Sort of surprised we've never had this thread but I can't seem to find evidence of it, so here it goes.......
I just posted about the poetic qualities of Van Morrison in the music thread and to me poetry is actually more important than long form fiction writing or at least it equals my favorite individual books (A Fan's Notes, The Stranger) - T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas in particular - I can pick up things they've written and sort of get lost in them over and over again - so who or what are some that affect you or move you the most.
Simon Armitage, a Brit, who is not only a genuine great poet, is alive right now, and under 60 too. This one below, about suicide and the crass exploitation of peoples suffering in the guise of a standup comic routine, is one I love - and again, it's modern too.
He often is screamingly funny and heartbreaking sad with one or two lines of a poem - quite a gift. I Say, I Say, I Say - Simon Armitage
Anyone here had a go at themselves for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists with a blade in the bath?
Those in the dark at the back, listen hard. Those at the front in the know, those of us who have, hands up, let's show that inch of lacerated skin between the forearm and the fist.
Let's tell it like it is: strong drink, a crimson tidemark round the tub, a yard of lint, white towels washed a dozen times, still pink. Tough luck. A passion then for watches, bangles, cuffs.
A likely story: you were lashed by brambles picking berries from the woods. Come clean, come good, repeat with me the punch line 'Just like blood' ............when those at the back rush forward to say how a little love goes a long long long way.
As they say in The Little Rascals, "Learn that poem!"
My three favs are from the heavy hitters - "Alone" by Poe, Shakespeare's Sonnet 121, and TS Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock (as Owen Wilson says in Midnight in Paris, "Prufrock is my mantra!")
From childhood’s hour I have not been As others were—I have not seen As others saw—I could not bring My passions from a common spring— From the same source I have not taken My sorrow—I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone— And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone— Then—in my childhood—in the dawn Of a most stormy life—was drawn From ev’ry depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still— From the torrent, or the fountain— From the red cliff of the mountain— From the sun that ’round me roll’d In its autumn tint of gold— From the lightning in the sky As it pass’d me flying by— From the thunder, and the storm— And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view—
’Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed When not to be receives reproach of being, And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed Not by our feeling but by others' seeing. For why should others’ false adulterate eyes Give salutation to my sportive blood? Or on my frailties why are frailer spies, Which in their wills count bad that I think good? No, I am that I am; and they that level At my abuses reckon up their own: I may be straight though they themselves be bevel; By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown, Unless this general evil they maintain: All men are bad and in their badness reign.
and one much lesser known, From Third Avenue On published 1915 by Djuna Barnes
And now she walks on out turned feet Beside the litter in the street Or rolls beneath a dirty sheet Within the town. She does not stir to doff her dress, She does not kneel low to confess, A little conscience, no distress And settles down.
Ah God! she settles down we say; It means her powers slip away It means she draws back day by day From good or bad. And so she looks upon the floor Or listens at an open door Or lies her down, upturned to snore Both loud and sad.
Or sits beside the chinaware, Sits mouthing meekly in a chair, With over-curled, hard waving hair Above her eyes. Or grins too vacant into space— A vacant space is in her face— Where nothing came to take the place Of high hard cries.
Louis Jenkins a prose poet, passed away last month - I didn't know until today looking him up. Known perhaps for his association and friendship with Mark Rylance who "performed" two of his poems during his Tony acceptance speeches - here's a great one called Backcountry:
I have a Jenkins collection called Winter Road that I like - his work is simple, dry, wry, and wonderful. Here's another one called Flight:
Past mishaps might be attributed to an incomplete understanding of the laws of aerodynamics or perhaps even to a more basic failure of the imagination, but were to be expected. Remember, this is solo flight unencumbered by bicycle parts, aluminum and nylon or even feathers. A tour de force, really. There's a lot of running and flapping involved and as you get older and heavier, a lot more huffing and puffing. But on a bright day like today with a strong headwind blowing up from the sea, when, having slipped the surly bonds of common sense and knowing she is watching, waiting in breathless anticipation, you send yourself hurtling down the long, green slope to the cliffs, who knows? You might just make it.
