,
a dull lover’s kiss or the embrace
of his terrible laundry?

She’d rather have the book
he wrote than him.

The Stephen Dunn poem features a narrator questioned by a crowd, and gender is completely hidden.  It also features a mysterious, yearning self-sacrificing love.

What They Wanted

They wanted me to tell the truth,
so I said I’d lived among them,
for years, a spy,
but all that I wanted was love.
They said they couldn’t love a spy.
Couldn’t I tell them other truths?
I said I was emotionally bankrupt,
would turn any of them in for a kiss.
I told them how a kiss feels
when it’s especially undeserved;
I thought they’d understand.
They wanted me to say I was sorry,
so I told them I was sorry.
They didn’t like it that I laughed.
They asked what I’d seen them do,
and what I do with what I know.
I told them: find out who you are
before you die.
Tell us, they insisted, what you saw.
I saw the hawk kill a smaller bird.
I said life is one long leavetaking.
They wanted me to speak
like a journalist. I’ll try, I said.
I told them I could depict the end
of the world, and my hand wouldn’t tremble.
I said nothing’s serious except destruction.
They wanted to help me then.
They wanted me to share with them,
that was the word they used, share.
I said it’s bad taste
to want to agree with many people.
I told them I’ve tried to give
as often as I’ve betrayed.
They wanted to know my superiors,
to whom did I report?
I told them I accounted to no one,
that each of us is his own punishment.
If I love you, one of them cried out,
what would you give up?
There were others before you,
I wanted to say, and you’d be the one
before someone else. Everything, I said.

Stephen Dunn wins!  Stephen Dunn is in the Final Four!

YAWN TAKES BISHOP: ELIZABETH BISHOP AT ONE HUNDRED

Just as sitting in a train traveling 20 MPH can make us think a plane traveling 200 mph is flying backwards because of nearer objects we are passing, so a minor figure fawned over in our day can seem major.

Elizabeth Bishop is a spectacular example of near and dear fawning distorting actual merit.  She’s not even a good writer, much less a great one, but she has mattered to a clique which seems to be growing by the hour: the friendship with Miss Moore and Mr. Lowell has snowballed into a situation where all the Critics have fallen asleep.

What a ghastly creature Elizabeth Bishop was!

She understood the universe by the age of six (“In the Waiting Room”).

She had “three loved houses”—one, apparently, wasn’t enough (“One Art”).

She ridiculed what she perceived as the greaseball working class (“Filling Station”).

She overheard the conversations of regular folk riding buses with a thinly disguised, haughty scorn (“The Moose”).

Bishop feeds our inner spinster aunt who not-so-secretly hates and lords it over all (“those awful hanging breasts!”) with delicious ease.

To Elizabeth Bishop, actual human beings going about their business always elicited the faint whiff of gasoline.

Elizabeth feeds our aesthetically-hidden inner snob.

This would be fine, if her aesthetic project wasn’t also shallow and condescending.  After all, the quaint aesthetics of magical symbolism which she indulged in can lend a certain amount of pleasure; but rather than beauty, she merely proferred the current fashion of WC Williams modernism then extant, so we get ‘The Red Wheel Barrow’ writ large: ordinary objects are everywhere “glazed” with something or other (oil or gasoline, mostly) and we get that patronizing tone of the Children’s Book author, constantly telling us the wheel barrow was red and the chickens, white and everything is seen not through our eyes, but hers, the over-descriptive one.   We get description, description, description and no thought, or, substituting for thought, a symbol, like a moose, or a fish, that we are supposed to ooh and aah over, never suspecting the poet has really nothing to convey but a bunch of cranky prejudices and snotty preferences. She likes beaches .  She doesn’t like filling stations.

What should one expect, after all, from someone who had the world figured out by age six, was miserable all her life, and had profitable friendships with the brittle Marianne Moore and the psychotic Robert Lowell?

Last night at an auditorium at Boston University, twenty members of po-biz sat on folding-chairs on a small stage, before a scattered audience of about 200, and mostly without fanfare, read poems and excerpts of letters and prose with varying degrees of intensity.

