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  • Michael Shepherd (9/21/2005 6:09:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    It's a fair question - who is a critic writing 'for'? Does he hope thereby to shame, say, Billy Collins into becoming a 'better' poet (Fair dinkum) ? Does he hope to educate the public for poetry into seeking finer poetry? (OK) . Is he conducting an unspoken rivalry with his fellow critics (not uncommon, and tiresome and unproductive in the extreme) ? Does he hope to launch a campaign against self-appointing elites and cliques? Or just building his own sandcastle of self-esteem? or 'mission'. It's a fair question. Answers please, with reference to Dan Schneider or not.

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  • Marcy Jarvis (9/21/2005 3:23:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    dropping the 't' simply takes the 'sing' out of it.

  • Marcy Jarvis (9/20/2005 10:39:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    And here is where you FAIL as a humorist, Lamont. You had a perfect punch line, which should have ended at Rod Sterling. To go on and explain the joke, ruins it for anyone who got it. (I so held myself back from putting quotes in the air around the words 'explain' and 'got it' so I wouldn't look like Chris Farley just then.) The use of the word titular three times (at least) in the past 24 hours is another striking example of how you just don't have one.

  • Lamont Palmer (9/20/2005 9:53:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    Heres Dan Schneider's take on Billy Collins and Schneider's attempt at 'fixing' one of Collins' poems. Now remember, this is for discussion. Don't get pissed at me...get pissed at Dan. Write him if you want. (smile)

    ****

    Billy Collins is the current American Poet Laureate- assuming that title last year. Unlike the other recent PL’s BC’s appointment was a bit of a shock, since he is not even highly regarded in the faux manner that Academics fete each other with. Part of this is resentment, because BC is a regular guest on National Public Radio & other outlets for poetry. Another reason is because he is primarily perceived as a humorist. He does not take himself seriously. Great. A fresh of breath air- get it? Unfortunately there is a big difference between being perceived as a humorist & being a humorist. This is also true for just plain old being a poet.
    BC has the typical Academic resume- winning a detritus of prizes screed across the back slope of his career. Here’s a quote from bad poet & worse critic Edward Hirsch regarding BC’s book The Art of Drowning: ‘Billy Collins is an American original, a metaphysical poet with a funny bone and a sly questioning intelligence. He is an ironist of the void and his poems-witty, playful, and beautifully turned-bump up against the deepest human mysteries.’ Where have we seen this kind of blurb before? If you answered everywhere give yourself a kiss. Being an original of something is akin to being the best something-or-other of your generation. The fact that there are tons of originals & bests, well- why nitpick? Of course, the best way to imply depth without a reason behind it is to attach a label like metaphysical or surreal to any word. & how, pray tell, can intelligence be sly? It either is or is not. Questioning, okay- but sly? That’s a code word for funny- & it’s odd how someone whose aim is to be funny has his apologist go to great lengths to use that word. Of course, he’s an ironist- not a comedian- damn you! But, how is a void ironic- even if the VOID! ? As for the rest- standard off-the-rack blurbery.
    Let’s round off the accolades with this little bit from an online c.v.:

    He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also won the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, and the Levinson Prize -all awarded by Poetry magazine. In 1992 he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as 'Literary Lion.' For several years he has conducted summer poetry workshops at University College Galway. He is poet-in-residence at Burren College of Art in Ireland and professor of English at Lehman College (CUNY) .

    Okay- we get it. He’s 1 of them, but funny. Note the titular poem presents what seems to be a funny setting- even by the title’s juxtaposition of the activities? Recall, too, that the song mentioned is also the theme song to the old 3 Stooges films- an attempt at subliminalism. Excelsior:

    I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of 'Three Blind Mice'

    And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
    If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
    and I think of the poor mother
    brooding over her sightless young triplets.

    Or was it a common accident, all three caught
    in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
    If not,
    if each came to his or her blindness separately,

    how did they ever manage to find one another?
    Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
    to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
    let alone two other blind ones?

    And how, in their tiny darkness,
    could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
    or anyone else's wife for that matter?
    Not to mention why.

