Here's something we didn't talk about last night: How does the Mari Sandoz poem fit?
Being from Nebraska, I've learned a bit about Mari Sandoz. Unfortunately, a lot of it has passed. I know she was raised in a very anti-art family and that her father would beat her for reading fiction books. She also wrote a biography on Crazy Horse. So how does that poem and it's reference fit? First, the reference to Mari Sandoz's Crazy Horse. Ceremony is matter of fact. Second, it seems to me the poem is speaking to tribal peoples losing their "ceremonial" look and blending in with society. However, they are not losing who they are inside. Outside, they work and dress like everyone else while maintaining a seperate identity inside. Unfortunately, I don't remember enough about Crazy Horse to see the meaning. More research required. Maybe it's meaning is a sort of prologue to say 'you're about to read many thoughts and histories, but in the end whatever I say does not change who I am'. (?) But I don't want to make a huge post so I'll stop and see if there are any other thoughts.
“One of the jobs of poetry is transportation. That’s one of the ways you can evaluate this evening….If you’ve done some traveling at the end of the evening, you will know that. This can serve then, as a check, una prueba. Do you end up in a different place than where you/we are setting out from….Is this for real, or is it a form of paja, or straw? Is this authentic, or is it frases trilladas?” --From Jim Bodeen’s Lecture: THE MUSE, DUENDE, AND THE NOTEBOOKSBodeen couldn’t have known this when he wrote his lecture, but the poetry did transport me. All the way to the reading I was thinking about the Virginia Tech tragedy. This morning, after his reading, as I unlocked my door, I heard a colleague listening to the story on his computer, watching a video I guess. Hearing it was like a spell breaking. I’ve been thinking about poetry since 630 last night. Dreamt about it. Thought about it in the shower this morning. Had conversations in my head all the way to school about poetry. Many of those conversations in my head are arguments. It wasn’t escapism, exactly. This morning, while listening to the terrible news of the day, I’ve been thinking about Bodeen reading the line “The world is a poor place to be so shiny”—and how he stopped our laughter for a few seconds with an aside—deepened the poem and our listening. He nearly whispered.And that was before the reading started. I learned and learned and learned last night.Did I “end up in a different place”—yes.What about you?
The Mari Sandoz poem fits the way the lecture spoke to dcp in light of the Virginia Tech tragedy: if you're paying attention, then you use everything. I'd like to understand better the idea that 'We have been shadow-marked.'It's interesting to see someone alter their art to be more inclusive, telling his audience to edit their text, changing 'men' to 'ones' in a way that is so much more than just 'politically correct.' Made me think of the pushback from the Imus incidents of the last week(s), and how, if you elevate language and poetry and the poet to the king's advisor, you KNOW why language matters.Meanwhile, in other news, and with a nod to Peter Gabriel, the head of our 'justice' department must have been paraphrasing : "I don't remember/I don't recall/I'v got no memory of anything/anything at all."For more on the use of metaphor, check out Stephen Colbert's show last night. He had a metaphor face-off with Sean Penn, moderated by former U.S. Poet Laureate, author of 'the resonating grail of memory,' Robert Pinsky. The show referenced National Poetry Month, made glib remarks about famous poems and poets, and featured a gameshow where the Sean Penn and Stephen Colbert had to use metaphors in a meta-free-phor-all.It's available online from the comedy central website. Fair warning: it heavily emphasizes a rather graphic Sean Penn metaphor for what he characterizes as, 'the president's responsibility for a mishandled war based on lies.'
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