Friday, January 06, 2017

Novalis Quote/Poetry Project's Fiftieth/Sven Birkerts/4 Ed Coletti Poems/David Meltzer Tribute/

POETRY HEALS THE WOUNDS INFLICTED BY REASON

 -Novalis (the pseudonym and pen name of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, a poet, author, mystic, and philosopher of Early German Romanticism.)

 POETRY HEALS THE WOUNDS INFLICTED BY REASON

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from "Onward"  by Sven Birkerts (editor of Agni) in the AGNI Newsletter December 2016 following the 2016 presidential election:

As Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities, "There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair... There are levels and levels, of course.  Czeslaw Milosz famously asks, in his poem "Dedication": "What is poetry which does not save/Nations or people:"  This is a gauntlet as much as it is a frame.  It forces us to ask what kind of saving he means, for surely there is no literal way in which poetry or any literature, directly achieves that aim.

I believe milosz means us to think how expressions affect the soul, how they might hearten when there is loss of hope, or clarify when there is confusion - or expose rhetoric and cant and, as the adjuration has it, "speak truth to power."

Those are the considerations that I have felt reactived, and they create the context - the frame - of my reading.  I can't not ask myself" is this work telling me something I need to hear in this new order of things?  I'm not saying it must directly protest abuse or injustice or mendacious opportunism.  But do I feel that the words have been put to the page out of some recognition of larger human urgency"  Do they - if only in their fresh or arresting placement - signal that this is not business as usual?  Are they blowing the dust off all the things that Matter?...

...Not that we can travel back in time to recreate what was.  Of course we can't.  Our model is a spiral: a circular momentum forward in time.  These are not the days of the counter-culture; we are not back at that place of origins.  But - and this is important - we do see the logic of certain repetitions.  And these repetitions tell us that if nothing was gained once and for all, neither was it lost... 

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Village Voice Article "The Poetry Project's Half Century of Dissent"

 

February 10, 1971, on a Wednesday night in the East Village, a full moon glowed in the wintry sky over St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. Inside, a group of New York's most cutting-edge scene-makers gathered at the Poetry Project to hear a reading by poet and Warhol aide-de-camp Gerard Malanga. Andy was there, as was Lou Reed, along with poets Gregory Corso, John Giorno, Joe Brainard, and Bernadette Mayer. First up that night was a dark-eyed, lanky young poetess by the name of Patti Smith. An up-and-coming playwright named Sam Shepard, with whom she'd recently become involved, was there in support, as was her closest friend and collaborator, Robert Mapplethorpe.

Read the entire article 

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Check out these 4 Ed Coletti Poems (good ones) from 

an interesting site!



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Gerald Nicosia contacted me in response to this posting and to share with us his fine poetic tribute to the recently deceased great Bay Area and world-renowned poet David Meltzer.  Thank you, Gerald.

 
The Poet as Proteus

                                                            for David Meltzer (written when
                                                            he was about to turn 70)



Every time I see him he’s someone different
Sometimes he’s a merry red-faced
George Burns with a cane
Sometimes an aging cowpoke
In faded jeans and ten-gallon hat
Sometimes a minor movie star
Eyes hidden behind shades
Nothing visible but huge moustache
And sly smile
Not giving a damn about Academy Awards night
He’d rather spend the night
Alone writing another poem in
Those endless small cheap notebooks
He’s been filling for over fifty years
With his humorously disguised
Stiletto intelligence
I remember him as the minister
At Jack Hirschman’s wedding
Giving a sermon about “Alpha and Omega”
That no one could understand
Least of all frowning Hirschman
Waiting to grab and kiss his new wife
He’s also been my serious and optimistic
Literary advisor on numerous occasions
He always turns up like
An angel or
The bearer of a mitzvah
Just when I most need him
Like the ABA in L.A. in ‘94
When my big book on veterans
Had been orphaned and he
Pointed me toward the next publisher
I’ve always loved the fact that
He scorns anyone making
Poetry for money
But he gives a kind nudge
Not a slap when he
Sees me or anyone else
Slipping a bit off
The altruistic path
No one funnier to listen to
Even at almost 70
No poet sexier to the ladies
He carries his greatness
Lightly like a shawl
Of memories, joys, and
Sadnesses
Always with him
But hardly noticeable
Until he takes it off
And asks you to
Hold it for him
Awhile
And you feel its enormous weight
And wonder how
He has worn it so long
With that perpetual
Soft easygoing cheerfulness
That will be the mark
He leaves on all of us
Whether we
Read his poetry or not
And he doesn’t care
If we read it or not
The joy is
In the making
And he doesn’t sell
That secret
Like most great writers
But gives it
Not even for the asking
But just along with
The grace of
His company
To those
Lucky enough
To find it.

                        -- Gerald Nicosia


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2 comments:

Joe Zaccardi said...

Regarding Birkerts's letter, I do like his phrase [Are words] "blowing off the dust off all the things that matter." I've been studying a poem by Delmore Schwartz, "The First Morning of the Second World." What I get from this poem is that each day is a new beginning, and it seems humans keep repeating all the old same mistakes. I for one think that we all need to refuse to hate, and by this I mean we need stop calling persons on the opposing side of an issue bad names. Let's face it if someone says they hate YOU, you're first reaction is to say "I hate you back." This gets us nowhere. I've spoken at several poetry readings and churches about refusing to hate. The audience's reactions seem to be sort of "I agree, but this is never going to happen." So this is where we are. Guess I'll keep on blowing the dust off of things.

Mari Stachenfeld said...

Lovely poem "for David Maltyzer"--makes me want to know him, lets me know him, assures me i do know him.