Outward Bound Ideas

Ideas from Bookgleaner@gmail.com - Also: http://Inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.com - http://Onwardboundhumor.blogspot.com - http://Homewardboundphotos.blogspot.com - And http://davidthemaker.blogspot.com/

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Friday, February 23, 2007

89. Thank Youse - V

Thank you Delmore Schwartz
"I am a book I neither wrote nor read,
A comic, tragic play in which new masquerades
Astonishing as guns crackle like raids
Newly each time, whatever one is prepared
To come upon, suddenly dismayed and afraid,
As in the dreams which make the fear of sleep
The terror of love, the depth one cannot leap"

Thank you Denise Levertov
"But she thinks maybe
she could get to be tough and wise, some way,
anyway. Now at least
she is past the time of mourning,
now she can say without shame or deceit,
O blessed Solitude"

Thank you Donald Justice
"But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We have our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues,
But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy"

Thank you Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain––
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river."

Thank you Galway Kinnell
"In the half darkness we look at each other and smile
and touch arms across his little, startling muscled body––
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
and blessing love gives again into our arms."

Thank you Heather McHugh
"Our knowing is only
a feel for nuance: sentience itself
the whole séance."

Thank you Horace
". . . As for instruction, make it succinct, so the mind
Can quickly seize on what's being taught and hold it;
Every superfluous word spills out of a full mind
. . . in what you invent stay close
To actuality . . .
Produce no human babies from monsters' bellies"

Thank you Howard Nemerov
"As long as we look forward, all seems free,
Uncertain, subject to the Laws of Chance,
Though strange that chance should lie subject to laws,
But looking back on life it is as if
Our Book of Changes never let us change."

Thank you Delmore Schwartz
"The mind is a city like London,
smoky and populous: it is a capital
Like Rome, ruined and eternal,
Marked by the monuments which no one
Now remembers. For the mind, like Rome, contains
Catacombs, aqueducts, amphitheaters, palaces,
Churches and equestrian statues, fallen, broken or soiled.
The mind possess and is possessed by all the ruins
Of every haunted, hunted generation's celebration."

Friday, February 16, 2007

88. From:, A Book of Luminous Things - Czeslaw Milosz

Goethe to Ackerman
(Translated by Margaret Fuller)

"We are bid to study the ancients; yet what does that avail us, if it does not teach us to study the real world, and reproduce that?––for there was the source of power of the ancients." "I will now tell you something, of which I think you will find frequent confirmation in your experience. When eras are on decline, all tendencies are subjective; but , on the other hand, when matters are ripening for a new epoch, all tendencies are objective. Our present time is retrograde, therefore subjective; we see this now more clearly in poetry than in painting, and other ways. Each manly effort, on the contrary, turns its force from the inward to the outward world. In important eras, those who have striven and acted most manfully were all objective in their nature.".....
The secret of all art, also of poetry, is, thus distance. Thanks to distance the past preserved in our memory is purified and embellished. When what we remember was occurring, reality was considerably less enticing, for we were tossed, as usual, by anxieties, desires, and apprehensions that colored everything, people, institutions, landscapes. Remembering, we move to that land of past time, yet now without our former passions; we do not strive for anything, we are not afraid of anything, we become an eye which perceives and finds details that had escaped our attention.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

87. From: Poetry and Ambition by Donald Hall

From: Poetry and Ambition by Donald Hall
(Every paragraph in this essay is quotable)

.... If the word "ambitious" has mellowed, "fame" has deteriorated enough to require a moment's thought. For us, fame tends to mean Johnny Carson and People magazine. For Keats as for Milton, for Hector as for Gilgamesh, it meant something like universal and enduring love for the deed done or the song sung. The idea is more classic than Christian, and the poet not only seeks it but confers it. Who knows Achilles' valor but for Homer's tongue? But in the 1980s—after centuries of cheap printing, after the spread of mere literacy and the decline of qualified literacy, after the loss of history and the historical sense, after television has become mother of us all—we have seen the decline of fame until we use it now as Andy Warhol uses it, as the mere quantitative distribution of images. . . . We have a culture crowded with people who are famous for being famous. ....

..... The United States invented mass quick-consumption and we are very good at it. We are not famous for making Ferraris and Rolls Royces; we are famous for the people's car, the Model T, the Model A—"transportation," as we call it: the particular abstracted into the utilitarian generality—and two in every garage. Quality is all very well but it is not democratic; if we insist on hand-building Rolls Royces most of us will walk to work. Democracy demands the interchangeable part and the worker on the production line; Thomas Jefferson may have had other notions but de Tocqueville was our prophet. Or take American cuisine: it has never added a sauce to the world's palate, but our fast-food industry overruns the planet. ....

"Poetry and Ambition" was originally delivered as a lecture at a meeting of the Associated Writing Programs, then turned into an essay with the addition of material from another lecture given at New England College. It appeared in the Kenyon Review, n.s., 5, no. 4 (1983), and was reprinted in Pushcart Prize IX: Best of the Small Presses, 1984-85, and the AWP Bulletin, Feb.-Mar., 1987. Published in 1988 in Poetry and Ambition: Essays 1982-88 by Donald Hall.