Some website information
Some class information--No Cliff Notes Due for any author. If you have done your part, turn it in for "Study Question" portion of weekly grade.
Small world, big need for poetry
On the ride home
Pick one poem from each section of the book. Rearrange them in your own order. Build a book within a book. Explain your choices for poems and explain why you put them in that order. How do they “talk” to each other in this new order? Is this a different story? The idea is to get you thinking about the sequence of the poems.
2. Find three examples of Bodeen’s sense of humor. How does he use humor in his poems? Does it have a purpose, make a statement? How do they fit in the chapters?
3. Explain the connection to Viet Nam for the last poems in the book starting with “Rexroth” poem.
4. Show how the first section: Nothing is Hid, is also structured as an initiation ritual, in miniature.
5. Tolstoy said you must be wounded into writing, but you musn’t write until the wound has healed. Toni Morrison says, language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation."
For the sake of argument, I loosely paraphrase Morrison as: Write to heal the wound.
And Tolstoy tells us to button our lip until we have something to say.
Which impulse better descrbes Bodeen’s book? Whose advice does he seem to follow?
6. This book is a book about recovery and discovery. What does Bodeen recover? What does he discover? How does he do it?
Blue Begonia Press Slide Show
Introduction to Michael Daley and Me
Read some of each chapter
Reading for Daley
For the One Among Us Who Will Be the First To Die 11-22
At Amy Moment 41-48
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace 77-90
Running on Empty 141-156
Wild Art 197-220
- (about 90 pages)
Study questions for Michael Daley:
1. What’s a Lyrical Essay?
They leap around, slip images together and are interested in the rhythms and sounds of words and sentences, and even lines–those elements most readily associated with poetry. I believe they are essays, though, and that they think in essayistic ways. I hope [for] a sense of the "lyrical"–a state of song and movement in my work. I think of the "lyric" essay not so much as a sub-genre, but more as a quality that others might apply to the work.
The "lyric essay" has been described beautifully by the editors of the Seneca Review: "Loyal to that original sense of essay as a test or a quest, an attempt at making sense, the lyric essay sets off on an uncharted course through interlocking webs of ideas, circumstance, language–a pursuit with no foreknown conclusion, an arrival that might still leave the writer questioning. While it is ruminative, it leaves pieces of experience undigested and tacit, inviting the reader's participatory interpretation. Its voice, spoken from a privacy that we overhear and enter, has the intimacy we have come to expect in the personal essay. Yet in the lyric essay the voice is often more reticent, almost coy, aware of the compliment it pays the reader by dint of understatement."
(from Lia Purpura)
Find two examples from Daley’s essays—a few lines or whole passages—that seem to fit this definition of “lyrical essay” and explain what makes them essays, not poems.
- Make a timeline of the events in the chapters we are reading, by year or decade? The lyrical part of the essay wants to mix them up. What does it look like untangled?
How do the ideas and event of the first section carry into the other essays? That is, how do his childhood experiences (in school, in the church, at home) influence his adult life?
- Empty Bowl Press ran from 1976-1998. That’s a long time for a press. As
Daley notes, there were a lot of them around at one time. Not many lasted. What accounts for Empty Bowl’s longevity? And, more riskily, what accounts for it’s stopping?
- (MANDATORY) Find an historical or literary allusion in the chapters. Write a footnote so a student unfamiliar with the time period will be able to follow his ideas. Give some brief background. Please, no plagiarism.
- Combining what you’ve been able to see of Blue Begonia Press and “Running on Empty” from Daley, what picture forms of the Northwest independent press community? What have you learned about small presses from Blue Begonia and from Empty Bowl?