Josh Hurst

Good poetry?

64 posts in this topic

I may have mentioned earlier that my recent interest in poetry was sparked during my early morning walks, when, at 6:30 each morning, I

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anne carson - love how she rescues and shifts language

mr. cohen - esp. book of mercy, death of a lady's man

bp nichol - the martyrology is an epic work both searching and playfull

erin moure - more language games, perhaps a bit theory driven

stephanie bolster - got milk?

gerry shikatani - only read one collected works and fell in love with the narrative of memory and loss

robert kroetsch - seed catalogue is still great but the sad phoenician rocks

gerry gilbert - fun fun fun

jan zwicky - philosopher and poet; get both books: lyric philosophy and wisdom & metaphor

w.s. merwin - elegant poems

Edited by techne

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I like Franz Wright a lot. He has gotten involved in controversy from time to time but the poems themselves are full of generosity and a genuine spiritual yearning. Raymond Carver's poetry gets overshadowed by his short stories but is good. It might be an Irish thing but I think few contemporary writers are as good as Seamus Heaney. Czeslaw Milosz was terrific too. I noticed some people mentioning William Cowper, who's one of my own personal favourites. Well, the Irish poet Brian Lynch just published a novel, The Winner Of Sorrow, about Cowper's life. It's been well reviewed and nominated for awards and quite deservedly, it's very good indeed. (There's some fine stuff on the evangelical ferment of the time, and a good portrait of the slave trader turned hymnist John Newton. I notice Jeffrey Overstreet mentions him in another forum.) You can probably get it on amazon.co.uk if you're interested. Don't diss song lyrics vis a vis poetry, though, is there a better modern religious poem than Every Grain Of Sand from Dylan's Shot Of Love album? I haven't posted in months, two new twin daughters don't leave much time for thought let alone writing, but it's nice to be back.

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Christian, thanks for the link to the poem - BTW, have you seen Keillor's Good Poems? It's the 1st anthology he edited from material aired on the show. Definitely worth getting.

Thanks for the tip. I had no idea such a book existed prior to the latest collection.

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Today

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Today

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I am entirely unaware of this poet, Aaron Kramer, other than his poem Prothalamium. Because this poem ranks as one of my favorites, I suppose I should check out the rest of his work sometime.

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I must confess that, outside of song lyrics, I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to good poetry.

Does anyone have any favorite poets or books of poetry that they can recommend? Or any acclaimed poets that you don't see what all the fuss is about?

Specific poems that are meaningful to you?

When I joined my first band, we caled ourselves "The Booke of Urizen" after William Blake's book of poems. I have most of his works and I still think that his poetry is second to none, even though I can appreciate modern poetry, I still think the oldies are the best.

If you can read anything in its raw prose, even airport novels and trash literature - EVEN tabliod press stories, then you will undoubtedly find some good poetry and turn of phrase in it. Most authors and journalists are poets in ther subconscious scribing and this is why the written word remains - the most powerful magic on earth!

Have you read any of J D Morrison? the thrill in minimalist poetry is always going to be an enigma, but long spieling prose usually has the most respect.

Again, I say, you should read everything that you read as if it were sheer poetry, enjoy the words on a page as if they are not a mere story, but an artform, and the prose of the soul of the author who scribes it.

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By a convoluted serendipitous route, I happened to discover that singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams is the daughter of the fine poet Miller Williams. Maybe everyone else knew this. Anyway, I recommend them both.

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I like Seamus Heaney's poetry--e.g., The Spirit Level, Sweeney Astray.

But don't get me started on his Beowulf translation. <_<

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Hudgins has a collection of Silverstein-like poems for children that fall under the "sick and twisted" category that will just crack you up. That collection's tenatively titled, "Shut Up, You're Fine."

Three and a half years after the quoted post, the collection is now out! Just came across a review in the Washington City Paper.

Man, even a notable poet has to wait forever to get his poems collected. I wonder if he didn't have enough poems when I heard him read long ago from the collection, or if the publisher had to wait until the economics made more sense. Who knows?

Edited by Christian

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Of the ones already recommended, I concur with John Donne and T. S. Eliot.

