Heavy Hitters #2: Emily Dickinson v Walt Whitman

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i vote dickinson

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Emily Dickinson 18
Walt Whitman 7


decent skinsmanship (Michael B), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 12:57 (nine years ago) link

We had a number 2, think it was Donne vs Yeats or something??

Ravacious Fortune (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 13:15 (nine years ago) link

Wd probably vote Slim Whitman.

Ravacious Fortune (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 13:15 (nine years ago) link

I've never loved Whitman, despite teaching him several times. Dickinson, however, remains a great, abiding mystery. Thomas Johnson's collection was the second book of poetry my parents got me.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 13:27 (nine years ago) link

dickinson: the original indiekid/hipster?

decent skinsmanship (Michael B), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 14:15 (nine years ago) link

i bought some dickinson this week and i <3 her

wheezy f baby (a hoy hoy), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 14:19 (nine years ago) link

What's funny to me is how quickly I voted Dickinson even though Whitman utterly changes the game not only of American poetry but of poetry, full stop, forever. To compare him to the Beatles in terms of impact on his field is, I think, fair. People had written free verse before him; the floodgates open after him. Dickinson, of course, famously barely publishes at all, is not really in the game; she just writes some of the best poetry ever written. Even if you take her latter impact into account, the question of stature isn't even a contest; Whitman is a titan. And in the right mood he transports my spirit utterly, captivates me, creates an enveloping feeling like a great dance tune at high volume in a dark club: the song becomes all, there is nothing that isn't the song.

But open the collected Dickinson at random and whole galaxies open in a single line. You have to go back to the Greeks, or the Bible, to find feeling so tight-knit, image & mood so inextricably interwoven. I don't care a whit for the Dickinson myth, but the verse itself is mythic --

MY Wheel is in the dark,—
I cannot see a spoke,
Yet know its dripping feet
Go round and round.

She'll walk this poll, I can't imagine there are a whole lot of Whitman boosters around these parts, and I'll make a case for him just because, when I get around to it. But Dickinson stands with Shakespeare and Yeats as among the most surgically precise to ever wield the language.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 14:47 (nine years ago) link

I mean like

THE LARGEST fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men,
An Occidental town,
Rebuilt another morning
To be again burned down.

come on, now.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 14:49 (nine years ago) link

Whereas Whitman, in a way, compares to the pop stars of today (or maybe of a recent Madonna-at-her-height "today" -- control is harder to come by than it was in the nineties) - his self-mythologizing, his tight control of the presentation, his full investment in the WALT WHITMAN brand - the overseeing of the many different editions of his book, the inclusion of pictures of himself to telegraph how you're to take him: this is a guy who has understood what the developments around him mean for the way people experience art small & large. And it's in practically every line he writes. He knows what the coming age will be all about, and he maybe contends that it's always been all about what the coming age will make explicit:

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,

But he doesn't stop there. He sees that the self is really going to come into a position of outward-reaching power & vision in the age of democracy, and what's more, he thinks poetry is about the self; so that's always there; but an egotist is not necessarily a narcissist, and so he continues:

But I wondered how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without
its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined
around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight, in my room,
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in
a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,
I know very well I could not.

...and man, when Uncle Walt says things like this, I want to cry for such a beautiful soul having once walked this earth. I feel his song deep down in my bones; I know we have felt the same things. Whereas with E.D., yeah, we've felt the same things, but there's a gulf between us; she has ascended to the hill of the oracle to send back what she gets from the gods.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:15 (nine years ago) link

like I read that and I feel inspired. I want to act somehow to increase the understand of the vitality of love in this world, do somehow what Whitman does by writing the poem. What a giant he is, what a tender, loving giant of a man.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:18 (nine years ago) link

I've nothing to say, just wanna give John a <3 for this:
I don't care a whit for the Dickinson myth
(the natural inversion is slightly less palatable)

Øystein, Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:26 (nine years ago) link

his self-mythologizing

aerosmith: Yeah, see Whitman craves praise and asks the reader to confirm his mastery whereas I respect Dickinson more because she totally shuns it.

