Disorientation in a snow-clad landscape then becomes the symbol for the redemptive restoration of man's original relation to nature. The snow storm episode successively dramatizes two potential traps related to the apprehension of traces. The first one is the initially Puritan ideal of breaking free from the hold of traces, of escaping from all bounds and orienting oneself with no reference to previous landmarks. These two pitfalls proceed from a binary pattern that originates in Puritan imagination and recurs in American fiction: the tension between the thrust westwards and the enclosure within the settlement Petillon The snow lay so deep on the ground that there was no sign of a road perceptible, and the snow-fall was so thick that we could not see more than a hundred yards ahead, else we could have guided our course by the mountain ranges.
Deprived of lines, relief and color, it progressively loses all definition. Yet the humorous absurdity of what follows debunks Ollendorff's ambition, unveiling the risks inherent in the Puritan ideal of breaking free from the old world so as to cast one's own tracing:. So we put the horses into as much of a trot as the deep snow would allow, and before long it was evident that we were gaining on our predecessors, for the tracks grew more distinct.
We hurried along, and at the end of an hour the tracks looked still newer and fresher—but what surprised us was, that the number of travelers in advance of us seemed to steadily increase. We wondered how so large a party came to be traveling at such a time and in such a solitude. Somebody suggested that it must be a company of soldiers from the fort, and so we accepted that solution and jogged along a little faster still, for they could not be far off now. But the tracks still multiplied, and we began to think the platoon of soldiers was miraculously expanding into a regiment—Ballou said they had already increased to five hundred!
Presently he stopped his horse and said:. Instead of hinting at a previous passage and thus constructing meaning in a semiotic way, the trace here becomes a tautological sign, meaningless and sterile. It multiplies unendingly and entraps the travelers in absurd circularity. In Twain's fiction, it culminates with Huckleberry Finn's flight adrift on his raft, which indeed does not leave any trace 4 nor follow any—while Huck himself debunks cultural markings, thus discarding their potential authority.
The Whitmanian ecstasy relies on the refusal of cultural landmarks as well as of all spatial, temporal and verbal limitation. It is a dream of complete physical and artistic self-sufficiency. The landscape in which the characters get trapped in Roughing It is a spatial figuration of drowsiness, forgetfulness and death.
The white, mute and silent desert, from which markings have disappeared, is an amnesic space that has also lost the ability to signify. The entropic process that the snow-clad landscape seems to fall prey to also threatens the characters. Its human counterparts are exhaustion, death and oblivion, as the fading away of one of them anticipates:. He was never heard of again. He no doubt got bewildered and lost, and Fatigue delivered him over to Sleep and Sleep betrayed him to Death.
The passage appears indeed as a ludicrous imitation of different styles integrated in a more broadly Puritan pattern. Besides, the end of the chapter, with its focus on upcoming death, casts the themes of drowsiness, oblivion and death into a now melodramatic, now mock-epic style:. We put our arms about each other's necks and awaited the warning drowsiness that precedes death by freezing.
It came stealing over us presently, and then we bade each other a last farewell. A delicious dreaminess wrought its web about my yielding senses, while the snow-flakes wove a winding sheet about my conquered body. Oblivion came. The battle of life was done. Finally a sad-voiced conversation began, and it was soon apparent that in each of our hearts lay the conviction that this was our last night with the living.
Ollendorff [ Then he got out his bottle of whisky and said that whether he lived or died he would never touch another drop. He said he had given up all hope of life, and although ill-prepared, was ready to submit humbly to his fate; that he wished he could be spared a little longer, not for any selfish reason, but to make a thorough reform in his character, and by devoting himself to helping the poor, nursing the sick, and pleading with the people to guard themselves against the evils of intemperance, make his life a beneficent example to the young, and lay it down at last with the precious reflection that it had not been lived in vain.
He ended by saying that his reform should begin at this moment, even here in the presence of death, since no longer time was to be vouchsafed wherein to prosecute it to men's help and benefit—and with that he threw away the bottle of whisky. Mr Ballou made remarks of similar purport, and began the reform he could not live to continue, by throwing away the ancient pack of cards that had solaced our captivity during the flood and made it bearable.
My own remarks were of the same tenor as those of my comrades [ I threw away my pipe, and in doing it felt that at last I was free of a hated vice and one that had ridden me like a tyrant all my days. While I yet talked, the thought of the good I might have done in the world and the still greater good I might now do, with these new incentives and higher and better aims to guide me if I could only be spared a few years longer, overcame me and the tears came again.
To start with, the rhythm of the lines concerning Ollendorff's reform mimics Defoe's style, characterized by long sentences and involved sequences of subordinate and coordinate clauses. Paul Hunter The ironical dimension of the passage eventually culminates with the sudden comic reversal that follows on the spiritual crisis. The founding Puritan experience of disorientation in the wilderness is here incongruously transposed into the trivial sphere of individual adventures and distorted by the plausible absurdity of the tall tale. The absence of a critical purpose targeting the imitated tradition itself is typical of the pastiche mode, yet the ironical deformation of the original mode—the amplification of its effects, its merging with a melodramatic tone—brings it close to parody.
The thwarted appropriation of cultural landmarks then appears as a condition for the emergence of literary humor. These graphic markings are not only patterns of lines and colors but also symbolical tracings, sets of meaning whereby the cultural appropriation of the place is achieved. Iconographic traditions participate in the mapping of the place, in its cultural framing and in the construction of the homeland. Indeed, the disruption caused by humor suggests that the narrator may be playing with borrowed traditions and styles rather than actually participating in the textual construction of the national landscape as clusters of symbolical elements in the descriptions would otherwise imply.
The humorous divergence of the text from the traditions it evokes may create some distance between them, undermining the national symbolism of the landscape and calling the cultural appropriation of the place into question. At the first break of dawn we were always up and running foot-races to tone down excess of physical vigor and exuberance of spirits. We watched the tinted pictures grow and brighten upon the water till every little detail of forest, precipice and pinnacle was wrought in and finished, and the miracle of the enchanter complete. The scene seems to depict a providentialist theophany, a theme which, as Sacvan Bercovitch has shown, is tightly connected with the teleological vision of American history Bercovitch There is no end of wholesome medicine in such an experience.
I do not mean the oldest and driest mummies, of course, but the fresher ones. But he made a failure of it. He was a skeleton when he came, and could barely stand. He had no appetite, and did nothing but read tracts and reflect on the future. Three months later he was sleeping out of doors regularly, eating all he could hold, three times a day, and chasing game over mountains three thousand feet high for recreation. And he was a skeleton no longer, but weighed part of a ton.
