Thursday, January 28, 2010

Automatic Ballad (or not) for Jean Arp

Teller of found immensities:
abandoned bulb, abandoned bone
marble-lip, sound throat-less, free
great chunks of plastic: saxophone

Herder of cloudy Coquille thirst
or splintered wood, improbable blue
an accidental           automatic ego-quill
of unmeasured orange gutty stew

Star lust reeks in plastered blanc
unnoticed thumbtack    winking toad
crystal umbrage orbits thick
within otherwise worlds untold

21 comments:

Gerry Boyd said...

Oh yeah! Lots of little tricky resonances make the music fly. E.g., "plastic" and "plastered blanc". The big space hole in the middle? For me, that is unnecessary; was there something intended there that I just missed? Should warn you that I am old-fashioned in that regard so feel free to ignore me. A minor quibble from an old man in a tired month, being read to by a girl. Marvelous piece.

Megan said...

Thank you, Gerry.

The space is my feeble attempt to mimic the space in one of Arp's collages. Probably not working.

Gerry Boyd said...

don't say feeble. it's my bad. i don't even know who Arp is. time for some research I guess

Megan said...

Gerry, I may be wrong, but I think you'd like Arp rather a lot.

Dada at its best.

Jenny Enochsson said...

Superb, Megan!

I love the structure and imagery. The gap between "accidental" and "automatic ego-quill" is filled with interesting resonances and echoes; i enjoyed that effect a lot.

Gerry Boyd said...

This is not a comment

Megan said...

There you go, Boyd.

Gerry Boyd said...

Interesting discussion re: "visual" effects in poetry, BTW. Please appreciate that this is academic and not personal. The visual stuff just does not work for me and I started to wonder why that is. So, after some introspection, I arrived at: Poetry for me is primarily aural so what the words look like on the page just does not interest me very much. Would the poem "sound" different read out loud as a function of its visual aspects? Maybe, in terms of pauses and such but, essentially, I think not. I also find clever textual word arrangements distracting while reading. Even short lines kinda bug me and the poems with one word per line just drive me insane. Do I sound like a cranky old man or what? I understand the force that drives these kind of innovations: we are all struggling with the irresistible impulse to express something with words and visual arrangement is one more little charm in the bag of available tricks. That being said, it's one that I choose not to employ and one that does not positively affect my pleasure in the poem. I was trying to think of one poem where an idiosyncratic visual layout had an impact on me and came up with zilch. Even Dylan Thomas, who I absolutely adore, had a few poems with odd shapes (can't remember the exact poems but they're in his Collected Poems) and they also left me flat. So, just my two cents on the topic. I am used to being wrong and would love to hear contrary opinions. Maybe I am missing something.

Megan said...

First off, I doubt that there is ever a "wrong" when it comes to poetry, and you don't sound cranky. And I do see your point. I am not particularly attracted to odd spacing and formats/concretes in poems. Not something I do often. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens without me meaning it-- for example, some of the poems I post on blogs end up spacing themselves and it annoys me to no end (I am not tech-savvy enough to know how to fix this.)
That said, I am deeply attracted to spaces and blanks in visual art-- how the space occurs organically (or not) is beautiful to me. This why I love Arp's work. The in between areas are forcefields and tell of the endless possibility of chance. This is why I tried to add one into my song for him. But I can see how it can feel/look jarring or convoluted. I have been in workshops with poets who employ the white space for meaning and "obscureness" and I don't usually get it excited by this.

This is an interesting discussion. Wonder what other people think of this.

Gerry Boyd said...

Jenny: I got an email of your comment but I do not see it here. FTW? Gerry

Francis Scudellari said...

It's funny how the world works. I just posted my first attempt at a "visual" poem and Gerry points me back here for this discussion. Sorry I was a bit slow in participating. This poem has a lot more to say, and is a lot more interesting than my own. I can honestly say that "Dropped" came to my mind the way its laid out on the page. That may be because of my recent revisiting of cummings. It's also pretty slight and wouldn't hold up if traditionally arranged.

Jenny Enochsson said...

Gerry, sorry, I found a typo, took the comment away, meaning to write a new one... I will try to remember what I was saying and rewrite it. Some associations to do with your discussion, which I do not mean to cut in on.

I love being introduced to poetic forms that are unfamiliar to me or maybe I have not paid it enough attention before. Like, visual poetry, for instance. It takes a while for it to sink in, but I think it is worth it. The challenge enriches my experience. Some forms appeal to me more than others; but then I often find myself liking something I thought I would not like at first. It is a forever changing process to me. Perhaps that makes me a naïve person.

I most admit that I mostly read stuff from 1870-1959 these days, though. So I am by no means updated on the latest poetic trends.

Gerry, you are not a “grumpy old man” and your writing feels innovative. In Uppsala there are plenty of academic fossils, so I know what I am talking about.

Jenny Enochsson said...

Btw, talking about typos above. Today has been a day full of [sic] for me. Not sure why. I need some wine perhaps...

I often find interesting examples of new visual poetry and other poetry here:

http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/

PO Johnson said...

So elegantly written, Megan! The last stanza blew me away.

Oh, I'm a sucker for visual poetry and also code poetry. Especially when the distinctions between abstract art and words are wiped out. Like optical illusions. It's just so exciting and animated, methinks.

Megan said...

Francis, "Dropped" is a Dadaist dream!

Jenny and PO, thank you both.

Megan said...

This discussion has got me thinking about concrete poetry. Trying to think of concretes that really work for me. Not many. But some. The Scottish poet, Don Patterson has done some amazing things with word formations. His collection, Landing Light is brilliant.
Other than that, I guess I would have to dial back to George Herbert: "Easter Wings" and "The Altar."

Gerry Boyd said...

Just as a follow-up, here's a pretty good entry point for the visual/concrete side of things.

http://dbqp.blogspot.com/

Jenny Enochsson said...

Thanks for mentioning that blog, Gerry. I have come across Geof Huth's work a couple of times before. Damn interesting stuff. This genre is like a new language to me and I like exploring it.

Megan said...

Thanks for the link, Gerry.

You guys should check out Don Patterson as well.

Dissertation Writing service said...

This kind of information is very limited on internet. Nice to find the post related to my searching criteria. Your updated and informative post will be appreciated by blog loving people.

Online Degree's Dissertation

Gerry Boyd said...

just when you least expect it: spam. i did admire the chameleon prose blurb though. it can refer to anything!