decent skinsmanship (Michael B), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:28 (nine years ago) link

but seriously, great posts there

decent skinsmanship (Michael B), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:30 (nine years ago) link

I made the terrible mistake of assigning this poem as a midterm essay:

The Tint I cannot take—is best—
The Color too remote
That I could show it in Bazaar—
A Guinea at a sight—
The fine—impalpable Array—
That swaggers on the eye
Like Cleopatra's Company—
Repeated—in the sky—
The Moments of Dominion
That happen on the Soul
And leave it with a Discontent
Too exquisite—to tell—
The eager look—on Landscapes—
As if they just repressed
Some Secret—that was pushing
Like Chariots—in the Vest—
The Pleading of the Summer—
That other Prank—of Snow—
That Cushions Mystery with Tulle,
For fear the Squirrels—know
Their Graspless manners—mock us—
Until the Cheated Eye
Shuts arrogantly—in the Grave—
Another way—to see—

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:32 (nine years ago) link

it flummoxed them

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:32 (nine years ago) link

The Moments of Dominion
That happen on the Soul
And leave it with a Discontent
Too exquisite—to tell—

God almighty

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:37 (nine years ago) link

aerosmith: Yeah, see Whitman craves praise and asks the reader to confirm his mastery whereas I respect Dickinson more because she totally shuns it.

but I mean Dickinson is a prisoner of her manners, you know? the hell she doesn't crave praise, she's just too knotted-up to admit it - "my verse, does it sing?" - whereas Walt gives full vent to what we all are: that child who wants to be loved, to hear he's done well even if all he did was scribble on a wall.

I still voted Dickinson. you just cannot fuck with Dickinson. but the objections one makes to Walt Whitman actually enrich the experience of reading him; he is in constant dialogue with the reader. real dialogue; he hears you while he's writing. even if you find that an offputting personal quality (I used to, but I don't now), it makes for incredibly rich reading.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:40 (nine years ago) link

these polls always make me a little sad that i don't spend more time reading 'heavy hitters', really

thomp, Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:40 (nine years ago) link

What a difference the bowdlerized versions of the poems make. The Johnson edition I grew up substitutes commas and semicolons for dashes. For Dickinson the dash was an infinitely adaptable instrument.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:47 (nine years ago) link

there are dickinson lines where I am convinced someone is ghost writing from the late 20th century because they are so modern in idea and language.

cha-cha cheating (bnw), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:48 (nine years ago) link

To die -- without the Dying
And live -- without the Life
This is the hardest Miracle
Propounded to Belief.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:54 (nine years ago) link

Man:

Denial -- is the only fact
Perceived by the Denied --
Whose Will -- a numb significance --
The Day the Heaven died --

And all the Earth strove common round --
Without Delight, or Beam --
What Comfort was it Wisdom -- was --
The spoiler of Our Home?

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 15:55 (nine years ago) link

What a difference the bowdlerized versions of the poems make. The Johnson edition I grew up substitutes commas and semicolons for dashes. For Dickinson the dash was an infinitely adaptable instrument.

well, we don't know this, do we? there's been a lot of nonsense talked about what Dickinson wanted over the past thirty years, imo. we don't know anything about her writing process, really, or how she conceived of printed presentation. she's a unique case, in that we have written poems that she declined to have set in type. it is difficult I think if not impossible to say how she would have set them in type if publication had been her thing. I don't agree with standardization, but at the same time, I'm not sure she viewed her dashes in as lofty terms as some of her admirers do.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:04 (nine years ago) link

I prefer the dashes because of the effects on her rhythms and enjambment, but the kids edition I loved in the mid eighties used the commas. I would totally accept an argument that conventionalizing her verse makes it stranger.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:07 (nine years ago) link

