Okt 31, 2012

A Thread on "Poet's Work"

DE— I also love how Niedecker's poem wants us to work as readers. We are pushed to do this through the line breaks, the spare meter, and words like "trade" and "condensery"

DE— What's intriguing for me is how a Dickinson poem almost immediately announces that it demands work: its hyphenated form, its capitalizations, its weird merging of the abstract (Possibility) and the concrete (House). But in Niedecker it's different. I have to admit that I was surprised to find Niedecker's "Grandfather advised me" among our poems for discussion because I remember reading it before and passing it over quickly because I thought I already understood it. But the threads here are amazing, and I discovered that, yes, I was young and lazy and now I have to put in more hours in this condensery! But what happy work.

AN— i like this reading about lorine niedecker/emily dickinson being somehow restrictive, selective. that desk does seem very forbidding, unlike the outdoors of whitman.

DE—Agreed. The conversation with the Grandfather also sounds locked (though visible): a long-standing argument with the dead and dying (but great/grand). Niedecker knows exactly where she is, what she wants to do. In this little diamond of a poem, she shows us the position of the poet, what it means to be a poet. But how about us readers? Where does this leave us? What is expected of us? I wish there was also a close reading of the poem toward this direction, and I believe it would be fruitful based on the following possible entrances:

1: Condensery does sound like a factory. The desk has more than one side. Are these possible set-ups for a consumer? A consulting client?

2: No lay-off. It has been explained that she employs herself. We could extend this to the point that she also consumes herself. Maybe it is not so solipsistic. What if "No lay-off" also asserts belief in an inexhaustible demand for what poetry offers?

3: The Grandfather as the first (and ultimate) reader.

_____ _____ ___ _____ Investigations

Erasures of Duran, R., Chan, F., Tamir, P. (1998).

1. Please _____ ___ ___ code if ___ _____ ___ ___ _____ ___ a particular _____
2. ___ ___ code is to be _____ _____ no attempt to respond ___ ___ _____ ___ _____
3. ___ ___ _____ _____ _____ _____ ___ sum up ___ determine ___ _____ _____ ___ _____ _____
4. There is no need to determine ___ _____ _____ ___ ___ _____

Part A: _____ Design

1. Statement of _____
    Effect linked to _____
    Directionality of _____
    Expected _____/change
    _____ _____
    Dependent _____

2. _____ for Investigation
    Resolved _____ problem/feasible
    Sequenced and detailed _____
    _____ strategy
    Safety _____
    ___ ___ _____/diagram or set-up

3. Plan to ___ _____ ___ _____/_____
    Space for _____/calculated _____
    _____ ___ _____
    _____ sequentially
    Labeled _____ (_____ included)
    _____ identified

Part B: _____ Report

4. Quality of _____/_____
    Consistent _____
    _____ _____/observations
    _____ _____ _____
    Correct _____
    _____ description

5. Graph
    _____ is appropriate ___ _____ _____
    _____ _____ _____
    Appropriate _____ (_____ _____)
    Axes _____ _____ _____ _____
    ___ an appropriate _____

6. _____
    _____ accurately
    Substituted _____ into relationship
    Relationship stated ___ implied
    _____ used correctly
    Used all _____ _____

7. Forms ___ Conclusion from ___ _____
    Consistent _____ _____ principle
    _____ of error
    _____ ___ _____
    Relationship _____ _____ stated
    _____ stated in conclusion

Okt 29, 2012

noong araw

ni Gerrit Kouwenaar
aking salin

Noong araw na naroon ako tumigil ang orasan sa alas siete
ang mga kapit-bahay ay nag-uusap tungkol sa kapayapaan
ang aking ama'y nasa labas at nag-uulat tungkol sa apoy
ang aking ina'y masaya dahil may anak siyang lalake

ang mga tito'y naghain ng kakanin habang nakahilata ako't nakakandado
ang mundo'y agad na sumagot sa tulong ng mga tanghalang pang-isports
mga kotseng puno ng tagasuporta ang nagsidagsaan sa kahapunan
ang mga tita'y walang-ingay na naglakad tangan ang tubig na kumukulo

ang nagbibisikletang tagahatid ng dyaryo'y bumati sa doktor
ang mga mata ng lungsod ay sabik na sabik sa araw ng dapit-hapon
sapagkat naroon ako sa isang palanggana ng aspalto
sapagkat naroon ako noong tumugtog ang organ nang mahina sa malayo

kinagabihan noon umuwi ang aking amang nangangamoy-apoy ang dyaket
suot niya ang mga botang goma habang panhik-panaog sa hagdan
nagsigarilyo siya sa balkonahe
ininom niya ang isang basong alak at inakalang kaya kong lumutang.

Okt 28, 2012

A "Danse Russe" Thread

Here's the poem discussed below.

