Portland slam poet and UOregon student recently featured at TEDxReno
Wakefield hints at nostalgia for a more agrarian America and Pacific Northwest, yet he never preaches or simplistically dismisses. In “Signs and Wonders,” his masterful poem about shooting stars, Wakefield notes
But now we know it’s grit
ignited by descent,
no message borne in it,
no purpose, nothing meant.
And yet we long to think
that moment’s random fire
significant, to link
our lives with something higher.
This book is a couple of years old now, but it’s great and worth checking out.
‘Tis too near the root.
A budding, yes, but I prefer
The ripening of the fruit.
Since 2010, Steve Roggenbuck, a twenty-six-year-old who lives in rural Maine, has been producing poetry that is made, distributed, and viewed almost exclusively on the Web. Kenneth Goldsmith calls the videos “meticulously crafted infomercials for poetry”: http://nyr.kr/1j76dzW
Poetry about looking for jobs and working for a living.
Why would a poet try to immortalize gossip?:
Why would a poet, hedging his bets on a single volume, try to immortalize something as seemingly ephemeral as gossip? Why dress something so casual in impeccable pentameter? And why would a writer who—in his book’s last poem and perhaps its only true confession—mentions “my return / from the pigpen to Methodism” choose a mode so compulsively irreverent?
In the opening pages of Charles Molesworth’s 1990 biography of Marianne Moore, the reader encounters two exceedingly curious sentences. “I have chosen,” declares Molesworth in the first of these, “to limit my interpretations of [Moore’s] character by relying more on literary than on psychological questions.” Study that statement for a moment—savor it, if you will—and ponder its meaning. What is Molesworth saying here? Apparently, that he not only thinks a biographer can somehow “interpret” his subject’s “character” while skirting “psychological questions,” but also that for some reason he has found this course of action to be advisable. Which, of course, raises the questions: Exactly how does one go about interpreting a person’s character while de-emphasizing “psychological questions”? And why? On to his next sentence: “Hence most of my evidence focuses on the external facts of Moore’s life.” What can this possibly mean, other than that Molesworth, for whatever perverse reason, has purposefully set out to produce a shallow account of his subject’s life? In any event, Molesworth more than fulfilled his goal: Reviewing his book for the Washington Post, I found it to be a staggeringly superficial effort by a writer whose unreflectiveness seemed stubborn and boundless; at the end of my review, I expressed the hope “that a more poised and penetrating study of [Moore’s] singular writings and enigmatic life will materialize before too long.”
Well, it only took twenty-three years. In Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore (the title is drawn from Moore’s famous poem “Poetry”), a professor emerita of English at Oklahoma State University, Linda Leavell, working from the very same materials that were available to Molesworth, has managed to produce a remarkably illuminating biography of a woman whose life, it turns out, was far more fascinating—and disturbing—than Molesworth ever let on.
In an Artist’s Studio
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
One face looks out from all his canvases,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel — every canvas means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.
31. Spring and Fall
to a young child
MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.