This is no fancy sketch, but the truth. His disease was consumption. I confidently commend his experience to other skeletons. Yet as in the episodes of disorientation, literary and iconographic allusions complexify Twain's humor, lending it an additional dimension. Indeed, his humor also proceeds from the discrepancy between the high, symbolic mode which the descriptions have progressively installed and the sudden fall back upon triviality—that of the lower level of restored appetite.
Focusing on the rhetoric of the sublime, the present development will consider how it sets the landscape in a symbolical frame that again is unsettled by the intervention of humor. Within half an hour all before us was a tossing, blinding tempest of flame! Away across the water the crags and domes were lit with a ruddy glare, and the firmament above was a reflected hell! Every feature of the spectacle was repeated in the glowing mirror of the lake!
Both pictures were sublime, both were beautiful; but that in the lake had a bewildering richness about it that enchanted the eye and held it with the stronger fascination. With its frequent representations of fiery skies, the American sublime also entails an apocalyptic dimension that is a prominent component of Twain's description. This episode offers the hyperbolic spectacle of a fierce, crimson blaze inflated to a cosmic scale and laden with infernal connotations. The fire and the wind, unleashed, unite in a vortex of lava that devours the mountains, soon saturating the landscape.
The description thereby hints at such paintings as Twilight in the Wilderness by Friedrich Edwin Church , which presents a spectacular sky the ruddy colors of which are reflected in water. In this painting, the national symbolism the sublime entails is pinpointed by the discreet presence of an eagle and a cross. We were driven to the boat by the intense heat, and there we remained, spell-bound. We sat absorbed and motionless through four long hours. The exclusion of human agency in such a scene is quite significant.
In the case of Church, the sublime substitutes natural for historical causality Miller , natural causality being, in the American iconographic tradition, a symbol of divine Providence. If Twain famously retreated shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, such connotations nevertheless were acute at the time of his trip across the continent, begun in The apocalyptic natural scene indeed does not express a natural crisis, a cycle of destruction and renewal that would be apt to symbolize national destiny. It proceeds instead from a culinary incident the triviality of which literally frames the passage:.
While I was at this, I heard a shout from Johnny, and looking up I saw that my fire was galloping all over the premises! Hunger asserted itself now, but there was nothing to eat. The provisions were all cooked, no doubt, but we did not go to see. Whereas the principle of narrative representation contributed to national symbolism with the painters of the Hudson River School, here on the contrary the narrative frame of the description annihilates its symbolical effects.
The pleasure of pastiche writing obviously prevails over the construction of a symbolical discourse. The process of installing a mode or a genre the Puritan spiritual autobiography for instance, or the American sublime coexists with a debunking strategy the target of which appears not to be the genre itself as when the narrator ridicules the American romance and its representation of the Indians in particular but its appropriateness in the given context.
The ironical edge of these passages is not that of critical distance as in parody Hutcheon 37 but rather that of humorous incongruity. Much of their humor indeed stems from the discrepancy between elevated, symbolical discourse and trivial situations. Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique, idiosyncratic style, the wearing of a linguistic mask, speech in a dead language. But it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without any of parody's ulterior motives, amputated of the satiric impulse, devoid of laughter and of any conviction that alongside the abnormal tongue you have momentarily borrowed, some healthy linguistic normality still exists.
Jameson On the contrary, his vigorous pastiches in Roughing It are a humorous and fertile mode that allows a very original style to emerge. Imitation in this case goes far beyond the simple reproduction of a preexisting mode with no increase of meaning. Genette for whom the ludicrous function may be common to the two modes distinguishes between imitative and transformational relations: pastiche imitates a style or manner while parody transforms a text Genette In his wake, Hutcheon identifies pastiche with similarity and parody with differentiation Hutcheon Twain's style in Roughing It oversteps these distinctions in the sense that his imitative passages are endowed with parody's transformative and differentiating value in relation to the modes and styles that he appropriates.
Indeed, imitation here involves thwarting and exaggeration. In fact, Twain's humorous pastiches proceed from the same hyperbolic mode as the tall tale, to which the traveler becomes initiated in the text. His pastiches entail an educative, initiating dimension that in fact characterizes the whole narrative. In some respects, Roughing It may be perceived as a Bildungsroman , not only for the character, a tenderfoot who needs to cleanse his perception from ingrained illusions, but also for the blossoming professional writer.
The narrator's delectation in ludicrous imitation and thwarting merges with his jubilation as a young writer producing purple passages. Baker, Anne. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Barringer, Tim, and Andrew Wilton. American Sublime. Landscape Painting in the United States, London: The Tate Gallery, Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Puritan Origins of the American Self. New Haven: Yale University Press, Certeau de, Michel.
L'Ecriture de l'histoire. Paris: Gallimard, Cooper, James Fenimore. The Prairie; A Tale . New York: The Library of America, Cox, James Melville. Mark Twain, the Fate of Humor. Princeton: Princeton U niversity Press, Didi-Huberman, Georges. La Demeure, la souche. Dillard, Joey Lee. Perspectives on American English. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature . Paris: Seuil, Gregg, Josiah. New York: Langley, Gunn, Drewey Wayne. American Literature Dec. Hobbs, Michael. Hunter, J. He would like to return to the youthful days and celebrating crowds of his wedding day.
The one day most memorable to anyone could be the wedding day. So the title of the poetry book itself is making his readers romantic, jolly and happy. However, this poetry book is not just for jolly and happy. Common threads in this book are time, universe, four seasons, space, and quotations from the Bible.
It is a very serious poetry book. My favorite poem introduced here may be one powerful poem that represents Dr. Starts with soft steps Opening the chest World enters in Over the fields and hills To the sea and the sky Keeps on running without a break To where Till when Is he chasing after, or Is he running away? His poems are simple but powerful. The vocabulary in the above poem is that of the medical doctor rather than the poet. This poem above can be Dr. He has been running all his career as a marathoner. Once I met Mr. Hwang Young-jo, the Barcelona Olympic Marathoner in Seoul, and he told me that until he re-entered the main stadium, he did not know where he was.
He did not see anyone in front of him, but noticed someone was running behind him, one track behind. Then, he lost his consciousness at the goal line. He was sent to a hospital. That was the marathoner. When he looks back at his old age, time, or his life, has passed like an arrow. I see the meaningfulness of his life as a marathoner, not meaninglessness of nihilism. I will close my review with another poem.
In the midst of comings and goings of winds Sun rises, moon sets As the moon rises, the sun sets Buoyant heart with high hopes Gazes into the distant mountain across the river. In the midst of goings and comings of clouds Leaves sprouts, flowers bloom As the flowers fade, the leaves wither Earnestly pursuing road Has reached the sun-setting sea . Lee has earnestly pursuing his road. I have witnessed it throughout his life. I congratulate him from my heart on his first poetry book in English. This collection by Duane Niatum is filled with spirits of the living and dead.
