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  #31  
Old 09-23-2021, 06:23 PM
rbock rbock is offline
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I also like Billy Collins. Mark Strand is another favorite.

The movie "Paterson" is a sensitive yet down to earth portrayal of the poetic process.
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  #32  
Old 09-23-2021, 09:43 PM
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I also like Billy Collins. Mark Strand is another favorite.

The movie "Paterson" is a sensitive yet down to earth portrayal of the poetic process.
That’s a brilliant film. Which leads to William Carlos Williams.
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  #33  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:15 PM
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Good choice...BTW, I often use the lowercase version of his name too, though scholars point out that he actually used the standard upper/lowercase for his own name most of the time, saving the all lowercase type for his poetry.


cummings was a fave of mine in high school and college, along with traditional Japanese Haiku (which I found closely aligned).

I did hear James Dickey recite his poetry in person back in college. Enjoyed it but never became a big fan.

What took me a long time to come around to were the sonnets of Shakespeare. If you can look past the tendency to "read the rhymes" and see the conversational breaks in the composition (use the same trick in his plays...it works!), he's a lot easier to understand and enjoy than you may think. Also, take him in small doses at first. But give him a shot. Plenty of riches there if you look for 'em.

Cheers,

Dirk
Funny, I teach Shakespeare, but I've never been a huge fan of the sonnets. To each his own. I honor their brilliance and depth of feeling, but the major plays are so amazing that they blow my socks off every time I teach them. The older I get, the more Midsummer Night's Dream just stuns me. The craft in that play is a real tour-de-force. The Bard at the top of his form.

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  #34  
Old 09-24-2021, 09:07 AM
dirkronk dirkronk is online now
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Funny, I teach Shakespeare, but I've never been a huge fan of the sonnets. To each his own.
My taste in literature has often skewed toward the obscure/unloved. I frequently recommend not the novels of Mark Twain, but collections of his speeches...brilliant and often hilarious. When I was in my late 20s, far away from college classrooms, I got the urge to read Sir Walter Scott...and got through probably a dozen or so lesser known works before the fascination wore off (a page and a half for a single sentence? sure, why not?). So take my recommendations with a grain of salt. As for the Bard's sonnets...just thought our friend Wadcutter might enjoy them in small doses.


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I honor their brilliance and depth of feeling, but the major plays are so amazing that they blow my socks off every time I teach them. The older I get, the more Midsummer Night's Dream just stuns me. The craft in that play is a real tour-de-force. The Bard at the top of his form.
No argument from me. Agree completely. The guy you should talk to is my cousin Thomas Reedy. Tom taught English lit in assorted smaller east coast colleges before coming back to Texas and spending his last working years as the PIO for the Denton Sheriff's Department (yes, very eclectic career path). But Tom has been a lifelong fan of Shakespeare, took trips to all the spots in England associated with the Bard, even became a major figure (possibly of controversy if I know Tom) and contributor to online Shakespeare sites...at least until several years ago. All that "who was he really?" and "who actually wrote all those plays?" stuff. Not sure if he still frequents those sites any more, but man! can he go on about the subject.


BTW, also appreciate the fact that you brought up Rumi and Kabir. Their poetry (and that of others of the ecstatic tradition) can be so gorgeous and emotionally involving. Insightful, as well, if you follow any yogic, Sikh, Sufi, early Muslim, Buddhist or other meditative and/or Bhakti (devotional) path. Since Wadcutter likes Psalms, he may well appreciate what these poems offer! I've seen the Bly book on Kabir but haven't read it; I do have a 750-page biography and poetry compilation called Kabir: Weaver of God's Name by V.K. Sethi that I dip into every so often. For Rumi, it's hard to go wrong with Coleman Barks translations and scholarship...but be warned not to introduce yourself to the poetry via Barks' actual recordings: the shock of the guy's down-home (almost hick) accent is tantamount to hearing Gomer Pyle doing Hamlet's soliloquy. Kinda ruins the effect of the astounding writing, if you catch my drift.

Cheers,
Dirk
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Last edited by dirkronk; 09-24-2021 at 09:17 AM.
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  #35  
Old 09-24-2021, 11:51 AM
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Fun stuff, Dirk. Thanks for all this.

Love the Twain stuff. Were he alive today, he would no doubt have been a stand-up comic and raconteur, in the John Prine / Garrison Keillor mold. I assume you've seen the Hal Holbrook vids. Terrific stuff. One Twain quote I remember: "A human being is the only animal who blushes -- or needs to."

Your cousin sounds fun. I'll see if I can scrounge around and find him. I could talk endlessly about Shakespeare. BTW, I read this article a few years back that MSD is by far his most performed play in the modern theater, roughly three times more than any other play in his canon. It's a work of genius, and the Fifth Act has been called by many, including me, as the funniest closing act ever written for the stage. It is drop-down hilarious.

RE Rumi and Kabir. Did you know that Rumi has been the #1 selling for years in the West? Wonderful stuff.

On the Kabir thing: The Bly translations get criticized because he rewrote the poems completely. They're not actually translations, but re-imaginations. But for my money they catch the spirit of an ecstatic poet. The most renown translator of Kabir was a guy named Tagore. His are literal translation, but oh my, they are dry and vapid and Victoria and catch very little of the ecstatic spirit.

I couldn't find one of my favorite Bly translations, but this one is pretty good:

The spiritual athlete often changes the color of his clothes,
and his mind remains gray and loveless.

He sits inside a shrine room all day,
so that the Guest has to go outdoors and praise the rocks.

Or he drills holes in his ears, his hair grows
enormous and matted,
people mistake him for a goat...
He goes out into wilderness areas, strangles his impulses,
and makes himself neither male nor female...

He shaves his skull, puts his robe in an orange vat,
reads the Bhagavad-Gita, and becomes a terrific talker.

Kabir says: Actually you are going in a hearse
to the country of death,
bound hand and foot!


This one almost has the feel of a Blake poem from his Innocence & Experience period.
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Last edited by Charmed Life Picks; 09-24-2021 at 12:02 PM.
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  #36  
Old 09-24-2021, 11:55 AM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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Ever come across Pam Ayres? She's good for a larf!



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