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POETRYETC Home

POETRYETC  August 2008

POETRYETC August 2008

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Subject:

Re: George Mackay Brown

From:

Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc: poetry and poetics

Date:

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 19:31:42 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Impossible for me not to love Hopkins' (usually anthologised couple of)
poems.  Oh my oh my.

2008/8/25 David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>

> Judy
>
> the stars we can see with the naked eye are not cold.
>
> M-B was consciously a Catholic, so there is always an element of
> propaganda in his work, so you end with the 60s regurgitate
> Maxwell-Davies( he of the ex-Fires of London) and the cult of St
> Magnus.
>
> unfortunately he was no Hopkins. I would have liked him to have been so,
> but ..
>
> Ersatz music, ersatz poetry, the fantasy of the somewhere else. Gold
> has no intrinsic value, a point I believe Prynne makes.
>
> Give me Brookmyre, or Alistair Gray, or Grieve before the bus-accident
> ( being English I'm a great fan of Scots literature)
>
> 2008/8/26 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
> > Different backgrounds and different reactions to our "same-time" lives
> > probably makes for our different judgments about Brown's poem, Dave.
> > For example, "Catholic" never entered my mind with the words "ingots and
> > incense"----I was seeing lovely gold bars and smelling Chinese prayer
> > sticks.
> > As to "cold star travels across the pane", the wonder with poeticking
> such
> > impressive AND "common" natural elements as stars, moon, sun, rain,
> > clouds---is that any attempt at all can succeed.  Remember Kasper's (and
> > many of our) permutations on the moon moving through branches?  Tricky to
> > present fresh, these beloved yet common Miracle Companions.  I give Brown
> 3
> > 1/2 _stars_ for his version.  <g>
> >
> > I earlier said "same-time lives".  A couple generations away from "living
> on
> > the land" and therefore necessarily attuned to its rhythms, we
> > industrialised folk see and emphasise the Not Natural.  We do it
> naturally;
> > it's what we know.  Our industrialised view, and therefore, emphasis, has
> > led us away from much that brings peace, and has brought us, most
> > prominently, our Self.  That Self has given us a frantic, frustrated,
> > unsettled culture and poetry.
> >
> > The fact is that the average poorest person in the world now is a
> > middle-aged Asian male who works the soil.  Is he frantic and unsettled
> and
> > Self-aborbed, despite being attuned to the land?  Undoubtedly!
> >
> > Yet so many more of us live most of the time away from essential close
> > connections---to the land and to other people.  How to "get" those
> > connections?  I'm not entirely sure.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Judy
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > 2008/8/25 David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>
> >
> >> Hi Judy
> >>
> >> the rag of flame, I like, and the halving school-book, But the hearth
> >> turning Catholic, and the trite cold star, no, no, no.
> >>
> >> I don't recommend avoiding human actors, as that is what we all are.
> >>
> >> Christopher Grieve, in a 1950s copy of 'X' I also have, says: 'avoid
> >> minor poets like the plague'
> >>
> >> Just read 'The Spanish Tragedy' for the first time this morning -
> >> fascinatingly bad. It has a kind of tight-arsed oomph to it, the
> >> English behaving badly, as it were.
> >>
> >> 2008/8/25 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
> >> > "Outsplendours" is a tiny wart in this splendid poem, Dave.
> >> > All the rest gives me a hierarchy of shivers with its direct, concise,
> >> > unexpected-then-"felt" comparisons ("moth......troubles the rag of
> >> flame",
> >> > "school-book.....two yellow halves", "The hearth ingots and incense",
> "A
> >> > cold star travels across the pane").
> >> >
> >> > Objects do all the work, even summoning the "scythe-men"---a compound
> >> word
> >> > as if a compounded creature---that helps regenerate, prepares the
> soil.
> >>  The
> >> > lamp, personal and universal, apprentices each season.  [One is
> reminded
> >> of
> >> > Sharon Brogan's beautiful "Moon" series.]
> >> >
> >> > Brown carefully avoids human "act-ers":  "....is match struck to
> wick".
> >>  The
> >> > passive voice; the phrase's subject is not a person.
> >> >
> >> > One would be hard-pressed to succeed so grandly in such a little
> space.
> >> >
> >> > Best,
> >> >
> >> > Judy
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > 2008/8/25 David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>
> >> >
> >> >> Yes and no. I always thought of him as a poet I would like to like:
> >> >> when he was alive I would look at each book hoping that this time ...
> >> >> some of the Ikey Faa stuff he did, yes, some of the collisions of
> >> >> primitive statement, yes, but ... the poem Jon has quoted, it's ok,
> >> >> but behind lurks the spectre of stock association.
> >> >>
> >> >> I thought the second stanza best. 'outsplendours' oh dear, no. He
> >> >> falls for Parnassian a lot (vide Hopkins on Tennyson for that term)
> >> >>
> >> >> If I compare Mackay Brown to Garioch then the latter gets my vote.
> >> >>
> >> >> One has to be very ginger in handling the notion of vanished worlds.
> >> >> One might end up in Akenfield.
> >> >>
> >> >> Best
> >> >>
> >> >> Dave
> >> >>
> >> >> 2008/8/25 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
> >> >> > Yes, it is damned good.
> >> >> >
> >> >> > 2008/8/25 Jon Corelis <[log in to unmask]>
> >> >> >
> >> >> >> Saw from a notice in the London Review of Books that The Collected
> >> >> >> Poems of George Mackay Brown is available in paperback (John
> Murray
> >> >> >> 2006). which I hadn't known about.  I've admired his poetry in the
> >> >> >> past, so will have look at this.  The notice in the LRB quotes a
> >> >> >> little:
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> ---------
> >> >> >> The lamp is needful in spring, still,
> >> >> >> Though the jar of daffodils
> >> >> >> Outsplendours lamplight and hearthflames.
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> In summer only near midnight
> >> >> >> Is match struck to wick.
> >> >> >> A moth, maybe, troubles the rag of flame.
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> Harvest.  The lamp in the window
> >> >> >> Summons the scythe-men.
> >> >> >> A school-book lies on the sill, two yellow halves.
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> In December the lamp's a jewel,
> >> >> >> The hearth ingots and incense.
> >> >> >> A cold star travels across the pane.
> >> >> >> ---------
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> That is damned good.  I suppose though that world is gone now.
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> --
> >> >> >> ===============================================
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >>  Jon Corelis http://jcorelis.googlepages.com/joncorelis
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> ===============================================
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> --
> >> >> David Bircumshaw
> >> >> Website and A Chide's Alphabet
> >> >> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
> >> >> The Animal Subsides
> http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
> >> >> Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk
> >> >>
> >> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> David Bircumshaw
> >> Website and A Chide's Alphabet
> >> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
> >> The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
> >> Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk
> >>
> >
>
>
>
> --
> David Bircumshaw
> Website and A Chide's Alphabet
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
> The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
> Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk
>

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