This is the first of Gary Snyder's work that I've read, and I'm hooked. His style of poetry appeals to me--his visuals and interjections, stop-and-sta...moreThis is the first of Gary Snyder's work that I've read, and I'm hooked. His style of poetry appeals to me--his visuals and interjections, stop-and-start hyphenization, his philosophy. I think it makes for great free verse meaningful poetry ("poetry with a purpose"). I had many favorites here; I'll try to update later with quotes and particulars.
His relationship with Hanshan (Cold Mountain) is a valuable one. You can tell they are kindred in many ways, and Snyder's translations come off both modern and pertinent--you'd be hardpressed to determine the originals were written hundreds of years ago. Great stuff in this slim volume.(less)
I quite liked much of Susan Howe's Stone Spirits. Her poems are evocative and metaphoric, often dealing with larger issues (history, women's right, ma...moreI quite liked much of Susan Howe's Stone Spirits. Her poems are evocative and metaphoric, often dealing with larger issues (history, women's right, maturity, archaeology) via smaller ones. She knows how to succinctly end, with a punch, making the bold matters bolder.
Occasionally a poem felt more like an exercise in description rather than conveying some message or purpose, but these weren't the one that captured me. My favorites include: Thing (less)
Ginsberg is quite the prose-crafting genius. The poem Howl is amazing, in structure, simile, form, and verbiage. The opening lines suck you right in,...moreGinsberg is quite the prose-crafting genius. The poem Howl is amazing, in structure, simile, form, and verbiage. The opening lines suck you right in, definitely classic.
I didn't study this. I simply read it, but paused to try and understand. I really love his themes of anti-industry, being the beautiful sunflower within rather than coalblackened stained locomotives. The thematic element of Moloch is fascinating and timely even 50 years later.
My favorite poems in this collection were "Transcription of Organ Music" and "Sunflower Sutra" (love his moment with companion Jack Kerouac), though all were interesting, particularly his way with words and sentence structural style.(less)
This is my first real Robinson Jeffers reading (aside from random class-assigned poems), and is already one of my favorite poets. He called the Big Su...moreThis is my first real Robinson Jeffers reading (aside from random class-assigned poems), and is already one of my favorite poets. He called the Big Sur region home, and perhaps that's why he resonates with me, as I have a recently acquired particular love for that stretch of mid-California coastal gorgeousness (helped in part by Jack Kerouac's Big Sur).
His themes consistently cover nature, the sea, God (both the existence of and a lack thereof), and mankind--its hypocrisies, its created conflicts, war and excess. There is often a hopelessness in his writing, a comeuppance that mankind has long deserved and awaited, and *will* come. He finds solace and innocence in animals and birds--hawks in particular--yet also sees them as manifestations of the strength and will of mother nature.
His poetry rarely rhymes yet is often structured. Some of his poems ring out like small tidbits of thought, and you can almost see that moment where this thought bubbled within him and he jotted it out and formed it and added his sweeping wave of closure that ensures each poem has an injection of significance and timeliness. Even today, almost 50 years after his death, his analogues and critiques of war hit home. He was a watcher, an analyst of man's motivations. He knew what made people tick, and he aimed for those tickers when he wrote. As a poet should.