DE— What do we get from this grotesque dance? Who is the persona (or Williams himself dancing to? He (or in his imagination) is dancing in front of the mirror, the shades drawn. The Danse Russe is locked away from view, yes, yet he publishes the scene (or the imagination of the scene) into a poem where the public sees the silken mists and, to a certain extent, his flanks and arms. Also, he is asking an open question about the very scene which he closed off from anyone else. It seems to me that by writing this poem, he dutifully and conscientiously performs a performative contradiction. Does this provide a meaningful angle for reading this poem?

DE— That's a koan, I think. No one was around to hear the tree fall, but we're around to hear someone talking about the tree falling (and no one hearing), and so in a way, it does make a sound. In this poem, he becomes an exhibitionist (and we voyeurs) but several times removed from the act of exhibition.

AN— several?

DE— Many times removed, yes. First, as pointed out by the vid discussion, it probably did not happen. Just a hypothetical situation in the mind of the persona (that it's a persona is also an additional remove). Even if it did happen, we're shut off from it like his own sleeping family. Even if he published the poem, it's only so he can tell us that we're thus removed from this. He's fully aware of the strength of his image and how far he can tease before he gives out his open question (who-shall-say...).

AN— that's right. by default, one dances "with" somebody, though people also dance to audiences and for the sake of queens, etc. what if the reading that the Danse Russe is a metaphor for poetry (that this poet, like most poets, writes when nobody's looking, an act of undressing and maybe joy, but distanced from partners and audience, therefore not entirely joyful?) led to the phrasing of this question as "dancing to," like "writing to" . . ?

DE— Thank you. Your word "witness" reminds me of another genius who danced grotesquely. King David danced naked in the streets. His wife called on God to witness the debasement before the Ark. A string of misfortunes would befall the House of David after this. I have to revisit these verses to make sure I summarized them correctly.

AN— you think that intertext was intended by the author?

DE— I believe so, yes.

AN— there should be some thread or other devoted to that intertext alone. anyway, thanks for sharing it

DE— Stravinsky's sprawling score! "Spring" sounds about right (and there's the WCW fixation on that particular season). Your reading accounts for why the image is so indelible now. It plays along quite well, in my view, of the professor's definition of the word "genius" as originator, creator. It plays somehow with the Eden parting scene too, I guess, Adam stripping off the clothes with which he was covered by God.

DE— This discussion of the actual danse russe and its effects make for a richer reading.

AN— scandal is a nice word to contemplate in the suburbs. it's why those curtains are down! it has to be part of what this 'genius' is dancing against

GE— When I first read the title I thought it was a very clever play on words and how both meanings of the tittle can fit the poem so well. I think of how in a suburbia you are supposed to be living a tranquil normal life but all in all it's just a facade.

AN— what's a chastushka, btw? i mean, as a poem. see, you're saying that william's poem that incorporates a dance actually used a dance that incorporates a poem!

GE— What will make it a bit more interesting is that some of the Danse Russe samples also has poetry in them as well. So it's really a pas de deux between poetry and danse at this point.

DE— Agree! Esp. with your #2. With being in denial though, it becomes more complicated because he seems ultra-aware of being in denial. Awareness somehow doubles the negation. Maybe that's another function of the mirror in the scene.

DE— Or, his inner child?

DE— This seems one of the central questions of the poem, but only if he does see writing-to-be-heard as a contradiction to writing-to-unload. Other poets (confessional poets usually) see them as quite compatible. Misery loves an audience. I guess WCW feels these two modes grating against each other.

GE— That's sad. That part where he answers his own question.

Okt 26, 2012

Kulay ng Chlorine sa Tampakan

Karumal-dumal ang kawayan ang eskoba at sukat
Akalain ng imbentor ng sabon ang kanyang kabutihan habang

Banayad ang mga riple parang mga batang hinahalungkat
Ang mga butil ng ginto mula sa ilalim ng anit sapagkat malinaw

Maliwanag ang pagpikit ng mata kumbakit napakaliwanag


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Okt 25, 2012

UN Day sa Kalsada

mga mumunting
watawat at

(pakpak ng manok
unan sa baywang
sanggol na alpombra)

mga nanay ang pampigil-
hininga ng mga tambutsong
ford chevrolet

pagkaliko sa eskwela resiklo
ang destino ng mga patpat

Okt 24, 2012

BENEVOLENT ASSIMILATION: Mga gupit at saling-Google mula sa ilang napapanahong makata

CRANE 1871—1900
Oo, mayroon akong isang libong wika,
Kahit na ako ay nagsusumikap upang gamitin ang isa,
Ngunit patay sa aking bibig.

McKINLEY 1843—1901
Ang pagkawasak ng Spanish fleet sa daungan ng Manila sa pamamagitan ng
Panghuli, dapat ito ang maalab wish
Islands sa ilalim ng libreng bandila ng Estados Unidos.

