4.28.2007

I'm expremely annoyed by the

The Bordighera Poetry Prize, Sponsored by The Sonia Raiziss-Giop
Charitable Foundation Offering a $2,000 prize

the text on the site says

The prize, consisting of book publication in bilingual edition by
Bordighera, Inc. -- is dedicated to finding the best manuscripts of
poetry in English by an American poet of Italian descent and surname
or middle maiden surname.

[this means: your regular surname, or maiden surname (moved to the middle name by some in this non-hyphenating society), or -- in a VERY small percentage of cases of mostly younger Americans, where the mother's maiden name is the given middle name, your middle name) must be distinctly, recognizably, perhaps stereotypically Italian] unfortunately, this is, in Russo-speak, YOUR PATRONYM

Now, I'm not eligible in any case. My husband isn't because he's not
a poet, but also because his mother is "the Italian" and so his name is
Burch.

But this prize is then for poets who have Italian paternity -- Italian
mothers don't count? Can this get any more unfair to Italian American
poets?

Can one be vaguely Italian, but in a family which has somehow not assimilated spelling of the patronym? and win over someone who is perhaps MORE Italian, but suffers from a Scotch-Irish father?

The point was raised by the ever-wise Pat Valdata on WOMPO that -- how is this different from a prize for women under 40 who haven't published a book -- while my initial gut was, because this is gender discrimination whereas the Valdata example
is a sort of attempted (misguided? not?) affirmative action.

4.27.2007

this easy / difficult poetry seems to relate to the problem of reading the bible

after all, while protestantism communicates itself as the ability for people to read the bible for themselves, without the doctrine, canon law, etc. of the roman catholic church, and while the roman catholic church (like those who read the lotus sutra as a religious text) believe in the inspiration of the author through the translation of oral histories -- biographical info transmitted orally for a few generations before written down -- and the pentacostals of all faiths in direct some say personal revelation,

what then bible study? particularly when bible study is generally -- even in fundamentalist protestantisms -- lessons in how to read now-nonsensical passages symbolically, allegoriclly, etc. (rather than literally)? lessons -- from a preacher -- who purports to be more professional or educated (whether formally or informally) -- not personal interpretation or reading?

what too about the king james, which is "difficult poetry"? poetry that requires interpretation and translation merely to understand, and is itself translated (unreliably but poetically) -- and was translated into vernacular so that people at the time who could read could read it --

4.26.2007

only had time to do about 1/3 of what I'd planned, but hey... that backyard is ready for sod


Ready for your listening pleasure. Direct yourselves to:
< http://i-outlaw.blogspot.com/ > to hear.

You can find a nice little audio doodad for your blogs here:
< http://odeo.com/audio/11246583/players >

Thanks, everyone, for being patient as Josh and me transitioned to our new
i-space. Josh and I would like to thank everyone for supporting the show.
Really really big thanks to Catherine Daly for the superb poetry and other
audio goodstuff you'll just have to put your ears on...

Hope everyone enjoys it!

--
Bob Marcacci

4.25.2007

Pinsky and easy and difficult poetry

One thing that immediately rises to the top in this article is that none of the poems quoted seem particularly difficult --

to add to that, he cites the favorite poem project, hardly a cache of the really abstruse stuff

now, part of this is because Pinsky is actually a decent explicator of poetry (in my opinion); he is smart, but doesn't wear it terribly heavily -- in otherwords, I think he could do a pretty decent job with something really tough and make it seem like, "heck this is easy, aren't we enjoying this great little poem"

a problem with difficult poetry is that if you've got an author who might write easy poetry, popular poetry as well as so called difficult poetry all at once -- so if it is not specific to an author, what is this quality we call difficulty? is its opposite accessibility? single-layeredness? or is it really short hand for the bad poems of a given author -- the one no one "gets"? or, alternatively, is a poem any good if no one gets it? it is then better if more people understand it?

or, is difficulty a question of entertainment?

in his examples, one poem by Yeats uses an antiquated trope for poetry -- a winged horse or bird or something -- so is it difficult if it assumed knowledges that used to be commmonplace but are now only commonplace to specialists so wound in to their specialty that they get it? or -- any knowledges assumed make a poem more difficult?

also in his examples, there's Shakespeare; but isn't Shakespeare most difficult because it is not written in contemporary English? and further, wherefore verse play? play? verse? so difficulty has something to do with language, and common language, and time?

or -- education, ability to read more than one era of English? or ability to not immediately comprehend every word and still enjoy? i.e., any English poem would be difficult to someone not fluent in English? but some non-fluent readers of a language enjoy struggling with the foreignness of certin types of language?

4.22.2007

I sometimes forget what people tell me to do or not do because my mouth, salivating and unruly, thinks for me. So I did what I was not supposed to do. I ate the last bit of food. And when I finished the little morsels left on my hands and mouth burned into my skin to render me shamed forever.

As the cinnamon fell on my eyelids I felt a burden shift onto my shoulders. I could not open my eyes but could tell my knees were sunk halfway into the weak soil. I heard the old woman exhaust her laughter into my ears, filling them with tones of mockery and deceit.

As I fought blindly as callow youths do, a white bird flew by my side and attached a feather to my bleeding wounds. They began to heal instantaneously.

Father began to tell my story (with added embellishments and nuances) of rescue and courage to the others.

Mother licked her fingers and placed them to my face, wiping the thick layer of dirt away. Then I truly began to look like my father's son, in form, face, and color.

My lying brothers cried when they were forced to walk on the ground without their leather bottomed shoes. I watched as they, like my father had once, were swallowed by the ground and mouths hungry for stinking flesh.

I was offered a place in the palace, but I could not accept. I wanted to be with the mountain; I felt it move under my skin as I knew part of me was in the mountain too.


generated by the fairy tale generator
http://www.brown.edu/Courses/FR0133/Fairytale_Generator/gen.html
If you think about it, most of the tenets of the M.F.A. diploma mill... dovetail nicely with a religious temperament