I prefer them too, I just like to be clear that I don't think we can securely think she was secretly up there in her attic trying to revolutionize form. Though I gather that she did complain about two changes made to "a narrow fellow in the grass," published while she was alive.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:12 (nine years ago) link

but Dickinson - she quotes well - she can show you in four lines that she has the power in her, compact but infinite. whereas to understand Whitman, you have to lie down with him. honestly, I don't think we can discuss Whitman without talking a lot about sex & sexuality. because he approaches poetry as a sexual act: as courtship, flirting, making out, fucking outright, the conversations before & after and the moaning & grunting in flagrante - that's all Walt, and he won't have it separated out from everyday life. and it's so integrated that when he's not directly talking about it, inviting you to contemplate what a body is & what it's like to be forever wedded to one, walking around the city in your own body, living in it, being it, breathing, sweating, yet finally the same as all of us, concealing that true self and living it only in song mostly:

These, and all else, were to me the same as they are to you;
I project myself a moment to tell you—also I return.

I loved well those cities;
I loved well the stately and rapid river;
The men and women I saw were all near to me;
Others the same—others who look back on me, because I look’d forward to them;
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

5

What is it, then, between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not.

6

I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine;
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me.

I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution;
I too had receiv’d identity by my Body;
That I was, I knew was of my body—and what I should be, I knew I should be of my body.

7

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw patches down upon me also;
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious;
My great thoughts, as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre? would not people laugh at me?

It is not you alone who know what it is to be evil;
I am he who knew what it was to be evil;
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant;
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting.

8

But I was Manhattanese, friendly and proud!
I was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street, or ferry-boat, or public assembly, yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:23 (nine years ago) link

It was really cool seeing the electric shock around the room when reading aloud the section in SOM about Whitman becoming a laundress and watching the men skinny dip.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:25 (nine years ago) link

lol I think Whitman's message to the world is at least in part "look at it, pwn3d, made u lok at my peen/vadge"

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:27 (nine years ago) link

Both poets repped for their respective povs very artfully.

Dickinson, although she is exceptionally talented and I strongly admire her deft and parsimonious use of words and images, seems to me to be hopelessly mired in the no-more-shall-we-hear-thy-sweet-chirrup-alas-poor-sparrow-dear school of thought that Mark Twain parodied in Huckleberry Finn. It's like reading the poetry of a woman trapped in a coffin.

Whitman is even easier to parody than Dickinson, mainly because his poetry has so much froth in it and froth is so simple to generate in large quantities. However, I am voting for him with a clear conscience, because his body of work has much stronger bones and more complex muscles -- and if you read enough of his work you'll come to appreciate the enormous value of his underlying vision and its strength.

I understand that the feminist critic would immediately point out that ED was in some ways a woman trapped in a coffin, and therefore her poetic weakness was rooted in her lack of freedom as a woman, while, as a man, WW enjoyed supreme freedom of thought and motion. I agree with this biographical critique up to a point, but in the end I have to vote based on the body of work achieved, not the poet's ability to manuever within the accidents of circumstance.

Aimless, Wednesday, 24 November 2010 20:21 (nine years ago) link

"The Wound-Dresser".

On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)

The majesty of that poem.

alimosina, Wednesday, 24 November 2010 22:11 (nine years ago) link

I don't know if you meant to say this, Aimless but -

is body of work has much stronger bones and more complex muscles

- is a chauvinistic reading and appreciation, no? It's almost as if you're praising Whitman for having bigger balls or something.

Also, you're underestimating Dickinson's immense complexity. There's nothing twee about her -- not one bit. This is a woman for whom her Calvinistic faith required a ceaseless examination of her place in her garden, her room, her kitchen. Only a woman writing at that time would have lent gardening, breadmaking, and watching snakes and sparrows in the backyard a mysteriousness that yet respects these things as mundanities.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 22:21 (nine years ago) link

It's like reading the poetry of a woman trapped in a coffin.

