friday roundup: imagination radiating, modifier or amplifier, and “Pale / by the road to the North”

Klimt: "Mountain Slope at Unterach on the Attersee" 1916

Klimt: “Mountain Slope at Unterach on the Attersee” 1916

Hello, Reader and happy Friday. Since the last roundup there has been one, actual FULL week of school (the only one since school started a month ago — and don’t worry, this week was not a full week again, so the kids aren’t getting exhausted or anything. Ahem.); three critical response papers and one creative packet completed and turned in; one novel abandoned (reading, not writing), one Nutcracker audition (not me); two cross country meets (not me); two tennis lessons (not me); one allergy appointment (not me); one orthodontist appointment (not me); one four-point plan (every single one of us). I think if I hear of even one more four-point plan in my lifetime I’m going to have to consider becoming a space colonist despite my fear of flying. **I’ve come back to add a nuance here, because I am no expert about what should be done about QSIS (which some call ISIS or ISIL), but I abhor the slick packaging of words of war.**

 

Oh also: one marathon drafting session and two worthwhile revisions. Also one measly submission. Alas. This week I bring you:

imagination radiating Last week I had to take a break from le Bachelard. He was starting to get under my skin. It was when I got to “the increased intimacy of a house when it when it is besieged by winter” that I knew I was in trouble. Then when I read, “Winter is by far the oldest of the seasons” and “on snowy days, the house is too old,” I said to myself, Okay then. Enough of that. I put the book aside. (I used to do that with boys, too, and later men; if they started to get under my skin I was like, See ya!)

But Bachelard, Bachelard. I couldn’t stay away. I went back to it. And now I accept the Feeling of Doom that comes when one reads a book they know they will never again live without. Wherever I go in my life, I will be carrying Bachelard along with me — literally and figuratively. It’s like a marriage.

Anyway, here is something to think about regarding images and what Bachelard calls “poetic revery”:

“Poetic revery, unlike somnolent revery, never falls asleep. Starting with the simplest of images, it must always set the waves of the imagination radiating.”

No pressure.

modifier or amplifier  A poet-friend introduced me to this article on line by Rebecca Hazelton. In it, Hazelton says:

“Line can be difficult to talk about because it doesn’t operate independently of other poetic elements, as sense, syntax, sound, and rhythm can. Instead it is a modifier or an amplifier of sense, syntax, sound, and rhythm — which is precisely why an exploration of line can so illuminate poetry as a whole.”

The article then goes through close examinations of line in various poems, and suggests several exercises we can use to explore the options opened up to us by different uses of line in our own work. I have read, marked, scanned and tagged this article as a keeper. I hope it’s useful to you.

“Pale / by the road to the North” Here is the poem I was planning to post last week. Then, Life. It’s by the late Johannes Bobrowski, a German poet who was imprisoned in Russia during WWII and was relatively unknown in the U.S. until his work was translated in the 1960s. I, for one, am glad to have found his work. Here is:

NORTH RUSSIAN TOWN by Johannes Bobrowski

Putoshka 1941

Pale
by the road to the North
falls the mountain wall. The bridge,
the old wood,
the bushy banks.

There the stream lives,
white in the pebbles, blind over the
sand. And the caw of crows
speaks your name: Wind
in the rafters, a smoke
toward the evening.

It comes,
a glowing in
the cloud, it follows the winds,
it watches for the fire.

Remote fire breaks forth
in the plain,
far. Who dwell near
forests, on streams, in the wooden
luck of villages, listen
at evening, lay
an ear to the earth.

*
!!!”the wooden luck of villages”!!! Yes. Also, note his very astute use of “an” in the last line, rather than “your” (I know this was translated, but, let’s assume the translation is faithful). “Your” would’ve limited the power of that ear. The ear would’ve belonged to those “who dwell near forests… .” The “an” allows the ear to belong to the dwellers, yes, but also allows the town itself to become an ear laid to the earth. Well, that’s my reading anyway. Also: O, how he builds tension with his syntax and line. I aspire.

And now, since the kids don’t have school today I guess I will go do a bunch of mom stuff. Happy Friday, happy weekend, and write on.

2 thoughts on “friday roundup: imagination radiating, modifier or amplifier, and “Pale / by the road to the North”

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