Two readers called what they read “perfect.”

All the readers felt rather pressed for time, since there were twenty of them, but that didn’t stop some from going on much too long.

Anything more than a page felt winding and obscure.

The delicate lyrics worked the best, but even there it was apparent we were not in the presence of a major poet; even “One Art,” her most famous rhymed work, is spoiled by that odd interjection—write it!—which doesn’t work when read aloud.

The evening was bland, except for two moments:

One female poet attempted to refute Dana Gioia’s recent remarks that Bishop was not much of an abstract thinker and she made the mistake of reading a passage of Bishop’s on the concept of time which was so befuddling and weak, it only proved Gioia’s point.

Christopher Ricks—no one introduced themselves, as one was supposed to match up the arrangement of the readers’ stage-seating with the order of the readers listed in the program—but we all know Christopher Ricks—Professor Ricks felt impelled to announce that Bishop appreciated prose as much as poetry and proceeded to point out that poetry has not, and will never, solve the problem of the prose paragraph.  Prose, Ricks, said, can quote poetry, but poetry cannot quote prose.  A pity this didn’t get discussed, and then Ricks read an exquisite one page prose excerpt from a Bishop story which quoted Keats.  At times, Bishop the aesthete emerges, which all aesthetes can love.  She just needs to be presented correctly, by thoughtful fellows like Christopher Ricks, who showed in a matter of seconds, the pure charm that is Christopher Ricks.

If all this seems demeaning and even sexist, it should be remembered how really sexist the Modernists were: not only did men, in terms of pure numbers, dominate po-biz in the 20th century, but the sexism is even deeper and more insidious than supposed: the male poets would decide what women poets would be allowed to have respectful poetic reputations.

The Bishop who loves Keats, we love.  But the Bishop we were meant to love, like the Marianne Moore we were meant to love, is the one not quite as good as Robert Lowell.

POETRY COMES DOWN TO ONE SENSIBILITY: ESCAPE

 

‘Ah far be it,’ said he, ‘dear dame, for me
to hinder soul from her desired rest,
Or hold sad life in long captivity

The Faerie Queen, Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Modern poetry began when poetry became imprisoning, when its function as charming story-telling fell into the cul de sac of self-conscious pedantry.

Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” was meant, in Pope’s words, “to divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and good humor enough to laugh not only at their sex’s little unguarded follies, but their own.”   Pope’s poem “was communicated with the air of a secret” but “soon found its way into the world,” as an “imperfect copy” was “offered to a bookseller.”

Once upon a time, a poem was a secret that had to get out, and booksellers were only too happy to comply. 

Pedantry, however, banned the delicious secrets sprung entirely from the machinations of the sexes, and turned poetry from rare and extravagant gossip desired by booksellers, into the universal and moral platitudes of the learned—no wonder the public for poetry became disenchanted and gave up.   Byron said, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.”   Alas, the Romantic age is over. In our modern age it takes a poet fifty years to become  famous and this is because the poet no longer has secrets the impetuous crowd clamors for—unless a Joyce, a Ginsberg or a Rushdie arrive with a book banned by self-appointed moral guardians.  Banned books, of course, are not necessarily good.  Pope and Byron gave the ladies great art.

But pedantry, telling us poetry ought to be this and ought to be that, that it was that and now must be this,  that it was this and can never be this again, that it is some mysterious project that has to do with wisdom;—pedantry, by doing this, has perverted poetry from its true purpose and made it an artificial product of academia.

It began with Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which, in the spirit of its time, contains enchanting story and rhyme, but which the pedants insisted was excellent due to Wordsworth’s dull moralizing.  The old wisdom, which said, ‘never forget delight’ was forgotten, and a new wisdom put in its place, in which scholars became guardians of trends, movements, and schools, and poetry became a school-subject with a history of change and discovery of itself, for itself and in itself, as if poetry were a science and the world at once, an ever-evolving world scientifically elaborated—instead of a source of charm, teaching in a manner apart from learning, per se.

