Category Archives: Response Required
Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Are twenty men crossing twenty bridges,
Into twenty villages,
Or one man
Crossing a single bridge into a village.
This is old song
That will not declare itself . . .
Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Twenty men crossing a bridge
Into a village.
That will not declare itself
Yet is certain as meaning . . .
The boots of the men clump
On the boards of the bridge.
The first white wall of the village
Rises through fruit-trees.
Of what was it I was thinking?
So the meaning escapes.
The first white wall of the village . . .
The fruit-trees . . .
Read a brief analysis of this poem: On “Metaphors of a Magnifico.”
A mid-month reminder that we’ll be discussing the role of metaphor in poetry on November 24. Please bring your own favorite examples or illustrations and post them on the blog first via the “CONTACT US” page, or email them to me directly. So far, we only have three submissions – see the SCHEDULE PAGE. While there, please also peruse the tentative schedule for 2017 and be prepared to discuss changes, additions and/or deletions on November 24.
by Stuart Kelly
John Kerrigan’s examination of the many vows, oaths, promises, pledges and profanities contained in Shakespeare’s plays provides further rewarding reading
Given this year’s 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, there was always going to be a slew of new publications; few, I suspect, will have as long-lasting an effect as John Kerrigan’s. His field of inquiry is both straightforward and complicated. It is almost retrospectively obvious that Shakespeare’s plays contain a great amount of vows, oaths, swearing both covenantual and vulgar, pledges, promises and imprecations. The same might be said for a great many playwrights’ works; but the depth of subtlety which Kerrigan finds in the handling of these specific rhetorical forms is compelling.
It comprises broad historical context —this was an age in which oaths of allegiance were politically demanded and theologians debated, sometimes clandestinely, the extent to which one might perjure oneself for a higher moral reason — and attentive readings of the plays. Although it deals with major texts, the concentration on less well known or infrequently staged plays is welcome: the forswearing of female company (and avowals of fidelity) in Love’s Labour’s Lost; the compacts of vengeance in Henry VI Part 2 and Titus Andronicus; the oaths and tokens in Troilus and Cressida and the forked-tongue allegiances in King John, Henry VIII and the unstaged Sir Thomas More.
In the Company of Rilke: Why a 20th-Century Visionary Poet Speaks So Eloquently to 21st-Century Readers
A celebration of the creative genius of Rainer Maria Rilke, his spiritual quests, and his always interesting poetry.
Book Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and interfaith minister whose interests include a variety of literary, ethical, and spiritual topics. In this maverick work, the author plunges into the manifold writings of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926). He believed in the power of poetry and in art as a “cosmic, creative, transforming force.” He also conveys the interplay between art and life: ” ‘I do not want to tear art from life,’ Rilke wrote. ‘I know that somehow and somewhere both belong together.’ “
Read the complete review plus an extract from the book
A reminder that on September 22 we will be discussing the poetry of Rainier Maria Rilke, (focusing on translations by Stephen Mitchell and J.B. Leishman). See the SCHEDULE PAGE for a list of poems to be featured.
Poetry lovers, it’s time to register for our spring 2016 sessions (January 28, February 25 and March 31). Registration is free, of course. You may register in person (e.g. before or immediately after our meeting on January 28), via telephone (604-713-1800) or online at: http://roundhouse.ca/registration-services/ (then follow the registration instructions).
Please take the time to do this, as our free room at the Roundhouse Community Centre depends upon their awareness that we are an active group.
Happy New Year to everyone. We’re all eagerly anticipating another year of great poetry at the Roundhouse.
Sounds of the winter too,
Sunshine upon the mountains—many a distant strain
From cheery railroad train—from nearer field, barn, house
The whispering air—even the mute crops, garner’d apples, corn,
Children’s and women’s tones—rhythm of many a farmer and of
And old man’s garrulous lips among the rest, Think not we give
Forth from these snowy hairs we keep up yet the lilt.
Another early reminder that Bill Ellis will be leading a discussion on Walt Whitman at the Roundhouse on January 28. Please bring your own favourite Whitman poems or excerpts for reading and discussion and please also post them on the CONTACT US page or email them to me directly.
