vocab (Thanks to Freud, Lowell, Dante)

bocardo n. (Logic) A form of syllogism of which the first and third propositions are particular negatives, and the middle term a universal affirmative [For years I’ve been trying to find the exact device, for when you say “near and far” to mean “everywhere” — I swear there’s a better word for it than this but perhaps not! (This is certainly a nifty enough word)] maunder, v. 1. To beg2. To grumble, mutter, moan3. To move or act in a dreamy, idle, or purposeless manner; to dawdle. Freq. with along, away, over.4. trans. To fritter away (one’s time, life, etc.).5….

vocab (Thanks to Freud, Lowell, Dante)

bocardo n. (Logic) A form of syllogism of which the first and third propositions are particular negatives, and the middle term a universal affirmative [For years I’ve been trying to find the exact device, for when you say “near and far” to mean “everywhere” — I swear there’s a better word for it than this but perhaps not! (This is certainly a nifty enough word)] maunder, v. 1. To beg2. To grumble, mutter, moan3. To move or act in a dreamy, idle, or purposeless manner; to dawdle. Freq. with along, away, over.4. trans. To fritter away (one’s time, life, etc.).5….

Louise Bogan

Born in Maine, Louise Bogan (1897 -1970; imagine having lived those years) was admired by W.H. Auden and served as poetry editor of The New Yorker for decades. In her exquisite poems, intellect rules over emotion, and “beauty is wrested from dark places” as Auden put it. Here are my favorites. … A Tale This youth too long has heard the breakOf waters in a land of change.He goes to see what suns can makeFrom soil more indurate and strange. He cuts what holds his days togetherAnd shuts him in, as lock on lock:The arrowed vane announcing weather,The tripping racket…

Louise Bogan

Born in Maine, Louise Bogan (1897 -1970; imagine having lived those years) was admired by W.H. Auden and served as poetry editor of The New Yorker for decades. In her exquisite poems, intellect rules over emotion, and “beauty is wrested from dark places” as Auden put it. Here are my favorites. … A Tale This youth too long has heard the breakOf waters in a land of change.He goes to see what suns can makeFrom soil more indurate and strange. He cuts what holds his days togetherAnd shuts him in, as lock on lock:The arrowed vane announcing weather,The tripping racket…

Balance on the broken

These are two of my favorite poems, both of which work in a very similar way. I suppose you would call it Deep Image, or an incarnation thereof; clarity of image bordering on symbolism, punctuated by the searing honesty of a human voice. … Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota by James Wright Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly, Asleep on the black trunk, Blowing like a leaf in green shadow. Down the ravine behind the empty house, The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon. To my right,…

Balance on the broken

These are two of my favorite poems, both of which work in a very similar way. I suppose you would call it Deep Image, or an incarnation thereof; clarity of image bordering on symbolism, punctuated by the searing honesty of a human voice. … Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota by James Wright Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly, Asleep on the black trunk, Blowing like a leaf in green shadow. Down the ravine behind the empty house, The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon. To my right,…

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

Right now I am in a Leonard Cohen, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” trance. It’s poetry. Also, I think I read somewhere that this is about Janis Joplin. Of course. I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,you were talking so brave and so sweet,giving me head on the unmade bed,while the limousines wait in the street.Those were the reasons and that was New York,we were running for the money and the flesh.And that was called love for the workers in songprobably still is for those of them left. Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,you just turned your back…

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

Right now I am in a Leonard Cohen, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” trance. It’s poetry. Also, I think I read somewhere that this is about Janis Joplin. Of course. I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,you were talking so brave and so sweet,giving me head on the unmade bed,while the limousines wait in the street.Those were the reasons and that was New York,we were running for the money and the flesh.And that was called love for the workers in songprobably still is for those of them left. Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,you just turned your back…

In Praise of Limestone

Perhaps my favorite Auden. Which is really saying something. In Praise of Limestone by W.H. Auden If it form the one landscape that we the inconstant onesAre consistently homesick for, this is chieflyBecause it dissolves in water. Mark these rounded slopesWith their surface fragrance of thyme and beneathA secret system of caves and conduits; hear these springsThat spurt out everywhere with a chuckleEach filling a private pool for its fish and carvingIts own little ravine whose cliffs entertainThe butterfly and the lizard; examine this regionOf short distances and definite places:What could be more like Mother or a fitter backgroundFor her…

