For any of you still reading this blog, I really will start blogging regularly after my big December 1st work deadline.
Poetry and the Examined Life
A blog about poetry, philosophy, and other musings and observations.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I received a rejection yesterday from a small literary magazine. At least the editor wrote a brief note indicating that he or she wouldn’t mind me sending future work.
I don’t see work letting up anytime soon until after December 1st.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Sexton’s birthday was on November 9th. I thought this was an interesting take on Sexton’s poetry, and it has some interesting thoughts on poetry in general. I liked very much Ryan’s “weightlessness” idea about poetry
Kay Ryan on Anne Sexton:
Anne Sexton is the author of ravishing poetry supercharged with primitive power, poetry that bangs big pots and pans, that is incautious, that runs headlong, and will stumble…. In Sexton’s hands, unevenness becomes a surprising source of power. Think about it; unevenness has a terrific alerting capacity. Careening along Sexton’s narrative line at breakneck speed, the reader never knows when she will drop into a pothole. The work is bumpy and immediate. Add to this that Sexton is always holding this special black ace: she’s been certified crazy and can crack up again right in front of you. Her power is part threat, which may be cheating, but cheating is fair in poetry.
…When she gets it right, I feel the weightlessness that means poetry to me. Suffering and torment are neither canceled nor explained; they are—strangely—elements, along with language and design, of a new configuration that we forever know as the beautiful.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I’m extremely busy at work right now, so I might not be posting much for the next few days. I may need to come in over the weekend and work some. Ugh! Things should calm down a bit next week—I hope!
Monday, November 07, 2005
A Head or Tail—which does he lack?
I think his Forward’s coming back!
He lives on Carrots, Leeks and Hay;
He starts to yawn—it takes All Day—
Some time I think I’ll live that way.
Friday, November 04, 2005
The Power of Music
Music. Sometimes I can’t believe its power. There are songs that I find so beautiful, or they state so eloquently a state of being that I can be moved to tears. There are songs that almost without fail make me feel better. There are songs that can make me feel powerful. Of course, half of a song’s power is what I bring to it.
Music is more accessible than poetry. It is more immediate and involves a physical response. It is analogous to standing before a painting and looking at it versus reading a critic’s appreciation of the painting. You can get something out of looking at painting even if you don’t intellectually understand it. With music you can hear the music and words (if any) and get something out of it even if you don’t understand it intellectually. In both cases you can simply feel the painting or piece of music. At the very least you can respond that you like the painting or piece of music or not. Arthur Schopenhauer believed that music should be ranked first among the arts.
Some songs that are powerful to me:
“Desert Rose” and “Send Your Love” – Sting
“King of Pain” – The Police
“The Night before Larry Was Stretched” – Elvis Costello
“Zombie” and “Ode to My Family” – The Cranberries
“Until It Sleeps” and “Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica
“Angel” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” – Judas Priest
“Waiting for Darkness” - Ozzy Osborne
From a psychology professor (J. M. Mahoney) I took a class from years ago:
“I hate to break it to you, but all knowledge is just someone’s opinion.”
I agree with Dr. Mahoney. I would add that not all opinions are equal. Superior opinions can be tested against the physical world for validity (e.g., the empirical results of a scientific experiment to test/confirm a law or theory) or have reason, logic, justice, or ethics on their side to support the opinion in a persuasive manner.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Fall, leaves, fall
Fall leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
I have a severe case of ennui right now. Nothing that normally gives me pleasure does so. I can’t take any time off until Thanksgiving. The trip to Rome isn’t until March. I’m trying to change jobs, but nothing has come from my efforts so far. A change of some kind would do me good. It’s times like these when I feel acutely how all is vanity—particularly activities like writing and publishing poetry. It bothers me sometimes that I have an insatiable appetite for novelty. I quickly use things up and become bored with them. I wish I could indulge my wanderlust more with trips abroad.
My boss emailed this morning all of us who report directly to her. It is performance appraisal time, and she requested from all of us to send her a list of our accomplishments for the past year and a list of our goals for next year. There is an art to doing the goals list. You have to come up with legitimate goals that will make a difference but be obtainable and not too lofty so that you set yourself up for a ton of extra work or failure.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I’ve had low energy after work lately, and I haven’t been able to drag my butt to the gym for over a week. I probably have less energy because I haven’t gone to the gym. I think it’s also that damn darkness outside when I get off from work.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I ate my dinner in front of the TV last night and watched the end of the movie Dave. I so think this country is heading in the wrong direction in so many ways. I am particularly bothered by how freedoms are being abridged in the name of security. I am also very bothered by the encroachment of religion into education, the courts, and private decisions. I am an avid believer in the separation of church and state. There is also a lack of tolerance for other beliefs in this country, and the certainty that what I believe is the right way to believe so I will ram my truth down your throat because it is good for you.
I found myself really wishing that we had a president like the character Dave in the movie. I don’t feel safe and comfortable in this country any more. I feel that my ideal America is under siege. I vote regularly and write my senators and representatives to express my displeasure. At least the recent polls are showing that others share my dissatisfaction.