I mean -- no no no no no no. She had the imagination to conceive of life trapped in that coffin AND the infinitely variegated life outside it. She never stopped observing and thinking.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 22:22 (nine years ago) link

No, I don't think that's a bad description ("a woman trapped in a coffin"). Formally and otherwise, her poetry has a claustrophobic feel. Just because she maybe couldn't help it given who she was doesn't mean that feeling isn't there.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 24 November 2010 23:40 (nine years ago) link

I think reading Dickinson as claustrophobic is lending too much credence to the legend. The whole universe is visible in her lines.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 24 November 2010 23:52 (nine years ago) link

No, not for having bigger balls, but for having a greater breadth of vision, a bigger palette, a broader canvas, more effects, and more subject matter, more things to say about more aspects of life.

I agree that ED takes the mundane and instills it with mystery, but that seems to be the whole of her art. She's a miniaturist, able to suggest much with a few, tiny strokes, but this ultimately limits her, because the thing she suggests is ultimately always the same thing. No matter where her poem begins, it generally ends in the same region, saying much the same few truths. They are big truths, but not enough to support a big body of work.

Aimless, Thursday, 25 November 2010 00:46 (nine years ago) link

I think reading Dickinson as claustrophobic is lending too much credence to the legend.

I don't think so. I was never that interested in the biographical slant on her work. I think that claustrophobic feel can easily be found in the work itself.

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 25 November 2010 05:06 (nine years ago) link

I don't know why but I prefer Whitman. Very lovable poetry although I guess this is true of Dickinson. True story: I was put in a remedial science class in high school and it was so easy I finished the class two weeks early and spent some spring afternoons reading Dickinson next to a grassy hill near my school.

jeevves, Thursday, 25 November 2010 10:27 (nine years ago) link

Looking back there is some irony in that, I think.

jeevves, Thursday, 25 November 2010 10:27 (nine years ago) link

The Impossible Marriage

The bride disappears. After twenty minutes of searching
we discover her in the cellar, vanishing against a pillar
in her white gown and her skin's original pallor.
When we guide her back to the altar, we find the groom
in his slouch hat, open shirt, and untended beard
withdrawn to the belltower with the healthy young sexton
from whose comradeship we detach him with difficulty.
O never in all the meetinghouses and academies
of compulsory Democracy and free-thinking Calvinism
will these poets marry! -- O pale, passionate
anchoret of Amherst! O reticent kosmos of Brooklyn!

-- Donald Hall

alimosina, Friday, 26 November 2010 01:11 (nine years ago) link

didn't someone also write a science fiction novel about that

thomp, Friday, 26 November 2010 12:49 (nine years ago) link

what a wonderful little poem!!

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Friday, 26 November 2010 12:57 (nine years ago) link

Glad that was posted - guess it's a bit of a hoary chestnut that you can get pretty much any 20thC U.S. poetry by mixing in different amounts of Dickinson and Whitman, but ...

etc, Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:33 (nine years ago) link

Unhesitatingly Dickinson. I don't much like Whitman: if I pick out what I don't like formally, I can say the long lines, repetition as rhythm, the adjectival pile-ups, the biblical-prophetic diction. Thin on sharp images too, maybe? I think of him as just listing stuff he sees. Anyway, I guess it's not really that at bottom: he just has a sensibility or vision of the world that I don't much care for. All that vigorous, open, vatic energy just comes over like bombast and hectoring if y're not on side early.

Dickinson, though, there's lots of my favourite things: precise, elliptical, spare. Surprising: the best of the poems have nothing obvious – single unexpected overfraught words, a jump sideways from one thought to another, strange images. tbqh I don't know her work well enough to say much useful about her: I read her in short bursts every few months, never had a full-on obsession (in fact find her a bit samey if I read too much at once, obvs a flip-side of the hyper-focus mentioned upthread, a virtue in general). But her knots of anxiety + delight, apprehension of the world, I like that.