Now pedantry covers all.  First, it was decided that poetry is really an intimate lyric of personal reflection.  Dull, sentimental and tedious examples of this, such as “Tintern Abbey”— and “The Prelude” offered by old Wordsworth, England’s poet laureate, were put in the very foreground of the canon, eclipsing even Pope and Byron (too charming and playful compared to the professor-worthy and serious Wordsworth) and thus every wag who dallies with the muse turns Wordsworth at last—believing every personal reflection made is memorable.  Even so-called modern poets, priding themselves on the fierce pedantry of trends and schools and the ‘new,’ were going up and down and up and down old Wordsworth Hill, as we see in the following by Modernist Robert Penn Warren:

At night, in the dark room, not able to sleep, you
May think of the red eyes of fire that
Are winking from blackness.  You may,
As I once did, rise up and go from the house.  But,
When I got out, the moon had emerged from cloud, and I
entered the lake.  Swam miles out,
Toward moonset.  Montionless,
Awash, metaphysically undone in that silvered and
Unbreathing medium, and beyond
Prayer or desire, saw
The moon, slow, swag down, like an old woman’s belly.

Getting back to the house, I gave the now-dark lawn a wide berth.

At night the rattlers come out from rock-fall.
They lie on the damp grass for coolness.  

***

What I remember, but do not
Know what it means

***

All I can do is offer my testimony.

–Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989)  from Rattlesnake Country

This is over 100 years after Wordsworth, and written by a poet-critic explicitly embracing the modernist  intoxication of new! new! new! but this is…pure…Wordsworth.  The pedants managed to cover up an obvious truth: Shakespeare, Milton and Pope were the seeds of Romanticism, and Wordsworth, Arnold, and TS Eliot  the sticks and stones of  Modernism.  Wordsworth took Romanticism and turned it into Victorianism; in other words, Mr. W. took joy and turned it into a moral.  Byron and Shelley and Keats were closer to Pope was than what Wordsworth became.  Byron, Shelley and Keats were not textbook-nature poets, nor did they hammer down with pedantry what poetry could be into dull lessons of Dutch-realism.

Byron was already ‘post-modern,’ and not all anxious and morbid about it:

To turn,—and to return;—the devil take it!
This story slips forever through my fingers,
Because, just as the stanza likes to make it,
It needs must be—and so it rather lingers;
This form of verse began, I can’t well break it,
But must keep time and tune like public singers;
But if I once get through my present measure,
I’ll take another when I’m next at leisure.

—Byron (1788-1824)   from Beppo

Byron can be annoying, but at least he’s never pedantic.

We think of Ashbery as a post-modern wit, but in fact Ashbery’s academic audience (he doesn’t really have a public one) admires him for anxious pedantry like this: 

You can’t say it that way any more
Bothered about beauty you have to
Come out into the open, into a clearing
And rest.

***

Something
Ought to be written about how this affects
You when you write poetry:
The extreme austerity of an almost empty mind
Colliding with the lush, Rousseau-like foliage of its desire to communicate
Something between breaths

***

—John Ashbery (1927-)  from And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name

The idea of escaping from old forms, old sentiments, old ways of communicating is as old as poetry itself.  Even the Father of Moral Modernism, Wordsworth, could playfully ponder the prison:

I to the muses have been bound,
These fourteen years, by strong indentures:
Oh gentle muses!  Let me tell
But half of what to him befel
For sure he met with strange adventures.

***

The owls have hardly sung their last,
While our four travelers homeward wend;
The owls have hooted all night long,
And with the owls began my song,
And with the owls must end.

***

And thus to Betty’s questions, he
Made answer, like a traveller bold,
(His very words I give to you,)
‘The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,
And the sun did shine so cold.’
—Thus answered Johnny in his glory,
And that was all his travel’s story.

Wordsworth (1770-1850)  from The Idiot Boy

Moderns are besotted with the dull sticks-and-stones-ism of Wordsworth.  But even Wordsworth couldn’t have foreseen the yoke of pedantry poor poetry now bends under; we saw Ashbery pedantically alluding to Rousseau; here Elizabeth Bishop feels obligated to mention Baudelaire in a manner that might be charming to modern academics, but would probably leave Pope’s “ladies with a sense of humor” cold.