In Praise of Limestone

Perhaps my favorite Auden. Which is really saying something. In Praise of Limestone by W.H. Auden If it form the one landscape that we the inconstant onesAre consistently homesick for, this is chieflyBecause it dissolves in water. Mark these rounded slopesWith their surface fragrance of thyme and beneathA secret system of caves and conduits; hear these springsThat spurt out everywhere with a chuckleEach filling a private pool for its fish and carvingIts own little ravine whose cliffs entertainThe butterfly and the lizard; examine this regionOf short distances and definite places:What could be more like Mother or a fitter backgroundFor her…

Goodbye to All That

This is my favorite essay of all time; perhaps my favorite piece of prose of all time. Anyway, having just returned home from my own summer in the city, I’ve been revisiting this one. GOODBYE TO ALL THAT by Joan Didion How many miles to Babylon?Three score miles and and ten—Can I get there by candlelight?Yes, and back again—If your feet are nimble and lightYou can get there by candlelight. It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of…

Goodbye to All That

This is my favorite essay of all time; perhaps my favorite piece of prose of all time. Anyway, having just returned home from my own summer in the city, I’ve been revisiting this one. GOODBYE TO ALL THAT by Joan Didion How many miles to Babylon?Three score miles and and ten—Can I get there by candlelight?Yes, and back again—If your feet are nimble and lightYou can get there by candlelight. It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of…

Notes from the Iliad

“The cry went out, the men came crowding, officers from their commander’s side went swiftly down to form each unit — and the grey-eyed goddess Athena kept the pace behind them, bearing her shield of storm, immortal and august, whose hundred golden-plaited tassels, worth a hecatomb each one, floated in air. So down the ranks that dazzling goddess went to stir the attack, and each man in his heart grew strong to fight and never quit the melee, for at her passage war itself became lovelier than return, lovelier than sailing in the decked ships to their own native land….

Notes from the Iliad

“The cry went out, the men came crowding, officers from their commander’s side went swiftly down to form each unit — and the grey-eyed goddess Athena kept the pace behind them, bearing her shield of storm, immortal and august, whose hundred golden-plaited tassels, worth a hecatomb each one, floated in air. So down the ranks that dazzling goddess went to stir the attack, and each man in his heart grew strong to fight and never quit the melee, for at her passage war itself became lovelier than return, lovelier than sailing in the decked ships to their own native land….

Current project: Epic poetry

Revisiting the epics, and filling some gaps. Paradise Lost, for example. Kill me. c. forever ago: The Epic of Gilgamesh. [CHECK] c. 800-600 BC: The Iliad, Homer. Fitzgerald trans. (Reread) [CHECK] c. 800-600 BC: The Odyssey, Homer. Fitzgerald trans. (Reread) [CHECK] c. 100 BC: The Aeneid, Virgil. [CHECK]c. 100 AD: Metamorphoses, Ovid. [CHECK]c. 8th-10th century: Beowulf (Reread) [STILL NEEDED]11th century: The Song of Roland [CHECK] 12th century: The Nibelungenlied [CHECK] 14th century: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [STILL NEEDED]14th century: The Divine Comedy, Dante. (Reread) [CHECK]1667: Paradise Lost, John Milton. [CHECK!]1806: Faust, Goethe. (Reread)1874: Idylls of the King, Alfred…

Current project: Epic poetry

Revisiting the epics, and filling some gaps. Paradise Lost, for example. Kill me. c. forever ago: The Epic of Gilgamesh. [CHECK] c. 800-600 BC: The Iliad, Homer. Fitzgerald trans. (Reread) c. 800-600 BC: The Odyssey, Homer. Fitzgerald trans. (Reread) c. 100 BC: The Aeneid, Virgil.c. 100 AD: Metamorphoses, Ovid.c. 8th-10th century: Beowulf (Reread)11th century: The Song of Roland [CHECK] 12th century: The Nibelungenlied [CHECK] 14th century: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight14th century: The Divine Comedy, Dante. (Reread)1667: Paradise Lost, John Milton.1806: Faust, Goethe. (Reread)1874: Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson. And then I want to revisit everything Shakespeare…