Friday, September 27, 2013

100 Poems 100 Years (More On Poetry)

Madame L may have mentioned that she's been reading a lot of poetry lately. In fact, Madame L picks up at least two books of poetry every time she goes to her local public library. And even though she likes to snipe and snark at the poets she doesn't like or doesn't understand, she really enjoys most of the poems she has found at the library.

One book that Madame L really enjoyed was "The Open Door: 100 Years 100 Poems of Poetry Magazine." Madame L thinks it must have been incredibly difficult for the editors to choose only 100 poems out of all those they've published in their 100-year history.

But, Madame L must admit, in her snipe-and-snark mood, she wonders why no poems by Emily Dickinson or Billy Collins are included. (See the art in that?---the downright poetic whimsy of juxtaposing Ms. Emily and Mr. Collins?)

Oh, well. Here are some great lines from some of the poems the editors did include:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening ius spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table...
(From T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," of course)

Speaking of beasts:

Shut up. Shut up. There's nobody here.
If you think you hear somebody knocking 
On the other side of the words, pay
No attention. It will be only
The great creature that thumps its tail
On silence on the other side....
(From W.S. Graham's "The Beast in the Space")

And the greatest short poem ever:

The apparition               of these faces          in the crowd             :
Petals          on a wet, black         bough        .
(Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro"---the whole poem---is that brilliant, or what!)

One more for now, and Madame L hopes these poems have inspired at least one of her Dear Readers to rush to his/her/their local public library and request this book:

           Joy's trick is to supply
     Dry lips with what can cool and slake,
Leaving them dumbstruck also with an ache
           Nothing can satisfy.
(From Richard Wilbur's "Hamlen Brook")

Finally, this bit from an essay, reminding us of how carefully and lovingly we should read poetry---and how carefully and lovingly we should do everything that we do:

"People that read without an abundance of love leave the book they have read as famished as they were before they came to it...How easy it is to go to a great poet with a small listless heart, and with morose surd ears; for for thought the arbute shakes in the wind, the eye is lookless, and though the kelp has the acutest longing for the sea in it, the nose is stupid, and the dells and hard frith that are signs of the opaque substance of mortal will are dead dirt. There is a secret, porcine disgrace in loveless reading, just as there is in any instant of our lives when we are not remembering actively, and our thoughts are of starvelled material, and our passions are not the gems that were on Aaron's breastplate, but just rubble and slain stoned." ---Edward Dahlberg, April 1951

1 comment:

Jeff Wynn said...

Madame Elle is altogether too polite, and won't tell you that her alter ego Louise won a regional poetry award, and was invited to put her poem on display at a local art gallery.

I spek if ya AXE her real polite like, she's a share her pome "On the Mountain" wif you.
~~~~~