Jack Gilbert and H.D.

Poetry! Just this week I’ve met two other poetry fans. It makes me happy to meet other poetry fans. Especially when they recommend poets I’m not familiar with. One of them recommended Jack Gilbert’s Collected Poems this week, and sent this lovely poem:

Failing and Flying

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Another new friend recommended H.D. to me. I’ve never read her poetry, but found Eurydice, which is a dark and powerful poem about hell. It concludes:

At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;

and my spirit with its loss
knows this;
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;

before I am lost,
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.

11 thoughts on “Jack Gilbert and H.D.

  1. Thanks so much for sharing these poems. I started getting more and more into poetry over the past 4 years. I’m not sure if you go to poetry to get away from the web, but just in case you’re into the thought of merging the two, and haven’t looked into it that much cuz you’re so busy doing other really important things, it’s definitely worth checking out Loss Glazier’s book “Digital Poetics”, http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/glazier/dp/index.html , and also his own poetry, http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/glazier/ . He is the head of the Electronic Poetry Center at the University of Buffalo, http://epc.buffalo.edu/ . The arts programs at UBuffalo have strong ties to the famous Black Mountain College. The great poet Robert Creeley and composer Morton Feldman are two of those connects. Here’s one of Feldman’s most beautiful, famous, and meditative pieces http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxSt_w2ODaQ . Every year the EPC has a conference, http://epc.buffalo.edu/e-poetry/ . I had the opportunity to attend in 2012 and it gave me a lot of good ideas. Charles Bernstein has a lot of Connections with the EPC too, http://www.english.upenn.edu/People/CharlesBernstein . He’s the head of PennSound, http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/ , I believe one of the largest online poetry recording archives. Finally, of course Kenneth Goldsmith, founder of http://ubuweb.com/ , is at UPenn too. His book “Uncreative Writing” is an inspiration for anyone thinking about the web and art/poetics. Anyways, please forgive me if you’re familiar with all of these resources. If so then perhaps some of your readers will get something out of them. After reading your article for rhizome.org a while back, I thought you might find interest in this longish reply. I hope everything’s great over there. Peace Out. Saul

  2. Saul, thanks for that extensive list of poetry and resources, I really do appreciate your taking the time to write it all down. And glad you read that rhizome piece!

    Yes @meligrosa it’s so very good.

  3. Caterina, so many years have passed since I would routinely read your weblog. Then just 5 minutes ago I was reading the NYT piece on Yahoo and saw your name and there you go, and I showed up here. So wonderful to read through these pieces and observe your wonderful observations again. Poetry, photos, smart earshot essays. You are book marked! Always a pleasure – still.

    All the best,

    Matthew / Paris, France

  4. Agreed @Saul, thanks for sharing so much – though directed at Caterina, I’ve jumped in there too! As integral as innovation is to us (as individuals, communities and society as a whole) I truly believe there is no innovation without creativity – and being able to access our ‘soul culture’ is a gift we must be ever thankful for!

    Yes, I am an author and innovator – but began as a poet – and I’m always surprised by how often I access that spirit in my current guise.

    Thank you, Caterina, for the reminder!

  5. Pingback: Icarus-like | Every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh

  6. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a didferent web address andd thought I might ass well ceck things out.
    I like what I seee so now i am following you.
    Look forward to looking ingo your web page repeatedly.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: