Friday, April 18, 2008

Poetry Friday

Writer2b featured a poem a few weeks ago that several of us puzzled over. This made me think about the importance of "interpretation" in poetry, and the reason for reading a poem. Last week she posted a poem about poetry, The Secret by Denise Levertov, which got me thinking even more. This week I am offering up a poem by Don Paterson, a Scottish poet. He seems to be speaking directly to my thoughts.

"I would say that the poem exists in a space somewhere between the reader and the author, and in a sense belongs to neither, and both." -Don Paterson


Poetry by Don Paterson

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.
Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.
Roundup is at The Well-Read Child

3 comments:

TadMack said...

but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.


Wow. Just trying to think about and talk about our own process in poetry, and reading this brings its own angle into the act and process of the writing. Thanks for sharing.

writer2b said...

My favorite line: "it's not love's later heat that poetry holds, but the atom of the love that drew it forth from the silence..."

I also love the quote about the poem existing in the "space between." Lovely.

I wish I could write true poetry. (Sigh.) Instead I'm stuck on the readerly end of the equation...

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Hi, I know this is not the "socially acceptable" way to query a site, but I don't see any other contact info for you...

Hello, my name is Beth Fehlbaum. My debut novel, Courage in Patience, releases from Kunati Books on September 1, 2008. I am writing to request that you review my book or allow me to be a guest on your blog or site.
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a family member, and I am also an experienced Language Arts teacher. I am passionate about communicating to readers that there is hope in the face of what seems hopeless, whether it is sexual abuse, racism, bullying, homophobia, or even censorship. My novel is a story of love, forgiveness, parental responsibility, and, most of all, of discovering what we are made of when we face our worst fears.

I am currently lining up blog and website "appearances"; I sincerely hope that you will consider hosting me. Please e-mail me at beth@bethfehlbaum.com, if you have a date available from September 1, onward. We can agree on a specific date when you contact me. Thank you!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/bethfehlbaum
Publisher's site: http://www.kunati.com

SYNOPSIS OF NOVEL:
Ashley Nicole Asher’s life changes forever on the night her mother, Cheryl, meets Charlie Baker. Within a year of her mother’s marriage to Charlie, typical nine-year-old Ashley’s life becomes a nightmare of sexual abuse and emotional neglect. Bundling her body in blankets and sleeping in her closet to try to avoid Charlie's nighttime assaults, she is driven by rage at age 15 to tell her mother, in spite of the threats Charlie has used to keep Ashley silent. Believing that telling will make Charlie go away, instead it reveals to Ashley where she lies on her mother's list of priorities.
“We’re just going to move on now,” Cheryl tells Ashley. “Go to your room.” Ashley's psyche splinters into shards of glass, and she desperately tries to figure a way out, while at the same time battling numbness and an inability to remember what happened when she blacked out after Charlie tackled her. She knew that when she awoke her clothes were disheveled and the lower-half of her body was covered in bright red blood-- but she has only a blank spot in the "video" of her memory.
When Ashley’s friend, Lisa, sees a note from Cheryl telling Ashley that Charlie would never “do those things to her,” and insisting that she apologize for accusing him of molesting her, Lisa forces dazed Ashley to make an outcry to her teacher, Mrs. Chapman.
By the end of the day, Ashley’s father, David, who has not seen Ashley since she was three months old, is standing in the offices of Child and Family Services. He brings her home to the small East Texas town of Patience, where he lives with his wife, Beverly, their son, Ben, and works with his brother, Frank. Its neighboring town, Six Shooter City, is so quirky, it's practically on the cusp of an alternate universe; a trip to the Wal-Mart reveals to visitors that "there's either something in the water..or family trees around here don't fork."
Through the summer school English class/ Quest for Truth taught by Beverly, an "outside-the-box" high school English teacher whose passion for teaching comes second only to her insistence upon authenticity, Ashley comes to know Roxanne Blake, a girl scarred outwardly by a horrific auto crash and inwardly by the belief that she is "Dr. Frankenstein's little experiment";
Wilbur "Dub" White, a fast-talking smart mouth whose stepfather is a white supremacist who nearly kills a man while Dub watches from the shadows, forcing Dub to realize that he cannot live with the person that he is, any longer;
Zaquoiah “Z.Z.” Freeman, one of the few African-Americans in Patience, whose targeted-for-extinction family inherited the estate of one of Patience’s founding families and has been given the charge to "turn this godforsaken town on its head";
Hector "Junior" Alvarez, a father at sixteen whose own father was killed in prison, who works two jobs and is fueled by the determination to "do it right" for his son, "3", and his girlfriend, Moreyma;
T.W. Griffin, whose football-coach father expects him to be Number One at everything, and whose mother naively believes that he is too young to think about sex; and
Kevin Cooper, a not-so-bright football player with a heart of gold, whose mother, Trini, a reporter for the local paper, is instrumental in exposing the ugliness that is censorship.
Every person in the class is confronted with a challenge that they must face head-on. The choices they make will not be easy—but they will be life-altering. With the exception of her mother and step-father, Ashley is surrounded by people who overcome their fear to embrace authenticity and truth-- the only way to freedom. But will Ashley have the inner-fortitude to survive the journey to recovery and the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Will Ashley find her voice, speak up for herself, and break the bondage of her abusive past?
Realizing "she's gonna need a lot more than we have," David and Bev enlist the help of Scott "Dr. Matt" Matthews, an experienced, slightly unconventional therapist who insists that Ashley can and must come out hiding in the closet in her mind.
The Chris Crutcher novel, Ironman, is taught by Beverly Asher in the summer school class. When T.W.’s overbearing parents read the book, they decide that the book should be censored, and they involve the pastor of Patience’s largest, most conservative church to lead the fight through the Purify Patience organization. Its mission is to cleanse Patience of Profanity, Promiscuity, and Parent-Bashing Pedagogy—all complaints the group has about the novel, Ironman. Its hidden agenda, however, is to return Patience to a time when "Patience was 100% white", "women knew their place","everyone had plenty of money", and "Christian values were taught in school."
The censoring, pseudo-Christian, white-supremacist, misogynist organization is exposed for what it is in a courageous move by one of its own (well..his mother threatens to twist his ear off if he doesn't speak up), isolating the pastor and causing most of his “flock” to deny they ever knew him. National and world press attention shine speculation on the dirty little secrets hidden in Patience, and its inhabitants are forced to examine their own values and beliefs.
Alone in the dark, Ashley must face her worst fears in a pivotal scene between her, Charlie, and her mother. Through this confrontation, Ashley at last finds the strength to advocate for her own right to exist in a world that is free of abuse. She, too, has found Courage in Patience.