Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What to do?


What do you do when enjambments cease to tease?/ When diction & syntax cease to suggest style & voice? What to do when line & half-meaning no longer give you pause?/ When trope & thought no longer edify?/ When rhetoric & speech will not persuade? What to do when the turn of the phrase has lost its rhythm for you?

As of late I cannot seem to enjoy poetry with the same intensity that I come to expect of myself. The poetry I read seems to lack the lustre that it needs to engage this reader. I start a poem only to have my mind wander off after the first line - as though it sees something more appealing in another queue.

What author('s)/ poetry or perhaps single poem is the constant source of your renewed love affair with ars poetica? What poem(s)/poet(s) do you go back to time and again to rekindle your vow(s) to poetry?

16 comments:

Brent Goodman said...

Great topic! I often go through the same funky reading blah. Nothing lifts off the page. I'll typically go back to reading my first loves - Rilke, Rumi, Basho, Issa - the shorter the better. It helps me see poetry again at its elemental spark. This is what works and what has survived.

Sandra said...

Oooh. Off the top of my head: Nick Flynn, Sarah Manguso, Sylvia Plath, Richard Siken, Sandra Cisneros.

I like the newer stuff.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Elizabeth Bishop & James Wright

Andrew Shields said...

I'll mention the first five that come to mind: Celan, Stevens, Glyn Maxwell, Heaney. That's four, and now I'm thinking of too many to continue.

shann said...

Tony Hoagland everytime

and you know- I just got Kristy Bowen's Fever Dreams and I really am enchanted.

shann said...

I mean Fever Almanac- sorry Kristy!

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

Thanks all for suggesting poets that I must return to and those that I must better acquaint myself with. Much appreciated.

Suzanne said...

Late to the party: Emily Dickinson, Rumi's "Like This" And there are at least three Mary Oliver poems I could read endlessly [ducks head], Jane Kenyon, Bridgit Pegeen Kelly, Ammons, Blake, Auden, Wallace Stevens-- look what you've started!

Nick said...

Thanks, Suzanne! I'm not acquainted with Bridgit Pegeen Kelly's work. I must remedy that. Who knows, all this reading might get me writing some good poetry for a change.

Andrew Shields said...

A non-poet whom I just pick up to read at random relatively often is Kafka. His short pieces simply remind me what writing can be, and they are often drop-dead funny.

greg rappleye said...

"The Theory & Practice of Rivers" by Jim Harrison

"Blackberrying" by Sylia Plath

"Meditation at Lagunitas" by Robert Hass

Brian Campbell said...

Let's see... Ilya Kaminsky (Dancing in Odessa), Li Young Lee, Sharon Olds (for a good quickie), and Bill Knott, for a few contemporaries. Lately I've been listening to 100 Best Poems -- an audiobook. Of course, the poems are from the canon list, and that's obviously arbitrary as any "best of": but it's great to go over Shakespeare sonnets, Marvell's To His Coy Mistress & the Garden, etc. once again...

Nick said...

Andrew, Kafka has of course always been a favorite but I have never considered reading him for poetic inspiration.

Greg, I am a Plath & Hass fan but have yet to delve into Jim Harrison's work. Must remedy!

Brian, Kaminsky, Lee & Olds might do the trick. Although now that you mention the bard - I think I'll mosey on down to read some Marlowe while I'm at it. Maybe some drama (Dr. Faustus in particular) might do the trick.

Gentlemen, thanks for your suggestions.

Andrew Shields said...

As Greg Rappleye pointed out, it's Kafka's birthday today (July 3).

Nick said...

Hesitation before birth. If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth.

------------------------Franz Kafka