There is a fierceness to his writing. Many of the poems are catalogues that read like incantations, others tell of paths chosen. Yet the scent and pout of the thistle-queen you met at a Pow Wow lingers in your nostrils and on your fingers. This is a bitter poem about sexuality in which the character fills in the landscape.
I find the invocation of the Earthmother less convincing than La Belle Dame sans Merci of the thistle-queen. Niatum is at his strongest when he portrays real people. These women clack humor-rattles and teach us the power of laughter. In poems like this one metaphors and imagery do the work. I loved your mother because she gave me a gift — you, and the will to be soft but not cruel. For your father was seasoned on salt air and the longhouse stories and a life it takes blood rage to appease.
He embraces Indian legends, classical Greek and Roman myths, gods and goddesses and painters like Cezanne. In his love poems about Rosa, he invokes all of these. His poem for Natalie mixes classical with Indian vernacular. His educated, well-crafted verse makes him an heir to the lyricism of Keats and Louise Bogan as much as his ancestors. The responsibilities and passions he feels are as much as a son, father, lover, and husband. It is not a world of just Whites who write Indians off but also the world of friends such as his beloved teacher, Nelson Bentley, who also claims the sand and tide.
This collection by Duane Niatum shows the strain of living in two worlds. It also provides the tension Niatum seems to require in working out his own path as a Native and American poet whose balancing act is never complete. Among the well-known public events described in these works are demonstrations at the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin and Occupy protests in New York and other major cities.
Also included are the voices of those who fear the protesters as much as or more than they fear the institutions and abuses that give rise to the protests. Less public examples of social issues are also subject matter here. Domestic violence is a recurring theme, as are the losses of jobs and homes, and the various forms of post-traumatic stress of soldiers returning from war. Presumably these are the dates of composition, and any dates omitted are dates on which Portolano was not inspired to write.
Several dates are represented by multiple pieces. A few of the poems reach back into history for their subject matter, including a poem that imagines Dr. This arrangement by date explains what might otherwise seem to be unusual sequencing choices. The coyotes are not interested in the human being and give him no reason for his fear of them. They proceed to a golf course where they hunt rabbits to take back to their young.
Though many of the poems emphasize loss or suffering, others present poignant and caring moments. If was an important year in terms of public events, these poems tell us it was also a year of wide-ranging personal emotions. One of the great strengths of a Charles Portolano poem is that it is timely. Far too often, poets produce works that are good but not for this moment. Portolano does not disappoint the reader with his most recent book, The little, lingering, white, lies we allow ourselves to live with.
The poems are topical, precise, and timely. The little, lingering, white, lies we allow ourselves to live with is a collection for the moment, this moment, this here-and now. Ours is not an era where the poet can silently and poetically reflect on the joys of a quiet stream moving through a meadow. This book also includes scenes of travel from his retirement. The sense of discovery—of a new place, of a new lover, of a new season—transports the reader fluidly from line to line, poem to poem in this collection, the way water moves in and out of the imagery in the poems. Each poem is written in free verse, most without rhyming, and the line length varies with ease, sometimes shifting into prose poetry.
The first three sections introduce themes used as images in the last three sections, while the middle section transports the reader from reflections on leaving a place, settling in a new one, to traveling somewhere else. Potent reassessments emerge when unlikely threads are woven together. This friendly daybook serves up pocket wisdom, starting with "Truth" and concluding with "Celebration.
Go dig in the dirt. Walt Whitman was one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, whose mysticism, lyricism, and great heart made him beloved by many. They worked their way into my body. I have gone back to many of her poems and found more of the otherness they possess; her use of animals —— fox, geese, deer, pelican, dogs and horses et al —— helped me to understand more. Their sweetness ruins me; their mixture of pain and pleasure terrifies me, because what she writes about is truth, and truth is almost indefinable, since everyone has his own history and beliefs; everyone feels he has right on his side.
This is foremost a book of poems about all living things and all things that have lived. It concerns reconciliation, an accounting. The narrative thread is in the weave of their forms: incantations, allegories, concrete prose poems, stories; all done with the feel of an artist who uses the broad sweeps of her brush to create a pastiche that is both historical and personal, fictional and fantastical; a certain cursive movement of language that entices the reader. Follett allows the travelers in her poems to act out their own tales in their own ways and gives the reader the sense that the characters, real and imagined, are receptive and reflective, and most of all vulnerable.
She is acutely aware that her prophetic words make it difficult to answer the questions she poses. Follett gives her poems a voice that is direct and wry. The collection is a journey through its six sections. I found that by putting the section titles together, one discovers an overview of this work that can be read as a coda, as follows:. This is the enemy. This, the invincible foe. The poet says, violence is wasteful, terrorism is wasteful, both are wrong. And from section to section there are several weaves —— i.
In this book Follett attempts and I believe, succeeds to take a new approach to the longstanding questions and their answers, about all our longfelt and heartfelt needs. By any standard, the poems as they face each other from one page to the next are fascinating; they exude wit and humor, suffering and endurance, courage and tenacity. What they do not evince, from first poem to last poem, is cowardice.
How to call this home. Mindy Kronenberg, Editor mailto:cyberpoet optonline. This collection is difficult in the manner of much modern poetry; much indeed of the very best. It recalls styles practiced by poets like Pound or Ashbery: elliptical, fragmented, personalized, ambiguous, with missing referents, elusive meanings and seemingly random geographical or temporal settings. But if poetic abundance is an indication, Mr.
He swims out to steal fish from gulls, gill-netters and pleasure boats. Who will want me now? Keeper of rock, oasis in space. And we close as the father, standing in the cockpit of a warplane over the Aleutians , exults in his freedom: you leaned into the ear of the pilot a low whistle, a sigh, a breath, laughing on the air. Hopefully the foregoing is sufficient to give the reader some of the flavor of this highly idiosyncratic poet.
There are many poems that sing the sensations of childhood. I can confidently recommend Moonlight in the Redemptive Forest as both a notable instance of postmodern style and an extraordinarily rich quarry of poetic invention. No compass is needed to walk through Michael Daley's forest.
The way may be difficult, but only through the indirect light of the moon. Daley's quest in history proceeds almost in a straight line through history of family, people affected by history, and the poet. Its forest, a confessional of sorts, may indeed be a redemptive. Daley, an accomplished poet, with five books and chapbooks of poetry, combines narrative and lyric. A revealed detail or person becomes more fully realized or understandable only further into the poem, or in some cases, another poem.
