Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bavarian Gentians
by D.H. Lawrence

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime torchlike with the smoking blueness of Pluto's
ribbed and torchlike, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto's dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter's pale lamps give off
lead me then, lead me the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness was awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the
lost bride and groom.

I think I'm in love with Lawrence...

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm so happy that Michelle McGrane is showcasing four of my poems on her wonderful poetry blog Peony Moon. Michelle's blog is a goldmine of contemporary poetry, if you take some time to read through her posts you'll not be disappointed, I'm so pleased to have some of mine in amongst all that gorgeous poetry!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I came across a wonderful interview/essay with Phillis Levin on Anthony Hecht's startling poem 'The Transparent Man'. Her explication and personal response to the poem is beautifully and thought-provokingly done. The poem is written in blank verse and so there is much discussion and insight on how the form not only adds substance to the poem through its stylistic tricks but also how it fundamentally contributes to the 'message' of the poem as an extended metaphor. A very interesting read, can be found here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the subject of Hughes' letters, Olwyn Hughes has just sold a bunch more of Hughes' letters to the British library.
The letters apparently include add-on's by Plath and provide further insight into both of their respective creative developments!
See here for the British Library statement and thanks to Peter at Sylvia Plath Info blog for the heads up.
practice, practice, practice...a group of short exercises I worked on this morning

Meditations on the Clouds

(post removed)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Advice from Ted

I've spent the morning immersed in the Letters of Ted Hughes trying to soak up any writing advice.

"If you write whatever attracts you, and you write it as hard as you can, and as rich, then you can't miss...[j]ust write it off, in your own way, and make it stand up off the page and jump about the room" (p66)

"Insofar as poetry is convincingly the real speech of a real person, it seems to happen "off" the page. I think that's fairly true" (p373)

"poetry is simply the name we give to a certain kind of writing...inner concentration, inner listening, dependance on the spontaneous mind rather than on cultivating & remembering mind... So rather than saying 'study writing', I was saying 'practice writing', as diving to depths has to be practised.
The whole business closer to athletics than to aesthetics, perhaps. hence my no words about 'technique'" (p483)
"My definition of 'poetry', almost, excludes anything coming from the ego under the ego's control" (p628)
"The deadliest thing is for a writer to develop too fixed a 'style'. The ultimate, to my mind, must be the naked voice of that inner being" (p636)
 "A feeling is always looking for a metaphor of itself in which it can reveal itself unrecognised" (p678)
I'll add more as I finish the book, but these quotes speak immensely to me, especially the 'practice writing' as opposed to 'study writing'. I think too much about how to write and simply don't 'practice' enough, fairly obvious advice really...
I've been a rubbish blogger lately...but I think I needed a wee break from it.
Life has pretty much normalized again: the children, the pup and myself  have fallen back into a routine after a summer of chaos. I've not been writing much but I have been reading, reading, reading prose, poetry, history, poetry.
Trying to work out where to take my poetry next. I want to deepen it, encompass more with it, when I read Phillis Levin's gorgeous May Day collection I feel my own poems have too much description and zero philosophy or ideas whereas Levin's are packed with beautiful detail and description but also full of ideas and musings. I'd like to develop a more defined 'voice' (the dreaded 'voice'!!!) in my poems, I love the casual tone of Anne Sexton's poems in All My Pretty Ones yet they still manage to be weighty poems. I think I really need to loosen up in my own writing.
I survived the Callender reading, in fact I really enjoyed it. The more readings I do the more I really, really enjoy them, amazing considering I'm such an introvert! I managed to get there for the morning and afternoon sessions, it's great just getting to a poetry event but I really enjoyed the variety of the readings which included a series of poems accompanied by a man playing songs on a ukulele in-between each poem! Of course I bought more books, it amazes me the quantity of quality poetry out there.