Saturday, July 30, 2005

Calabrian Holiday

Praia a Mare

Al Vecchio Pioppo
Via Turati N.77
Praia a Mare(CS),

Signor and Signora Gaetano Calabrese:

Friday, July 29, 2005


(Simon & Garfunkel)

"Time it was and what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence a time of confidences.

Long ago it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you."

I recently bumped into an old buddy. Had a beer and chewed the fat. We caught up with each other’s lives. Then he reminds me about the mural I painted on the bedroom wall of an old girlfriend’s bungalow. He tells me he still has some photos of me caught up in the creative process. So I figure that I might as well be further embarrassed by posting them here:

Tyrrhenian Shores.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Thrilla From Quizilla.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

You're ready to take the road less traveled to
become unique. You don't need to be like
everyone else- instead, you'll follow the path
your heart sets out for you. Your confidence is
strong, whether you show it or not. Make sure
you keep that confidence, because it's an
admirable quality that can't go wrong.

What Robert Frost poem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Awakening to Poetry.

Justin Evans notes in his response to my poem "Marked and Stranded" that, " I have read very little of him [Mark Strand]. "Orpheus Alone," however, was one of the first poems to inspire my own writing---even though I will never be able to match it on any level."

I also find myself returning to and rereading a Strand poem: "Keeping Things Whole", which often stimulates in me an almost pristine appreciation for ars poetica taking me back to the initial point of discovery of poetry and that which continues to instill in me an affinity for this means of communication. As Strand aptly puts it : " … it's not that poetry reveals more about the world — it doesn't — but it reveals more about our interactions with the world than our other modes of expression. And it doesn't reveal more about ourselves alone in isolation, but rather it reveals that mix of self and other, self and surrounding, where the world ends and we begin, where we end and the world begins. "

Strand himself also seems to point to a specific pome as a catalyst, "Strand characterizes McLeish's poem ["You, Andrew Marvel"] as the kind he would like to write himself, "something with its sweep, its sensuousness, its sad crepuscular beauty, something capable of carving out such a large psychic space for itself." He even concedes his returning often to the oeuvres of certain poets and his maintaining an ongoing admiration for individual poems such as "You, Andrew Marvel" are central to his own continuing desire to write poetry: "It is one of the poems that I read and reread, and that reinforces my belief in poetry, and that makes me want to write." " ( from Mark Strand's Interview with Katharine Coles)

You, Andrew Marvell
Archibald MacLeish

And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth's noonward height
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night:

To feel creep up the curving east
The earthy chill of dusk and slow
Upon those under lands the vast
And ever climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange
The flooding dark about their knees
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate
Dark empty and the withered grass
And through the twilight now the late
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra's street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
high through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls
And loom and slowly disappear
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under and the shore
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea:

And here face downward in the sun
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on . . .

That I find it absolutely fascinating that a poet can trace his/her continued interest in poetry to one source is obvious. This choice often speaks volumes and gives us a valuable insight into the poets approach to craft.

Further reading - "Four Decades of Mark Strand's Poetry"

The Real Deal.

The New Poetry Handbook
by Mark Strand

1 If a man understands a poem,
he shall have troubles.

2 If a man lives with a poem,
he shall die lonely.

3 If a man lives with two poems,
he shall be unfaithful to one.

4 If a man conceives of a poem,
he shall have one less child.

5 If a man conceives of two poems,
he shall have two children less.

6 If a man wears a crown on his head as he writes,
he shall be found out.

7 If a man wears no crown on his head as he writes,
he shall deceive no one but himself.

8 If a man gets angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by men.

9 If a man continues to be angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by women.

10 If a man publicly denounces poetry,
his shoes will fill with urine.

11 If a man gives up poetry for power,
he shall have lots of power.

12 If a man brags about his poems,
he shall be loved by fools.

13 If a man brags about his poems and loves fools,
he shall write no more.

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.

15 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow,
he shall have a beautiful mistress.

16 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow overly,
he shall drive his mistress away.

