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  #11  
Unread 02-25-2022, 05:52 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Thanks, James, for that substantive reason to like the piece! Across the ledger, Iíll add that to speak them good or ill is not English. And the tone reminds me unerringly of my high school years.

Cheers,
John
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  #12  
Unread 02-25-2022, 05:57 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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There is nothing left to say and yet the speaking into the silence must go on. This seems very relevant. I think of Celan.
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  #13  
Unread 02-25-2022, 06:04 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hmm. Well, Celan very much does have something left to say. That’s why he wrote Todesfuge. That’s why, when asked why he wrote in German, he said I’m not going to let the Nazis steal my language. I’m not sure of your Celan point.

Update. Here's Celan's Todesfuge, in English then in German: https://poets.org/poem/death-fugue
Oh, and now seems a good moment to mention Nazis, with Putin calling Zelinskyy a Nazi. The man is a grandson of Holocaust survivors. Zelinskyy is not, in fact, a Nazi, that seems like something left to say.

Cheers,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 02-25-2022 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Todesfuge and Nazis
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  #14  
Unread 03-05-2022, 11:24 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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"The House on the Hill" was written with skill, but "Richard Cory" is the perfect poem. "Clean favored and imperially slim." And he has other standout verses:

"Minever Cheevy, child of scorn"

And these stanzas from "Eros Terannos":

Meanwhile we do no harm; for they
That with a god have striven,
Not hearing much of what we say,
Take what the god has given;
Though like waves breaking it may be,
Or like a changed familiar tree,
Or like a stairway to the sea
Where down the blind are driven.

I think he's great.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 03-06-2022 at 12:30 AM.
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  #15  
Unread 03-06-2022, 12:51 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I like those lines from "Eros Turannos." "Miniver Cheevy," for a variety of reasons - precision, polish, a type of wit - reminds me of a contemporary poem I happen to find more interesting: https://excellence-in-literature.com...ilaire-belloc/

Though very fat, he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.

Splendid stuff! Belloc has few rivals in what he does.

Cheers,
John
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  #16  
Unread 03-06-2022, 01:22 AM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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I don't know Hillaire Beloc, but my high school religion teacher, a priest who later left the Church and married, quoted him in an email to me. The quote went something like this: "I may have lost my faith but not my mind." The priest was an insurgent, a radical who taught us that the Bible is fiction, and that God is dead. This had a profound effect on my 14-year-old mind.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 03-06-2022 at 01:43 AM.
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  #17  
Unread 03-06-2022, 03:58 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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That priest sounds like quite a character! Belloc has, I think, a really remarkable ear for light verse - Beerbohm perhaps comes to mind, who beneath this publisher's byline -

In London, at the Bodley Head; New York, Charles Scribner's Sons -

added: This little line, when nicely read, iambically runs.

Belloc was also an intermittent antisemite, or as Wikipedia puts it: "Belloc's writings were at times supportive of anti-Semitism and other times condemnatory of it."

He wrote verses on the gruesome fates of fictional aristocrats, like Jim above, eaten by a lion, and on animals:

I had an Aunt in Yucatan
Who bought a Python from a man
And kept it for a pet.
She died, because she never knew
These simple little rules and few; ó
The snake is living yet.


Like Edgar Lee Masters, he's an Edwardian contemporary of Robinson. Frost also had high praise for Robinson, it seems only fair to say, and Frost I like very much indeed.

Cheers,
John
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  #18  
Unread 03-06-2022, 01:43 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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Yes, shades of Robert Frost, but also of Dorothy Parker and Ogden Nash.

One problem with "In London, at the Bodley Head; New York, Charles Scribner's Sons." It is not strict iambics. But maybe if it's "nicely read," which is to say with a proper British accent, then "New" has two syllables. Or maybe the semicolon functions as an unstressed syllable.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 03-06-2022 at 02:02 PM.
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  #19  
Unread 03-06-2022, 07:13 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hmm! An interesting question. I guess it's more iambic than "Never, never, never, never, never," so there's that.

Cheers,
John
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  #20  
Unread 03-07-2022, 06:25 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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Yes, but not as iambic as "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow"

It's interesting, though, that his meter was always on, allowing him to notice the metrical pattern while casually scanning it. It's akin to a knack for recognizing whether a number is prime or not.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 03-07-2022 at 06:58 PM.
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