LOWELL 1874—1925
Pininturahan ko ang isang larawan ng isang ghost
Ang mga tao ay magyumukyok
Swimming sa mga ulap.

Walang spinsterlollypop para sa akin - oo - mayroon kami
Ito ay sa France - ang hangin sa linya -
Isang dosenang cocktail - mangyaring -- -- -- --

ROBINSON 1869—1935
Tuwing Richard Cory ay nagpunta down na bayan,
Upang gumawa ng sa amin nais na kami sa kanyang lugar.
Nagpunta tahanan at maglagay ng bullet sa pamamagitan ng kanyang ulo.

STEIN 1874—1946
Ano ang kasalukuyang na gumagawa ng makinarya, na ginagawang kaluskos ito,
Ano ang kasalukuyang.
Line A Tinutukoy lamang ito.

STEVENS 1879—1946
Ang mga bahay ay pinagmumultuhan
Upang managinip ng mga baboons at periwinkles.
Sa pulang panahon.

DOOLITTLE 1886—1961
Rose, malupit rosas,
sa malulutong na buhangin
hardened sa isang dahon?

FROST 1874—1963
Isang bagay na may na hindi ibigin ng pader,
Mayroon kaming gumamit ng spell upang gawing balanse:
Sabi niya muli, "Magandang fences gumawa ng magandang kapitbahay."

WILLIAMS 1883—1963
sa likod pakpak
ay lalaki kasinungalingan

ELIOT 1888—1965
Abril ang cruellest na buwan, dumarami
Ang ginang ng bansa ng mga sitwasyon.
Sa iyo! mapagpaimbabaw lecteur!-Lun semblable,-Lun Frere! "

Ang upuan siya nakaupo sa, tulad ng burnished trono,
Makikita niya gusto mong malaman kung ano ang iyong na pera na ibinigay niya sa iyo
Magandang gabi, mga kababaihan, magandang gabi, matamis ladies, magandang gabi, magandang gabi.

Tent ang ilog ay nasira: ang huling daliri ng dahon
Saan fishmen Lounge sa tanghali: kung saan ang mga pader

Phlebas ang Phoenician, isang labing-apat na araw patay,
At profit at pagkawala.
Isaalang-alang ang Phlebas, na ay sabay-sabay na guwapo at matangkad habang ikaw.

Matapos ang tanglaw-liwanag na pula sa pawisan mukha
O sa mga alaala na draped sa pamamagitan ng spider ang mabait
              Shantih     shantih     shantih

POUND 1885—1972
O henerasyon ng lubusan hambog
                                  Nakita ko ang kanilang mga smiles puno ng ngipin
                 at hindi kahit sariling damit.

MOORE 1887—1972
Ako, masyadong, hindi gusto ito: may mga bagay na mahalaga higit pa sa lahat ng
o magtangi laban ng 'Mga dokumento sa negosyo at
tunay, ikaw ay interesado sa tula.

RANSOM 1888—1974
Kaya kinuha niya sa kanya bilang anoint
Masarap na amoy, tikman, Heats at treasons:
At recited, "ay magaling."

Okt 21, 2012

Threads regarding Wilbur's estimation of Plath

The poem discussed below is Richard Wilbur's "Cottage Street, 1953" starring Sylvia Plath.


GE— this is it then, the weak, the strong, our desires: plath and her "brilliant negative". what do you think of plath's "involvement" in wilbur's poem? can you read her "free, helpless, and unjust" poems in this one?

AN— last two stanzas were written in contrast to each other. plath's negative against the 88 summers of ward. eternal lines or longevity. there are also two poets here, wilbur who seeks to balance the tea-timed life with poetry and Plath who only studies for a decade more ("as she must") in order to state her rebuke of life, her poems. wilbur cannot write this in free verse, even if that is within his ambit, because that would mean (within the bounded logic of this poem) that he is likewise committing to a life lived to repudiate itself (thus, "helpless"). What is unjust? That Plath had to endure one more decade of living, of interventions, of that husband, perhaps also of children in order to write out the lines that repudiate life, that show it up, bare it for what it is, a bloody chunk of suffering tight-woven by rite, by smile, by genial concern

GE— "fun" is a good word, because humor's one thing that's definitely within wilbur's wheelhouse! of course, i'm not saying though that humor's the only way to have fun in poetry :)

GE— thanks! will look up full fathom five and lady lazarus, because yes, i believe wilbur was keen and attentive to (and yes perhaps envious enough or at the very least: truly engaged with) sylvia plath to load his poems with echoes of hers. do consider this one, last stanza plath's "mirror", written a decade after 1953: Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,/ Searching my reaches for what she really is./ Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon./ I see her back, and reflect it faithfully./ She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands./ I am important to her. She comes and goes./ Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness./ In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman/ Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

AN— agree with the first part of your notion. but may I ask who is doing the judging (from which she is appealing)? wilbur, ward, mother? someone or something else?