At low tide like this how sheer the water is.
White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare
and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches.
Asorbing, rather than being absorbed,
the water in the bight doesn’t wet anything,
the color of the gas flame turned as low as possible.
One can smell it turning to gas; if one were Baudelaire
one could probably hear it turning to marimba music.

—Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)  from The Bight

The Wordsworth-style aside, Bishop almost had me going until she pedantically name-dropped.  She can be playfully attentive.  Her sly Baudelaire/marimba musicreference is sure to win three out of four readers, today, (just those relatively few who bother to read Bishop) but that’s only because we live in a pedantic prison—and, sadly, we know it.

THE MYTH OF QUIETISM

YOU'RE STUPID AND EZRA POUND IS NOT

The School of Quietism, a coinage Professor Silliman partially ripped from Poe, supposedly represents the smug, reactionary mainstream, what Professor Bernstein, fresh out of Harvard (philosophy) used to call “Official Verse Culture.”

The SoQ, to these professors and their followers, is the great nemesis to all progressive “movements,” avant-garde experimentation, modernist, post-modernist, post-post-modernist, flights, spiraling, downward into the lower regions of Creative Writing Workshop hell, where such texts as American Hybrid (Iowa, say “hello” to Brown!) greet the sad victim.

The binary of Quietism v. Avant-garde is an outrageous falsehood that would matter if there were still a pulse on the American poetry scene—last time we checked, there was none—so Scarriet will have to step in and pretend to care, for we do take a malevolent delight in stirring things up.

The educated person seriously interested in pedagogy and history who studies the ethical, sociological, aesthetic, philosophical issues of American poetry cannot help but laugh at the notion that the American avant garde is “progressive.”  How is the American poetry avant-garde, in any of its forms, “progressive?”   One must be a complete ass to believe this.

The history of modernist poetry: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, Allen Tate, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, is not even faintly “progressive.”  To point fingers at some of these writers as “Quietists” misses the whole point; the label is without merit; it doesn’t matter which side of the radical line one is on.  The Quietist label of Silliman’s is pure mystification.

A literature which is incoherent, incomprehensible, and not in the least amusing or interesting to anyone, except a few professors, is not “progressive.”   One cannot be “progressive” while befuddling and confusing the downtrodden, the middle class, and 99.9 % of the highly educated.

Even admirers of  The Red Wheel Barrow, The Cantos, Finnegan’s Wake, the Maximus Poems, and LangPo admit these works are not improvements on the Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream; they reflect a change of taste over time.

Progress requires improvement.

Yet “progressive” is automatically linked to every inanity which flies under the banner of  “manifesto” or “movement,”  save those asserted as “new,” such as the New Formalism, a milk-and-water attempt that is retrograde on account of its weak and pedantic nature.

But so are avant-garde movements in American poetry retrograde,  and for precisely the same reason.

The “progressive” nomenclature is a con, for no measurable “improvement” exists.  Decreasing accessibility, coherence, beauty, popularity, excitement, and literacy in Letters cannot, in any shape, excuse, or form, be termed “progressive.”

What sort of “progress” can be asserted?  Material?  Scientific?  Social?

No, no, and no.

So the next time you hear some avant clown referring to themselves as “progressive,” wag your finger at them and say, “No, no, no…”

Asinus asinum fricat.

THE POEM OF MELANCHOLY HORROR

For the poem of melancholy horror to succeed, the reader must fall under its spell.

But just a tincture of the didactic and the effect is ruined.  Modern poets are especially prone to spoil this type of poem; they write of the horrible, but rarely combine horror with melancholy—which produces the sublime effect we have in mind.  The poem of melancholy horror peaked between 1800 and 1960.

American poetry in the last 20 years seems to be wholly absent of what we call melancholy horror.   We always seem to say, ‘That’s not melancholy, that’s depressing.’   We could assign this recent phenomenon to what we might term the scientific ego in the contemporary poet, a sort of clever hardness which will have no part of Victorian or Romantic sorrow.

