Friday, July 9, 2010

Poetry Corner(ed), Bulldog Edition

The Daily Mirror
has a regular feature in which each week British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy "selects a verse for women and discusses its meaning." From this week's:

"The horizon charcoals; rain smacks Virgo's lipstick onto the collar of the path till blossom sweeps the deck like the shredded chiffon train of Penelope's Oscar-carpet winning gown - that expensive-looking bath towel which this old 'rest of the year dull' shrub has just let drop."

Read more of this discussion here!

Oh, and get your free copy of the new Prince album 20TEN exclusive with the Daily Mirror on Saturday 10 July; details here.

In other news....

Wordsworth's library had 43 books of poetry... but 79 "books of amusement." Get the low-down here.

A government-watchdog website says the poetry = pork! Full squeal here...

The ten most-used phrases in rejections notes? The Chicago Tribune has the scoop here.

Well-paid executive criticised for writing poem about evils of money; shocking story here.

Check out "
The Love Song of J. Alfred Well-Pruned Hedges," aka, Eliot's teenage-years home, right cheer.

Speaking of T.S.E., if you're gonna quote him, it'll cost ya. Full story in, natch, the Wall Street Journal!


Via John Latta, Berryman in the April 1949 Partisan Review:
All the ambitious poetry of the last six hundred years is much less “original” than any but a few of its readers ever realize. A staggering quantity of it has direct sources, even verbal sources, in other poetry, history, philosophy, theology, prose of all kinds. Even the word “original” in this sense we find first in Dryden, and the sense was not normalized till the midcentury following. . . . Poetry is a palimpsest. . . . but our literary criticism, if at its best it knows all this well enough, even at its best is inclined to forget it and to act as if originality were not regularly a matter of degree in works where it is worth assessing at all. A difficulty is that modern critics spend much of their time in the perusal of writing that really is more or less original, and negligible.
Pictured: A man who was evidently turned into a statue by reading too much daily news.


Steven Fama said...

Nice aggregation of stuff, and thanks Don for sharing it all.

Re the Wordsworth library factoid: David Markson has that particular thing -- I *think* -- and a few very similar to it, among the couple thousand things he aggregates in his marvelous (expceotinally marvelous) final four poems (which he called novels).

These reports of rather limited personal libraries among those for whom such small collections might be found surprising raise interesting questions. What's the relation of creativity in writing to the need for others' writings to be close at hand? It's complicated to answer, at every stage, including the extent these folks (e.g., Wordsworth) might have had access to books otherwise, as in libraries. I just don't know.

Don Share said...

You are so right, Steven. When I was editing the critical edition of Bunting's poems, I tried to look at every book known to have been in his personal library (took about 2 yrs!), and it raised these very questions. A larger picture no doubt emerges when you look at the books a literary figure had (and gave away!), one too much neglected. Marginalia gives one lots of clues, yet also raises questions.

Everybody knows what happened because of Keats's being unable to afford his own copy of Chapman's Homer!!

Thanx as ever!

Henry Gould said...

Interesting... sort of a dialectical thing... as in Pound being stuck in the birdcage with only, what, Bible & old poetry anthology? Given to him by a guard? & that's when he wrote his best Cantos? Thrown back on his memory of olde bokes.

I've worked low-level in a library for 25 yrs mainly to be near the books I think I need.

Steven Fama said...

Here's another (or one) in the same vein, from Markson (this in Vanishing Point (2004):

"No single book or manuscript is listed among Shakespeare's possessions in his will."

mgushuedc said...

The lack of books in S's will is of course great comfort to the anti-stratfordians.

But I'm thinking of finally starting up Poetry Rejection Quarterly, in which (1) poems will be solicited, summarily rejected, and then the rejection letters will be printed, (2) rejections letters will be solicited and printed, and (3) imaginary rejection letters to various luminaries. My only scruple is how to reject submitted rejection letters? Without being recursive?

Henry Gould said...

Well, you could start by publishing only poets who reject the initial solicitation - THEIR rejection letters. I foresee a magazine full of positive energy!