1 may. 2007

I'm not crazy (lately) about poetry that sounds too written, work that is with a willful quality that's like bad acting. Where the "craft" is visible as "fine writing" there is probably some overwriting there. "Craft" is something to be unlearned, in that sense. I prefer the Creeley approach where he doesn't feel the need to show you how good he is at every turn. It's kind of a hard lesson because everyone wants to stand out from the crowd with marvelous writing chops. It's hard to remember how deceptively simple some of the best writing is, in Lorca, in Creeley. It's not like it's not trying hard, but that is doesn't show visible signs of effort. I always pick up those signs, somehow; that is my misfortune in that I can't enjoy a lot of poetry that's well written and I'm sure better than anything I could ever come up with, because I simply can't take that overwritten Derek Walcott effect.

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Picked up Paul Violi's Harmatan at the Dusty Bookshelf here in town. In other poetry new there was reading last week by Irby, Roitman, and Larkin. It was nice seeing and hearing Maryrose again.

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Kagemusha was worse than I remembered it. Kurosawa was in decline at this point of his career. I should have rented "The Spirit of the Beehive" instead.

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I love Lorca after all. Hah! I will accept my destiny--long postponed--as a full fledged lorquista. I didn't write about him ever for the same reason that any self respecting Spanish poet has to flee Lorca with both feet as fast as possible. I do hate bad lorquistas with a passion. Few have attracted as many crappy critics!

7 comentarios:

Glenn Ingersoll dijo...

That super-crafted quality needs some lightness in it, some humor. Sadly, such poems (& their poet-crafters) tend to be super serious. I know that's a big part of what puts me off.

Brad Leithauser is a poet who totally crafts his pieces ... and they'd be crafted lifeless except that Leithauser doesn't get out the switch and drive the funny from the field. Robert Frost is often funny, sardonically so.

Jonathan dijo...

I probably wouldn't read Leithauser in the first place.

barbara jane dijo...

Kagemusha isn't on my list of top Kurosawa films either. I kind of think he continued writing roles for Toshiro Mifune, even after their historic split. I think that's one thing; that the role would have been more effectively acted by Mifune and not by Nakadai, who is amazing but I don't think was at his best here.

Jordan dijo...

Curious to hear your reading of Harmatan when you get the chance - not to skew your reading but I am a great admirer of Paul's work on the lyrical end of his spectrum.

Joseph Duemer dijo...

What's your take on Spicer's "After Lorca" sequence?

Jonathan dijo...

I'm writing a book about Lorca in US poetics and Spicer plays a big, big role in it. I can't give you my quick take right now because I can't extract it quicly from the overall argument of the book.

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I thought the acting was wonderful in Kagemusha. I just objected to the sentimentality and the stupidity of the ending. That would have been the same with Mifune. The colors, the music. I just didn't like the approach.

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I'll report back on Harmatan soon. I bought it because of its publisher, sun books. I just love that historic series of books so I wanted it for my collection.

Joseph Duemer dijo...

When I was studying with Donald Justice, I used existing translations & a Spanish dictionary -- not having had Spanish since 7th grade -- to do versions of a couple of the Gypsy Ballads -- just as exercises. I'd say that I learned something about narrative velocity & that it went pretty deep into my poetics, though it was years ago & it's a little hard to reconstruct in my memory.