I would add the following:

George Herbert is almost without peer, in my opinion.

John Updike wrote some very good poems.

John Betjeman is someone who needs to be mentioned in a positive way.

Robert W. Service is eschewed by highbrows, but actually wrote some wonderful poems.

In the shamless plug department, I consider my wife Cynthia Erlandson to be the world's best living poet.

And let us not forget Percy Dovetonsils!

In the "How On Earth Did Anyone Ever Think This Poet Was Any Good" category, the clear winner for me is ...

.... wait for it ...

Rainer Maria Rilke. I found his stuff to be utterly without value.

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Don't know if this question has been treated on this forum yet, but I keep wondering: are there two notions of what we call poetry?

There's the written one, as an experience of language. I guess it's *real* poetry. But there's another one, which is more a feeling, and that we can find in any form of art (movies, songs, music, paintings, etc).

Do you agree with these two notions of poetry, or do you think the second one should be called differently?

I hope I'm being clear here, I'm never sure of my English. Thanks in advance for your answers if you have ones. ;)

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Sure it makes sense, thanks for sharing your view.

There is also some written poetry with no emotion which remains poetry all the same. Since I'm French I'm thinking of the poetry of Paul Verlaine, for example, which is often only "plastique", and musical, and rhythmic, but in a mathematic way, that you reach with science and "savoir-faire" only. This "cold" poetry can be totally beautiful. A bit like the moon: you contemplate its beauty, you dream under its soft light, but this moon doesn't express any emotion.

To me, in French poetry, there is more emotion with Jacques Pr

Edited by Hugues

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The French Symbolists seemed so nihilistic, totally into masks and artifice. Except Paul Claudel
Edited by Hugues

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By way of my wife, I would like to add Thomas Hardy to the "good" list. Here's an example of his poetry ...

New Year's Eve

"I have finished another year," said God,

"In grey, green, white, and brown;

I have strewn the leaf upon the sod,

Sealed up the worm within the clod

And let the last sun down."

"And what's the good of it?" I said.

"What reasons made you call

From formless void this earth we tread,

When nine-and-ninety can be read

Why nought should be at all?

"Yea, Sire; why shaped you us, 'who in

This tabernacle groan' --

If ever a joy be found herein,

Such joy no man had wished to win

If he had never known!"

Then he: "My labours -- logicless

You may explain; not I;

Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guess

That I evolved a Consciousness

To ask for reasons why.

"Strange that ephemeral creatures who

By my own ordering are,

Should see the shortness of my view,

Use ethic tests I never knew,

Or made provision for!"

He sank to raptness as of yore,

And opening New Year's Day

Wove it by rote as theretofore,

And went on working evermore

In his unweeting way.

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Hudgins read a couple of poems at the National Book Festival from the collection you mentioned, then asked us to vote on the title. He clearly preferred "Shut Up, You're Fine," but I voted, as did half the crowd, for the other option, which escapes me at this moment. I have a problem with "shut up." But Hudgins appeared to have his mind made up, despite the vote.

This volume came out some time ago, but I never picked it up. Now Hudgins has published American Rendering which collects poems from six past volumes, but not from Shut Up, You're Fine. Twenty-four new poems are included in the newly published collection.

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Gerard Manley Hopkins remains my favorite ...

Nothing is so beautiful as spring -

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush

The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden. - Have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,

Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

- Poems, 1918

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I'm starting to read through G.K. Chesterton's poetry. "Cyclopean" has left a lasting impression with me. As I understand it, it's just a tiny hint of the beauty of Creation here that prevents a murder.

A mountainous and mystic brute

No rein can curb, no arrow shoot,

Upon whose doomed deformed back

I sweep the planets’ scorching track.

Old is the elf, and wise, men say,

His hair grows green as ours grows grey;

He mocks the stars with myriad hands,

High as that swinging forest stands.

But though in pigmy wanderings dull

I scour the deserts of his skull,

I never find the face, eyes, teeth,

Lowering or laughing underneath.

I met my foe in an empty dell,

His face in the sun was naked hell.

