friday roundup with ruins, ars poetica, and laundry

Tintern Abbey (wikimedia)

Tintern Abbey (wikimedia)

Reader, GREAT NEWS: this time the laundry is not mine!

(not that there isn’t some laundry in the vicinity…)

Since the last roundup there have been two trips to the mall. It’s a miracle that I’m still here to tell the tale — that’s how much I hate the mall.

On to poetry:

ruins  I’ve been reading A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line, recommended to me by one of my po-friends. The essays are short, therefore manageable, and often inspiring (although a few I’ve classified as trying-too-hard-to-be-clever). Here are some highlights:

From Kasim Ali:

The line is a means by which we “explore the fleetingness, uncapturability, and pure tragic drama of a single moment that passes and has to pass.”

“To proceed line by line means not to feel yourself forward in the dark but to throw yourself with abandon into the arms of darkness.”

From Scott Cairns:

“A sufficiently textured line (that is a troubled and troubling line) is the poet’s best defense against the tyranny of syntax.”

“… (E)ach line, in turn, avails a momentary opacity that can extend, or complicate, or otherwise enrich the syntactical overlay of meaning… .”

And, my personal favorite, from Catherine Barnett:

“…poetry is a ruin of prose…”

!!! “a ruin of prose” !!! I swoon.

ars poetica  I wrote a short ars poetica this week. It goes like this:

*

ARS POETICA

Poetry is a greased pig.
Bacon.

*

Then I read an ars poetica by Anne Hébert: her poem “Mystère de la Parole (The Mystery of the Word).” It is actually much more inspiring than mine, especially the last two stanzas:

“Oh my blackest brothers, all feasts secretly carved; human breasts, calabash musicians where captured voices clash

Let the one who’s been given the work of the word accept you like an extra dark heart, and don’t let him stop until he has justified the living and the dead in a single song at dawn among the grasses.”   –Anne Hébert

!!!! “An extra dark heart” !!!!  I swoon again.

laundry  I’ve also been reading Tess Gallagher’s Moon Crossing Bridge this week. One of my favorite poems in the collection is “I Stop Writing the Poem.” Here it is:

*

I STOP WRITING THE POEM

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I’m still a woman.
I’ll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I’ll get back
to the poem. But for now
there’s a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it’s done.

*

I love how the poet widens the lens just a touch at the end of this poem in order to complicate it (something to try for your next ending, perhaps). If you read the collection, you discover that someone actually has died, and that “watching to see how it’s done” at the end is even more devastating.

And now, I must gird my loins for attending the costume parade. In the rain. I hope you have a spooky day and a spectacular weekend. Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “friday roundup with ruins, ars poetica, and laundry

    • Oh my goodness, I love the how-to-gird-up-your-loins graphic!

      It was wet, very wet. But one must not complain about wet Halloween parades when one lives in an area amidst a 500-year drought.

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