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Archive for September 2010

Hard To Live With

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“I can freely leave an unfinished free-verse poem to prepare a meal, sleep, have a drink with friends, but a formal poem follows me everywhere, makes me hard to live with, and gives me pleasure approaching the ecstatic.”

17It’s far from the first time when I’ve noticed a great woman poet being overlooked, but it’s still odd to find Mona Van Duyn MIA from my personal library’s copy of A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now , edited by Aliki and Willis Barnstone. Like, sure she wasn’t honored as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress until 1992, the year of the book’s most recent publication. But come on, she had won solid recognition of her work soon enough to have been given at least a few pages, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1991 for her 1990 book, Near Changes. How much higher must a woman poet aim to merit the kind of sincere respect and understanding for her work she can truly value . . . or if not that, at least a glance from a collector of poetry written by a woman?!

So anyway, poetry by Mona Van Duyn on websites I care to visit (i.e., those not overloaded with spurious ad-related content) include the following poems –

(Footnote: Seems that the selections here that I’m pulling from Google Books are as whimsically volatile as fresh memories – sometimes one poem is showing while another is not; next time I pull the book up to read, those are likely switched. It’s Google, so go figure. Anyway, while I have a copy of a poem from Google books up and readable, I’m transcribing it over into my local files, where those poems for which I have a local copy are indicated in this list by a filled-in box (versus an open circle). Eventually, I’ll purchase a book or more of hers – I do deeply feel her style and voice moving inside – but for now, this will have to do me.)

“The end
of passion
may refashion
a friend”

Update (16 Apr 2015) — This post was originally placed in polymath as of the date given to this re-posting here at aftermath. Since then, I have added several Van Duyn books to my own personal library.

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Written by macheide

25 September 2010 at 8:52 am

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Coming Back Around

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This is already starting to feel like the times when I’d been writing a really good poem and made it maybe eight or nine good stanzas into it, then had most of that destroyed or lost, then tried to rewrite it all over again. In some ways, the new version can emerge better than the original, with parts that never would have been seen if the original had remained intact blocking the view. Yet there are always pieces irretrievably lost.

Aftermath will never be public again (update 3/2/2012 – or what is uncloaked once again will not be public as most of the public would think as such, rather more along the lines of the clothes I might choose to wear when walking out and about), but will always remain the core of my blogging experience. Much of its sidebar will have been lost, with old passwords for some of the pieces long forgotten and unattainable, and with other pieces – like Bloglines and Ning – gone to their graves. Eventually, new pieces will take all the places of those parts, and in some ways it will never quite be as it had been, but it should eventually be better than ever.

Polymath will carry the “public” face of Aftermath. Why public? I don’t write for anyone else to read, and I don’t expect to ever collect any regular readers. But maybe it’s like how I don’t just remain stuck in my rocking chair in my bedroom in my own home 24/7: I don’t go out to eat or work or run errands or do other things outside for establishing and maintaining any solid external relationships, nor even to make any particular impression, but I’m still out there being seen – and occasionally interacting.

Other pieces that make Aftermath and Polymath work – Facebook, Twitter, et cetera – are gradually loosening up and moving out into the world once again. It feels like when you try to walk after you’ve been sitting on your leg until it’s gone numb. (Update 3/3/2012 – Or more like, still being seen here after eight unsuccessful attempts to convince them I was done.)

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Written by macheide

12 September 2010 at 7:50 am

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