Molly Peacock, Edith Sitwell, and Robert Lowell, to name some slightly older poets at random, have written poems of melancholy horror, but a determined busy-ness and verbosity, combined with a didactic intent, ensures failure.  Fred Seidel often gives us horror—and ego.  But there’s no melancholy, no shadow.

Part of the problem involves an acute misreading of Poe’s Heresy of the Didactic.  The issue is one of appearance: one must not appear to impart a moral or a lesson to the reader.

It is fine to impart a lesson; one just cannot seem to do so.

Poe made this quite explicit.

In terms of appearances, we all know that the best way to call attention to something is when we bungle the hiding of it.

This is what the modern poets do:  They know they cannot preach, but they cannot resist doing so, and because the moderns, in being good moderns, have chucked the stage devices of cheap, theatrical effects of the “old” poetry, and because the moderns suffer no hesitation in being frank and discursive in the above-board modern style, they tend to blurt out their lessons, which are poor lessons to begin with—since these moderns are not in the habit of really having anything to say, having been taught that the didactic should be avoided.

Pondering their Poe and the writings of the New Critics, with its ‘heresy of the paraphrase,’ the modern poets have come to think that one can write poetry while having nothing to say at all; if one cannot paraphrase their poem, they think, if their poem has no message or meaning, this is all the better, and perhaps, one day, they may even reach that ‘pure’ style of non-style all moderns affect,  and yet, given the modern style, in which melancholy surfaces and all sorts of cheap Victorian effects are to be eschewed, what remains is a kind of didacticism by default, sans lesson, sans moral, sans theme, just a kind of blathering that “wins” by avoiding the pitfalls Poe and the New Critics superficially laid out.

What Poe really meant—no one knows what the New Critics meant, since they never really thought the problem through—was this: The poet must not appear to be didactic; if the poet can impart a message without anyone noticing, good for the poet.  Thus a Wordsworth, who does have something to say, can succeed even in the face of Poe’s “heresy,” while a Robert Lowell, let’s say, stumbles, for Lowell imparts only the vaguest half-lessons, not because his lessons are well-hidden, but because he discursively bungles the HIDING ITSELF precisely because there is very little worth hiding in the first place.

If Lowell’s poem, “Mr. Edwards and the Spider,” for instance, were coherent in what it were ‘trying to say,’ the melancholy horror might work; but as it is, the poem is unfocused, flat, the transition from the stated theme to “as a small boy…” is clumsy; the poem has no emotional impact not because the theme lacks horror, but because the poet lacks wit.

Here, then are some of the best Lyric Poems of Melancholy Horror, certainly not meant to be definitive:

  1. Darkness  –Byron
  2. Because I Could Not Stop For Death  –Dickinson
  3. Mariana –Tennyson
  4. Bluebeard  –Millay
  5. La Belle Dame Sans Merci  –Keats
  6. The Truth the Dead Know  –Sexton
  7. In the Waiting Room  –Bishop
  8. In Response To A Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, W.VA Has Been Condemned   –James Wright
  9. Pike  –Ted Hughes
  10. Strange Fits of Passion –Wordsworth
  11. Lady Lazarus   –Plath
  12. A Brown Girl Dead  –Countee Cullen
  13. Mental Traveler   –Blake
  14. O Where Are You Going?  –Auden
  15. Sweeney Among the Nightingales   –Eliot
  16. The Men’s Room In the College Chapel  –Snodgrass
  17. Alone  –Poe
  18. The Phantom-Wooer  –Beddoes
  19. My Last Duchess  –Browning
  20. The Tourist From Syracuse  –Donald Justice
  21. Rime of the Ancient Mariner  –Coleridge
  22. Advice To A Raven In Russia (1812) –Barlow d. 1812
  23. Blue-Beard’s Closet  –Rose Terry Cooke
  24. Death of The Hired Man  –Frost
  25. Second Coming  –Yeats
  26. In A Dark Time  –Roethke
  27. Piazza Piece  –Ransom
  28. Nerves   –Arthur Symons
  29. Hunchback in the Park  –Dylan Thomas
  30. Suspira   –Longfellow

BELLES, BELLES, BELLES, BELLES, BELLES, BELLES, BELLES

Let’s examine women poets.

