8 oct. 2003

Here we go: day 2 of "A Test of a Test of Poetry" (ATOATOP). I never anticipated the sheer sense of awe I would feel on coming on certain texts. As Kasey notes on his blog, it is painful to assign a grade (or see a grade assigned), even a high one, to these poems. I'm an irreverent sort of guy, and no anglophile, so I was surprised by this. How do we balance a healthy disrespect for the past with an appropriate sense of awe? That's exactly what I'm trying to do here. LZ himself has little blanks in which the student is invited to put words like "fair" or "poor."

I.12a "Dark night, that from the eye his function takes"

Some rhyming couplets, from AMSND by WS? I believe the speaker is Hermione or Helena. Here we see a new quality of "wit" that has been absent up to now in ATOP. The wit is over-the-top, a little pretentious, but this is in keeping with the comic tone of the dramatic verse. A

12b "Puppet? Why so? Ay, that way goes the game"

More lines from AMSND? This time the speaker is Helena (or Hermione) speaking to the other. There is a dramatic and kinetic force to the blank verse: "I am not so low / But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes." The actor playing this part will attempt to claw the eyes of the actor playing the part of Helena or Hermione. A+

12c "Here, take this purse, thou whom the heavens' plagues"

More dramatic verse, I would guess Shakespeare here, though from a play I don't know in detail. Hey, wait a minute: I thought Zukofsky was supposed to be an AMERICAN poet. Why does he include so much material from a certain BRITISH playwright? Didn't we fight a war of independence from the English? A+