And with that I enjoyed Dickinson and went down a brief rabbit hole on Philip Larkin who I enjoyed and identified with too much. Baseball Opening Day brought a classic.
Overall, I think I’ll just try to mix up the style of poetry I read. There were some thing enjoyable in the Modernist but I understand the alienation of poetry from the public that occured. And it wasn’t the public’s fault.
|March 1, 2018||No Second Troy||W.B. Yeats||
Like Neutral Tones or yesterday’s, I enjoy these harsh heart-aches
|March 2, 2018||When I Buy Pictures||Marianne Moore||Requires re-reading. First impression is “Uh?”|
|March 3, 2018||The Paper Nautilus||Marianne Moore||Understood more once I figured out what a paper nautilius was.|
|March 4, 2018||The Farmer’s Bride||Charlotte Mew||Tragic story nicely told.|
|March 5, 2018||Sunday Morning||Wallace Stevens||I like the old image of reading the paper on Sunday morning.|
|March 6, 2018||The Poems of Our Climate||Wallace Stevens||
A nice description of Buddhist unsatisfactoriness/Hedonic adaptation
|March 7, 2018||The Man on the Dump||Wallace Stevens||
This feels self-indulgenty for some reason. What’s wrong with clarity?
|March 8, 2018||The Auroras of Autumn||Wallace Stevens||I sense (or impose?) touches of a Buddhist outlook/perspective.|
|March 9, 2018||Large Red Man Reading||Wallace Stevens||
Buddhism again? Embrace the now. The future is not reality. Now is.
|March 10, 2018||Gubbinal||Wallace Stevens||Good to say to myself when I go all negative.|
|March 11, 2018||Mid-term Break||Seamus Heaney||Again, love poems with narrative. Then art and grace are a plus.|
|March 12, 2018||Digging||Seamus Heaney||I’ve found a favorite poet possibly.|
|March 13, 2018||The Soldier||Rupert Brooke||
Boo! Pro-war. I just can’t enjoy it really. Second stanza seems…muddled somehow.
|March 14, 2018||The Good Morrow||John Donne||
Ambivalent about this one. I like the intent, not the execution fully. Maybe the language.
|March 15, 2018||Toads||Philip Larkin||This one made me smile broadly. And grimace grimly.|
|March 16, 2018||Toads Revisited||Philip Larkin||I could hear what my voice could become if I let it.|
|March 17, 2018||Refugee Mother and Child||Chinua Achebe||Tragic but didn’t hit me as hard as it should.|
|March 18, 2018||The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain||Wallace Stevens||
A writer’s poem. I like it. Something to read, re-read when I write again.
|March 19, 2018||The Plain Sense of Things||Wallace Stevens||
I’m not sure I understand fully but feel the need to revisist this poem often in the years to come.
|March 20, 2018||The Casualty||Seamus Heaney||While good, the topical, political just doesn’t appeal to me.|
|March 21, 2018||Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself||Wallace Stevens||A simple, beautiful picture of spring.|
|March 22, 2018||Porphyria’s Lover||Robert Browning||A good one…Bobby B sure was dark. Again, I like narrative.|
|March 23, 2018||Prelude: Boat Stealing Episode||William Wordsworth||
I love this. Fits with my viewpoint. We know nothing. Don’t fear it, however.
|March 24, 2018||The Garden by Moonlight||Amy Lowell||Is this about yearning for a kid? I liked “Moon spikes shafting….”|
|March 25, 2018||A Primitive Like an Orb||Wallace Stevens||Not for me. I like “The lover writes, the believer hears….” bits|
|March 26, 2018||She Walks in Beauty||Lord Byron||
My first thought seems condescening: sweet. But I don’t mean cheaply saccarhine
|March 27, 2018||The Lady of Shalott||Alfred, Lord Tennyson||
Narrative, characters, Up my alley. AND many perspectives can be taken.
|March 28, 2018||Lady Lazarus||Sylvia Plath||The Nazi stuff is a bit rough on me. Too much for her?|
|March 29, 2018||Because I could not stop Death||Emily Dickinson||I like the image this creates for me.|
|March 30, 2018||Casey at the Bat||Ernest Lawrence Thayer||
It’s Opening Day. I don’t appreciate baseball but I do enjoy stories
|March 31, 2018||The Raven||Edgar Allan Poe||Again, I like narrative. Crowd pleaser, me pleaser.|
kept his head
and drunk port wine
from half-gallon jugs
kept the chain on the
you had to give
a special knock
to get in
he had brass knucks
he had a chest like a
never lost his
never looked for
never married after the death
of his only
kept up with the
that 16 and one-half inch
for 68 he was
all those boards
across the windows
washed his own underwear
my friend Red took me up
to meet him
we talked a while
then we left
Red asked, “what do you
I answered, “more afraid of death
than the rest of us.”
I haven’t seen either of them
Hart Crane I’m just not built for. Marianne Moore? My goodness, really? But William Carlos Williams shined for me. That was nice. Langston Hughes too. But I had to stop with the non-stop modernist and toss in some other poets just to keep from throwing a book against the wall.
So here they are with my first impressions.
|February 1, 2018||Legend||Hart Crane||
It doesn’t ring with me. Or touch me. Because it’s dense or oblique?
|February 2, 2018||Voyages||Hart Crane||Better than Legend but a bit sloopy and over the top.|
|February 3, 2018||The Bridge||Hart Crane||
Reading this my mind turned to those early American Film actors who spoke like Brits.
|February 4, 2018||The Negro Speaks of Rivers||Langston Hughes||Thank GOODNESS…in ‘the vernacular’. Now THIS is a poem.|
|February 5, 2018||Song for a Dark Girl||Langston Hughes||“Gnarled and naked tree” hits me hard for some reason.|
|February 6, 2018||Life is Fine||Langston Hughes||
Fun but ok, I’m never satisfied, maybe I want a little more challenging.
|February 7, 2018||The Red Wheelbarrow||William Carlos Williams||
A word painting, you can project onto it. I like it more the more I read it.
|February 8, 2018||The Great Figure||William Carlos Williams||
Imagiste?!? I’m not sure why I’m enjoying WCW’s as much as I do.
|February 9, 2018||Spring and All||William Carlos Williams||
Took a couple reads to get the rhythem. Is he the hemingway of poetry?
|February 10, 2018||If||Rudyard Kipling||Poetry as advice column. Reminds me of Polonius.|
|February 11, 2018||This Is Just To Say||William Carlos Williams||I love these. True. Real. Peaceful.|
|February 12, 2018||Ozymandias||Shelley||I needed this today-feeling self-important in a negative way.|
|February 13, 2018||My Last Duchess||Robert Browning||
Spooky. Creepy. I wish more poems told stories. Even incomplete-good imaginative stepping off points.
|February 14, 2018||Love’s Philosophy||Shelley||Simple love poem? In trying to read deeper, I annoy myself.|
|February 15, 2018||A Grave||Marianne Moore||No good video. No charm to it. Cold.|
|February 16, 2018||England||Marianne Moore||I guess if you call it what it is – an essay, Ezra won’t read it?|
|February 17, 2018||An Octopus||Marianne Moore||
Another essay. OK. I get it but just not for me. Qouting brochures?
|February 18, 2018||Neutral Tones||Thomas Hardy||Cinematic, post-break up bitterness. Anger drips from it.|
|February 19, 2018||Silence||Marianne Moore||Readable, short, one long quote. Whatever.|
|February 20, 2018||The Fish||Marianne Moore||
I mean, I’m trying. I really am. Must be open. At least they’re rhyms
|February 21, 2018||To a Snail||Marianne Moore||Again, I feel I’m reading an essay.|
|February 22, 2018||Sonnet 29||Elizabeth Barrett Browning||Kind of hot. She really likes the guy. Very nice.|
|February 23, 2018||To My Coy Mistress||Andrew Marvell||Fun. Beautiful. Cheeky….understandable. relatable.|
|February 24, 2018||Do Not Go Gentle In to that Good Night||Dylan Thomas||Pleading, plaintive.|
|February 25, 2018||Westminister Bridge||William Wordsworth||Very nice word picture.|
|February 26, 2018||London||William Blake||It’s a Monday. Not sure I’m up for 18th c. London’s misery.|
|February 27, 2018||[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]||e.e. cummings||Sweet, not saccarine. Approachable.|
|February 28, 2018||When We Two Parted||Lord Byron||Breaking up is hard to do.|
So I found a Yale lecture of Modern poetry and I’m starting there. The goal is one poem a day. I started before the New Year and am simply recording quicky “first impressions”. Here they are so far:
|Date Read||Poem||Poet||First Impression|
|December 19, 2017||Dulce et Decorum Est||Wilfried Owen||Asshole people|
|December 20, 2017||Mowing||Robert Frost||Just about working. The job is the poetry.|
|December 21, 2017||Out, Out||Robert Frost||Working is dangerous. Poem for the workshop|
|December 22, 2017||Birches||Robert Frost||Very Nice.|
|December 23, 2017||Home Burial||Robert Frost||Sad. How do people live after death of a kid.|
|December 24, 2017||Nothing read|
|December 25, 2017||Directive||Robert Frost||This poem makes me feel dumb, or young. Or both|
|December 26, 2017||The Road Not Taken||Robert Frost||Honest about old men.|
|December 27, 2017||Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening||Robert Frost||Sweet, lonely. One to keep going on.|
|December 28, 2017||The Gift Outright||Robert Frost||USA! USA! USA!|
|December 29, 2017||The Song of Wandering Aengus||W.B. Yeats||Romanitc fantasies can be nice.|
|December 30, 2017||Mending Wall||Robert Frost||
IF it doesn’t make sense, stop doing it. Nom atter what people say.
|December 31, 2017||A Coat||W.B. Yeats||Yes! Paint this on a wall somewhere|
|January 1, 2018||The Fisherman||W.B. Yeats||Yes, Mr. Yeats. People are idiots.|
|January 2, 2018||Easter, 1916||W.B. Yeats||I know too little history|
|January 3, 2018||The Second Coming||W.B. Yeats||Scary, disturbing|
|January 4, 2018||The Magi||W.B. Yeats||Glorious after re-reading in it’s antipathy to people|
|January 5, 2018||Leda and the Swan||W.B. Yeats||
I know too little mythology.Final question reminded me of the Crosses…did they know what they were doing?
|January 6, 2018||Sailing to Byzantium`||W.B. Yeats||I identify with it a bit too much.|
|January 7, 2018||In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz||W.B. Yeats||
Again, I know too little history. I enjoyed more once I educated myself.
|January 8, 2018||Charge of the Light Bridage||Tennyson||
Sad but….juanty. The juanty glorifies too much for my taste. Not to reason why….to hell with that.
|January 9, 2018||Two Songs from a Play||W.B. Yeats||
No video Fourth stanza…buddhism, hedonic adaptation. Round and Round
|January 10, 2018||Vacillation||W.B. Yeats||
A mountain that can’t be climbed at work. Excerpts are nice advice
|January 11, 2018||Crazy Janes Talks with the Bishop||W.B. Yeats||
Sing-songy. It took me a re-read. But I like the philosophy of Crazy Jane.
|January 12, 2018||Lapis Lazuli||W.B. Yeats||I needed help again but good poem for bad times.|
|January 13, 2018||Channel Firing||Thomas Hardy||I liked this a lot. Poems with characters|
|January 14, 2018||In the Time of the Breaking of Nations||Thomas Hardy||“Time marches on….” Not sure I agree with this poem.|
|January 15, 2018||I Looked Up from My Writing||Thomas Hardy||
Hardy scolding himself….your life can’t/shouldn’t stop because another’s does.
|January 16, 2018||Adlestrop||Edward Thomas||
A dialogue..Kind of reminds me of a Hemingway short story. I think I’d like to read more of him.
|January 17, 2018||Blighters||Siegfried Sassoon||Angry much?! at the home front. Good image.|
|January 18, 2018||Louse Hunting||Isaac Rosenberg||A different WWI horror. Free verse, hard to get at for me.|
|January 19, 2018||Strange Meeting||Wilfred Owen||
Going to Hell…Wonderful. I like poems with narrative, honestly. Old habits.
|January 20, 2018||Garden||Hilda Doolittle||
I like the idea of imagism…I need to get comfortable with the execution.
|January 21, 2018||Sea Rose||Hilda Doolittle||I don’t find the repetition of words intensifiying, just limited.|
|January 22, 2018||Oread||Hilda Doolittle||Seems older, Romantic era? Again with the word repetition.|
|January 23, 2018||In a Station of the Metro||Ezra Pound||
1st thought- WTF? Second thought: It was only my expectations that gave me the first thought, not the poem.
|January 24, 2018||Jewel Stairs Grievance||Ezra Pound/Li Po||
Repeat words again. No lover in the poem just the notes. A scene, an image.
