Poems from Courting Sylvia Plath

 


I’ve had about half of the poems from my series on Sylvia Plath, “Courting Sylvia Plath” published over in the literary journal Menacing Hedge. To celebrate, I’ve posted recordings of three of the poems to Soundcloud. You can listen to “At a Euro Cafe in East Village,” “An Affair on Hampstead Heath,” and “Fragments” from “Courting Sylvia Plath” below and follow along in the lit journal after reading a preface to the work.

courting-sylvia-plath

MoviePass Review 2015 (Q1)

MoviePass Review 2015

 

This is my MoviePass Review 2015 (of the first quarter).  It’s a milestone! I’ve seen 25 movies (actually 28) with MoviePass. MoviePass is a card that allows you to see unlimited films for $30/month — (http://movi.ps/1A0SkNH). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies this year. I originally started my free two week trial on January 15, 2015. It’s been three months. You can read other reviews of the service, but it’s the best entertainment decision I’ve made since buying a projector six years ago.

moviepass review 2015

The well-worn card I used for my MoviePass Review 2015

The Financial Benefits of MoviePass

 

I was charged after my first full month of MoviePass on March 3, 2015. Since I live in the large metro area of San Diego, my bill was $35 not the usual $30. San Diego has 20 theaters within 30 miles of my house that support MoviePass. This includes all of the AMC, Regal and Edwards theaters, United Artist theaters, all but one of the Readings Cinemas, and three independent theaters. Two of the supported theaters even host many of the films of a few of San Diego’s annual festivals including the San Diego Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival, and San Diego Black Film Festival.

 

My MoviePass Review 2015 has to include a financial breakdown on my way to #100MoviesIn2015. Three payments of $35 is $105. But I enticed two of my friends to become MoviePass members. MoviePass has an incentive, and you receive a $10 credit for each new member you recommend. I received a $20 credit. That brings the total paid down to $85. Twenty-eight movies for $85 isn’t bad (approx. $3/movie), but I did better. I joined AMC’s Stubs reward program. They credit you $10 for every $100 you spend in tickets or concessions. I saw 21 of the 28 movies in AMC theaters for this very reason. Tickets at the two theaters are $12.79 each. That’s about $268 in ticket prices alone. When you include the movies that I saw with one or both of my friends and scanned my reward card with their purchases, I’ve gotten back $40 in rewards. I’ve used it on additional tickets for people accompanying me. The $40 rewards return ends it at $45 for 28 movies or $1.60 per movie. If you’d like to sign up, do so here: http://movi.ps/1A0SkNH.

 

25 Micro Reviews

 

This MoviePass Review 2015 wouldn’t be complete without a list of the movies I’ve seen along with micro-reviews and ratings. I planned on getting MoviePass at the end of the previous year, so a few of the films are from 2014.

 

The Imitation Game – 9

Compelling story. Great acting.  A story that reminds or teaches us, “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

 

Selma – 8

Interesting story. Oleyowo brings new dimension to how MLK Jr. has been portrayed in mainstream media. Ava DuVernay & Paul Webb created a film that complicated a story that I felt like I knew.

 

Inherent Vice – 7.5

I’m still not completely sure of all that I watched. Funny and unsettling, PTA delivers in this Pynchon adaptation with Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, and Katherine Waterston dazzling.

 

Big Eyes – 7.5

Who would have thought that if Tim Burton directed a film by the writers of Problem Child (1990) and Man on the Moon (1999) it would be so exciting? It’s visually stunning and interesting.

 

Furious 7 – 7.5

Fast & Furious 6 (2013) was a sequel-prequel-reboot that elevated the already growing B Movie franchise to art. The art in this film is recklessness, and it has a tender heart. Exciting.

 

While We’re Young – 7.5

The only other film written by Baumbach that I like is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), but this film is funny and presents an interesting debate about success and commentary on millennials.

 

Danny Collins – 7

Dan Fogelman’s directing debut. Pacino’s chemistry with everyone is great, especially Bening. What begins as a story on choice of an artistic path becomes a wonderful Father/Son tale of redemption.

 

Theory of Everything – 7

Redmayne’s Oscar was well-deserved. I’m not positive I’d ever seek this film out to ever watch it again. It’s an interesting and informational film biography whereas Imitation Game (2014) was a story.