    Just so she could cut off their tails
    with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
    but the thought of them without eyes
    and now without tails to trail through the moist grass

    or slip around the corner of a baseboard
    has the cynic who always lounges within me
    up off his couch and at the window
    trying to hid the rising softness that he feels.

    By now I am on to dicing an onion
    which might account for the wet stinging
    in my own eyes, tough Freddie Hubbard's
    mournful trumpet on 'Blue Moon, '

    which happens to be the next cut,
    cannot be said to be making matters any better.

    Well, we basically get a running commentary on the old nursery rhyme. As if by taking the rhyme’s tale seriously we are sure to bust a gut. There is no real reason for this poem to be broken in to lines. I ask you- read it as a paragraph & it, at least, reads better:

    Meditation On Art Blakey's Version of 'Three Blind Mice'

    And I start wondering how they came to be blind. If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister, and I think of the poor mother brooding over her sightless young triplets. Or was it a common accident, all three caught in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps? If not, if each came to his or her blindness separately, how did they ever manage to find one another? Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse to locate even one fellow mouse with vision let alone two other blind ones? And how, in their tiny darkness, could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife or anyone else's wife for that matter?
    Not to mention why. Just so she could cut off their tails with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer, but the thought of them without eyes and now without tails to trail through the moist grass or slip around the corner of a baseboard has the cynic who always lounges within me up off his couch and at the window trying to hid the rising softness that he feels. By now I am on to dicing an onion which might account for the wet stinging in my own eyes, tough Freddie Hubbard's mournful trumpet on 'Blue Moon, ' which happens to be the next cut, cannot be said to be making matters any better.

    Unfortunately, the proem is still dull. Nothing poetic exists at all. No music, no fun, not even bad poetic clichés- just a Dead White Male’s dull masturbations on what is funny after years in The System. Frank O’Hara need not stir in his grave. Let’s take a 2nd shot at the poem- & keep it a poem.

    Art Blakey's Version of 'Three Blind Mice'

    By now I am on to dicing an onion
    which might account for the wet stinging
    in my own eyes, tough Freddie Hubbard's
    mournful trumpet on 'Blue Moon, '

    which happens to be the next cut,
    cannot be said to be making matters any better.

    The title now directly ties the poem to it- the action within can at least be seen as a metaphor for the titular song. Starting the poem in media res adds a little hop to the start. Still, the poem dies, its last line an unwitting prophecy. This poem is all too emblemic of BC’s corpus. He has 1 or 2 passable poems- in form- I believe, but that’s hardly enough to warrant publication, much less PL status.

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    • Max Reif (9/21/2005 7:46:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      The last line, to maintain that someone shouldn't be published? Why not go on to say he shouldn't have been born? As over the top as the New Orleans flood.

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (9/21/2005 4:39:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      Is this the Admiral Schneider (von Schneider) from 'Dinner For One? ' H

  • Michael Shepherd (9/20/2005 6:04:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    Since Diane di Prima says exactly what Dan Scheider evidently believes in despite his sneer, i.e. speaking truth and writing something fresh, perhaps we could have an example of her better (!) poetry posted here to judge from?

  • Lamont Palmer (9/20/2005 3:25:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    Heres an interesting take on Di Prima by Dan Schneider...a great critic, imho.


    ‘I think the poet is the last person who is still speaking the truth when no one else dares to. I think the poet is the first person to begin the shaping and visioning of the new forms and the new consciousness when no one else has begun to sense it; I think these are two of the most essential human functions’ -Diane Di Prima

    Thus another TOP essay starts- & for the 1st time, I believe, with an epigraph! Woo-hoo! You just know this TOP is gonna be a humdinger when it starts off with a quote this utterly insipid. That & the fact that the titular poem is almost emblemic for the Beatnik nonsense that was perpetrated last century &- well- hold on, boys & girls!
    OK, the central facts of DDP’s life: she was 1 of the 2 well-known Beatnik babes. Anne Waldman was the ‘sexy’ Beatnik babe & DDP was the ‘serious’ Beatnik babe. So serious, in fact, that she was dubbed a Poet Priestess, & other such nonsense terms by the boys in the gang, over a decade before the Flower Power crap of the late 1960s. Yet,1 has to credit DDP for changing with the times- something few of the Beatniks did. She has her own website- http: //dianediprima.com/-& you can even email her- ddiprima@earthlink.net. Nonetheless, there is virtually nothing of worth that nearly 50 years of writing has produced. Her ‘status’ as a Beatnik babe will long outlast her status as a ‘poet’. But, before I delve too deeply in to the mystery of why DDP is a bad poet, let’s take a look at DDP’s life, culled from an online bio.

