19 ago. 2007

What are your thoughts about "Little Elegy for Antonio Machado"? Just get out your Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara and look for the last poem there.

I didn't like it too much; it seemed strained in its diction, uncertain in tone. But I think the way James Wright evokes Machado's death is worse, somehow,

State police yawn in the prisons.
Antonio Machado follows the moon
Down a road of white dust,
To a cave of silent children
Under the Pyrenees.
Wine darkens in stone jars in villages.
Wine sleeps in the mouths of old men, it is a dark red color.

("Eisenhower's Visit to Franco, 1959")

A flawed, awkwardly worded poem by O'Hara seems more engaging than Wright's powerfully felt but "blunter" approach. I don't like the "silent children" and the "dark red color." The darkness here is the cliché deep image school darkness; that particular diction has not aged well. Of course I have to remind myself that Wright wrought this writing, that it wasn't a cliché yet when he invented this style. Still, Wright's poem made me love O'Hara's "Little Elegy" where before I had only tolerated it. O'Hara even uses the word "dark" several times.

3 comentarios:

Chris dijo...

Wright's poem wins by at least a lap.

Jonathan dijo...

Maybe you think that, but you have to give a REASON.

Chris dijo...

Why? You didn't give any reason beyond you "didn't like" various words and phrases and I signaled in shorthand that I feel pretty much the opposite. You claim/feel Wright's diction hasn't aged well-- I think it is still quite fine.