 

Top Five – 7

Loose, funny, and romantic. Chris Rock has found a way to tell a story well and hits his stride as a writer/director/actor. I wish the title was riffed on for another dimension, but I can’t complain.

 

Get Hard – 7

It was a hilariously crude social satire filled with dramatic irony that allowed the dynamic comedic chemistry of Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell to exist together. Let’s hope these two work together again.

 

Focus – 7

It worked the turns well. Will Smith was in top movie star form. This romantic comedy hidden in a heist/con-artist movie was fun and occasionally thrilling.

 

Kingsman – 7

Samuel L. Jackson’s villain was hilarious. The silliness, including the conclusion to the climax, fit well in this very Matthew Vaughn film. The surrogate father/son story gave it heart.

 

El Incidente – 7

This frustratingly intriguing sci-fi film is Isaac Ezban’s first feature film. It proves him an exciting director, sharp writer, and has a concept that will fold your brain over.

 

Ex Machina – 6.5

This is how you tell a story around a thought experiment. Thrilling soundtrack. Visually intriguing. Contained and bubbling over the edges. Very well-acted and a surprisingly funny, fresh film.

 

Project Almanac – 6

The premise is wasted a little and the first act is too long, but it’s a fun, youthful movie. Sofia Black D’Elia was the stand out. The whole cast had chemistry. I wrote a longer review of the film here.

 

American Sniper – 5.5

Not Eastwood’s best. It’s never actually thrilling. Cooper works well as the unapologetically patriotic Kyle. It’s a relief when it’s over, but there are some sequences in the film which work well.

 

Unfriended – 5.5

The concept and ingenuity put it past many of the teen “horror” films. It’s not scary and the death scenes are silly, but commitment to the concept and anti-bullying stance make it interesting.

 

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies – 5.5

This trilogy would’ve been much better as a single movie or maybe two movies. Fantasy action was nice. I assume there was character development. It was visually interesting, though.

 

Home – 5

This was a charming children’s adventure tale. It wasn’t much more than that, but it accomplishes precisely what it wants to and brings a few laughs along the way.

 

The Lazarus Effect – 5

This seemed more like a two-part beginning of a television series than a film. It was interesting to watch, but ultimately didn’t end up going anywhere. The cast did a good job, though.

 

Hunger Games: Mockingjay, pt. 1 – 5

There was a lot of whining. Katniss wasn’t the strong symbol she’s been in the past. It wasn’t exciting, but it advanced the story. I imagine it would’ve benefited from not being a two-part finale.

 

50 Shades of Grey – 5

I was curious, and I knew that I’d never read the book. Surprisingly competent film. The ending didn’t exist, but I’ll see the next installment since I have MoviePass.

 

Into the Woods – 4.5

he first half of this story is really good. The second half is super sloppy. The actors all do such a wonderful job while it’s happening, though, that it only bothered me just a bit.

 

The Duff – 4

Ultimately forgettable. Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman were charming. It didn’t really argue its message that well and felt like a hundred other high school movies about discovering self.

 

Run all Night – 4

I barely remember this sloppy story. If it had spent more time developing the characters, this could’ve been a really good story.

 

Chappie – 3.5

This Die Antwoord advertisement has a talking robot and a bunch of nitwits in it. It feigns intelligence and attempts to use the soundtrack to push it forward. A bore.

 

It Follows – 3

This movie is piss drizzle in the pants. You keep watching it, thinking that it’ll end better than it started. It doesn’t. It never does. Boring waste of a good concept. Check out longer review here.

 

Jupiter Ascending – 2

I don’t know what made this film so bad. The poor story? The unexplained absence of anyone else with rocket boots? The convoluted action? The bad motivations of the characters? Disappointed.

 

The Boy Next Door – 0

This is the worst movie I’ve seen in a long time. It wasn’t suspenseful. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t even sexy. It was a poor attempt to turn a tired genre on its head with bad writing and acting.

 

MoviePass Review 2015 Conclusion

 

I saw a lot of movies that I normally wouldn’t have considered. There were times when I would show up and see what was playing next. I have the goal of seeing #100MoviesIn2015 in theaters. MoviePass will definitely help save money and motivate me. I want to do it to help me understand the art form better. My MoviePass Review 2015 (so far) has been great, and I’m sure it will get even better.

 

A blog coming soon on the next 25 movies that I plan to see.