It’s not a happy prospect, because the woman poet has lost her way.

Since mothers sang lullabies, since divas rocked opera houses, since numerous women poets earned a living writing poetry in the 19th century, there has been a falling off.

Not since Edna Millay has there been a truly popular female poet, one who could fill an arena, make headlines, cause vibrations in the popular culture.

Why is this?

100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century, Mark Strand, editor, Norton, 2005,  is 14% women and 8% American women, Clampitt, Stone, Swenson, Bishop, Moore, H.D., Bogan, and Millay.   H.D. and Moore belonged to Pound’s clique; Moore mentored Bishop who was known also because of her association with Robert Lowell, Swenson worked for New Directions, Bogan, for the New Yorker, Clampitt regularly published in the New Yorker, Stone has been a creative writing teacher for years; Millay is the only one with independent force–and she was viciously attacked by Pound’s champion Hugh Kenner.  Millay had numerous lovers, including Edmund Wilson and George Dillon, Pulitzer Prize for poetry and Poetry magazine editor, but Millay didn’t give to get; she didn’t plot her fame; it came looking for her—because of who she was.  It seems hard to believe Millay is the only American woman poet of whom we can say this.

In David Lehman’s Best American Poetry series, which has existed for 20 years now, only one poet has enjoyed a kind of ‘must be included’ status, and that’s John Ashbery; Ammons until his death, was a close second, and now Billy Collins is almost in that positon, not to mention Richard Howard, Donald Hall, Charles Simic, James Tate, also John Hollander, James Merrill, Thom Gunn, Kenneth Koch, and Donald Justice, while they were alive.   No female poet is even close.   Jorie Graham, Louise Gluck, Rossana Warren, and Rita Dove have no impact beyond academia—nor even within it; for they have no unique  theoretical or rhetorical calling, and women who do, like Vendler or Perloff (pedants who champion men, mostly), are not poets.

When tiny enclaves of mostly male academic pedants decide what poetry should be, is it any wonder po-biz looks the way it does?

Modernist poets Ford Madox Ford and Pound worked for war machines (British, Axis Powers, respectively) and/or were bigotted misogynists like T.S. Eliot…”in the rooms the women come and go/talking of Michelangelo.”

Robert Frost wrote poems mostly of male work— “mending walls” and solo male journeys “stopping by woods” and “road[s] less traveled” —and Frost’s poetry was universally praised and celebrated even as the same sorts of poems by women were declared trivial and dismissed as mere Victorian rhymes.

Frost, (b. 1875) was allowed to continue this Victorian tradition as a hard-nosed Yankee male, to great applause.

Obviously this does not mean we have to reject the poetry of Eliot or Frost.   We mention this only to add perspective on the plight of women poets.

As Muriel Rukeyser (b. 1913) wrote in her poem, “Poem (I Lived In The First Century):”

“I lived in the first century of world wars./Most mornings I would be more or less insane,/The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,/The news would pour out of various devices/Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen./I would call my friends on other devices;/They would be more or less mad for similar reasons./Slowly I would get to pen and paper,/Make my poems for others unseen…”

Rukeyser’s helpless, prosaic, passive address is the voice of a woman in thrall to a technological universe of people who are “unseen;” her poem is flat and prosaic; she is unable to sing in a man’s war-like world.  That’s probably Ezra Pound’s “news” that “pour[s] out of various devices.”  The 20th century was a century of “world wars,” of women’s songs in retreat.

Rukeyser is not a victim in the poem; she is a victim for having to write this sort of poetry at all.

One thinks of Bishop’s poem, “In the Waiting Room” (which takes place in 1918)  in which two helpless females, the young Bishop and her aunt Consuelo—who “sings” from pain—exist in a world of “pith helmets” and naked, “horrifying,” breasts in a National Geographic magazine in the office of a male dentist who remains “unseen.”