  • Michael Shepherd (9/20/2005 7:22:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    Security Express has just battered on my door with the 1993 Princeton Encyclopaedia, from which you can bone up on Australian poetry (2 pp, lotsa names)) , Canadian poetry (2pp each on Anglophone and Francophone) , Enjambment (2 pp) and Trope, no entry, comes under Figure...

    Don't leave home without it...

  • Jerry Hughes (9/20/2005 12:17:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    Movers and Shakers, there seems to be scant regard for discussion on our better know Australia poets in this forum. Bruce Dawe, is arguably one of our finest, as is Les Murray, to name but two. Call me parochial if you wish, but talent is talent in any language. Here is a small example of Bruce Dawe's work that must be acknowledged for what it is, examplary. Any takers?

    soliloquy for one dead

    Ah, no Joe, you never knew
    the whole of it, the whistling
    which is only the wind in the chimney's
    smoking belly, the footsteps on the muddy
    path that are always somebody else's.
    I think of your limbs down there, softly
    becoming mineral, the life of grasses,
    and the old love of you thrusts the tears
    up into my eyes, with the family aware
    and looking somewhere else.
    Sometimes when summer is over the land,
    when the heat quickens the deaf timbers,
    and birds are thick in the plums again,
    my heart sickens, Joe, calling
    for the water of your voice and the gone
    agony of your nearness. I try hard
    to forget, saying: If God wills,
    it must be so, because of
    His goodness, because-
    but the grasshopper memory leaps
    in the long thicket, knowing no ease. Ah, Joe,
    you never knew the whole of it...

  • Max Reif (9/18/2005 2:10:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    I opened Daniel Ladinsky's 'The Gift', his 'renderings' of Hafiz, at random, after asking 'What poem shall I post to Poemhunter now? ' (In Iran, the Divan of Hafiz' poetry is used as an oracle in that way.) Here is what I got:

    STOP CALLING ME A
    PREGNANT WOMAN

    My Master once entered a phase
    That whenever I would see him
    He would say,

    'Hafiz,
    How did you ever become a pregnant woman? '

    And I would reply,

    'Dear Attar,
    You must be speaking the truth,
    But all of what you say is a mystery to me.'

    Many months passed in his blessed company.
    But one day I lost my patience
    Upon hearing that odd refrain
    And blurted out,

    'Stop calling me a pregnant woman! '

    And Attar replied,
    'Someday, my sweet Hafiz,
    All the nonsense in your brain will dry up
    Like a stagnant pool of water
    Beneath the sun,

    Though if you want to know the Truth
    I can so clearly see that God has made love with you
    And the whole universe is germinating
    Inside your belly

    And wonderful words,
    Such enlightening words
    Will take birth from you

    And be cradeled against thousands
    Of hearts.'

    (note: Ladinsky centers his lines on the page. I don't know how to do that with PH software.)

  • Max Reif (9/18/2005 9:20:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    Poems often have something to do with the subject of identity. Here's a chilling article from CNN, about the way what used to be 'science fiction' is becoming medical option in our age. It's about a doctor who's ready to perform a 'face transplant'-and the possible physical and ethical consequences.
    (It's not just an 'extreme make-over'. The candidates are people whose faces have been so disfigured by wounds, etc. There are powerful consequences to having 'someone elses face'.

    www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/09/17/face.transplant.ap/index.html

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    • Michael Shepherd (9/18/2005 9:30:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      ...and then when we've all bought ourselves silky-tight 'ideal',2-D faces, TV will call for 'expressive' faces with lines and muscles and things, and face-drops will become the cutting-edge (hah) f ... more

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