Unsolicited Review – It Follows

It follows indeed. I now have Movie Pass (a card that allows you to see unlimited movies for $30/month – http://movi.ps/1NrO3yq). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies this year. It Follows is the most recent. These micro reviews of the films’ storytelling are a way to catalog what I’ve seen and what I think about story. I dash them off. If you want to talk about the film, feel free to comment.

It Follows Review

It Follows was absolutely boring and a complete waste of a wonderful concept. There’s so little actual conflict. There is a lot of driving away. How terrifying is a monster that you can hop on a plane and fly away from? There’s no escalation of the stakes because there’s no logical plan to stop “the entity” because the entity is vaguely setup and few “rules” are ever established for how it functions. Sure, it follows you and it kills you. Is it punishment for sleeping with the wrong mate? Maybe. The first victim’s leg is broken and her neck snapped. The guy who gives it to Jay (protagonist) says “don’t let it touch you.” Yet, it grabs Jay no less than three times and she is fine. The second guy, Greg, was incestuously raped to death. It follows you only by walking. Maybe it can even walk into the water or over an ocean. Who knows? At the climax of It Follows, we learn that the entity is sentient and can form plans. Yes, that’s correct; we learn a critical ability of the man antagonist only near the end. The rest of the film it mindlessly shuffles. Oh, and it throws rocks in windows when it can’t open a door. Sometimes it takes on the appearance of people you know or love. Note: There is absolutely no emotional resonance for the appearance it takes during the climax. Why? We hadn’t learned anything previously about that person. That’s poor storytelling.

it-follows-review

Never enter a place with one exit

Interpreting It Follows

What if it wasn’t about the entity, and what follows is supposed to serve as a larger metaphor. Well, it’s a poorly articulated metaphor. Sex Follows: Don’t have casual sex because it follows you everywhere you go. Eventually it destroys you. It will destroy your sexual partners along the way. Poor Decisions Follow: Don’t make decisions in the moment. Important decisions will follow you your entire life. They will hurt people along the way. Maybe it’s just social commentary: In our culture, decisions are made too casually. These decisions, like sex, have implications beyond the present. We also hurt the ones closest to us. I would get into the possible romantic metaphors, but I’ll leave that to a Red Pill / Alpha Male blogger. I wouldn’t bet money on any of those interpretations because of the fatalistic ending. Most reviewers stretch the vague rhetorical implications of the film to fit their own agenda or lens.

it-follows-review

We’ve never seen a woman punished for her sexual choices before in film, so that was a great twist

Learning from It Follows

I don’t want this to be merely a rant of why I didn’t like It Follows. It could’ve improved by crafting sequences that actually had conflict. One solution is to take away driving or biking away as an option. It was fine for that to happen the first time, but you want conflict to escalate. Imagine if the car had broken down. Then Jay would’ve been stuck running, which is way more dream-like. It also would’ve forced her to come up with more creative ways to stop the entity. I’m sorry, but trying to shoot it? On three separate occasions?!?! It didn’t work the first time! It’s not going to work the second or third times!! Insanity. Also, running upstairs to escape is never a good idea. Another thing that would’ve improved the story is clear rules for the entity. Let’s go back to the car issue. This is a trickster ghoul. It’s intelligent enough to appear as people you may know. It knows not to fall for the idiotic trap they set at the climax. It can break through windows and attack people that don’t see it. Apparently, it’s not smart enough to flatten tires. Imagine Jay getting into a car and trying to drive off, but the tires are flat, so she has to slowly drive in car on flat tires while it follows in the rearview. There weren’t enough well-crafted obstacles in the film. Imagine a policeman pulling Jay over. The entity approaches as she talks to the officer. She freaks out. He can’t see it. He handcuffs her to restrain her and it is approaching during this entire sequence. It’s nerve-wracking! Why? because she has two antagonists agitating the scene from two different worlds. There’s an immediate threat and a larger one more present. This story only dealt with the larger threat and gave easy outs. There’s nothing suspenseful about being able to drive away from your threat. You could even bike away, or run, or jog, or skip. The first victim we see die, died only because she gave up. I suppose I should say something nice about it. Coming of age is important It was wise to use characters at the end of their teenage years. It was interesting visually. The rig used in Jay’s introduction was good. The 360 spin in the school and the choice to use lots of wide shots was a good one. The naked man standing on the roof scene was also creepy. The attempt to set the film in an indiscriminate era was good, but it just looked like the early 1990’s with cheap eReaders to me. The color grading was a good choice, though. I hope Unfriended doesn’t disappoint me as much as It Follows.