GE— in the scene it's all three, i suppose. just setting the tea involved a lot of judgment. but maybe it meant something else. posterity?

AN— on my part, i see Plath's plight/path being romanticized by wilbur. that could be itself unjust, as her path is but the yin to ward's yang and both must "justly" be accorded equal value (and i think the form tries to do that, give each caesar her due)

DE— Sylvia Plath's poems can be read as "unjust" to Life -- upon which it has leveled a "brilliant" but "negative" judgment -- also as "unjust" to its exemplar (Edna Ward), to its supplicant (Mrs. Plath), and to its official messenger (Richard Wilbur). They could also be unjust to a kind of Life, one that stifles but, in stifling, allows her to do poetry that is "free" and unlike Wilbur's and his compatriots. They could also be "unjust" to Wilbur, because he cannot be a part of their brilliance, he being on the "positive" camp, despite all his hesitations. And against all such hesitations, he secretly admires those eyes of pearl which has beheld death and has not blinked. What is the value of his verse, his form, his office against such a vision? However, it comes at a bitter cost that he is unable and unwilling to pay.

GE— augustan balance? is that a matter of rhyme, cadence? or strophe alternation? will do some research on this too, but thanks if you'll weigh in :)

GE— i've been thinking about the 'they' here in your post, and i had wanted to ask for clarification re: who these they could be (who are unjust), hughes and the children perhaps, or wilbur and the mothers. only now did it occur to me that you could be referring to the poems (which, stupid me, was what the grammar was referring to the whole time!), that they're unjust to be left behind. if that's so, then these poems of plath are also condemned to live (she condemns them to live . . . or we do, by our insistent patronage of her rhythmic confessions). dear and perceptive wilbur, if so!

GE— certainly possible in my view. what's more it's her poems that become unjust (or become an expression of her "illness-informed" injustice)

AN— and it's at the core of the "brilliant negative" which is the opposite and equal of (or superior to, judging by the ultimate position of the stanza) ward's 88 summers—

AN— a case may be made that wilbur's "unjust" referred to plath's poetic harshness toward her father. as I understand it, the "facts" aren't known and the family denies any possibility of incest. wilbur might have felt, no matter what the actual situation, it would be "bad form" to accuse anyone publically, in a poem. I believe her father had already passed, so it might also be "unjust" that he couldn't defend himself

AN— i am reminded of the word "true" in dickinson's the brain within its groove. if we follow this, perhaps "unjust" could also refer to plath's state of mind. just sounding it out! thanks for this

GE— hughes's crow poems are most telling. he sees all his tragedies as heavy black feathers that he must wear and by which he must be judged. the second wife took their daughter down with her :(

AN— ward's phoenix and wilbur's office needs "negatives" like plath. else, what would be their raison d'etre? and plath needs something to refuse, to reject, and ultimately to abandon. or else her negative would not be anywhere near brilliant. i think the choice that we are supposed to think about "does wilbur tend toward plath or ward" could now entertain a third: we are equally being offered a choice, the many summers or the one great negative. it is in the tradition of poetic questions like does it end in fire or in ice? a bang or a whimper? you don't truly choose (wilbur is who he is, bound and prolific; plath, free and focused on death). to say that sylvia plath has a choice is to be a mrs ward or a mrs plath. same goes for free or trad verse. your soul is measured, one way or the other. the world ends, one way or the other

AN— perhaps some of her biography too? but her poems, moreso

AN— "and that she'd channel all this into the poems for posterity: could there be injustice in that as well?

DE— "Shall study for a decade, as she must,": In the course of the Cottage St scene, frightened Ms Plath swells into someone whose "refusal" grows larger than those who wish to intervene. I absolutely love it, especially the last two stanzas, those perfectly matched epilogues. The line quoted above is Plath's exact pair to Ward's "After her eight-and-eighty summers of ," and wow you know? What did Wilbur pack into that line? There's Plath's novel published, her poems getting out and scarred and trampled upon and praised at times, more attempts at death, and that's Ted Hughes in there, it's within that decade where he figures, his "Thunder of God" voice, his infelicities, her first child, then her second! That's just the bare outlines of it, I'm sure, already it's so much more than some of us have in a decade, and what was all that for Plath (according to Wilbur)? STUDY! It's all for study. All of it was coiling, gathering power, negativity, "unjustness" I suppose, and brilliance.

AN— seems that the encapsulation of ward's summers is less drastic than the collapse of the plath's decade into one line

AN— curious too about why things don't materialize for you

AN— that not just plath but Wilbur also had need of a life-preserver! i had not thought of this, and i'll reread the poem now guided by this notion. thanks!

