Monday, August 23, 2010

Contemporary Poetry - An editorial from my pal, John

On 8/23/2010 1:37 PM, John wrote:

Hey guys,

This is from Sweetest bleeding by Karen Volkman:

Sad sirens burn and sigh,

caressing the umber inner of a thigh –

unfolding in the flimmer of their hair

the swimming timbre, the wakeful stare

loosens its wooing, and wakes to die

drowning mutely, hollow as the sky.

I used to read a lot of poetry. I wrote some. Published a little. I still read books of poems occasionally. But, lately, I’ve attempted to read some contemporary poets, such as those published in Poetry, a magazine I subscribed to and then dumped when I realized after two years of monthly publications I only “understood” or “enjoyed” 1 (one) poem.

Is it just me?????

We go to critics and reviewers for understanding. And guidance. Read the above poem fragment by Karen Volkman. I have no idea what is going on. So I turned to a critic/reviewer (in the 9/08 issue of Poetry) and this is what I got:

The project is Symbolist, with the “opacities,” “limpidities,” and “polarities” of Symbolist abstraction; the book is the densest, most obscure I have read in a long time, though that is not to say it has a simple or antagonistic relationship to meaning. The poems have a ratiocinative component, where the obscurity is obscuring something, and a Steinian component where it is not. In the former there is a centripetal tendency in the syntax, form, and recurrent vocabulary, and one senses that the writing is in fact taking the shortest path between some two points, somewhere. While I cannot supply a reading for phrases like “cardinal animal in an ordinal net” and “fallow nominal of a touchless near,” they somehow succeed in suggesting they have one.

Got that? Very instructive, eh? What the f--- is up with this shit? Why am I sitting around reading this stuff? Is this what has become of the “Liberal Arts?” Life is short and this kind of thing makes it both short and uncomfortably turgid.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cowboy Code


The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
He must always tell the truth.
He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
He must help people in distress.
He must be a good worker.
He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
The Cowboy is a patriot.

Poetry Quiz

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New work forthcoming...

Other priorities take me away from writing now.  Mainly reading.

Thursday, August 5, 2010