Monday, July 17, 2006
A lonely crowd.
Here are the last seven lines of Wallace Stevens' poem
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
This reminds me of pioneer America and our lost wilderness. It also reminds me of where we stay in Michigan; last year I went to pick wild blackberries with my daughter. I also notice the lovely, sonorous language, a characteristic of Stevens.
Tonight I met with the Writing Group. We had some fine poems. It is great to work with people who have such a varied aesthetic. Some work is very short, some longer, some mysterious, some remarkably clear and straightforward; all of the pieces are interesting and the discussons kindly and productive. Many of the people are also inerested in art and may add text to their artworks, or make very interesting titles for their prints. One practices Ikebana.
We tried that wriing exercise in which you write down the first word of each line of a randomly selected poem. Do not read the poem, just harvest the words. Then write a poem that has these words in the same positions. Everyone did something quite interesting. It's a variation on the writing exercise we did a long time ago by picking bits of presliced text out of a paper bag and using them in a poem, but requires a lot less preparation, or slicing, and can also give you the shape or form of the poem if you want it to. Patricia brought a group of short, mysterious poems which she began with this technique. We talked a lot about ways to generate the material we need to complete a particular poem. I like to think about all the small book clubs, art classes, writing groups, cooking clubs and all the ways people get together to make things or understand something. The gulls in this photo don't have the club thing mastered.
at 11:50 PM