AN— i agree that not all poets are brooding and on-the-edge. but some are, plaths do exist, and (as lives) they are more interesting than the "non-suicidal" ones (this is so crudely put, so please forgive). so yes, it's not true to say that poets or even the best of poets are unbalanced. i think though that we associate (whether rightly or wrongly i have yet to know) a certain type of knowledge, a "slant", a type of underworldly wisdom to those you call "miserable, unbalanced, and suicidal". maybe wilbur's persona buys into this as well. if so, this poem sells it by extension

AN— water from key west! ah that sly stevens is "making" us as we go along! maybe the beats will tap enough of that water off our systems. but what a big maybe

AN— love how you phrase this. personally speaking though, i'll let the next 100 years love the poetry they'll love, i won't be there anyway, i'm good with what's at hand, and i've been looking at the items in the coming weeks, and it's good stuff coming in my opinion

AN— plath thinks she's beyond help too. in "mirrors" (quoted above) plath writes: "Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness/ In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman/ Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.


AN— I believe the penultimate stanza prepares us for the word unjust. That Edna Ward got what she wanted: Life, but Plath had to suffer a decade more of a life she had been trying to shake off her chest (those "owl's talons" she kept referring to). Plath was given the words Free, Helpless, and Unjust. Ward was given Grace (but not freedom), Courage (but not helplessness and the freedom of helplessness) and, lastly, Love (but not unjust, but is love just? and that she was reaching out like that, could that mean that her 88 years had not known Love? Maybe this Life she so cherished was Unjust to her as well, that there were tears but even in her last moments decorum would win out and she would keep them to herself, perhaps choke on them, only one word escaping her, as opposed to Plath's corpus, her "brilliant negative").  No, Wilbur was not smug in my view. He was in envy of Plath, he was gazing at a far shore unavailable to him, beyond his office. Hers is a power that shall feed on itself, negate itself, but power nonetheless, tears free-flowing. And if he kept to traditional verse, it is fundamentally to emphasize how Plath was beyond him, how he is locked within the tea time, at the behest of the old mothers, even long after they are dead.

AN— oh, that got me to thinking as well! i hope he won't mock his younger self, it's a complex piece, and grows more haunting the longer you (or at least i) think about it

AN— i think he's projecting two mutually exclusive paths that he could have taken (two very different sorts of "life") in the persons of ward and plath and while he may have chosen ward, plath will forever be that great road not taken. just a bit of speculation on my part

AN— yes, but the speaker wishes that the death-wish was an option

AN— i agree with everything you just said. and i don't think i'm blind to form in this poem but i don't don't don't see wilbur showing up plath (hmm, that would be ... bad form). we begin with the phoenix flanking edna, yes, but the ending belongs to sylvia, the 'brilliant' hers now, achieved.

DE— I read Ted Hughes's letter to their son Nicholas, and now I wonder if it's valid to think of this in the light of your "at what cost" which is a question that haunts me also.

AN— oh my, that epilogue was heartbreaking!


AN— you're right, though my own thoughts have always been oriented the other way around, how her poetry would have been without the specific features or her life (father, husband, publisher rejections, etc).

AN— Even if that were the case, I doubt Wilbur was "mocking" Sylvia half as much as he did the Toad (if we accept Toad as a mock-heroic perhaps against the author's wishes). But I've heard arguments either way, and have at last been convinced that Wilbur was not setting Plath up as a model. There was admiration, or at least some great interest, but in the end he eyed her limitations with sharp (perhaps hidden) criticism

AN— took me some time to digest what you said, "freedom doesn't include throwing away one's life" and in a sense you're right. for if death is emancipatory, death "liberates" us from freedom as well.

AN— yes!

AN— thanks for the etymology. i think the religious sense was part of it, but maybe not his main point. or maybe it was his main sense of the word since the whole set-up was so ritualistic anyway, his office almost priestly though not one to whom the recalcitrant plath would address her "confessionals"

DE— I see some religion (that word "bless") is a large word. But I have to agree with Andrea Singh, that it's not the central motif, even if we could be talking here of a poem that's two eulogies in one elegy.

AN— or beyond help. yes that works too!

DE— I reread "Daddy" in order to frame a discussion of Wilbur's last line regarding Plath's poems. For him they are "free and helpless, and unjust." If we set aside, for a while, the biographies and consider the form, it's "free" because the rhyme is loose, very loose, and much more so the meter. There's a preponderance of "you" rhymes, too much, if we go by traditionally disciplined forms, but of course that heightens the nature of the poem, nursery (pretty little heart, daddy) mingled with the accusatory (mein kampf).

When viewed using the old standards of rhetoric, that's what's makes Plath's confessional poem weak (thus, "helpless"): its over-the-top sentimentality amounts to layers of ad misericordiam, its hyperbolic nature defeats itself.

