novapsyche: the inner view of a manual typewriter, the long thin metal keys (longtypewriterkeys)
the children of the poor (from "The Womanhood")
by Gwendolyn Brooks


What shall I give my children? who are poor,
Who are adjudged the leastwise of the land,
Who are my sweetest lepers, who demand
No velvet and not velvety velour;
But who have begged me for a brisk contour,
Crying that they are quasi, contraband
Because unfinished, graven by a hand
Less than angelic, admirable or sure.
My hand is stuffed with mode, design, device.
But I lack access to my proper stone.
And plenitude of plan shall not suffice
Nor grief nor love shall be enough alone
To ratify my little halves who bear
Across an autumn freezing everywhere.
novapsyche: parchment with calligraphy framed in sunlight, a quill-tipped pen atop it (scriptwithpen)
The Harlot's House
by Oscar Wilde

We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the Harlot's house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musician play
The 'Treues Liebes Herz', of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,

Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clock-work puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible Marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then turning to my love I said,
'The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.'

But she, she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in;
Love passed into the house of Lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl,

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Woman and Cat
by Paul Verlaine, as translated by C. F. MacIntyre

She was playing with her cat,
and it was marvelous to see
white hand and white paw, pitty-pat,
spar in the evening sportively.

The little wretch hid in her paws,
those black silk mittens, murderously,
the deadly agate of her claws,
keen as a razor's edge can be.

Her steel drawn in, the other seemed
all sugar, the sly hypocrite,
but the devil didn't lose a bit . . .

and in the room where, sonorous,
her airy laughter rang, there gleamed
four sharp points of phosphorous.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
I Know a Man
by Yehuda Amichai

I know a man
who photographed the view he saw
from the window of the room where he made love
and not the face of the woman he loved there.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
At Thirty

Whole years I knew only nights: automats
& damp streets, the Lower East Side steep

with narrow rooms where sleepers turn beneath
alien skies. I ran when doorways spoke

rife with smoke & zippers. But it was only the heart's
racketing flywheel stuttering I want, I want

until exhaustion, until I was a guest in the yoke
of my body by the last margin of land where the river

mingles with the sea & far off daylight whitens,
a rending & yielding I must kneel before, as

barges loose glittering mineral freight
& behind me fa├žades gleam with pigeons

folding iridescent wings. Their voices echo
in my voice naming what is lost, what remains.


Sep. 4th, 2009 06:51 am
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Lung debuts today. "Driven" is included. (The funny thing is, the editor mistook me for a man! It's all very amusing. I've left him a note; perhaps he'll update it before long.)

There's some fine writing all around, I must say. Three memorable lines from Alex Galper's "Jose and Teresa":

But it's hard to spot a dark skinned woman in a dark room
especially if she's already dressed and left
and you are high on insanity.

See also Nina Ki's untitled piece.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Duotrope noted that Left Behind: A Journal of Shock Literature was a new market. I thought I'd check them out. (It's an adult site; be forewarned.)

The poems there are a mixed bag, with wildly varying styles. (There's even a sonnet there!) But, if you make the sojourn (and I would suggest it for one piece in particular), you will probably be amused if not entertained. Even the "gate" cover page is a funny read.

If you decide to enter the site, be sure to check out "On God, Bats and Birds" by Jonas Narbutas, "Discretion: Dialectic: Denial" by Charles Rammelkamp, and especially "Imajism" by 'Ezra Lb'.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Rupture, by Daniel Suarez.

In a way, I think this describes how I feel about several of my friendships, online and off.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Call for Oxford poet to resign after sex row

This scandal is about Ruth Padel but incidentally involves Derek Walcott, a very prominent name in poetry circles.

This article is fairly old news (from May), so I'll search to see if there have been any updates. Ah, yes: Oxford professor of poetry Ruth Padel resigns after smear allegations

Well, I certainly came to the party late. Anyone from the UK who has any more interesting tidbits that may have escaped the international press?
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Just read some Ransom yesterday--very impressed.

Winter Remembered
John Crowe Ransom

Two evils, monstrous either one apart,
Possessed me, and were long and loath at going:
A cry of Absence, Absence, in the heart,
And in the wood the furious winter blowing.

Think not, when fire was bright upon my bricks,
And past the tight boards hardly a wind could enter,
I glowed like them, the simple burning sticks,
Far from my cause, my proper heat and center.

Better to walk forth in the frozen air
And wash my wound in the snows; that would be healing:
Because my heart would throb less painful there,
Being caked with cold, and past the smart of feeling.

And where I walked, the murderous winter blast
Would have this body bowed, these eyeballs streaming,
And though I think this heart's blood froze not fast
It ran too small to spare one drop for dreaming.

Dear love, these fingers that had known your touch,
And tied our separate forces first together,
Were ten poor idiot fingers not worth much,
Ten frozen parsnips hanging in the weather.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
The American poetry community welcomes Kay Ryan as the new Poet Laureate.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
I read some James Merrill for the first time today.

Wow. Which is to say, damn.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
The Solitary
by Mary Barnard

The lone drake, upended,
nibbles the pond bottom,
red legs paddling the air.

He sleeps on the rock wall
by the spillway, balanced
on one foot, head hidden.

In the shadowed shallows
under sycamore boughs
the encircling ripples

have one center: himself.
Intruders, including
mallards of his own race,

beautiful strangers, drive
him to frenzied attack,
quacking, snapping, churning

the pond. When they have gone
bright wavelets unbroken
to the rim spread around him.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
James Tate is one of the few poets who can use cliches and get away with it.

He does it all the time.

I have only six poems left in his Memoir of the Hawk. I've had the book for several years, but I put it down for a while.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Right Conduct, by James Tate

A boy and a girl were playing together
when they spotted a woodchuck and started
chasing it. The woodchuck's burrow was at
the edge of the forest and it safely dis-
appeared into it, but the children did not
see this and kept running into the forest.
In no time at all they realized that they
were lost and they sat down and began to cry.
After a while, a man appeared and this fright-
ened them all the more. They had been warned
a thousand times never to talk to strangers.
He assured them that he would not hurt them
and that, in fact, he would lead them back
to their home. They agreed to walk with him,
but when he tried to make conversation they
would not reply. "You act like you're prisoners
of war," he said. "Not much fun for me, but
I guess that's good. When I was a kid my
mother also told me never to talk to strangers.
But I did anyway, because that's how you learn
stuff. I always thought the stuff my ma and
pa tried to teach me was boring. But from
strangers you could learn the secret stuff,
like how to break into a locked door or how
to tame a wild stallion, stuff you could use
in life." It made sense what he was saying,
but the kids were sworn to silence, a brain-
washed silence in a shrunken world from which
they could already faintly hear their mother
scolding them.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
Ashes of Roses, by James Tate

A glen is a secluded narrow valley. That
required some thought because I wasn't sure if I
was in one or not. A raven dove at me and I dove
back. The periodic table ripped through my mind.
I was beginning to like it there, the mushrooms,
the fog, the root beer, the mayonnaise, the lepre-
chauns. Once the suds of the root beer had washed
over you everything about the glen was tastier.
Even the brussels sprouts and the purple mountain's
silver cloud.


novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)

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