This film has become a sort of critical indie horror darling. It’s praised for its originality and intelligence. I guess the horror genre is so piss poor these days that most people are easily impressed, especially when Dostoyevsky and T.S. Eliot are referenced. I wish Roger Ebert was still alive.

it-follows-review

Wouldn’t locking the doors of the car and explaining the rules to her have sufficed?

It Follows Rating: 2.5 out of 10

 

1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art

Unsolicited Review – Project Almanac

I now have Movie Pass (a card that allows you to see unlimited movies for $30/month – http://movi.ps/1NrO3yq). I love it. I’ve seen loads of movies in the last month. Project Almanac is the most recent. These micro reviews of the films’ storytelling are a way to catalog what I’ve seen and think about story. I dash them off. If you want to talk about the film, feel free to comment.

Project Almanac Review

Aside from a rocky beginning with a ridiculously long first act, Project Almanac was successful. More laughs in the beginning of the 2nd act would’ve made the fun and games more exciting. There was also barely any conflict for the majority of the movie. I would’ve liked to see more shaved from the first act and more time spent in Project Almanac’s rich area of potential conflict. The third act was rushed and barely existed. The ending was well done, though. Project Almanac will inevitably draw comparisons to earlier MTV Films teen sci-fi film Chronicle. But Chronicle gave its actors a stronger script that focused on conflict, so the drama was more compelling. Project Almanac could’ve easily had that drama, but it might’ve pandered too much to its teenage crowd. Oh, and that Microsoft product placement. I assume we will see more of that in the future. Overall, I’d recommend the film as a teen sci-fi popcorn flick for those who just want to have fun. There is a particularly touching scene in the third act.

 

Why did they…

  • Choose found footage as the way to tell this story? It might’ve worked better and avoided some of the comparisons without that choice.
  • Not use the father/son element as a way to drive the protagonist’s goal?
  • Not explore the title “Project Almanac” more in the film? It’s the title of the project, but “second chances” wasn’t enough to make sense.
  • Avoid ALL conflict for the first two-thirds of the film? Would’ve been stronger if “the rule” was broken earlier with smaller consequences building.

 

Project Almanac Rating: 6 out of 10

 

1-3: Horrible. I regret subjecting myself to this

4-5: Just below average, but not a complete waste of time

6: I didn’t waste my time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again

7-8: Accomplished what it set out to do and I’d watch it again

9-10: Nearly perfect. Highly recommend it as art

 

project-almanac-review

Cast of Project Almanac

 

Free Crunchyroll Guest Pass

Remember: first come, first serve.

January: http://www.crunchyroll.com/guest_pass?code=3MXGJ8RY3HW

February: http://www.crunchyroll.com/guest_pass?code=D7RECEDDB4R

It’s a free Crunchyroll guest pass. You can watch licensed anime (legally) for free. Enjoy!

I’d highly recommend Kids on the Slope, Attack on Titan, and Skip Beat.

I super recommend Kids on the Slope if you like Jazz music or Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

If you claim the code, please comment so people know that it’s taken. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter @parteverything.

(Note: I update the above link each time I get a free crunchyroll guest pass. This usually occurs every 30 days, but sometimes I get multiple passes. In which case, I post one here and share the other via my Twitter: @parteverything. Again, I highly recommend Kids on the Slope. It’s so understated and great!)