It lacks balance as rhetoric, lacks discipline as meter and is therefore is "unjust". That we almost automatically read these words "free, helpless, and unjust" as referring to Plath rather than her poems is key, I think, to Wilbur's central rhetoric: the verse makes the man. A free, helpless, and unjust verse makes for a free, helpless, and unjust poet. Bad form makes for bad fate. And as a person, Plath would suffer the consequences not only of her life-choices but also of her verse-choices.

(It's telling why the elder women would arrange for Plath to see another poet, as if to restore "proper" cadence and measured breath would rid her of some internal arrhythmia.)

Balance though, is what Wilbur strives to deliver. He poises Ward against Plath and they are equal, or almost equal, as lives go, one because of longevity, the other because of brilliance.  He criticizes both the phoenix and the negative in what seems to be an equal measure, with generous amounts of self-deprecation thrown into the method ("stupid lifeguard").

Balance, discipline: that's Wilbur's office! That's his poetics as well as his lifestyle. Aristotle would be proud. And it's what tips the scales.

Among the people in attendance (women, notably, and "hysterical" we assume), it is his superior judgment that is sought after. And he is perceptive: this woman is already drowned. Therefore it was correct that they brought her to him, but not that they brought her to him bereft of reason, life, agreeable verse (that is, verse you can reason with, for without that, she is truly drowned, "carried away" in every sense of the word -- and this is why it is in this part, the diagnosis, the pearl in the eyes, where Wilbur also puts on, "judiciously," some hyperbole).

That's his conceit. In his form (of poetry, therefore life), he can hold the energies of a Plath without allowing it to consume him. It is his poem (and self) after all that can hold both Ward's eighty-eight summers and Plath's brilliant negative.

DE— Thank you very much. Took me all week to put that together. I hope it didn't sound too contrived.

AN— that must have gone through some thinking! good for you to have let it all out in one go! can't seem to do that myself

AN— "this vulnerable self" that's true, a perfect way to put it, like she bared her spirit to life and death

DE— Thank you. This is a healer's/insider's account that I believe should be greatly appreciated. A question: do you think Plath got anything from her poetry? Even small comfort, temporary relief, and (dare I say it) hope?

AN— you get a high after you finish a first draft, esp if it's a difficult piece. you get a high when you get published or get some affirmation. did none of these do anything for her? they're temporary, probably, but still. worth discussing methinks

Okt 18, 2012


ni John Ashbery
aking salin

Maniwala ka. Pina-iinog ang daigdig sa isang sintas ng sapatos.
Wala silang oras para balikan ang mga tawag sa impiyerno
At pagbayaran nang malaki ang mga minutong nasayang. Kung saan
Sa hinaharap ay masasala ang mga iyon mula sa lahat ng paglilitis

Ngunit pagsapit noo'y huli na ang lahat, ang simoy ng pista'y
Aali-aligid pa rin pero wala na itong saysay. Mahigit-kumulang
Ilang sandali'y sasabihin nila sa iyo ang matagal na rin nating nalalaman:
Na ang kapangyarihan ng klimang ito'y tanging nasa pagpapanatili ng sarili.

Anumang umiikid sa paligid nito'y palamuti at kailanma'y hindi
Pwedeng tignan bilang bagay na nag-iisa, na bukod. Kuha mo? At
Binuka niya ang bibig na puno ng mga ngiping aluminum doon sa karimlan
Upang sabihin kung paano ang hulog nito, at na mahuhulog, sa huli.

Minsa'y magiting silang naglakbay patungong California
At umuwi silang namumula. At ngayon, araw-araw nang
Kailangang kalimutan ang palagay na pagiging kaparehas ng iba.
Makatitindig din ito sa piling ng hangin, pero pagdating noon sarado na ang gabi.

Okt 17, 2012

sang malaking tsek

panahon na naman ng checking
ng mefenamic kape ng
                           minatamis na kamatis

ng sandag-
sang salita

                              may tatay sa hardin
may asawa sa mga kumukulong tsupon
mga punit na baraha ngunit

              pinakamaselan ang gradesheet sa kabuuan
ng bahay

                 miss ko na si betel-jol si elisher si
eugenio ang kalbo ang bakal ng linguistics
                            ang aming sir si besa
ang malayong pamantasan kung saan
                                        kung kailan
mas mahusay silang tumawa

sa akin kung naging estudyante ko sila
walang papasa maliban kay nate
na nagkatawang-uno at kagyat
malamang pagka-class-

                 card ibabaon sa limot isa pang mahirap
ngayon ang magpaka-socially relevant
pag ganitong puros papel at

wala man lang bagyo bagamat
may sundalong sumisipol kung saan may
tikatik ng dali-daliring kahera paminsan-minsa'y langitngit
                          ng lingid na besagra sa
                                                               bapor ng tsina

