Tuesday, July 28, 2015



                                                                               to Whalen , wailin away
Thy song wheels round as does the starry frame,
End and beginning evermore the same,
And what the middle brings we clearly see
Is what the opening was, the end shall be.

- Goethe, from the West-Eastern Divan translated by Edward Dowden

I don't expect to ever fully grasp whatever it is any poet hopes to achieve. Life is grand (or not.) The imagination is grand (or not.) I suppose that's enough. (But) What if it's not?

Equal parts lack of empathy and sustained good cheer, I approach the business of the poem with impassioned deliverance which I in turn have little interest in. Both taker and denier, I'd rather spurn the chalice than fail admire its lush allure.

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Poetry is a rough and tumble business no matter current etiquette dictated by abstract commitments to terms such as "community" and "justice" keeps everybody pleasantly ahum to each other's commentaries.

I'd rather be ignored (and often am) than cater to anything or anybody.

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I write what I enjoy reading. What I wish was already written. What I'm not finding to be already out and about at present in the record.

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I consider myself a Religious Poet. That is, I consider poetry to be primarily a religious observation and practice with accompanying orders of necessary discipline and commentary.

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If cleric, rather Catholic than anything, of Gerard Hopkins' range say, his declaration:   

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;

("I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day")

& yet with such bounding:

Disremembering, dísmémbering, ' áll now. Heart, you round me right
With: Óur évening is over us; óur night ' whélms, whélms, ánd will end us.
Only the beak-leaved boughs dragonish ' damask the tool-smooth bleak light; black,
Ever so black on it. Óur tale, O óur oracle! ' Lét life, wáned, ah lét life wind
Off hér once skéined stained véined varíety ' upon áll on twó spools; párt, pen, páck
Now her áll in twó flocks, twó folds – black, white; ' right, wrong; reckon but, reck but,
But thése two; wáre of a wórld where bút these ' twó tell, each off the óther; of a rack
Where, selfwrung, selfstrung, sheathe- and shelterless, ' thóughts agaínst thoughts ín
     groans grínd.

("Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves")

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The composing poet with words is ever turned back upon the language's desire to bounce, tra la la, along without care or, in cases of youthful yearning, succumb to the conscription of its maker's own desire for meaning: sense-making.

This, of course, should be refused. Even if, that is especially when, catered to.

There's much which must be discarded and ignored along the trek of life.

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Terrific tenor of terror in the face of turnover. One generation's nightmare enlightens another's boring endeavor.

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Not stupid. Just sad. Holding on while the whole thing sails toward certain disaster. It's nothing personal just the destined result of human desire. Which is never moral, either.

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These outposts where I grew up; I didn’t do that
I have no ... identity, and the love is an object
to kick as you walk on the blazing bare ground, where ...    
sentimental, when what I love, I ... don’t have that one
word. This fire all there is ... to find ... I find it
You have to find it. It isn’t love, it’s what?

- Alice Notley, "This Fire"

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A poet need make no apology
Because his works are one anthology
Of other poets' best creations
Let him be nothing but quotations
(That's not as cynic as it sounds)
The game is one like Hare and Hounds
To entertain the critic pack
The poet has to leave a track
Of torn up scraps of prior poets.

- Robert Frost , an example of his having "reduced poetic influence to a joke" (Harold Bloom)

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Poets be as green as the leaves turning in wind, rustling all summer until the fall burnishes them to orange and brown beauty. Let us be seasons each to each running together in ceaseless cycle.

~ Patrick James Dunagan

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