free crunchyroll guest pass

free crunchyroll guest pass

One Art | Elizabeth Bishop

One Art | Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I think it’s fitting that I post this on Mother’s Day. Loss is the most universal, prevalent, primal feeling human’s experience. Some might say it is love, but I would argue that we’re keenly aware when we lose something and may not be aware when we love something (or someone). Combine that with a masterful, seamless poetic display in one of the most difficult verse forms to master in English (that isn’t redundant game-playing– I’m looking at you sestina) and you will have what I might consider the best poem I’ve ever read, Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” It’s so unassuming, so simple, yet so complex. Hearing this poem read aloud for the first time in a Forms of Poetry classroom read wonderfully by Poet/Professor Michael White changed my life. Not in one of those hyperbolic, 21st century teenager ways either. Before that class I was more interested in poetry as expression, poetry as philosophy, and, mostly, poetry as performance. I wanted to cry after he finished reading it. It was a release. Later, re-reading it, I did cry. I became obsessed with Bishop afterwards; I fell in love with the dead lesbian who shook me into wanting to become the poet that I want to be. I devoured everything: her poems, prose, biography, art, and letters. I saved bits of each, so that I might one day discover something “new.” So I may be a bit bias. To the point, “One Art” is a villanelle. If you think about Bishop’s biography, then this poem is usually connected to her time abroad in Brazil, her mother’s insanity and later death, her return to America from Brazil, an ex-lover’s (Lota de Macedo Soares’) suicide, and an estrangement from a young lover, Alice Methfessel. I believe the poem is about all of these things and none of them. It’s a writing through, universal sort of poem that requires no context, but becomes even richer once you have it. “One Art” is from Bishop’s final collection, Geography III.

Red Like Our Room Used to Feel

So first off, the website went down during April. I was in the process of moving hosts and screwed up. I wasn’t able to take the time to get it back up until now. Meaning, the NPM posts I had planned never happened. I think I’ll just randomly post some of the choices. In the meantime, here’s a spoken word album that’s inspired me to do something similar (hopefully) in the next few weeks and post it online:

Enjoy. Learn more about Ryan Van Winkle.

Second Glance at a Jaguar – Ted Hughes

Second Glance at Jaguar | Ted Hughes

Skinful of bowls, he bowls them,
The hip going in and out of joint, dropping the spine
With the urgency of his hurry
Like a cat going along under thrown stones, under cover,
Glancing sideways, running
Under his spine. A terrible, stump-legged waddle
Like a thick Aztec disemboweller,
Club-swinging, trying to grind some square
Socket between his hind legs round,
Carrying his head like a brazier of spilling embers,
And the black bit of his mouth, he takes it
Between his back teeth, he has to wear his skin out,
He swipes a lap at the water-trough as he turns,
Swiveling the ball of his heel on the polished spot,
Showing his belly like a butterfly
At every stride he has to turn a corner
In himself and correct it. His head
Is like the worn down stump of another whole jaguar,
His body is just the engine shoving it forward,
Lifting the air up and shoving on under,
The weight of his fangs hanging the mouth open,
Bottom jaw combing the ground. A gorged look,
Gangster, club-tail lumped along behind gracelessly,
He’s wearing himself to heavy ovals,
Muttering some mantra, some drum-song of murder
To keep his rage brightening, making his skin
Intolerable, spurred by the rosettes, the cain-brands,
Wearing the spots from the inside,
Rounding some revenge. Going like a prayer-wheel,
The head dragging forward, the body keeping up,
The hind legs lagging. He coils, he flourishes
The blackjack tail as if looking for a target,
Hurrying through the underworld, soundless.

On Second Glance at a Jaguar

“Second Glance at a Jaguar” is probably my favorite Ted Hughes poem. It captures the raw, animal rhythms of his poetry. It has great imagery. “Second Glance at a Jaguar” revisits a poem, “Jaguar,” from his first collection The Hawk in the Rain. The first jaguar poem is about how animals in a zoo are so depressed, caged in slots and separated, but content with it except the Jaguar who “… hurrying enraged / Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes // On a short fierce fuse.” Hughes is almost certainly making a connection to humanity in that poem. This second jaguar poem is all about those moments, those movements. He’s pacing as if he’s plotting, as if his refusal to grow weary is an act of rebellion. Hughes said that poems are like animals; he addresses this in another poem. He wrote a lot about animals and many times as a way to talk about humanity.

There’s no legal copy of Ted Hughes reading “Second Glance at a Jaguar” online. You’ll have to buy the wonderful CD, Ted Hughes Reading His Poetry to hear it. But here’s Seamus Heaney reading “The Thought Fox” by Ted Hughes.

A More Academic Way of Discussing Second Glance at a Jaguar

“Second Glance at a Jaguar” is a 33 line consonantal or alliterative accentual verse poem. It is written with a large influence of the Anglo-Saxon and Old English traditions. It is also very aware of the Modern relative stress principle and the limitations of the English language in the approach of a more Germanic prosody. The jaguar can also be seen as a direct metaphor for Hughes’ own relationship with poetics in his contemporary landscape.