|January 25, 2018||River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter||Ezra Pound/Li Po||
The heart-hurt of 15. A way to access the fading memory of that, poetry.
|January 26, 2018||The Seafarer||Ezra Pound||
Showing off over clarity? This made me colder….funny thought: he’s a whiner? If the sailing life is cold and lonely, get off the boat.
|January 27, 2018||Canto I||Ezra Pound||Homer again. He’s at the root of it all, no?|
|January 28, 2018||The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock||T.S. Elliot||
How’s a 22 year old write like this? Cut’s too close to the bone for a man of my age and history.
|January 29, 2018||The Waste Land: Burial of the Dead||T.S. Elliot||This poem is going to be a long, symbolic, allusive slog.|
|January 30, 2018||The Waste Land: A Game of Chess||T.S. Elliot||
I read a Christopher Hitchens Atlantic review calling this poem over rated….yeah. Agreeing right now.
|January 31, 2018||The Waste Land: Parts 3,4, & 5||T.S. Elliot||
Exhaustive and exhausting poem. It’s what people like me hate and what I need to learn.
Great Expectations, 186,339 words
The Old Curiosity Shop 327,727 words
David Cooperfield 357,489 words
Oliver Twist 158,631 words
Tale of Two Cities 137,000 words
That’s 1,167,186 words…not including the partially read Our Mutual Friend and The Cricket on the Hearth.
I hate measuring by word count but I do think it’s a stat that helps give myself a bit of break.
So, good bye Mr. Dickens. At least for now. In 2016 I was intimidated by you. I was intimidated by your length and language and anachronisms.
But no more. I’m a fan – of your verbose style, your complicated plots and, mostly, your characters.]]>
It just wasn’t clicking with me and, to be honest, I think I’m tired of reading….Dickens. I’m not holding against myself too much. That’s 5 novels in a year. I just couldn’t see myself (I am in a sickly period right now with a chronic headache) having to PUSH myself through the novel at the end of the year and with the holidays.
So I’ve switched to some of his Christmas books – maybe just one – I’ve already started “The Cricket on the Hearth”….nice, light, and happy – I hope. I can’t do with much more abuse or abandonment or the like that Dickens normally offers up.]]>
Likewise, I don’t think I’ll ever forget Pip or Uncle Joe or Estella or the convict or – mostly – Miss Havisham.
The man could create vivid characters and complex plots that keep me propelled through 300,000 words.
I do think I have a preference for novels like this one and Cooperfield – a straight narative build around one character. Maybe that’s just my limited attention span or maturity but I get a bit exhausted by the litany of characters in some of the other novels and lean heavily on online character lists when one that pops up 20,000 words later baffles me.
I see no downside to the novel.]]>
But I grew angry at the book. The central villain is supposed to be Quilp. And he’s awful and wonderful to read. However, the true villain of the book was the grandfather. A man who drove his younger brother away, fired and almost destroyed good-hearted Kip and exposing him to Quilp and the Brasses and then drags Nell around the country until she puts her foot down too late, and dies.
Then afterward, the guy is treated with sympathy and kindness where as his gambling addiction, narcissism and self-centeredness destroyed lives throughout the book.
And it’s not like Nell’s death was a great sacrifice for a greater good. It just was the consequence of her grandfather’s selfishness. Ugh!
I like stories of sacrifice and overcoming and the little bit of overcoming in the book was Dick, and that didn’t seem like much of a journey. I mean, he ends up being a good guy after being a bit questionable but….oh well…I’m still angry and the grandfather not drowning with Quilp!]]>
I was sad when I finished it and regretted never having read it before. I wondered if maybe I wasn’t mature enough to read it. Or patient enough. Usually, I stick with short, direct fiction – Hemingway-esque.
But I’ve come to appreciate the epic-ness (in size) of longer fiction through Dickens.
Cooperfield is a much better novel than Twist of Two Cities – both of which I liked. Its characters and their quirks (and names – Murdstone is perfect), its insights in humanity/the human condition.
I may have observed this before but I can relate to Dicken’s Victorian characters so much better than I can American, 21st century fiction.
Maybe because with all his exaggerations, his stories are just more realistic.]]>
This past weekend I put a fourth box on the bottom of the (Warre) hive and will let them be until spring of 2018.
I’ve also got three nucs ordered up for delivery in April and May. One will go to Vickie, not sure of the others.]]>