Monday, January 31, 2011

With the pamphlet coming out I'm feeling the need to broaden/expand /improve my writing so I don't keep writing the same poems that will be in my pamphlet. One way to do this, someone suggested, is to focus on a small but diverse range of poets to study intently for a period of six months or so. This idea really appeals to me, my natural tendency in reading is towards Rmantic or the many forms of neo-Romantic poetry but in focusing on mainly that for so long I'm beginning to feel slightly suffocated by it. So I've decided to forego my beloved Plath, Eliot, Akhmatova etc and have provisionally picked the following poets to focus on reading for the next while:

Ezra Pound, whom I''ll admit I've never really 'got' before but I know there is so much to learn from him and to be honest I've never really given him the time of day.

Miroslav Holub, who's an old favourite of mine but I've not assimilated any of his style or technique into my own writing.

Wallace Stevens, who I've been more and more inclined towards reading over the last year.

Robert Lowell, similarly I've been drawn to his work as of late

Paul Celan, someone whose work I'd like to absorb but perhaps his style isn't different enough to what I've already been reading.

Not sure how diverse this list is, now that I've written it down it doesn't seem all that diverse plus I'm aware there are no women on the list or anyone radically experimental.
So the list is provisional for now.


Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve not heard of Miroslav Holub so I looked up a few of his poems. I like. But as for the Ezra Pound all I can do is wish you luck, girl. I gave up on him thirty years ago with the singular exception of ‘In a Station of the Metro’ which I have always loved.

Marion McCready said...

I've started on Pound. In the intro of Pound's selected by Thom Gunn, Gunn says that Pound is definitely one for reading aloud so that's what I been doing and so far it's been working a
treat, really enjoying the poems!

deemikay said...

I like Pound's Chinese "translations" a lot.

Holub I love.

Wallace Stevens I enjoy.

Robert Lowell... well, never been drawn.

Paul Celan - I've got one collection by him which, from lancing at the German originals, looks untranslatable - but someone tried!

(I never said congratulations on the pamphlet. So, congratulations! I've been blogged and commented out since about November. Sorry...)

deemikay said...

lancing? I meant "glancing" of course... There's a whole extra image of me done up in armour on horseback there. :p

swiss said...

paul celan, definitely a favourite with me

Marion McCready said...

hi david, I'm really enjoying Pound's translations, lots of lovely stuff there.

hi swiss, yes Celan is someone I dig out every once in a while but it's about time I read my selected from cover to cover.

James Owens said...

It is intriguing to see both Pound and Celan on this list. They seem at first glance to be absolute opposites: the iconic Jewish poet of the Holocaust, and a sometimes vicious anti-Semite who worked for the Fascists. In other ways, they seem more like mirror-images, though I guess both would be deeply offended by the idea. Both produced bodies of work haunted by history, the second World War in particular, and are famous for their “difficulty”; both were acute critics of the public mis-use of language and brilliant, polyglot translators; each spent the largest part of his life in self-imposed exile, and each passed his last few years in a state approaching aphasia…. If you get far enough into them to be interested in supplemental reading, Hugh Kenner’s The Pound Era is excellent, and I like John Felstiner’s Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew. Of course, there are a library of books about Pound, but good work on Celan is a lot harder to come by (at least in English).

Why don’t you give us an update now and then? I’m interested…..

Marion McCready said...

yes, they are an odd couple! and I've always been interested in the Celan / Heidegger relationship, thanks for the recommendations.

nothing to update on as of yet, I have spent nearly a whole week poetry-free and absorbed in detective crime dramas thanks to our new tv package! but now that I've watched every episode available of Morse, Lewis and Rebus (I don't expect you'll get these in the US) I shall return to poetry ;)

James Owens said...

I'm a fan of British crime programs!! I get Morse and Rebus on public tv, though older episodes than you get, I think. (I also like Ian Rankin's novels, though I've never read any of the Morse books.) Wire in the Blood is one of my favorite tv programs of all time. Such a grim view of human nature :-)

Right now I'm in the middle of Ruth Rendell's most recent book (most recent here, that is; I think it's a year or more old there), Portobello. It's good, since Rendell is not capable of a bad novel --- but I do miss Reg Wexford....

My real question about British tv is, when does the new series of Dr. Who get going? I'm becoming impatient.

Marion McCready said...

really? it's funny to think of Rebus on over your way! I love a good detective drama, have you seen Lewis - the spin-off from Morse, it's really great. I've not read any of the books apart from a couple of Ian Rankin's and only watched the odd Wexford. Never got around to watching Wire in the Blood but I think it's on my package so I'll check it out.
Don't know about Dr Who, I only watched a few of the David Tennant ones and didn't watch the last series, so can't help you there!

Roxana said...

here is a very intriguing and thought-provoking essay on Celan/Heidegger, i am sure James agrees, i showed it to him as well, a few days ago:

Marion McCready said...

thanks for this roxana, very interesting. oh to have been privy to that meeting between them.

Jack said...

Hi Marion (dieing to call you Mazza which I call my sister-in-law Marion - but I wont cause that may be a bit rude?!) anyway.... if studying the poets works great...just wondered if content/theme may be something to look at also?? or you may lead to this by way of studying the poets?? just wondered what you think

Marion McCready said...

I can honestly say I've never been called mazza before but feel free, jack/andrew/peter, lol

interesting thought about theme, though I guess I'm trying to get away from my usual reading which all follows similar content. I'm liking the variety in my chosen poets regarding content and I'm keeping to reading books by the ones I've mentioned but been cheating slightly by reading up on Snodgrass and Roethke on-line!

Dominic Rivron said...

The first three are very familiar to me - Celan and Lowell less so. A quick google -and a read- has got me wanting to get into Celan too.

My composition teacher -this was about music but applies to any art- used to say that if another artist makes a great impression on you, but you don't want to let his/her influence make you sound imitative, explore the artists who influenced them.

Your pamphlet looks great!