The connections are lyrical. True, too, of William Gaddis' epigraph from The Recognitions, with betrayal and history in the light of the moon and fog. At the Jewish cemetery the puppet seller, in Christmas sudden freeze her knuckles raw, alarmed when young American women cough in the street, called these headstones the oldest chiseled rock in Europe. Who gets the money? We can't pay back their dead. The difficulty Daley's poems, lies in the density of the tale, its elusive history, unhinged syntax, our uneasy connection among pronouns and characters, and its heady metaphors.
Difficult, though, doesn't mean incomprehensible. This first long poem firmly establishes Daley's storytelling style. Loosely connected tales, as Daley titles them, compose the second section of bad experiences nightmares and youth's development wet dreams. Before the groceries and laundry, the inarticulate nails and stubborn lumber took the balance of Saturday, they wanted the moment to pass as if a silk had been draped over their gaze while morning was abandoning the long grass out the window, pocketing the day's portion of light in the blackberry thicket while she looked into the tiny pool of her teacup, and his palm smoothed the shifting grain of the table.
A difficult yet revealing section, "Wake," recounts a family history from early 20th century Boston, and centered on waking of the poet's great grandfather whose story is told in a page poem, "Frankie The Milkman's Song. She was voyolated, wasn't she. She had lain with the husband of her sister. Within the poem's sea of pronouns and characters, and its indirections and withholdings, The child was raised not by her birth mother, but by the betrayed sister, the mother of the poet's mother.
The last section, "Meat," has important, meaty poems, that sing, like Whitman, of suffering brought about by wars and conflicts. In "The Fire Storm," a multi-sectioned poem that ends the volume, we move through the fires of our history Mai Lai. And to the art of Art Riggs, whose peaceful and monochromatic photograph of branches along a river wraps around the entire book.
The last stanza, a couplet, ends with these words of inspiration and contemplation, Soon, I hope snow will come. What follows are poems of loss and loneliness. This is not confessionalism; these are the day to day happenings that we recognize in ourselves, because Stephanie Mendel writes about the universal, she writes to and for the reader.
We become a part of her joys, her hopes, her love, and, yes, the tragedies of her life. These poems feed the heart as surely as blood in the veins feeds the body. The opposites of satisfaction and deprivation strengthen both the body and the spirit. The unhappy and joyous parts of all our lives are celebrated in these songs and poems. The poet raises her voice, and says that each day will become smaller, a reminder of the ones we have loved and lost; that each day there will be minutes that no one else can find.
We become a choir. The breath inside the body itself. They are discernible and solid. She relives, relates, and tries to comprehend the terrible acts committed on this day and how it affected all of us; not just in America but throughout the whole world. She recalls the conversations between relatives and friends. The phone calls. The ringing and ringing. How we all struggled to return to some kind of normalcy.
Carmi who wrote about an equally difficult time in Israel and Lebanon that took place forty years earlier.
- I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives..
- The Walt Whitman Archive.
- Books by Whitman;
I know what will transpire; I know her beloved husband John is going to die. I say to myself, I will read these last poems slowly. I read all the poems straight through, almost in a rush. Line breaks and stanzas blurred. I said out loud in a soft voice, No! Then as I promised myself, I re-read each poem with care; let the weight of what they held coalesce. I find it interesting that Bare Branches comes after her first collection, March, Before Spring, seamlessly,and can only believe that there is yet another book to come that will complete a trilogy.
From reawakening to dormancy, where the life cycle is temporarily stopped, to the predictive; before the onset of an adverse condition occurs, to the consequential, to understanding. It is, I think, both. It is the constant reminder of time passing. He volunteers at convalescent hospitals reading poetry to the residents and they in turn recite poetry back to him. Eugene Ruggles had an intensely expressive gift for opening his mind to vivid imagery and apt metaphor.
It was as if he made and lost himself in a single gesture, like a waterfall. It is no accident that water s occurs twenty times in The Lifeguard in the Snow, fifty-eight times if we include cognates like river, sea, and rain. The place that holds the water even as it falls is a pair of cupped hands, making Ruggles the Poet of Hands. Ruggles finds and expresses his meanings in the simplest physical gestures, often though not always involving hands.
This presence extends to the elements in physical contact with him, the weather, the land, the quality of light, the time of day, seasonal affects: She has placed the wind about me like a shirt without a seam, and told me that the words like men, should have weather in them. Alec Guinness is eloquent by his very presence. A person can speak with his entire physical body and mind. So Ruggles writes in the title poem of The Lifeguard in the Snow: Watching those young children all last summer Has folded this black sunburn through my chest— A small girl water carved out of my arms forever.
It is the way we speak to ourselves, in incomplete sentences, unmindful of grammar, when we feel something deeply. The lover embraces the beloved, his arms like the rain about [her] .
ITS HISTORY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE
Of the twenty-nine poems in Part I of The Lifeguard, all but the final poem have at least a few, often several, of the cognates for weather——water, rain, snow, wind, light or sunlight , and various cognates for the physical body——body bodies , hand, thigh, arms, bones, earth. In The Lifeguard as a whole, body and its cognates—bones, heart, eyes, fingers, shoulders, stomach, ankle, waist, skin, thighs, chest, face, arms, hair, blood, and especially hands, occur an astounding times.
A full November moon. And my hand a yard turning dark. The poor in prayer are ecstatic as the fingers of an old baker of loaves who is brushing the last flour from his apron. In other poems, Ruggles sometimes stumbles, losing control of his image. Chain all pregnant women together to form a circle in every town and aim rifles at their stomachs. Do not let the women know the rifles are empty. I am not sure what to make of this. Ruggles seems to lose his sea legs; ashore, he cannot quite make his way.
Ruggles can still astound, even as he gropes for subject matter, once he returns to his core themes. I quote it in full: I feel strongest alone. Removed, late at night. I listen to the dark healing between us. When it has finished covering the last opening, where the skin belongs,. I empty into sleep, into many. A crutch, the oar of a pencil tied in my hand with rope, growing back toward all of you.
In the times of Eugene Ruggles, with the Vietnam War still a foul taste in the mouth, and when to be a man was not to be a warrior, but still to guard and protect, the failure to do so could mark a life, a body of work, and perhaps an era, as well. Swimming the Eel is due out later this year. She lives in Berkeley, California. Delicately crafted poetry can appear to shimmer gently, as if what is not there and said is trying to surface constantly beneath the words that do appear anchored to the page, bumping up against the letters impatiently and making them bob to and fro with hidden meaning.
A poet chooses his or her language to represent all those concealed connotations, sounds, rhythms and colours. Each word is a delegate, there to stand for a hundred or perhaps a thousand others, their constituencies a whole chapter of life or lore. That is why economy, well managed, can speak so voluminously. It is a rare talent, and one that the publisher Trafford has thankfully recognised.