Men and technology have conquered.  Women are separate from men, and women are confused and suffering.

The standard explanation for why 19th century women poets are no longer read is:

Women were confined to writing on flowery, “womanly” topics due to the sexism of a male-dominated society.  Therefore, women’s works are worthless to modern audiences.

But this is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It is not our intention to rewrite history, or tell women what sort of poetry they ought to write; we merely suggest that a popular tradition has been eclipsed by a narrow trope which has taken root and flourished without check, as trends have been known to do.  This unfortunate phenomenon is not less important because it affects poetry only—the issue is a large one even though the illness is marginal, the marginality having been caused by the illness itself.  It is with pride and certainty that poetry no longer pipes and swoons and sings but practices a kind of hit-and-run philosophy in whatever form and shape it pleases; but this pride has led to a great fall; poetry neither contributes to science nor pleases the many—it has no real existence.

Lydia Sigourney’s “The Bell of the Wreck,” Alice Cary’s “To Solitude,” Maria Gowen Brooks’ “Song,” Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s “Ode To Sappho,” Sarah Helen Whitman’s “To Edgar Allan Poe,” Harriet Monroe’s “Love Song,” Elinor Wylie’s “Beauty,” Dorothy Parker’s “One Perfect Rose,” Genevieve Taggard’s “For Eager Lovers,”  Louise Bogan’s “Women,” Sarah Teasdale’s “The Look,” Edith M. Thomas’ “Winter Sleep,” Rose Hawthorne Lathrop’s “A Song Before Grief,” Ellen Wheeler Wilcox’s “Individuality,” Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus,” Emma Enbury’s “Love Unsought,” Ina Donna Coolbrith’s “When The Grass Shall Cover Me,” Mary Maple Dodge’s “Now The Noisy Winds Are Still,” Mary Ashley Townsend’s “Virtuosa,” Frances Harper’s “A Double Standard,” Lucy Larcom’s “A Strip Of Blue,” Amy Lowell’s “Patterns,” Hazel Hall’s “White Branches,” and Anna Hempstead Branch’s “Grieve Not, Ladies” are the kind of strong and beautiful poems by women which are routinely ignored.

Overly sentimental this poetry may often be, but the women authors were not sentimental.  Enduring the hardships of an earlier day, they could hardly afford to be.  Virtues of rhythm, image, unity of effect, and expressiveness shouldn’t be rejected by literary historians for a defect (“sentimentality”) which is, if one looks at the matter objectively, merely  superficial and technical, really.

When a poet ‘plays a part,’ as if ‘on stage,’ for instance, the expressive style adopted should not be measured against a rhetorical style in which the poet is talking as herself, as if across a table from the reader.  Much of the “sentimentality” is due to this approach, this technique, and is not due to any defect or fault, per se, in the soul or sensibility of the 19th century women poet.

Here is one of my favorites from the poems listed above.   Note the simplicity of language, the sturdy rhythm, the confident music, and the plain but exquisite final image:

To Solitude

I am weary of the working,
Weary of the long day’s heat,
To thy comfortable bosom,
Wilt thou take me, spirit sweet?
.
Weary of the long, blind struggle
For a pathway bright and high,–
Weary of the dimly dying
Hopes that never quite all die.
.
Weary searching a bad cipher
For a good that must be meant;
Discontent with being weary,—
Weary with my discontent.
.
I am weary of the trusting
Where my trusts but torment prove;
Wilt thou keep faith with me?  wilt thou
Be my true and tender love?
.
I am weary drifting, driving
Like a helmless bark at sea;
Kindly, comfortable spirit,
Wilt thou give thyself to me?
.
Give thy birds to sing me sonnets?
Give thy winds my cheeks to kiss?
And thy mossy rocks to stand for
The memorials of our bliss?
.
I in reverence will hold thee,
Never vexed with jealous ills,
Though thy wild and wimpling waters
Wind about a thousand hills.

………………………………………...Alice Cary (1820–1871)

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