I will prime the pump with my own pick: A Noiseless Patient Spider.
Geoff Mynett, who has provided sterling service as coordinator between the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre and the Roundhouse Poetry Circle since our inception in the spring of 2012, is stepping aside to pursue other activities, although he will still attend the poetry discussions as time permits. Bill Ellis has kindly volunteered to take his place, but he hastens to add that he’s prepared to relinquish this role should anyone else be inclined to step into it.
The change is effective immediately, so please take the opportunity to welcome and thank Bill for assuming these duties at our next meeting on November 26. Without Bill’s willingness to adopt the position of coordinator, the Roundhouse Poetry Circle would have ceased to exist.
Also, a reminder that we will be reading and discussing the poetry of Emily Dickson on the 26th. Please send in your personal selection of Dickinson’s poem(s) via the CONTACT US page, or email me directly. Submissions to-date can be found on the SCHEDULE PAGE.
Please also come to the meeting with some topic ideas and suggestions for 2016.
by Emily Dickinson
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
An early reminder that we will feature Emily Dickinson in our November 26 meeting. Please post your choice of Dickinson poem(s) to be read and discussed on the CONTACT US page, or email me directly. Meanwhile, here are three links to some background information on this fascinating poet:
Poetry lovers, it’s time to don our thinking caps and come up with some ideas and suggestions to complete our schedule for 2016.
There seems to be a consensual preference for modern poets, and there are some major poets in this category whose work we have yet to cover. For example, T. S. Eliot, E. E. Cummings, the Neo-Romantics (Dylan Thomas, David Gascoyne and George Barker), William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, and three women poets of stunning technical brilliance: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and Adrienne Rich (these could be grouped as one topic). I could go on, so please come up with some suggestions and post them on the CONTACT US page, or email me directly. Or simply bring your ideas to the meeting on October 22nd, when we will be discussing W. B. Yeats. And on this topic, we have yet to receive any submissions for your favourite Yeats’ poems to discuss. Again, please post them on the CONTACT US page, or email me directly. Please see the SCHEDULE PAGE for the three Yeats’ poems I will cover in the brief introduction.
Happy Thanksgiving and we’ll see you all on the 22nd!
As a teenager I escaped to a Yeatsian world of lakes, of spirits hidden inside mountain winds and of heroic legends. Then I started out on my own struggle to write a poem in which I could hear my own voice.
I read WB Yeats first when I was a teenager. In boarding school, after dark, I took out the sturdy book with its burgundy covers and turned over page after page. In winter I used a torch. In summer I read by the late light. I got to know lines, then stanzas, then whole poems.
Later I would look back at those times not with wonder but with something more like puzzlement. I wasn’t particularly bookish in school. I wasn’t even studious. But I turned to that book, and then to some others he wrote, with a sense of adventure and intensity that I would rarely replicate later in my life.
But why? If poets have tribes, and many do, I had nothing at all to do with his. By the time I was reading him he had gathered the sort of adherents for whom I felt little sympathy. Ardent modernists, canonical close readers, high-caste theorists. Why was I adding myself to this readership?
An early reminder that we will be discussing the great Irish poet (2015 is the 150th anniversary of his birth) on October 22nd. Bruce will give a very brief introduction. Please bring your own favourite Yeats poem to read, but please post it first on the blog via the “Comments” link or the Contact Us page.
More links to articles about WB Yeats:
- No WB Yeats, no Samuel Beckett? Fintan O’Toole on why we mustn’t forget the poet’s plays
- How I’ve used WB Yeats in my role as an Irish Ambassador
- My favourite WB Yeats poem: Olwen Fouéré on ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus
- Returning WB Yeats’s coffin to Ireland
- Philosophy and a little passion: Roy Foster on WB Yeats and politics
- French documents suggest remains in Yeats’s grave are not poet’s
- Why WB Yeats devotees in Ireland are echoing a long list of grave concerns
- A Lazarus beside Me by Avies Platt (Avies Platt’s account of her meeting with Yeats was recently discovered by Peter Scupham in a carrier bag of diary entries and other bits and bobs. She died in 1976. ‘M.M.’ has not been identified.)
- Yeats revisited