Pain and desolation emanate throughout, and the poet takes refuge for a loss so keenly felt in memory, in God, in his own beautiful verse. Throbbing uniquely, uniquely understanding, following the beat, freshness, watercolor eyes of the city. In the mildness of his time, he condenses - as if it were a memorandum - the complex and coarse substance that flows or bursts from the human species.
Boyd and Cresevich have certainly done immense justice to this heritage, with translations that are both accurate to the register and alive with the sentiment expressed in the original. Keith Holyoak, whose fine translations of classical Chinese poetry appear in Measure and as a book length collection Facing the Moon: Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu , defies expectations by his scientific credentials as Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles , and by his strict use of meter and rhyme in this, his first collection of original poems.
This volume contains many very fine, extraordinary poems, even if in a few poems, he shapes the poetic line into rhyme patterns or metric schemes that seem to tame his own expressive ferocity, the minotaur of his title poem. Years before, he had given them refuge during flood. We got a place To sleepfield for the cows, shed for the people. We mostly needed just a warm dry space. Holyoak touches on this point in a final stanza, in which we seem to hear Harry speaking to himself in his final moments,. The first climbers to pass the young man leave him there,.
Here, the rhythms hold to the natural rhythms of English speech. The results can be slightly flat and archaic. On his poetry website, Hokyoak mentions this debt, along with his debt to Frost. But Frost is the poet who hovers over the most powerful of these poems; with Frost, Holyoak shares the gift of finding the moral veins in the surface and activity of nature.
My Minotaur is an ambitious first book. Like a translation from a classical ideal, Holyoak echoes other poems from an earlier tradition of English language poetry. His impressive gifts give him a place among our poets. If his professional commitments to the science have excluded him from a certain creative friction and entanglement with other poets and writers inside and outside of academia, this is most unfortunate, and a loss both for Holyoak, and for the free verse poets who have much to learn from him.
Swimming the Eel is due out this year. She lives and writes in Berkeley, California. Leblanc Xlibris Corporation Orders Xlibris. Leblanc is poetry written between and , but is the culmination of a full lifetime of experiences. These are poems reflecting observations on life spiced with philosophy and rare insights not often considered or published. It is poetry that comes from the soul of a good man who believes life should be lived with a live and let live attitude. His god, like that of Thomas Paine, is found in nature from which we came and shall return. This poetry is a good and satisfying read that will be enjoyed by the reader who is not afraid to face life in the raw, one found in human nature.
Raoul LeBlanc has journeyed through life without flinching at the rough and tough experiences he encountered along the way. LeBlanc has some good advice on facing death without fear, something that many people in their 80s think about. Nowadays many people publish poems in one or two books that capture something of their lives in this millennial turning point. I think of these books as dwellings where the poets live and express their emotional and intellectual lives. As readers, thanks to the relative ease of publishing, we can tour the different neighborhoods that have grown up and see how people are thinking and feeling.
Richard Kovac has written one such book, Untitled. He understands his strengths and limitations as a poet. Rather than playing with language, indulging in complicated metaphysics, or erupting, like so much modern and post-modern poetry, from an subconscious dream world, these short poems take a clear moral view. Her first full-length collection, Swimming the Eel, is due out this year.
She lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dumpty , which chronicles in keenly perceptive ways the breakdown of a husband and a marriage. Indirectly, in thoughtful, sometimes humorous, sometimes sardonic ways, they inculcate virtue without seeming to insist or dictate. Jacqueline Berger, a San Francisco poet and winner of numerous literary prizes, is one poet who succeeds very well in the loosely defined genre I am describing here.
Facing the loss of her mother, she says:. She warns us, early on in the book, of the limitations of language. Using a concrete narrative in a classroom, she asks us to think about an abstract idea—and suggests that language will fail us if by success we mean reprieve from the inevitable . In these sophisticated poems, details of a story or incident are hewn away to emphasize a blend of moral, psychological, philosophical and spiritual truth. Moderate and sensible where love and marriage are concerned, Berger shares a willingness to acknowledge the eddies and flurries the mind inevitably undergoes in its zen-like way while the body is being faithful.
Berger goes into a Proustian interlude with her hometown, where. Berger avoids the rarified verbal strata of John Ashbery or Milton, an atmosphere only a few can abide. The rest of us take in the quips, allusions, metaphors and slogans around us the way we breathe——naturally, almost without effort. Some of this verbal culture entertains, some of it influences behavior—and changes the culture. The moral nature of the material delicately shapes the contours, the line and stanza breaks as the poem scrolls down the page——reflecting and confirming certain aspects of American culture——individual, tolerant, skeptical, organically shaped and evolving.
Zara Raab writes about the fault lines between city dwellers and the poor, rural towns, people to the north. She lives and writes in San Francisco. Ordinary Mourning, which takes its title from a Victorian stage of grief, is much taken with 19th Century Spiritualism and with ghosts, particularly ghosts as they appear on the lonely stretches of prairie in the middle of America. These are simple narratives in a mild, unambitious style, the descriptions rendered lightly, often deftly.
Some encounters are spooky, others more banal. The unvaried tone offers the book a kind of unity, as if it were one long poem, but in the end flattens the texture and saps the poems of vitality and verbal surprise. As an artistic conceit of resurrection, what does Ordinary Mourning tell us about our lives? Shipers has a well-controlled, light touch, but the poems sometimes let in more hilarity than she intends. And in the best poems, she reveals the talent Frost had for finding darkness. I begged the poison from our priest. This collection of his original poetry, by the translator of the shorter poems of Du Fu and Li Bai, is highly to be recommended, not only for the general high standard of the work, but for the variety of style and skill displayed in it throughout, from the twelve pages in terza rima bringing life to a nightmare the poet had suffered, about the collapse of society into violent anarchy, to such pithy, effective short pieces as The Happy Trout , ten couplets describing the enjoyment of a fish in the last moments of life, caught by the angler but still in the water, not aware of impending death by suffocation.
Chen , presenting the death of an elderly woman and her husband weeping for her, with two cleverly-inserted six-line stanzas expressing how, as very young adults, they first realized that they loved each other. In this period of intimate, personal American poems, tending toward dramatic monologues or dream reenactments, it is a relief to discover a poet who uses rhetoric as unabashedly and skillfully as Bruce Cohen. I like my chicks. I appreciate a gal who knows the difference between lay and lie but keeps it to herself, confident enough to pick up hitchhikers, order a beer and a bump at a dive that smells like sour urine and sawdust, who is way too good at pool and has no qualms about asking for a fist full of quarters and shaking her moneymaker over to the juke box.