(This is HH poll 5, by the way (Yeats/Shaks, Chaucer/Milton, Stevens/Frost, Donne/Blake))

portrait of velleity (woof), Monday, 29 November 2010 00:43 (nine years ago) link

i am probably a lot more like whitman, in the way i write, and the way i think, and act, and approach the world, undisciplined, overenthusiastic, obvious, yes, hectoring, i wish i was more like dickinson, who is razor-sharp, restrained, cryptic, a master concealer.

max, Monday, 29 November 2010 00:54 (nine years ago) link

haha

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 November 2010 00:57 (nine years ago) link

I'm Wallace Stevens.

look at it, pwn3d, made u look at my peen/vadge (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 November 2010 00:57 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 30 November 2010 00:01 (nine years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 1 December 2010 00:01 (nine years ago) link

Aha! The prevailing aethestic prevails.

Aimless, Wednesday, 1 December 2010 02:46 (nine years ago) link

What horseshoe said

waterface, Monday, 29 July 2013 11:19 (seven years ago) link

bd., how is the vendler? i have seen it on a friends desk and thought 'that seems like an excellent book to have' but also thought 'that seems like a book i would open twice'

i better not get any (thomp), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 22:19 (seven years ago) link

I bought it and returned it a few days later, only because my library carried it (I own her thin book on Stevens' short poems though lol go figure).

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 22:27 (seven years ago) link

seven months pass...

No problems with Dickinson.

re: Whitman. Should he have just left it at the first ed. of Leaves of Grass? Don't know enough about Whitman but is there ever a debate of a fall in quality from one ed. to the nxt?

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 14:14 (six years ago) link

taught Whitman recently; teaching Dickinson now. my kids are struggling with Dickinson. the other day a kid was like, "she's simple but she's not. it's confusing." that kid otm.

horseshoe, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 14:56 (six years ago) link

once i went to a 24-hr marathon reading of emily dickinson held at a catholic school, it was kind of like this

― j., Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:43 AM (1 year ago)

srsly, this helped me a bunch. you just get a real good reader who knows D to plow through a bunch in a row so they can ~hear~ it

j., Wednesday, 19 March 2014 16:39 (six years ago) link

"she's simple but she's not. it's confusing."

= great writing in one sentencce.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 17:03 (six years ago) link

is there ever a debate of a fall in quality from one ed. to the nxt?

― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:14 PM (6 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


I don't think there is much debate, it seems to be kind of a consensus... here's Harold Bloom in The Anatomy of Influence (happened to have it close at hand): "[each of] Whitman's six masterpieces of the long poem [...] should always be read as it first was printed"; "Calamus, together with the two great Sea-Drift elegies--"Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and "As I Ebb'd with the Ocean of Life"--is the new glory of the third edition of Leaves of Grass (1860). Add the "Lilacs" elegy for Lincoln, and a dozen or so shorter poems and fragments, and you have the best of Whitman."

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Wednesday, 19 March 2014 20:35 (six years ago) link

Thanks - been reading some Whitman too and you know we should've done a Whitman vs Pessoa thread.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 23 March 2014 11:10 (six years ago) link

Actually I think Bloom linked Whitman and Pessoa together in his book Genius (along w Lorca, Hart Crane, Cernuda)

(What wd you recommend for someone getting into Pessoa?)

lolipsism (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 26 March 2014 19:26 (six years ago) link

There's only one, right?

waterbabies (waterface), Wednesday, 26 March 2014 19:27 (six years ago) link

the other day a kid was like, "she's simple but she's not. it's confusing."

A+

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 26 March 2014 21:23 (six years ago) link

(What wd you recommend for someone getting into Pessoa?)

For the poetry I turn to this blog sometimes.

There is a Penguin paperbk but I don't like the flow of it.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 27 March 2014 15:02 (six years ago) link

Way cool. ty xyz

lolipsism (Drugs A. Money), Friday, 28 March 2014 18:38 (six years ago) link

nine months pass...