In “Imagining Ted Hughes,” scholar Ryan Hibbett briefly analyzes the authorship of Hughes and his “place in English poetry” (Hibbett, 416). Early on, Hibbett quotes Hughes who wrote, “I think of poems as a sort of animal. They have their own life, like animals, by which I mean that they seem quite separate from any person, even from their author” (Hibbett, 417). Hibbett then writes that “[the quote] characterizes poetry as fragile—in danger of disappearing at the slightest intervention” (Hibbett, 417). This is precisely the anxiety which Hughes uses the jaguar in “Second Glance at a Jaguar” to write about. The animal in this piece is the animal of poetry. The kind of poetry represented by the jaguar is primal. It is primal and caged, caged externally—behind bars—and internally—beneath its own skin. For the purposes of this examination, the bars can be compared to the constraints of the classical approach to measuring meter in modern English poetry. The jaguar, or Hughes’ poetry, does not seek to be limited by the accentual syllabic foot. It’s something that Seamus Heaney noted in a 1979 interview:

Hughes’ voice, I think, is in rebellion against a certain kind of demeaned, mannerly voice. It’s a voice that has no truck with irony because his dialect is not like that … I think Hughes’ great cry and call and bawl is that the English language and English poetry is longer and deeper and rougher than that … It’s a form of calling out for more …

(Shapiro, 108)

In the earlier poem, “The Jaguar,” Hughes writes about a group of caged animals in a zoo who are listlessly on display: “apes yawn,” tigers and lions are “fatigued with indolence,” and the boa constrictor “is a fossil” (Selected, 4). The patrons in the zoo, however, all “crowd” to witness the jaguar who “on a short fierce fuse” acts as if “there’s no cage to him” and “his stride is wildernesses of freedom” (Selected, 5). The first half of that poem is mostly hexametric and consists of iambs or trochees with a few substitutions while the second half is very irregular with clusters of strong stresses. The jaguar is a primal animal, and since Hughes is searching for that “rougher and deeper” primal urgency, his choice of the jaguar is purposeful. There is a “close symbolic relationship between the jaguar, social status, warfare, and the wielding of spiritual and political power by shamans and chiefs” in Central and South America (Saunders, 107). This becomes the setup of the later poem and an introduction to Hughes’ aesthetics which are deeply rooted in mythology. He uses “Second Glance at Jaguar” to extend this metaphor through imagery and concept.

“Second Glance at a Jaguar” is a poem of transformation. There is the transformation in imagery of a pacing jaguar in a cage becoming a ceremonial Aztec warrior. There is the transformation in the alternating line lengths in the un-stanza’d couplets moving mostly from fewer stresses to more stresses to balance a ten stress unit. The language transforms; it mixes the origins of the English language with its Modern incarnation through musical and poetic devices. This poem is ultimately successful because it transforms, if interpreted in its own terms, the possibilities of how contemporary poetry can be read and written. This is only an excerpt from a longer paper. If you’d like to read that analysis of the poem, please e-mail me kevin[at]kevindublin.com. I can also send along the linked articles.

second-glance-at-a-jaguar

Spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins

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.

#Modern Monday #National Poetry Month

So Gerard Manley Hopkins might technically be considered a late Victorian poet, but formally he was so innovative that Ramazani, editor of (the amazing) Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry included him as a Modernist. I’d definitely agree, especially since his sprung rhythm, alliteration, and rhyming is more similar to rap lyrics than poetry. It’s like Rakim said on his track “Follow the Leader:”

RAP is Rhythm And Poetry, cuts create sound effects /
You might catch up if you follow the records he wrecks /
Until then keep eating and swallowing /
You better take a deep breath and keep following– the leader. /

Rakim was just following Hopkins’ tradition, and so are all the rappers (nearly every contemporary rapper) who followed him.

Gear up for National Poetry Month

I’m going to attempt to blog each day of April with a poem from poets that I like following these  themes:

#ModernMonday

#TedHughesTuesday

#WomenPoetsWednesday

#Pre-ModernThursday

#CaveCanemFriday

#InternationalSaturday

#ElizabethBishopSunday

I’m hoping to have each blog contain an audio or visual element as well. Let’s see if I can be dedicated. Follow me on Twitter to keep updated.