Do you like Tony Bennett? Curious how lonely the lonely have to be to respond , the narrator wonders,. Develop compassion? Dear Mrs. In certain poems, Cohen is skittish about delving too deeply into a story or committing himself to a narrative. Your phone ringing in the middle of night might be your imagination. Her Book of Gretel came out this spring. His first full-length collection, Swimming the Eel, is due out in Although Mun Dok-su is a poet in his eighties, he is still writing fearlessly, as evidenced by his latest epic, one that is reminiscent of other epics: Wasteland in particular , Ulysses, etc.
The poet is not afraid to experiment with poetic form as commented on by other literary critics and poets. By bearing the burden of the disorders and conflicts in life, he is able to rescue meaning from those experiences. And that is the achievement of his life as reflected in the writing of the poem. In seeking meaning from those experiences, the poet must explore the appropriate form in language and poetry to give expression to the subject.
Like the visual artist who begins his painting with an idea or concept, the poet and the artist must make a decision about the medium that will best develop the idea. It must have been quite a challenge but Mun Dok-su assumed the task. His references to other works, to other writers and to other realities can be viewed as a great adventure.
The adventurer, whether in life or in literature, will encounter despair, death and uncertainties before he can make a new beginning that is hopeful and humanistic.
Mark My Words: on poetry, life, culture, and the cosmos
The poem can be enjoyed on various levels. Its montage of historical, mythological and spiritual elements gives it the dimensions of the epic. Its unstructured form is so like modern life itself. We are given roles or expected to take actions that may be antithetical to the values we hold dear. He is the one who goes from generation to generation, fulfilling his daily task of delivering the mail, allowing us to communicate with each other. As a member of our communities, our postman lives by the mores of the community. In one sense, our postman has no real identity.
He is nameless but he goes about his job delivering the mail, regardless of rain or shine. He is mostly passive, just as we are, but then events beyond his control force him to confront evil and death. By giving his postman the identity of the kind and loving Joseph Roulin, Mun Dok-su brings the postman to life in a narrative that we trust. He does this with clear images of the effects of war on the human body and the human spirit. Streams of history and mythology weave themselves throughout the poem.
The images of war are both historical and contemporary. Although his war experiences are a pivotal part of the narrative, the poet approaches it in an historical context. The narrative also reminds us of the irrational division of countries that leads to further conflict. Even cities have been divided, as Berlin was. It is significant that Korea figures large in the poem as it points up what happens to those countries caught in the vice of larger forces and their lust for power. The poet leaves the blood in the language, unlike our current military and political leaders who use abstract and obfuscating language and euphemisms to describe modern warfare collateral damage , extraordinary rendition , enhanced interrogation , etc.
The images in Part 2 Oarsmen with scenes from the 16th century battle against the attempted Japanese invasion to the 20th century Korean War are graphic. Rosary-like beads of sweat form, circle necks fold by fold. One soldier gasps right under your chin, his heavy M1 slips as if about to fall from his grasp then a whip emrges from somewhere like lightening, urging him on.
And the poem continues: Those helmets with their thin metallic sound—are they safe? They were camouflaged with grass, leaves and branches. A rifle in one hand, a machine gun tied over their shoulders, grenades hung from their breasts. Climbing up and down hills and slopes, stamping on them like stone so-called foot soldiers scaling heights amidst shells pouring down like rain, who are they with a name like that?
Are they sons of those who fought off the invasion in the s? The descriptions of war continue in Part 3: Token of Fire with the mortars screaming as they ride across the sky and soldiers dive into trenches. Death is there to greet them from submachine guns, bayonets, grenades.
To Death, South and North are no different. In Part 4: the poet revisits the DMZ: So land and nation are divided in two, divided at the waist, families separated, severed, a vortex of pain, grief, bitterness, tears that like clouds know nothing of North and South. Cranes lay eggs in nests, on high pine-tree branches, squirrels, boars, hares frolic and play, in green groves the pale bodies of deer gleam occasionally, this DMZ inside its tangles of barbed wire. In Part 5: Moderato, the pain from his war injuries leaves him in a state of suspension. What was it all for? In Part 6: Now, Here, the narrator, or the poet, speaks for all mankind.
He sees generations of robots as the future mechanism for war. We are seeing technological weapons, including drones, being used today in the Middle East with tragic results. The late Howard Zinn warned us against the technological fanaticism that we are witnessing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gaza, and we can expect to see in Iran.
On another level we acknowledge that soldiers themselves are used as robots in our modern and post-modern wars. And it is the civilian population and the civilian infrastructure that are targeted in modern warfare, whether by robotic devices or the heavily armed soldier wading though the dust with his two feet or breaking down doors to invade the home of a terrified family.
How do we recover and keep our humanity in the face of dysfunctional society and modern warfare? His free use of imagery in the conscious and the subconscious supports his cognizance of the impact of technology for good or bad. It is the poet who bears witness to the horrors of modern warfare and that witness takes us a small step closer to our redemption. Mun Dok-su is the postman delivering a message to us. His recreation of a wasteland demonstrates just how destructive is modern warfare and how dehumanizing modern technology can be.
Even with all our PCs, TVs, air-conditioning, cell phones, and robots, there is salvation in life itself. The egg is the beginning of life in the womb. The satchel contains the letters with messages for us so that we can communicate with each other, regardless of distance. The poet reinforces the gift of life in water, as in rivers. Rivers can divide us and unite us. We can love each other and our children. In the end the poet returns us to where it all begins. Life itself.
Turning from the heartaches and joys of fatherhood in Tidal Air , Byrne, in Seeded Light , now addresses themes from nature——moonrise on water, a storm at sea or in a mountain meadow, a wild canyon tributary, night skies in Colorado, where the poet is engaged, and at times beset:. Rich, shaded, and subtle in texture, with second lines often bleeding into the next couplet, these open couplets expand meaning, encouraging the reader to follow.
The rhythm and movement of the lines, the stately, loose-limbed rhythms of the pentameter, mime a strolling gait. As the day retracts its light, invites still colder weather, from the warmth of our bedroom. Such sap-filled sighs are likely to escape the reader of these wonderful poems, just warm and heartening enough for one well attuned to winter.
Ford StudiosIcopelin gmail. Curated by Michael C. Ford, the DVD is a feast of memories of poets, their friends and two members of the Rexroth family who also read from the works of Kenneth Rexroth. The passion and feelings of the poet are mirrored through the voices of the participants. Several of them gave credit to Kenneth as a personal mentor. His widow, Carol Tinker, and his daughter, Mariana Rexroth, a spark of fire off the old genius in her performance, were there.
Michael C. Ford did a marvelous job hosting this fast-moving, entertaining and engaging program. The program is a panorama of a passing scene of poets and memories that would have been lost had this wonderful high quality DVD not been produced. Ford for its production. You know what time I wake to piss And I have swallowed your cheap California charm At many a forgotten dinner party. We come together And we go together, and if one of us. Is late or sad, the other is inches away, Looking for leftovers. But we would not give It up, for we are bettered. But I have known no beauty Like the one of return.