Some more Pessoa poems here, they are wonderful and made my day yesterday:

http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=32&curr_index=6&curPage=archive

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 10 January 2015 10:57 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

gonna write in

eidolons

at the end of every whitman stanza, feelin just jazzed abt eidolons

j., Saturday, 14 March 2015 07:02 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

a good day to revisit this one:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174748

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 01:24 (five years ago) link

had never read this one before:

http://www.whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/195

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 01:38 (five years ago) link

"When Lilacs..." never failed to move my student, especially when I made them read a stanza allowed, row by row. The cumulative effect, with everyone's rhythms -- halting, assured, bad English, excellent English -- made it seem representatively American.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 01:39 (five years ago) link

*aloud

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 01:40 (five years ago) link

eidolons!!

j., Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:31 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...
one year passes...

q to hart crane readers:

does the old complete poems from the 60s edited by brom weber include 'the bridge' complete? i'm having no luck finding out from the internet

j., Wednesday, 1 February 2017 05:26 (three years ago) link

I think so. The 1st ed liveright has it and the more recent one I have has it. I also have another stand alone version that has annotations

Treeship, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 05:30 (three years ago) link

did any one read the new emily dickinson fragments book? i don't think i voted in this poll but seeing as how she's in my top 3 pantheon of poets i def would've voted for her.

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 05:54 (three years ago) link

THE LARGEST fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,

hell yeah https://i.ytimg.com/vi/LKQY9PlWMec/maxresdefault.jpg

example (crüt), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 06:01 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

holy god emily dickinson is the greatest poet in the universe

glumdalclitch, Monday, 3 April 2017 23:12 (three years ago) link

What? Not Li Po? Not Francois Villon? Not Szymborska? Not Yeats? Not Tu Fu? Not Dante? Not Homer? Not Catullus? Not Cavafy? Not Marianne Moore? Not Khayyam? Not Chaucer? Not Arnaut Daniel? Not Baudelaire? Not Heine? Not Milton? Not Po Chu-I?

Why didn't I get the memo?

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Monday, 3 April 2017 23:28 (three years ago) link

i do feel that she manages to out-ironise every poet who ever wrote

did empson ever write about her? cos he would have feasted on her lines.

glumdalclitch, Monday, 3 April 2017 23:35 (three years ago) link

i do feel that she manages to out-ironise every poet who ever wrote

I must disagree.

The Heart asks Pleasure – first –
And then – Excuse from Pain –
And then – those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering –

And then – to go to sleep –
And then – if it should be
The will of the Inquisitor
The privilege to die –

alimosina, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 01:05 (three years ago) link

that poem is funny though. it's "true" at one level, but it's also a deliberately absurd reduction of human experience. her poems are full of these kinds of moments:

Surgeons must be careful
When they take the knife !
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the culprit,--Life!

i also think there is something ironic about phrases like "on her divine majority, intrude no more!" to joyfully embrace misanthropy is a kind of ironic experience, even if the sentiment is meant sincerely. the whole fantasy of emperors jostling for her attention as she closes the "valves of her attention like stone." it's fun.

Treeship, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 01:46 (three years ago) link

What I mean is - her tone, while perfectly sincere when it's talking about a religious concept or a moral idea, is also qualified by numerous ironies. One of those being that she is aware that you, the reader are aware, that her sincerity is partly performed, and her intellectual insight through and past simple ideas and pieties is so great that she is providing several levels of silent meta-commentary on her own framing of the idea in the poem, not merely the idea itself. All this is only to add to the other obvious ironies one feels - that as a woman she shouldn't be writing or thinking this, but has a better grasp than anyone she knows. That her doubt, caution, fear and knowingness are there in the poem, unhidden, but exist with a kind of innocence which she earnestly feels and she earnestly knows has been foisted on her by virtue of her sex. Battles of knowledge, battles of form. The ironies are transcendent, because they cling to the surface of the ground, and yet are able to see all which passes all around. They express complete awareness, and the limitations of expression by one human personality.

glumdalclitch, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 02:10 (three years ago) link

the POLL selects its own society

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 4 April 2017 02:26 (three years ago) link

dickinson really is kind of a unique poet -- i can't think of anyone else who writes quite like her.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 4 April 2017 23:57 (three years ago) link

I'm a common reader of poetry. When you say ironic, I think:

