Beyond Yeats, Kavanagh, and Heaney: Paul Muldoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s saying something but who cares what that it’s only recently I’ve discovered the work of Paul Muldoon.

And just before that, Derek Mahon. And before him, Patrick Kavanagh.

With Paul Muldoon the example below is from Moy Sand And Gravel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Hard Drive

 

With my back to the wall

and a foot in the door

and my shoulder to the wheel

I would drive through Seskinore.

 

With an ear to the ground

and my neck on the block

I would tend to my wound

in Belleek and Bellanaleck.

 

With a toe in the water

and a nose for trouble

and an eye to the future

I would drive through Derryfubble

 

and Dunnamanagh and Ballynascreen,

keeping that wound green.

 

© Paul Muldoon, from Moy Sand And Gravel, 2002

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

 

©Dean J. Baker

CELESTIAL MIGRATIONS IN THE EMPIRE  $9.99 print, $3.99 ebook

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..from DARK EARTH….’THE HERALD’… with biographical notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing more than abstract ornament,
explanations and discussions
keeping us to ourselves; we were
too petty for anything else. God
and Spirit, man and God again: no
insight into the common denominators.

Stupidity categorized the crews
taking over. In Canada, one was
reduced to waiting; at best,
you sent yourself notes (not poems)
hoping they would stay closed, or
fall open revealing all upon arrival.

You are lost either way. Death
enters your life: a troubadour
strolling through the provincial town.
Each gesture of government singing
the unwanted guest to bed, who is
finishing the last bite of food.

One brought no plans for conversation,
issuing invitations in the dark
he slips from his clothes. The livery
stark amusement, leaving only the arc
of a streetlamp which constellates:
the hard vistas of distant expectation.

©Dean J. Baker

first published in Jewish Dialog

  • excerpt from

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A few notes on The Herald: I went to an advertised poetry reading at York University where I’d only previously been to meet up with Irving Layton.
Couldn’t find the room and was wandering the halls when I turned a corner and ran into Joe Rosenblatt, Francis Sparshott, and John Newlove.

I got to know Rosenblatt and Newlove, edited two books for Rosenblatt, and traded books and drinks and food with John Newlove. Outside Irving Layton, Gwen MacEwen, Al Purdy, Alden Nowlan, & Patrick Lane, and Milton Acorn – Acorn, Purdy, MacEwen whom I would come to know, exchange letters, share food and drinks, phone calls, Christmas cards, with – these two, Rosenblatt and Newlove, were my favorites. And Giorgio DeCicco, Maggie Helwig.

One day I wrote The Herald and mailed it to John Newlove – just the poem typed out, no note. Canada Post being what it was in those days I got a phone call the next morning from John.
Fairly wordless for John anyway, he stared by saying, ‘You have got to get this published. I’m speechless about it.’ etc.

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Supposed Science Fiction – J.G. Ballard, ‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

‘the poet of desolate landscapes’

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for me I read some early Ballard in the ‘70’s before all the hype and surrounding mess over his work Crash, turned into a movie by Cronenberg.
He was called the ‘poet of desolate landscapes’ for a reason.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/books/review/Lethem-t.html)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._G._Ballard

One of my favorite science fiction writers, along with Thomas Disch (particularly Camp Concentration), Philip K. Dick, and other individual books, such as A Canticle For Leibowitz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz

Most people will recognize what Spielberg did with his quite wonderful autobiographical work, Empire Of The Sun. Excellent movie, wonderful book.

However, a book of interviews with Ballard is more than interesting and shows a prophet of the future now in his words.
Extreme Metaphors is a great compilation of the author in talks that are always interesting, and often revelatory.

Take this passage, from 1974 – (the year, not any particular book), in an interview conducted by Carol Orr, with the influence of Judith Merrill, whom I was fortunate to meet. (Along with Marian Engel, who wrote the great (and supposedly feminist) novel, Bear amongst other works, introduced by poet Gwendolyn MacEwen, to my surprise when I was first meeting Gwen, who introduced me by saying, “This is the poet I’ve been telling you about,” and having Marian interject, “Well, say something brilliant then, poet” to which I apparently satisfactorily replied since both Judith and Marian gave an approving, and raised eyebrows, nod to Gwen afterwards. *biography

“Threats to the quality of life that everyone is so concerned about will come much more, say, from the widespread application of computers to every aspect of our lives where all sort of science fiction fantasies will come true, where bank balances will be constantly monitored and at almost any given time all the information that exists about ourselves will be on file somewhere – where all sorts of agencies, commercial, political and governmental, will have access to that information.”
– Pg.58, Extreme Metaphors, How To Face Doomsday without Really Trying.
Reason enough to start to reading his books, let alone that book.

http://www.ballardian.com/extreme-metaphors-on-sale

©Dean J. Baker

These poems are advertisements for the BOOKS – get uplifted, buy one

Biography

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<–Check this out: Poetry & How It Gets That Way updated!

also posted – https://ohcanaduh.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/the-herald-2/

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Alden Nowlan – Greatness in Poetry

nowlan_

 

 

 

 

 

Alden Nowlan is one of those poets whom I never got to meet, and always wish I’d been able to do so.

I first saw one of his poems when I was in high school. And as with that poem, his other poems: they always evoke, a ‘yes!,’ about honesty and the truth of things. Always memorable. You’ll find them repeating themselves at the least expected moments.
The poem that first struck me was his ‘Aunt Jane.’

Aunt Jane

Aunt Jane, of whom I dreamed the nights it
thundered,
was dead at ninety, buried at a hundred.
We kept her corpse a decade, hid upstairs,
where it ate porridge, slept and said its prayers.

And every night before I went to bed
they took me in to worship with the dead.
Christ Lord, if I should die before I wake,
I pray thee Lord my body take.

 

©Alden Nowlan

Just to be sitting in your own world and to have 8 lines smack you awake out of the blue, away from your concerns and take you to revelation so quickly, so easily, and with such delight – amazing.

But Alden has many, many poems of the kind that do so – surprising in their humility, strength and understanding. His are the works you could carry in a small book with you and find sustaining every time you looked.
He covers history, patriotism, and more all in a beautiful way.

One other:

Canadian January Night

Ice storm: the hill
a pyramid of black crystal
down which the cars
slide like phosphorescent beetles
while I, walking backwards in obedience
to the wind, am possessed
of the fearful knowledge
my compatriots share
but almost never utter:
this is a country
where a man can die
simply from being
caught outside.

©Alden Nowlan

 

Brilliant work.

And from Alden Nowlan, Selected Poems

A Poem About Miracles

Why don’t records go blank
the instant the singer dies?
Oh, I know there are explanations,
but they don’t convince me.
I’m still surprised
when I hear the dead singing.
As for orchestras,
I expect the instruments
to fall silent one by one
as the musicians succumb
to cancer and heart disease
so that toward the end
I turn on a disc
labelled Götterdämmerung
and all that comes out
is the sound of one sick old man
scraping a shaky bow
across and out-of-tune fiddle.

 

©Alden Nowlan

These poems of Alden’s are a few of the good, and representative of his best. You need the book to even begin to get an awareness of his greatness.
Robert Frost may be more well known, but for me Alden wins the laurels.

© Dean J. Baker

all my books on salehttp://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

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