Hun 5, 2016

Cup, Koch in “Incidents of Travel in Poetry”

Need to attend to this a few more times, but what floated was Frank Lima’s depiction of Koch with a paper cup—
write poems about the notes in his life. Kenneth, on the other
hand, has a paper cup full of wonderful poems. He can write a
poem about a cathedral living in a paper cup. Kenneth travels
everywhere with his paper cup. At a certain time of day,
Kenneth finds room in his paper cup for perfect days and
perfect moments:
You could drink gallons (all your life) on the strength of just one cup—but a paper cup? I rather like the idea that Lima's poetry is a party arranged to contain Koch’s cup, a poetics that could itself contain a cathedral. It could also contain Koch himself, if we take the lines to mean: “He can write a poem about a cathedral [while] living in a paper cup”. What a nod to poetic compression, “a certain time of day” reduced further to just some space in a cup that magically contains choicest days and moments.

Paper was mentioned one other time, about a dozen lines before Koch. It was in connection with cummings—suspiciously spelled with the capital C—
Cummings’ poems appear unintentional on the surface, he did
not act like a drunken amputee at the dinner table and always
said pleasant things that came out of nowhere. His
conversation was experimental but logical and he investigated
words, mixing them on paper with a pencil.
etcetera after a few drinks. We move the sun to South
“Mixing” is a strange word to use, particularly in a passage that mentions drinking. Makes sense though, as Lima seems to be “mixing” (with) poets and people as cummings does with words, but this I-do-this-I-do-that-read-this-one-visit-that-other-one kind of note-taking employs patterns, overlapping motifs.


Insight not only into Koch as a poet but also as a teacher. Precious stuff. Spiked by an intertext of the broken glass of “Between Walls”—very left field, but significant.

We went to all those places where they restore sadness and joy
and call it art. We were piloted by Auden who became
Unbearably acrimonious when we dropped off Senghor into the
“We” might be Lima and a small band of poets (or Lima and one other “you”). Auden is a generation or two removed, Yeats about three or four. Auden’s the driver (though not a tour guide) and the path is Yeats. This sounds like a reading experience where a poet takes you to his or her influences (at least, to the figures he/she had to deal with on the way to something... what is this something? Auden’s still on the path, that seems notable).
steamy skies of his beloved West Africa. The termites and ants
were waiting for him to unearth the sun in Elissa. The clouds
were as cool as a dog’s nose pressed against our cheeks. I
notice your eggshell skin is as creamy as a lion’s armpit as we
cross the horizon on strands of Yeats’ silver hair. There is a
Or, hair not as path but as a sort of magic carpet. Loving how the poem’s enjambed, it’s not a smooth ride, but it’s a real trip. That dog’s nose metaphor must’ve been done before, but not to the point of cliché, and not with clouds (as far as I know) so close to the cheeks. The lion’s armpit, now that’s a surprise. Cream and peril all in a line.

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