Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2012 | Daniel Bouchard

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Arthur Hugh Clough | Selected Poems | Penguin | 1991

His “Amours de Voyage” reads like a Henry James novel: a British aristocrat and the intrigues of courtship with a young American lady touring Europe with her family. He was in Rome during Easter in 1849 when guns and cannon prevented milk from reaching his preferred café. His sympathies were with the Rebels. Clough was tour guide to Emerson in England and is acknowledged as such in English Traits. This past June, Aung San Suu Kyi cited Clough’s “Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth” in a speech to the British Parliament, remembering that Churchill used the poem also in his appeal to the United States to enter the fight against Nazi Germany. I found his longer poems, like “Adam and Eve” and “Ambarvalia” the best reading.

William Corbett | Elegies for Michael Gizzi | Kat Ran | 2012

An evocative tribute: highly recommended.

H.D. | Collected Poems: 1912-1944 | New Directions | 1983

I think I prefer H.D.’s sea weed, sea wrack, beach vegetation and ocean rocks to anything else she writes about. I love H.D.

Merrill Gilfillan | The Bark of the Dog | Flood | 2010
Ryan Eckes | Old News | Furniture | 2011
Pam Rehm | Larger Nature | Flood | 2011
Emily Carr | Directions for Flying: 36 Fits: A Young Housewife’s Almanac | Furniture | 2010

I reviewed these four books for Zoland earlier this year. Check it out.

Aaron Kramer | Wicked Times: Selected Poems | Illinois | 2004

A working-class and committed Communist poet. His sincerity is overwhelming, his technique not so much. I like reading him anyway.

Sherry Mangan | No Apology for Poetrie, and Other Poems Written 1922-1931 | Bruce Rogers | 1934

A Trotskyist poet, one born into more privilege than Aaron Kramer, Mangan died penniless and is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome (among Keats, Shelley, Gramsci and Daisy Miller). He reported from Paris following the Nazi invasion (“Paris Under the Swastika”) for Life Magazine and was ordered to leave soon after. Printed in small editions and never collected, his few poetry books are difficult to locate. His deliberately archaic forms and language create an almost Elizabethan mask that is almost sensuousness, far from political.

Thomas Meyer | Kintsugi | Flood | 2011

Another evocative tribute, also highly recommended.

Winfield Townley Scott | Alpha Omega: A Newport Childhood and Last Poems | Doubleday | 1971

Winfield Townley Scott was once a highly visible and esteemed poet garnering prizes and accolades and publishing books of poems and essays that seemed to assure for him a permanent place in American letters. By “permanent place” I mean his name would be generally recognized a generation or two after his death (1968). But his name today is generally unknown and his books are all out of print. Can anyone tell me why, and how the lesson can be applied to today’s highly visible and esteemed poets who garner prizes and accolades? I have read five of Scott’s poetry collections, one collection of essays, plus this memoir.

Wallace Stevens | Collected Poetry and Prose | Library of America | 1997

‘I reread all of Stevens / from May until December / and each time he writes “nigger” in a poem / it’s all I can remember.’ I can only conclude that he considered it a wonderfully pleasant word to use, like “blue.” After reading “Two at Norfolk” I like to cue up Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land” as antidote.

John Wieners | Selected Poems, 1958-1984 | Black Sparrow | 1985

It’s been ten years since John Wieners died. I will be reading his poems for a long time to come.


Daniel Bouchard’s contributions to Attention Span for 2011201020092005. Back to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

October 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

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