Henry was programmed for happiness.
What happened O, O bloody friends?
Hoho, heehee.

alimosina, Wednesday, 5 April 2017 01:07 (three years ago) link

there once was a man from nantucket

Treeship, Wednesday, 5 April 2017 01:36 (three years ago) link

What a lovely thread.

the world's little sunbeam (in orbit), Wednesday, 5 April 2017 13:36 (three years ago) link

yeah i quoted that first whitman bit upthread that aerosmith quoted in a text message and got a <3

The times they are a changing, perhaps (map), Wednesday, 5 April 2017 18:59 (three years ago) link

http://www.musicboxfilms.com/a-quiet-passion-movies-153.php#overview

alimosina, Wednesday, 12 April 2017 17:01 (three years ago) link

Sight & Sounds gave it a good write-up.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 April 2017 18:10 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

“Nature is a haunted house--but Art--a house that tries to be haunted.”

Treeship, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 02:48 (three years ago) link

Going to heaven!
I don't know when,
Pray do not ask me how,--
Indeed, I'm too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to heaven!--
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home by night
Unto the shepherd's arm!

Perhaps you're going too!
Who knows?
If you should get there first,
Save just a little place for me
Close to the two I lost!
The smallest "robe" will fit me,
And just a bit of "crown";
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home.

I'm glad I don't believe it,
For it would stop my breath,
And I'd like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mighty autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 03:01 (three years ago) link

magnificent and terrifying

Treeship, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 03:03 (three years ago) link

Watch the movie.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 16 May 2017 03:04 (three years ago) link

terrifying

1862:

You cannot put a Fire out --
A Thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a Fan --
Upon the slowest Night --

You cannot fold a Flood --
And put it in a Drawer --
Because the Winds would find it out --
And tell your Cedar Floor --

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 06:11 (three years ago) link

I many times thought Peace had come
When Peace was far away --
As Wrecked Men -- deem they sight the Land --
At Centre of the Sea --

And struggle slacker -- but to prove
As hopelessly as I --
How many the fictitious Shores --
Before the Harbor be --

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 06:14 (three years ago) link

Love those Dickinson poems. I don't think Whitman poems work so well in small doses. I guess I think Dickinson might be the better poet, but Whitman means more to me personally. I remember being on summer break during college, staying with my grandparents, not knowing many people my own age in the area, and Whitman was kind of like a companion to me. It's hokey as hell, but I used to sometimes sit out in the woods behind their house with "Leaves of Grass". Dickinson's poems are like finely-cut gems, whereas Whitman's are like big woolly sweaters. No doubt there's a lot of hocus pocus in Whitman, something I'm sure Dickinson's austere gimlet eye could have skewered deftly, but it's deeply comforting hocus pocus nonetheless.

o. nate, Friday, 19 May 2017 00:44 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

i like it when she's ambitious:

Such are the inlets of the mind—-
His outlets-— would you see
Ascend with me the eminence
Of immortality—-

(tho prayerful as ever)

I don't think Whitman poems work so well in small doses.

dickinson does suffer in large ones i think, she can drive u crazy circling her obsessions (like the gnats around the porch light in lolita: "continuously darning the air in one spot") not to mention that one rhythm she likes so much that's practically a personal haiku.

that fire/flood/winds/floor one i posted upthread still gives me chills tho: all four elements, in conspiracy. sometimes she reminds me of the log lady

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 30 September 2017 02:04 (two years ago) link

i seem to have invented a new kind of dash, above. the circle is now complete. ascend w me the eminence

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 30 September 2017 02:05 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

This is Emily.
Emily stays inside.
She reads. She writes poetry. She writes letters. She bakes. She does a bit of bird watching. Then she writes some more.
Emily is safe from COVID-19.
Be like Emily. pic.twitter.com/4Weuc9puug

— Mathieu Duplay 🌈 🇪🇺 (@mathieu_duplay) March 16, 2020

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 March 2020 08:51 (six months ago) link


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