Showing posts with label poets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poets. Show all posts


She Tells Her Love

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

Robert Graves (1895-1985)

A poem by one of the grand old men of British 20th century poetry, perhaps now remembered not so much for his poetry but his historical novel I, Claudius about the Roman emperor.


Field theory, breathing and projectile verse

The other day, while dusting my shelf, I came across Charles Olson’s Selected Writings and started rereading his essay (if it can be called that) on what he thought poetry should be like.

I’m not very good at remembering abstract details, but I recall a few of his keywords, such as field, breath and projective.

Once again I feel compelled to illustrate theory to myself by practice, i.e. by living it.

The following poem practices everything Olson mentions.

Three Breathy Fields


It is an open field, unhindered by obstacles.

Not even a cow projects from it.

(Actually, I should remove the periods at the ends of the lines to achieve openness, and it surely won't hurt to move the subfields or breath units about a bit)

It is an open field, unhindered by obstacles

Not even a cow projects from it


Here I practice breathing. Everything I write should be spoken in one breath. It should be spoken without breathlessness, however. Since that’s a double negative, I’ll put it positively: It should be spoken with breathness. Still with me in the same breath?


Is like Neil Young’s field of opportunity, where "it’s ploughing time again"


This field is left open for your convenience, to plough things in, under or over. Fill it with breath, openness, projectiles, whatever. But remember not to damage the screen in front of you.

This ends today’s occupation with Charles Olson’s projective field and breath theory. Perhaps I shall return for another lesson soon. Await it with baited breath.


American Life In Poetry

For more than a year now I've been receiving ex-US poet laureate Ted Kooser's weekly poetry columns called American Life in Poetry* by e-mail and have never before been so consistently diametrically opposed to a poetry selection. I've even come up with a generic term for the kind of stuff Kooser tends to choose: clod-stuck poetry. (Also see my earlier post Poetry and Abstraction.)

This poetry is all wheelbarrow. It mostly looks like it's coming from the William Carlos Williams corner of the American poetic tradition, but when Williams said "No ideas but in things," he meant that things needed to be transcended. And this is not happening in much of the work Kooser picks – things remain at the thing level.

*All the poems can be seen here.

– Iself


A May Haiku

Май. Квітнеючая дзічка.
Затрымай дыханьне,
Інакш пасыплецца сьнег!

May. Blooming crab tree.
Do not breathe,
Snow will fall!

– Victar Licvinau

Written in Belarussian and translated into English by the author.


One kind of fascination

One kind of rare

is the one
of older

poetic ladies
gone bonkers

on younger
male poets –

a mixture
of guruism,

strange new
world discovery,

near suicidal

and late

(Written by iself thinking of Friederike Mayröcker and a certain younger neighborhood poet)