Saturday, October 05, 2019

Lost ? Paintings/Auden's Truths/Ed Coletti's Paradise, California Fire/


 

 

 

 

 

 

My Lost ? Paintings

Who out there has any of these of my paintings?  I'm trying to figure out which if any survived the fire.  Thanks and enjoy.  These are approximately 27 images. And here am I getting 
back in the saddle again! 

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Depressingly Slim

W.H. Auden's Honest & Painful Description of a Serious Poet's Lot

"IN the eyes of every author, I fancy, his own past work falls into four classes. First, the pure rubbish which he regrets ever having conceived; second--for him the most painful--the good ideas which his incompetence or impatience prevented from coming to much (The Orators seems to me such a case of the fair notion fatally injured); third, the pieces he has nothing against except their lack of importance; these must inevitably form the bulk of any collection since, were he to limit it to the fourth class alone, to those poems for which he is honestly grateful, his volume would be too depressingly slim."

from Preface to The Collected Poetry of W.H. Auden

When I go through my own poetry and find poems to which which I no longer relate, I go to the Auden portions of Maria Konnikova's 2012 essay in the Atlantic to get my bearings.  I'd be very interested in your own ideas on the subject.

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How to respond when a writer tries to retract beloved poems, novels, and plays-In this case specifically W. H. Auden



"September 1, 1939" is one of W. H. Auden's most famous and oft-quoted poems. Its images of futility and despair in the face of violence, of the inevitable destruction and sacrifice of yet another war have such a universal immediacy that they've been revived time and time again, whenever sudden bloodshed rears its head. Perhaps the most quoted line of all is the one that closes the poem's penultimate stanza: "We must love one another or die."Only, there's one minor problem. During his life, Auden rewrote and then renounced the text in question, barring it from future anthologies and publications and distancing himself as much as possible from its creation. As the poet wrote in the 1965 preface to his Collected Poems, "Some poems which I wrote and, unfortunately, published, I have thrown out because they were dishonest, or bad-mannered, or boring." And what did he mean by that? "A dishonest poem is one which expresses, no matter how well, feelings or beliefs which its author never felt or entertained," he explains. "Youth may be forgiven when it is brash and noisy, but this does not mean that brashness and noise are virtues." And that famous line? The worst offender of the lot. A line, in Auden's estimation, as false as it is falsely reassuring and self-congratulatory. (Auden first tried to alter it to "We must love one another and die" before altogether giving up on line and poem both.)But are we bound by Auden's own evaluation of his work, and are we somehow wrong if we seek out—and even dare to enjoy—words that he doesn't believe in any longer? If he didn't want to see the poem, should we turn from it as well? The question is an old one, long predating Auden's famous revisions and recastings: The decision to unwrite, in a manner of speaking, certain moments of past work—and the subsequent split of popular opinion on the justifiability of that choice. When it comes to such arguments, who is right? Who is justified? Why does it matter—and what does it even matter, in the modern age where it's no longer an easy thing for the past to simply disappear?...


…For, here is the crucial difference. Auden didn't pull a Nabokov or a Kafka, requesting that his originals be burned (of course, this isn't a perfect comparison. Nabokov and Kafka's works remained unfinished, while Auden's was done—and yet, Auden argued that one never actually finishes a poem; one only ever puts it aside). We should remember that Auden's instructions to Mendelson had an important caveat. "I once asked him what he wanted done with the poem, what I should do as his literary executor," Mendelson recalled on the occasion of what would have been Auden's 100th birthday. "And he thought for a moment and said, 'I don't want it reprinted during my lifetime.'" That "during my lifetime" is key. Auden didn't want anything destroyed. He just didn't want to see it, to have it haunt him, taunt him, even, in his advancing age.



Auden's distaste, however, need not be ours, should we not choose it for ourselves. Joseph Brodsky certainly didn't think "September 1, 1939" should be ignored, devoting an entire lecture (later republished in full in Less Than One) to what he considered a masterpiece, and urging his listeners on with the hope that they would "develop the same sentiment toward this poem as the one that prompted it into existence—one of love." And this, despite agreeing with Auden that that damned line was quite problematic.

Perhaps Auden, too, would come to agree were he still alive. As he wrote in a poem that was not disowned, "In Memory of W. B. Yeats," "The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living." A work need not be the same for author and reader alike, especially the longer the time that passes between them. If a work doesn't feel true, it will lose its steam—and perhaps the best proof of the universality of something like "September 1, 1939" is how often it has been called upon during its lifetime, to help us understand violence and humanity, war and responsibility, love and guilt.

At the end, we can embrace and love whatever we want of an author's work. But we also can't ignore a writer's express wish just because we don't happen to agree with it. Instead, we can use that wish to enrich our understanding of the disinherited words, by doing our best to understand their history and the reason why their author chose to cast them aside as unworthy. We can, in other words, give authors the same consideration we'd want if we ourselves come to decide that something in our past no longer suits our present selves: the freedom to rethink and reconsider, to take back and reframe as we mature and as our understanding of the world changes. And we don't even have to unwrite history to do that.

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Poem 




Paradise Lost/Regained (occasioned by Donald Trump’s brief visit

                        to the ruins of Paradise, CA  —November 17, 2018)

                         
                       by Ed Coletti

Swing thuribles lit with sweet flickering
frankincense and cedar shavings over Paradise
this place where everything aspired to be pleasant
when no thing or place ever truly is all good
Purge us with hyssop and we shall be clean
Bathe us in the rose water used in Arabia to clean the Kaaba
and in Persia to prepare graves for the dead
For evil must be washed away that death have not dominion
where the land will be reclaimed from possession by monsters

Bring forth the tincture of a billion blossoms
The evil creature hath been amongst us
befouling our wounded land
with the stench of offal from its breath
condemning each of us to its lingering presence
our fate far worse if we do nothing to dissipate
the foul choking blackening smoke that
the monster has belched forth and left us
wearily sickening all the more so that he’d been
here amongst us during another time of great sorrow

Gather sage and cedar to smudge the sacred places twice destroyed
first by fire then by sacrilege to the ancients the Mechoopda
of the Maidu people whose spirits reside in the central Sierras
in the watershed area of the Feather and American rivers
as well as in Humbug Valley Maidu meaning Man
will persist watching over this land so rudely visited by fire and evil
Today we chant with them to Creator to restore the trees and native                              plants, grasses, animals ... Everything out here is connected to the lives of
our Maidu ancestors whom we protect and by whom we are protected
that such affronts to each and every Mechoopda too shall pass beyond


In Fire & Mud Poetry Anthology (2019)

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