17 If a man claims the poem of another,
his heart shall double in size.

18 If a man lets his poems go naked,
he shall fear death.

19 If a man fears death,
he shall be saved by his poems.

20 If a man does not fear death,
he may or may not be saved by his poems.

21 If a man finishes a poem,
he shall bathe in the blank wake of his passion
and be kissed by white paper.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Other Voices International Project

The Man Who Could Not Fly
by Robert Thomas

Off work, at the corner of Howard and Spear,
I walk past windows of Parmesan wheels,
ropes of garlic, and cheese from the white oxen
of Tuscany. The bay breeze salts my throat.
My wings carefully folded against my spine,
six layers of gilt-edged feathers
folded each morning like an origami crane
to fit inside my crisp tucked shirt,
begin against my will to ripple, to chafe.
A burning in my shoulder blades spreads
down my ribs as I get closer to the pier.
Pigeons strutting on the plaza give way
to the gulls and forked-tail terns of the sea.
On the sidewalk downtown, men and women
pass me to converge at the edge of the water.
The first ones are already aloft, gliding
toward the Farallon Islands, just visible
in the distance. A woman takes off her coat,
drops it in the street, and the power of the dark
blue pinions that emerge is unbelievable, lifting her
as she cries klea, klea to the rasping krrekk, krrekk
of a man whose white scapulars beat into the gale.
They have forgotten everything but the lashing wind,
the occasional glint of a fish far below, and the glare
as they dive toward the sun. I take off my shirt,
and my huge, unwieldy wings slowly unfold
and compose themselves. Heavy as armor,
they hang useless and serene. Why must I
come day after day to watch those appalling
plunges, that awful hovering, the ecstatic
shrieking wheels while I stand in the dusk,
my iridescent plumage dignified and rigid?

First published in The Sewanee Review.

I discovered this Robert Thomas poem was included in a virtual-anthology at along with some other poets of note. Their masthead stipulates that: "The Other Voices International Project is made up of a small dedicated staff whose desire is to bring you the best poetry possible from around the world in the form of a cyber-anthology. As the project grows so does our belief that the bottom line for this project is the poets and their voices as they look upon the world and attempt to find some way for us to meet and understand the consequences of what it means to be human..."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

When Poetry Came.

(Pablo Neruda)
From: ‘Memorial de Isla Negra’

And it was at that time... Poetry came
to find me. Don’t know, don’t know from where,
it leapt, winter or the river.
Don’t know how or when
no, not words, not
voices, not silence,
but I was called from the street,
from the branches of the night,
suddenly, from the others,
in violent flames,
or coming back alone,
I, without a face,
it touched me.

I did not know how to say, my mouth
no names,
my eyes
were blind,
and something began in my soul,
fever or lost wings,
and I made it alone,
that fire,
and I wrote the first, vague line,
vague, without a body, pure
pure knowledge,
of he who knows nothing,
and suddenly saw
the sky
and open,
pulsating spaces,
perforated shadows,

with fires, flowers, flights,
the revolving night, the universe.
And I the smallest thing,
made drunk by the great void,
in the image, likeness
of mystery,
felt myself pure part
of abyss,
turned with the starlight,
my heart broken loose in the wind.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Muses

Simon Vouet
French, 1590 - 1649
detail of Calliope from
The Muses Urania and Calliope,
c. 1634, oil on panel,
Samuel H. Kress Collection

Detail from "The Allegory of Painting"
the Muse Clio by Vermeer

Oak panel, by Simon Vouet

painted by Camiile Roqueplan

Hesoid and the Muse Melpomene, 1891
Oil on canvas,
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Gustave Moreau

Jean-Marc Nattier
French , 1685 - 1766
Terpsichore, Muse of Music and Dance
circa 1739, oil on canvas
Mildred Anna Williams Collection

Polyhymnia, section of Roman mosaic, 240 A.D
Luxemburgum Romanum:
The Roman mosaic of Vichten,
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Jean-Marc Nattier
French, 1685 - 1766
Thalia, Muse of Comedy (Silvia Balletti?),
1739, oil on canvas
Mildred Anna Williams Collection

Simon Vouet
French, 1590 - 1649
detail of Urania from
The Muses Urania and Calliope,
c. 1634, oil on panel,
Samuel H. Kress Collection

"Which of the Nine Muses is your muse?"


Your muse is Melpomene, the Songstress,
the muse of Tragedy. Her symbol is the tragic
mask. There could be several reasons she is
your muse. You could be simply fascinated
by the dark and the plethora of emotions that
accompany any good tragedy. You could also be
depressed yourself, in which case you might try
working on making Thalia your muse...

Which of the Nine Muses is your muse?

Now I am depressed.

Friday, July 01, 2005