I thought, ‘One silent, bloody blow,

No priest would curse, no crowd would know.’

Then cowered: a daisy, half concealed,

Watched for the fame of that poor field;

And in that flower and suddenly

Earth opened its one eye on me.

- The Wild Knight and Other Poems, 1900

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While lying on my back to make an angel in the snow,

I saw a greenish craft appear! a giant UFO!

A strange, unearthly hum it made! It hovered overhead!

And aliens were moving 'round in viewing ports glowing red!

I tried to run for cover, but a hook that they had low'r'd

Snagged me by my overcoat and hoisted me aboard!

Even then, I tried to fight, and though they numbered many,

I poked them in their compound eyes and pulled on their antennae!

It was no use! They dragged me to a platform, tied me up,

And wired to my cranium a fiendish suction cup!

They turned it on and current coursed across my cerebellum,

Coaxing things from my brain tissue, the things I wouldn't tell 'em!

All the math I ever learned, the numbers and equations,

Were mechanic'ly removed in this brain-draining operation!

My escape was an adventure. (I won't tell you what I did.)

But suffice to say, I cannot add, so ask some other kid.

- Bill Watterson

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I must confess that, outside of song lyrics, I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to good poetry.

Does anyone have any favorite poets or books of poetry that they can recommend? Or any acclaimed poets that you don't see what all the fuss is about?

Specific poems that are meaningful to you?

Break out time:

THE BURIED LIFE.

http://www.victorian...buriedlife.html

Favorite poem.

I weep every time.

On a different note, has anyone here ever read any major Sufi poetry, such as Hafiz or Rumi? If so, What was the effect?

Edited by truly broken being

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On a different note, has anyone here ever read any major Sufi poetry, such as Hafiz or Rumi? If so, What was the effect?

It's all in the translation. For Rumi it's Coleman Barks and John Moyne--The Essential Rumi.

For Hafiz it's Daniel Landinsky; the book is called the Gift.

I would also recommend Kabir. The Ecstatic Poems translated by Robert Bly (of all people) are wonderful. For more of his work, see the fantastic--and closer translations by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore in The Songs Of Kabir.

Edited by Thom Jurek

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I just discovered this one.

"GOD bless the man who first invented sleep!"

So Sancho Panza said, and so say I

And bless him, also, that he didn't keep

His great discovery to himself; nor try

To make it - as the lucky fellow might -

A close monopoly by patent-right!

Yes - bless the man who first invented sleep,

(I really can't avoid the iteration;)

But blast the man, with curses loud and deep,

Whate'er the rascal's name, or age, or station,

Who first invented, and went round advising,

That artificial cut-off - Early Rising!

"Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed,"

Observes some solemn, sentimental owl;

Maxims like these are very cheaply said;

But, ere you make yourself a fool or fowl,

Pray just inquire about his rise and fall,

And whether larks have any beds at all!

The time for honest folks to be a-bed

Is in the morning, if I reason right;

And he who cannot keep his precious head

Upon his pillow till it's fairly light,

And so enjoy his forty morning winks,

Is up to knavery; or else - he drinks!

Thompson, who sung about the "Seasons," said

It was a glorious thing to rise in season;

But then he said it - lying - in his bed,

At ten o'clock A.M., - the very reason

He wrote so charmingly. The simple fact is

His preaching wasn't sanctioned by his practice.

'Tis doubtless, well to be sometimes awake, -

Awake to duty, and awake to truth, -

But when, alas! a nice review we take

Of our best deeds and days, we find, in sooth,

The hours that leave the slightest cause to weep

Are those we passed in childhood or asleep!

'Tis beautiful to leave the world awhile

For the soft visions of the gentle night;

And free, at last, from mortal care or guile,

To live as only in the angel's sight,

In sleep's sweet realm so cosily shut in,

Where, at the worst, we only dream of sin!

So let us sleep, and give the Maker praise.

I like the lad who, when his father thought

To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase

Of vagrant worm by early songster caught,

Cried, "Served him right! - it's not at all surprising;

The worm was punished, sir, for early rising!"

- John G. Saxe

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