Some choice quotes (I love the last one):
"The tides are in our veins ... there is in me / Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye / that watched before there was an ocean." -- "Continent's End"
"I have seen these ways of God: I know of no reason / For fire and change and torture and the old returnings. / He being sufficient might be still. I think they admit no / reason; they are the ways of my love." -- "Apology for Bad Dreams"
"Humanity / is the start of the race; I say / Humanity is the mould to break away from, the crust to / break through, the coal to break into fire, / The atom to be split." -- "Roan Stallion"
"When the ancient wisdom is / folded like a wine-stained cloth and laid up in dark- / ness. / And the old symbols forgotten, in the glory of that your / hawk's dream / Remember that the life of mankind is like the life of a / man, a flutter from darkness to darkness / Across the bright hair of a fire, so much of the ancient / Knowledge will not be annulled." -- "The Torch-Bearers' Race"
"What I see is / the enormous beauty of things, but what I attempt / Is nothing to that. I am helpless toward that." -- "An Artist"
"It is time for us to kiss the earth again, / It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies, / Let the rich life run to the roots again." -- "Return"
"It is easy to know the beauty of inhuman things, sea, / storm and mountain; it is their soul and their / meaning. / Humanity has its lesser beauty, impure and painful; we / have to harden our hearts to bear it." -- "The World's Wonders"
"If God has been good enough to give you a poet / Then listen to him." -- "Let Them Alone"(less)
There are slivers of the truth in Ondaatje's Billy the Kid, all the surrounding players and characters. The settings, the New Mexican snows and sands....moreThere are slivers of the truth in Ondaatje's Billy the Kid, all the surrounding players and characters. The settings, the New Mexican snows and sands. The poetry of it all, at least now, in our modern world, looking back and reflecting on what it was, or what it wasn't.
Essentially this is historical fiction as poetry. Even the prose is poetry. He can't help it. It flows naturally and gives a voice, a sorrow, a reality to the antihero Billy the Kid.
I love the many vignettes, the intertwined poetic ruminations by Billy, then the story told a little more clearly, via multiple perspective and experimental forms (photographs, notes, newspaper articles, interviews, other characters' voices, chiasma, etc.). The backstories of Tom O'Folliard and Livingstone the mad-dog man are some of my favorites. Ondaatje paints Pat Garrett as cold and logical, driven, the perfect assassin.
Billy is romantic:
--- --- she is crossing the sun sits on her legs here sweeping off the peels
traces the thin bones of me turns toppling slow back to the pillow Bonney Bonney (21) --- ---
And he is characterized with a shrewd, watchful eye. Ever observant and capable. Not quite man, but not boy (just Kid, maybe):
--- --- A river you could get lost in and the sun a flashy hawk on the edge of it
a mile away you see the white path of an animal moving through water
you can turn a hundred yard circle and the horse bends dribbles his face you step off and lie in it propping your head
till dusk and cold and the horse shift you and you look up and moon a frozen bird's eye
(26 -- this is one of my favorites) --- ---
Brilliant book. Fantastic read. It evokes past memories--we explored through Lincoln County and Billy the Kid historical grounds in October 2010. It also evokes memories of the past--many not even mine. Shared west memories of novel indoor baths with warm water, ferrotype photographs, dimestore novels, drafty barns, slow distances over sunburnt land on horseback, the red dirt still, STILL!, and friends who band together. And avenge each other. Highly recommended.(less)
I bought this on a whim at a thrift store, and it was worth many times what I paid.
Rawlins has a great grasp of language and place--his words interwea...moreI bought this on a whim at a thrift store, and it was worth many times what I paid.
Rawlins has a great grasp of language and place--his words interweave emotion and location (mainly Wyoming and parts of Utah) well, well enough to evoke the same. His language at times is a little too abstract, where description goes on without the reader knowing the subject. In these cases, consideration of the title or a more careful reading usually helps to decipher, but I am fan of more concrete language and symbolism in poetry. That small critique aside, this collection of poetry is wonderful. I have a particular attachment to these locations, the scenery, the lifestyles and people, and Rawlins' love of these things is evident. I am ready to pick up another of his collections.
"'Love's a debt,' / ... Tin cup to catch heart's blood." -- "Late Friday, in December" (21)
"Sometimes, this is all we have-- / strong drink, the bump of bodies in the smoke, / voices sounding twice off varnished pine" -- "Late Friday, in December" (21)
"I know / the price of knowing" -- "On Knife Point Glacier" (39)
"In love or dream the world, / if we are lucky, is begun: / ... a wish that one thing live / for one thing left undone." -- "'Enter My Dreams, My Love'" (65)
"Too cold / to stand, let alone to think, / ... night composes night, / half darkness and half sense, / blooms in the willows, / bleeds into the water, / ... the first star swims up into view." -- "The Mink" (51)(less)