ang madali ay magpataba sa kropek
mangalay ang mata manlabo ang likod
                masigawan ang panganay
                tiklupin ang kumot na nagkukunwaring tent
                almusalin ang mga plagiarist

masiraan ng tiyan ng radiator ng bait bakit
ang guro't estudyante'y dal'wang kal'hati ng
iisang pagpapatiwakal Y/N explain madali
           masyadong mapagkapamalang insekto ang mga
pisat na numero magbilang palaktaw at
handogan ng +2
ang estudyanteng socially relevant
               ( a ) dahil may baka sakaling
         +1 ( b ) dahil inspirasyon si sionil sa
ngayon hanggang makalagpas
nang konti sa mas malaking eid
                ( c ) dahil mabubuti silang bata so
walang karapatan si rizal kahapon na
                  hanapan sila ng hinaharap ikaw
                                       itong inalok itakas sa dapitan tapos
umayaw ( d ) dahil nagpapakasimbolo
               ( e ) AOTA

               ( f ) NOTA
                     shake shake
    shake dalubhassa shake
shake matulog! kayo! o
magpatulog! kayo! regalo
                        ang may sahod  pag lagpas
kalahati ang sabon walang anumang tagas sa
kabila ng di maikukubling mantsa
sa mga di maitapon-tapong kolyar

lalo't may nagpabulanghit ng tawa
      may nahugasan ng puwet may
narating na pagkapantay sa pagmamalupit
at sa gayo'y hindi na labis
                                       maiinggit ang isa sa isa

                   may asawa sa liham sa aklat sa gitna
ng birds of paradise may tatay katapat ng
mantis sa malalapad na bughaw

na bato itong mesa ang panahong
mahirap makaiskor ng basahan ma-
                              hirap painumin ang apoy lubhang napaka-

                                       daling tumula-tula
534 na papel ang biyaya
dalawang bulilit
  walang sayaw
             tatlong fetal

             position equals (makata) function 
                                key magmarunong cubed 

Okt 14, 2012


ni Amiri Baraka
aking salin

Bumalik siya at bumaril. Binaril niya siya. Nang siya ay
nanumbalik, bumaril siya, at natumba siya, nagpasuray-suray, lagpas sa
aninong kahoy, pababa, nabaril, naghihingalo, patay, ganap na pagtigil.

Sa ibaba, nagdurugo, pinaslang. Namatay siya noon, doon
pagkabagsak, ang kumakaripas na bala, pumunit sa kanyang mukha
at dugong tumilamsik nang pino sa mamamaslang at sa abuhing liwanag.

Mga litrato ng patay na tao, sa buong paligid. At ang kanyang kaluluwang
sumisipsip sa liwanag. Ngunit namatay siya sa kadilimang madilim pa
sa kanyang budhi at ang lahat na bulag na nagpasuray-suray nang naghihingalo siya

pababa ng hagdan.

Wala tayong balita

sa mamaslang, maliban sa bumalik siya, mula sa kung saan
upang gawin ang kanyang ginawa. At isang beses lamang binaril ang kanyang biktimang
tumititig, at agad itong iniwan nang maubos ang dugo. Alam nating

ang mamamaslang ay mahusay, mabilis, at tahimik, na ang bikitima'y
maaaring nakakakilala sa kanya. Maliban dito, maliban sa namuong asim
ng bungad ng mukha ng namatay, at sa malamig na sorpresa sa pagkakakabit

ng kanyang mga kamay at daliri, wala tayong nalalaman.

Ang Ika-Anim na Gabi: Paggising

ni Muriel Rukeyser
aking salin

Noong unang luntiang gabi ng kanilang pananaginip, habang nakahimlay sa paanan ng Puno, nagwika ang Diyos, "Magsigalaw ang mga kahulugan," at nagkaroon ng tula.

Okt 12, 2012

Ginsberg Thread

Read the poem, or listen to Allen Ginsberg read "In a Supermarket in California"





AN—  thanks for finding that out



AN—  yes, i think that does evoke the underworld. esp those aeneid and odyssey scenes where the heroes bribe the dead to come rise briefly from the mouth of hades by digging a pit under a tree and filling it with the blood and innards of slain animals







AN—  seems that (to ginsberg) whitman had the better end of the deal, and the better generation. it seems a touch cruel of ginsberg (instead of slaying the father) to import whitman to his time/hell and let him take on a diminished role with diminished faculties while he (ginsberg) retains more of the acuity and less (if none!) of the lethe

DE—   An interesting take. Whitman teaches straying from him after all. Anyone who wishes to undertake that must somehow psychically and of course aesthetically "reduce" the father/forebear. Otherwise, no transcendence/straying shall occur. Ginsberg has to imagine his courage-teacher as in some way less capable of facing this present with its supermarkets and commercialism and dwindling (shelved) selves.












