Category: salem writes

JOHN ASHBERY: POET AMONG PAINTERS AND COMMONERS

By R.S. Stewart John Ashbery, who died on September 3rd at the age of 90, was the most highly praised English-language poet of the second half of the 20th century. He was also prolific and controversial. He came to modest fame in 1956 when W. H. Auden awarded him the prestigious Yale Prize for Younger Poets for his volume Some Trees, and came to a more encompassing fame in 1976 by winning the “triple crown” of poetry: the Pultizer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Critics Circle Award for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, the only book of poems ever so honored. Why does Ashbery overshadow so many outstanding poets of his generation: Adrienne Rich, A. R. Ammons, Mark Strand, Richard Wilbur, Elizabeth Bishop, and many others? One reason could be his penchant for the long poem, abandoned since Wallace Stevens. Four of his volumes contain only one long poem in each; and other volumes contain a final closing long poem. He might be called the William Wordsworth of our era, since, like that Romantic poet’s The Prelude (sub-titled “The Growth of a Poet’s Mind”) Ashbery could distinguish himself as a searcher after life’s experiences as the only truth. Yet, even in his long poems, Ashbery himself is hard to find. He grew up on a fruit farm in Sodus, New York, near Rochester, and many images of ice-skating,...

Read More

Conception of Reading – Abro el libro de tus ojos para leer en ellos las páginas de tus años.

By Juan Cervantes    When we read a book, every page is a form of conception.  Reading is a unique experience that occurs for each reader, conceiving among the pages the form of the form.  That is to say that each reader, as the writer does while writing, returns to his or her past to construct each page – not because the page needs to be constructed, but because the moment the reader opens a page he needs to see himself in the act of interpreting, of imagining what he reads.       This necessity for interpretation opens up the past, first in an involuntary form while reading, and afterwards voluntary, when the reader pauses to analyze, or encounters difficulty in interpreting.  Each reader is an interpreter of the reading, and therefore has a unique experience.  One cannot assume that two readers would have the same experience from reading a certain text.  Each individual is an experience of self, and as reader of a text, conceives of experience that reaches out from his or her past to come alive in the reading.    It is said that society forms the individual, and given that fact it is possible to think, if the idea is not too ambiguous, that two readers could have similar experiences of the same text, but not the same experience; a common form of interpreting but...

Read More

A Poet of Everyday Living

                by R. S. Stewart   The number of poems composed and published and not long afterwards forgotten in this country is  astounding. Unless a poet is anthologized frequently, taught multiple times, and written about in scholarly essays and books, the poet risks oblivion, especially in these times when literature is losing favor to computer science, when poetry as an art form suffers in a hectic and rushed society with little time set aside for studying the true pleasures of a finely-wrought poem, and when many poets are too busy writing, publishing, and promoting their own work to appreciate and ponder poets of previous generations. Ruth Stone (1915-2011) is a poet deserving a second look and remembrance. Even though she won the National Book Award for her 2002 volume The Next Galaxy, her name, itself poetic, doesn’t “ring a bell” with many readers. Her poem “In an Iridescent Time,” first published in The New Yorker under the title “Laundry” in 1958, has been a long-time favorite of mine for many reasons. Copyright regulations prohibit me from quoting the fifteen lines in full, but you can find it complete at             http//www.small-ruth.blogspot.com/2013/08/in-iridescent-time.html The most appealing aspect of her poem is that it is about something that all humans have need of. Who is not (we all should be) on...

Read More

Two Pieces of Musical Ekphrasis

Poems by Kelley Morehouse and Vere McCarty When a poet responds with his or her own art to another work of art, the result is ekphrasis.  Music is the art form that inspires these two poems.  In one poem the artists play a sonata.  In the other the artist is a songbird.  Products of quiet morning writing time, these verses celebrate the capacity of music to lift the spirit.      _________ “The Starving Masses” imagines the notes of a sonata tumbling out windows and down the side of a building, becoming bread for the people below.  It describes a mutation of sound into other senses, satisfying the needs of taste, motion and touch. With its dwindling verticality on the page, “The Starving Masses” takes the shape of something light as dotted eighth notes falling, falling. The Starving Masses by Kelley Morehouse The pianist said             the musical notes were birthed that day on the 12th floor,              issued as they were from violin and grand piano.              Violinist said, No. They were released.  Dispersed like manna to the masses, scattered to the city below. The music fell upon the women waiting on lower floors at their kitchen’s window sills, catching it like falling snow, to savor its flavor long enough to waltz with...

Read More

LEGACY OF ANCIENT AMERICAN WOMEN LEADERS

By Leonide Martin Last weekend I declared freedom from I-5 by taking Amtrak to attend the Historical Novel Society conference in Portland. It was a banquet of delights for historical fiction lovers, where I rubbed elbows with famous and not so famous authors, joined spirited discussions of the art and content of writing, and spent far too much money buying books by inspiring writers. This international group is based in England, with U.S. and Australian branches. Naturally, there was a big focus on fiction set in Europe. I browsed the bookstores noting many titles featuring powerful European women: Victoria, Elizabeth I, the White Queen, Ann Boleyn, Tudor queens, Catherine the Great, Isabella of Spain. Where, I wondered, was historical fiction about women leaders in the Western Hemisphere? Important women from the Far and Middle East, Egypt, and Mediterranean regions were there. The Americas were represented by some sagas about women in the 18th-19th centuries, with more books on women during the world wars.  But the ancient Americas? Nothing. I was particularly struck by this omission, since my books are about powerful native women in ancient times. Although a few native women such as Pocahontas and Sacagawea have been portrayed, stories set in pre-European contact Americans are rare. Yet, it is exactly in these ancient eras when native women had the greatest influence upon their cultures, holding positions of highest...

Read More

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal