Valéry wrote in his “Discourse on Aesthetics:”
Poets enter the enchanted forest of Language with the express purpose of
getting lost, getting high on being lost, looking for crossroads of significance,
unforeseen echoes, stranger encounters; they fear neither detours, nor
surprises, nor the dark. But the man who comes here excitedly running
after “truth,” following one single and continuous road...not wanting to lose
either his way or the road already covered, risks capturing only his own
shadow. Gigantic sometimes, but still just a shadow.
To engage with poetry brings a writer into new regions, not necessarily a new landscape but a new attention to possibility, a new consciousness. In time, a good poem will continue to evoke new meanings and, in doing so, refreshes perception and experience with its power.
May 18, 2017
Ann Carson's new book promises to be interesting. As always, she provides both amusement and food for thought as she explores form. There is no designated order for reading the parts, it is as she suggests "a free fall."
Float, her most ambitious publication since Nox (2010)... a boxed collection of twenty-two individually bound chapbooks in a sleek plastic case, it includes some traditional lyrics, some translations, some plays and scenes from plays—what readers might think of as lyric-dramas. It also features essays, lists, and loosely structured meditations. In fact we might say the pieces “float” in a loose network of relations, interchangeable in order and readable as individual projects, but connected by a strand of interrelated themes—the problem of representation, translation as an act of creation, and the idea of “network” itself. The book, if we can call it a book, contests not only conventional understandings of genre and readership, but, through its collective disjunction, the classificatory modes by which we comprehend our realities. Float urges us, at least implicitly, to reconsider the essential divisions we fashion between subject and object, self and other, bodies and the spaces they inhabit.
Read the full review at http://bostonreview.net/poetry/john-james-astralize-night
On the other side of the spectrum, Robert Hass book recently came out, A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry. It's 400 pages. He orders the manuscript starting with poems of one line, couplets, triolets, quatrains, and in ascending order and he considers the history of the particular stanza and its effect in a poem. The book represents an accumulation of years of notes, and he also makes lists of poems for the reader to investigate. It is a thorough analysis.
As he notes in the brief introduction, this has been a work in progress for two decades. His modest goal is to explain how the “formal imagination actually operates in poetry,” the “way the poem embodies the energy of the gesture of its making.” Hass begins with analyses of a single line, then two, three, and four, which take up the book’s first 100 pages. Next, he moves on to form (blank verse, sonnet, etc.) and genre (ode, elegy, satire, prose poems, etc.), finishing up with stress and rhythm. Along the way, he draws on hundreds of examples of lines, stanzas, and complete poems from the history of poetry, which he carefully selects to illustrate his points.
The full review is at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-hass/a-little-book-on-form/
Lately, I've been contemplating the past year's work on my desk, poems, prose, and memoir. Both of these book offer thoughts about structure.
April 23, 2017
“So poets who perhaps attempt to levitate—the process to achieve that, the thing that all poets have in common, the internal material—is the development of the senses to respond to the particular media you’re working in. And since that kind of work has no basis in commercial reality, then the activity must be about developing those monuments to the flowering of the senses.”
This exhibit was at the Whitney Museum, NY in 2016.
February 24, 2017
I'm thrilled that Kortekangas set my poems into the music. "Migrations" is well matched to the driving and intense Kullervo, composed by Sibelius. The Minnesota Orchestra performance, conducted by Osmo Vänskä, recorded here on CD, is stunning and beautiful.
Here are awesome reviews:
San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfchronicle.com/music/article/Sibelius-Kullervo-review-10934690.php
Klassik Heute (Germany)
Pizzicato: Remy Frank's Journal about Classical Music (Luxemburg)
Infodad.com / TransCentury Communications
MusicWeb International (United Kingdom)
Finnish Music Quarterly
Crescendo Magazine (Belgium) Apr 7, 2017
The CD is available anywhere, but also at: http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/buy/merchandise/cds-a-merchandise
To get the poems: http://www.wildwoodriver.com/ The four poems are drawn from the books Cloud Birds and Echo and Lightning.
RondoClassic Magazine. (Helsinki, Finland):