DE—  I found Dante here as well. I'm interested in where Ginsberg (Dante) wants his Whitman (Virgil) to take him. Dream-like, hallucinatory, or in keeping with the underworldly Inferno, the supermarket almost immediately takes the form of antiquity's hell the moment Ginsberg thinks of the outside.




DE— That kind of makes this more of a hell—the fact that the Virgil here is also lost, a Whitman forgotten (Lethe) and forgetful. Dante could always count on Virgil, guide, protector, and translator. Ginsberg wants this Whitman to become a true Virgil, but it seems he has been rendered sterile thus displaced in the supermarket.


AN— in dante's comedy, the great poets and philosophers of antiquity can't pass beyond limbo to purgatory because of their paganism and their loyalty to reason. reason (and a secular ethics that come with it) somehow saves them from hell, but it also too limiting to allow them paradise (or the purgatory that leads to paradise). following this, these two are somehow saved (or cursed), having no destiny (which way is your beard pointing?) other than to know now, to perceive now, but to forget later (lethe). just a tentative take. i'll have to read those limbo passages at some point to be sure


DE— You sound like a poet yourself. But it's true, when your insides are reeling and you're lost in a crowd or a place of routines, the place takes on the shades of inferno and the routines suggest the cyclic punishments of hell.

AN— yes, i like this intertext! making whitman a teiresias does produce sound associations. teiresias who was not always in full control of his senses, who was sometimes male, sometimes female! he is definitely (if sometimes only momentarily) a courage-teacher to heroes like ulysses. also aeneas, i think :)

DE— Me too. Yes, Aeneas was also directed to seek counsel and help from Tiresias. It was said "that Tiresias, of all mortals, was permitted to keep a clear head about mortal matters" here. I'd like to read more into that because Whitman as Tiresias does not seem to have a clear head at all. But his questions about the murder of prokchops and other things seem to come from a special, underworldly insight into human affairs.


AN— clarification: ginsberg's insanity, right?


AN— to charon? (not to whitman?) because of the tendency toward the Lethe?


Okt 10, 2012

Ten Ten Twelve

SR. SOL— You have no work left for me.

ANATH— Of the Herculean labors, the thing about cleaning the stables struck me as the most unjust.

SR. SOL— Where is your room?

ANATH— Off limits, but that's a nice try. Attend rather to the lions gathering about your heart, biding time at the edges of your lungs.

SR. SOL— I want to shake this off.

ANATH— Mourn.

SR. SOL— She was also your loss.

ANATH— Mourn, but on whose behalf?

SR.SOL— All you ever truly taught them was cowardice.

Okt 8, 2012


ni William Carlos Williams
aking salin

napakaraming nakasalalay


pinakintab ng tubig

katabi ng mga puting

Okt 4, 2012

Dickinson Thread

—So she's lamenting this susceptibility to splinters as a weakness of an otherwise powerful human brain? All the while I thought she was celebrating this (as she does the Brain's native powers in the Sky poem), but now I'm seriously considering your reading (and appreciate that you've anchored it on "true").

—I think so. Or that thought is naturally rebellious. In addition to this, perhaps ED was also framing poetry as rebellious thought. As something that intrinsically splinters or multiplies the mind.

—Yes I do. Your two points did indeed sound affirmative to me. In scooping a turnpike, the waters usurp the very instrument that was supposed to direct them. Your note on form says that, yes, this poem likewise "benefits" from splinters, and itself attempts to be a splinter in the reader's brain and in literary tradition as a whole.

—You gave weight to the word "true" from tell all the truth but tell it slant. And so perhaps, the poet favors the brain before the splinter and would have had the brain be more resistant to splinters. I remember though that the poet said the truth should dazzle gradually. There's progression there, from states of less bedazzlement to states of greater bedazzlement. Could it not be that the "true" in the brain within its groove is a provisional truth? That yes, the brain is in part correct, has already achieved something, has trued, and so forth, but it is only on the way to "all the truth" and if truth is superb surprise, then the brain can't stay in that groove for much too long.

Okt 1, 2012

Conference Wish List

1) I wish we stop laughing at jokes about "those who won't sit in front won't receive merit incentives, haha," and "those who don't arrive in time won't get the bonus... promise!"

2) I wish we don't make a habit of golf and country clubs.

3) I wish science would quit "conservation of timber" and start looking forward to trees.

4) I wish we invite more students to conference, ask them politely to dance.

5) Does the library know a question better than "What do corporations want?"

6) Why can't "World Class" mean everybody goes to school?

7) That the touching of screens will push teachers to muddy their knees in the fields.

8) I wish I went to the Kinder Sports Fest where my daughter comprehends the use of slides.

9) Suppose a lesson divides promptness and urgency between "What if in the real world you're late for a meeting with a magnate?" and "The people are waiting, the people..."

10) Among all the words in attendance, it was "courage" and "service" who wanted to speak.