Sensible about marriage, the poet-narrator dryly acknowledges the eddies and flurries the mind undergoes while the body is being faithful. Divided like a novel into chapters, Nevertheless, hello takes on these themes of first love and first marriage, and the chaos, pain and comedy that may accompany them. The poet-narrator writes for my first wife, while married to my second,.
If we never speak again, that would be fine—honestly, I have nothing to say.
- Her Day: The Virgen de Guadalupe?
- Diagnosis and Treatment of Bone and Joint Disorders in Ayurveda (Atreyas Guidelines for Ayurveda Practice).
- siwarmayu – a river of hummingbirds.
- English Literature, William J. Long.
- Song of Myself (1892 version).
- Sleeping Hero Legends!
- High-Risk Reunion (Mills & Boon Intrigue) (Stealth Knights, Book 1).
But maybe you do. And maybe I could sit with my arms Unfolded, kind-of-closing my eyes. Tonight, we are going to bed angry. The way, finally, we return To bed with nothing or with fists— Their impossible opening and closing. It is how we hold on to everything,. In this age when we can so rarely rely on conventional societal precepts to guide our thinking, Goodrich offers a fresh possibility. By lifting your right foot, then your left. Wondering where to store your luggage, Looking for a seat next to someone Who will let you read your Tolstoy. We are here to ignore each other.
I open my mouth because you are stunning Against the glass, the green, the blue, wet white. Or how we will survive a long-distance relationship. How about Gregory if we make him a brother? His poems are insightful, humorous, occasionally tender, occasionally sentimental, instructing us to kiss something. How many women poets I can think of several express falling in love as a kind of drowning? Goodrich, naturally enough, stands that image on its head. The way a river drowns what it loves.
The rest of us take in the quips, allusions, metaphors, and slogans around us the way we breathe——naturally, almost without effort. Reading these poems, I came away with the sense of listening to a thoughtful young person who lives with intention and purpose, who has not without struggle attained insight and maturity. The moral nature of the material slyly shapes the contours, the line and stanza breaks as the poem scrolls down the page——reflecting and confirming certain aspects of American culture——individual, tolerant, skeptical, organically shaped and evolving.
Zara Raab often writes about the fault lines between city dwellers and the poor, rural towns people to the north. Check her web site www. These poems, like all things, are gifts. I hope the joy they have given me spills over to you.
His poems re-imagine the formation of small universes: the cells of the body, the galaxies of the spirit, the verses that touch us all; the oneness of the universe we share. I remember when I was in the fifth grade at St. Later I learned about the divisions of cancer and then about the invisible things that unite: prayers, the soul, pain. No one thing being greater or smaller than any other. This universe of limitless configurations.
The poems in Songs from a Small Universe are divided into seven sections; together they form a chorus of subjects: songs of the natural, the human experience and songs of remorse and joy. In the section titled Tears, the images are about ritual and loss, the tears are quiet songs. Raphael Block has the gift of precision and rhythm, like a fine-tuned piano, his voice has beauty and texture. He is the beholder of great sadness, the holder of the mouthpiece of a recorder to the lips.
His lyrics are accompanied by chord sequences. Songs from a Small Universe is an intensely moving book of poetry, it is indeed a small universe of beautiful words, and it is vast. Raphael Block was born on a Kibbutz in Israel to pioneering parents and spent his boyhood playing on the hills of Haifa. Just before he turned nine, his family moved to England. Learning English shaped his ear for sounds, and the British climate and temperament fashioned his life over the next 25 years, until he met and married an American living in London, reviving the long submerged, fiery Israeli.
Raphael has worked with children of all ages for almost 30 years. He currently lives in an old apple orchard outside of Sebastopol, and considers himself richly blessed. His second collection of poetry, Render , was published by Poetic Matrix Press in What he does in the short lines of a poem is superb.
In language and in stories accessible to us all, this book becomes what you want to give to that certain someone in your family or to a friend. We all like to hear stories and to tell stories. Many poets writing today remain steadfast in their view that poets should not write about history or politics. Storytelling is philosophy in poetry that creates a mirror so that we take a look at ourselves. His reflections on life take a look backward as we all do in private moments. These vignettes are glimpses of a life lived with joy and sadness in thoughts that are chiseled in marble.
Just as he did in his previous collection, All Eyes on US , Portolano exhibits the ability to write with a passion and sensitivity about real people and real events. I like poetry that has an edge to it and this collection has that sharpness that reveals a keen eye and mind. In reviewing any book, I want to consider what is negative as well as the positive in order to give a balanced report, but with Storytelling , I could not find anything negative, except to wish there was more storytelling.
In this, his third and largest collection of poetry, Dethlefsen does most everything right. He is a master of drawing word pictures that are at once narrative stories, melodies, and free association free-for-alls. There is great kindness here, and a mind with a very wide reach. Here are two poems from Breather. In Breather, Dethlefsen flows from the concrete to ethereal. He orbits around the collective unconscious like a Jungian astronaut - his interior radar big enough to find meaning in both the great moments and the small nuances of life. This is the blessing of the mature poet — one who has lived hundreds of lives and can bring this diversity of experience to us as a numinous pool of images to soak in.
Breather is an exceptional collection of poetry. David D. Horowitz's Stars Beyond the Battlesmoke is filled with memorable lines, keen observations, and acute wit. These precisely crafted poems touch on contemporary urban life and politics, as well as historical events.
Etched Press - Page 2 of 5 - Writing that remains
Though Horowitz decries the tragedy of war and violence, as in the pithy and poignant poem "Rising Prices," he also celebrates beauty and calm, as in this line from "Holy Man": "Dusk's rosy quiet breathes the deepest psalm. Horowitz has indeed achieved the very "Mastery" he writes about--"To raise a garden from one seed," the seed being his gift for language. Reading David Horowitz's poetry, I am refreshed by his trust in the continuing ability of established form to speak to contemporary readers.
The shorter poems remind us of the power of the epigram to deliver a moment of quiet illumination. The ambitious, longer poems remind us that our moments of bewilderment--at cultural conflict, at political violence, even at love--have been anticipated by the experiences of those who have come before us: a thirteenth-century Baghdad librarian, a citizen of Constantinople during its siege, a medieval bricklayer.
For more than thirty years, Eric Greinke has been crafting poetry with colorful quality and provocative texture. This collection attempts to capture the unique evolution of a poet, and, I'm sure, only begins to paint a picture of Greinke's true merit. From the beginning, Greinke sets a mood of dedication.