I actually bumped into Rylance after seeing his Richard III and chatted with him about Jenkins for a bit - he really lit up about his work, "Isn't he wonderful?? Doesn't he make you laugh?? " were his exact words.
Why will they never sleep, The old ones, the grandfathers? Always you find them sitting On ruined porches, deep In the back country, at dusk, Hawking and spitting. They might have sat there forever, Tapping their sticks, Peevish discredited gods. Ask of the traveller how, at road-end they will fix You maybe with a cold Eye of a snake or a bird And answer not a word, Only these black, oracular Head-shakes or head-nods.
To the Unknown Lady Who Wrote the Letters Found in the Hatbox
What, was there never any news? And were your weathers always fine, Your colds all common, and your blues Too minor to deserve one line?
Between the lines it must have hurt To see the neighborhood go down, Your neighbor in his undershirt At dusk come out to mow the lawn.
But whom to turn to to complain, Unless it might be your canaries, And only in bird language then? While slowly into mortuaries
The many-storied houses went Or in deep, cataracted eyes Displayed their signs of want: FOR RENT And MADAM ROXIE WILL ADVISE.
A very famous poem, a very great one too, particularly when the world seems about to go mad - politically, ethically - and one of the great single poetic lines, ever: "the ceremony of innocence is drowned"
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Arthur Rimbaud who achieved the grand trifecta of any poet - people still read him, he was Jim Morrison's idol and Leonardo DiCaprio played him in a film. "Royalty"
One fine morning, in the country of a very gentle people, a magnificent man and woman were shouting in the public square. “My friends, I want her to be queen!” “I want to be queen!” She was laughing and trembling. He spoke to their friends of revelation, of trials completed. They swooned against each other. In fact they were regents for a whole morning as crimson hangings were raised against the houses, and for the whole afternoon, as they moved toward groves of palm trees.
Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Mar 14, 2020 19:05:35 GMT
Not poetry-literate at all sadly and this is the most higschool-level answer ever, but you can't go wrong with Frost's "The Road Not Taken." I love its ambiguous tone. You can really project anything you want on this poem.
"I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
Is that a sigh of regret or nostalgia? Maybe contentment in the feeling that he made the right choice or anxiety at the thought of all the roads he missed. "That has made all the difference." For better or worse? Whenever I read that line I feel like it's for the better. In a weird way this poem reminds me of why I love Picnic at Hanging Rock so much, because beneath the plot and mystery elements there's a clear sense of moving beyond something, of becoming extricated from a previous existence, and I find that to be a freeing and beautiful thought. I get the same sense from the last line in Frost's poem. That he took the road "less traveled by" makes all the difference indeed.
There are some qualities- some incorporate things, That have a double life, which thus is made A type of that twin entity which springs From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade. There is a two-fold Silence- sea and shore- Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places, Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces, Some human memories and tearful lore, Render him terrorless: his name's "No More." He is the corporate Silence: dread him not! No power hath he of evil in himself; But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!) Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf, That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod No foot of man,) commend thyself to God!
"Perforce" Am I the guilty stone in the avalanche? Did I take the other road? The grinning violence of a small death I revitalize in half-blind driving, Marking ghostly landmarks, haze-hidden points, Unclosed parentheses, indelible sitzmarks— Unlimited tolls.
But this one, I know, is a toll-free call, A long distance surprise like a pressed flower In a calf-bound dictionary Between “Corinth” and “Cornucopia.”
So I will inch painfully down The splintered pole of memory Where we can meet each other again, When I was more unaware than wary.
Famous one from the early 1800s that reads almost like a pop song...
Jenny Kiss'd Me by Leigh Hunt
Jenny kiss'd me when we met, Jumping from the chair she sat in; Time, you thief, who love to get Sweets into your list, put that in! Say I'm weary, say I'm sad, Say that health and wealth have miss'd me, Say I'm growing old, but add Jenny kiss'd me.
It's mentioned in Samuel R Delany's book About Writing, it's quoted in The Fugitive episode of The Twilight Zone, and recited by Welles at the outro of his unsold talk show pilot The Orson Welles Show that I can't find online anymore!