The first poem, "Postcard," is a message sent to someone far away. Short and simple, he writes:. From there, this collection becomes a series of poems as postcards, dedicated to family and friends and poets near and far. It's like stumbling upon a box of old letters, in a desk, in an antique shop, inviting a stranger into the warmth and intimacy of Greinke's life. Much of Greinke's collection consists of short poems, packing power nonetheless. He writes as an avid nature-lover. Each poem creates landscapes of mountains and fields, flowers and birds, stars and snow, especially in pieces like "April," "Painting," and "The Tree.
Even poems like "In the Library" and "The Nun" evoke natural illustrations. Consider a nun:. About halfway through, Greinke's style shifts toward psychedelia. There is a set of three-part poems that transform the landscapes of this collection into acres of peculiarity. Just when you come to expect roses and rain, you'll find the unexpected in the "Seasons" part of the poem "Ice Feathers. There is a sense of a post-apocalyptic return to savagery. The world collapses at the hands of humanity and what have we to do but succumb to bacchanal regression. Although never yielding his strong grip on vivid imagery and clever sonic devices, Greinke continues the excursion into the bizarre with poems like "The Door" and "The Clown Choir.
In the poem "The Forest," you catch glimpses of these techniques in lines like. In spring the seedlings pop, pushing through the birth-wet dirt, thirsting for the life of light, straining thin arms toward rain. Many never make it through the membrane of leaves. At the collection's close, Greinke returns his readers to poems short and simple, like those at the beginning, but not without a curious residue:.
Greinke seamlessly weaves together the vibrance of the naturalist with the unsettling images of dream worlds and mimes. His collection of work from more than three decades establishes Eric Greinke as an accomplished poet, seeing both worlds seen and unseen. There's always an image around us, something profound we choose to see for what it is or ignore. These are some of the images used as a bass line beating along to the beauty of imagination, dreams, words, and objects. The poems in Children of Gravity show that we are all unique yet interlaced in a web of conquest and meaning, diverse beings and words broken down into the raw unadulterated questions of philosophy and nature.
These along with the title of the book Children of Gravity , are also titles to individual poems. Space and single words become negative poems opposite the written ones. They glare into our soul and haunt our natural phonetic inebriation. In the second half of "The Contortionist's Wife" this is exemplified. Translation is an art and journey on its own and can prove to be just as inviting as what is actually there.
Children of Gravity does something that is to be greatly appreciated. It's as if the book itself rises in the air and blows a cool stream of images and thoughts that scatter to the floor. But in the most unexpected places, they'll be lifted up, directly in front of your eyes. And a random perusal gives the reader the immediate feel that the poems in this page collection are for all of us.
The poems by twelve Korean American poets are very accessible to an American audience and especially to the modern ear. The language of these poets is direct and simple and their poems are typically short. The memory of the homeland and the yearning for those connections to family are strong elements throughout this collection.
The family is present in many of these poems as in "Father" by Chong Cha Lee. The memory of the comfort and love between father and child is awakened in the lines. Yearn Choi's poem "From the Idaho Potato Field" evokes a special tenderness for all our grandmothers Grandmother, who harvested potatoes in July, came from her country house To my city house with a bushel of her first-harvested potatoes on her head Along the 10 miles of new unpaved highway. All scarless potatoes that escaped the hoe were for me, Her grandson who loved potato-eating.
Looking over the green field with small white flowers, I saw my grandma, walking from Oesachon to Chongup With a bushel of potatoes on her head And again in Yearn Choi's poem "An Empty House", the images are so vivid and the memories so heart wrenching, I must ask "Is the house still empty? His poem "Retiree's Last Words" has a kind of uneasiness mixed with resignation, feelings that we all can relate to when faced with a career change or retirement.
And we love the connection back through the ages to Li Po, the 8th century Chinese poet in his poem "To Koh Choong-suk. Current events enter into the moving lines of a number of these poems. The poets shared their anguish and grief at the loss of life at the Virginia Tech massacre—the grief expressed at the losses suffered by the families of the victims and their anguish that the perpetrator was Korean. There also is sadness for what war and occupation do to a people and the desire to see Korea be a whole nation again.
The sorrow and pain suffered by families with daughters assaulted and killed by our armies of occupation, as in "Candlelight Demonstration" by Chun U Yi is a matter of grave concern for Americans and for our policy-makers. Considering the current crises in families facing foreclosure, we can appreciate the wistful humor in "Mortgage Payments" by Yung Whi Chung. That these poets share an awareness of the small things we encounter in our daily lives was exemplified in "A Stream of Light". In this small poem by Yung Whi Chung, a smoke detector is given real meaning.
One day when this light turns into a sound of alarm Waking me up, Leaving behind my soul, My body would dash Towards the outside As if It had lived just for that moment. And in "I Want to Be a Tree" also by Yung Whi Chung, elements of nature are personified, a style that is seen in quite a number of other poems in this collection.
This handling of elements in nature gives the trees and flowers a palpable presence not often realized by writers. The dandelions in Monica Sohn's poem, usually treated as weeds, take on a very different meaning when they are happy to be together with the weeds , as an expression of democracy. Looking out the car window this spring and seeing dandelions in profusion, Monica's lines came immediately to mind. In "Daffodil" by Anne Park, The cries followed, going between the steps. In these lines from "Sunflower" by Se Woong Ro, there is an acceptance of what nature gives us:.
I planted sunflower seeds again, But the result was the same: they were dwarf-size. I did not know the dwarf sunflower before. The sunflowers in my backyard know my background Of being an immigrant from Korea: they like to be my companion of my height. I came to know their valuable message: You should know yourself! As so much of American culture rushes headlong over the precipice, I found the celebration by these poets with the beautiful things that are beautiful so refreshing, as in the awareness that what the dawn brings is so vivid and palpable to the senses in "A Day of Awakening" by Haeng Ja Kim.
The sun rises. And how the season and the self merge into light and time in "Winter, the River of Dawn" by Yang Ja Park is deeply moving to any reader who ponders life. To all the new leaves! Heeding impatience, The birds whisper and chatter Beak to beak With their bodies leaning close There are periods of quietness in some of these poems that is spiritual. They compel us, as poetry should, to 'stop and listen.
In "In the Autumn" Insuk Kang asks us to stop and listen, go out into the forest and retrieve our memories from the fallen leaves. When we can reconnect to nature, we replenish our spirit. The book, which includes original Chinese landscape paintings and calligraphy, can be ordered directly from the publisher at www. If one of poetry's purposes is to provoke thought, then Portolano has accomplished that purpose with this compendium of work from three previous books.
Today, we live in a dangerous, dysfunctional, unpredictable world and Charles Portolano dares to write about it. Politicians squander this country's financial resources on overt and covert projects around the globe, yet can't find the money necessary to balance the national budget or repair a crumbling infrastructure.