icepixie: ([Movies] Myrna Loy as a blonde)
What sorts of things should be done festina lente ("by making haste slowly")? I have it in mind to write something with that title, but my original concept is just not working out for me.

I'm equally of a mind to write it as a villanelle or some equally obstreperous form (NOT A SESTINA AAAARGH). I think villanelle would be the best, with its plodding repetition. (Why do I do these things to myself? Whyyyy?)

In return for your help, have a villanelle I just discovered: "If I could tell you," W.H. Auden.
icepixie: ([Fringe] Olivia looking up)
Resolved: Shippy adventure tales about space pilots can only be improved by inclusion of references to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Seriously, though, doesn't part of "Renascence" remind you of a rocket launch? Specifically this part:

But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I’ll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And—sure enough!—I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ’most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast...
icepixie: ([Other] Book)
Someone took photos at some recent location filming for Fringe. Spoily! Spoily comment )

This one is not spoily at all, but it is very weird. Is it bad that I can't be absolutely certain whether it's just the biggest stage light in the world (apparently attached to a blimp? It seems tethered to the buildings rather than supported by them), a plot-related UFO, or an actual UFO.

On a different note, here's an undated picture from what appears to be a con: Anna Torv and Josh Jackson. I'm sure it's not been taken out of context at all...

A movie version of Midnight's Children is coming out next fall. I imagine it'll leave out a lot, as that is one packed book, but I bet it'll be gorgeous to look at. I learned about this from Salman Rushdie's Twitter, which just kind of blows my mind. Is he actually supposed to talk to mere mortals? I have no idea.

Apparently a Swede named Tomas Tranströmer won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year. An author named Teju Cole wrote, "Tranströmer's words remind me of Arvo Pärt's music," to which I immediately said, "WHERE DO I FIND HIM?"

The answer is here, here, definitely here, and most certainly here. Cole is right about the Pärt comparison.
icepixie: ([NX] Chris on Christmas Eve)
O Flist, I've found myself watching some Northern Exposure episodes of late, and I'm contemplating a complete (well, complete through the first six episodes of S6, anyway) rewatch. Anyone feel like joining me? (P.S. If you like quirky, charming, intelligent, unexpectedly moving dramedies, now would be an EXCELLENT time to discover this one!) I've given a thought to making a rewatch comm, although I only lasted until the end of S4 on the recent B5 rewatch. Then again, NX only had fifteen episodes total for the first two seasons, so it wouldn't be quite as long as five seasons with a show that had 20+ episodes each year.

*

In other news, JMS is trying to re-acquire the rights to B5. What for, no one's sure.

My first reaction is OMG REBOOT REBOOT REBOOT!!!!, but I'm not sure how one would change the story significantly enough to make it worth it.

*

Finally, a poem I recently read and loved:

Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry
by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.
icepixie: ([Poetry] October Twilight)
Stockings are going up at [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking! You can still sign up here. You know you want to...

(Mine, if you are so inclined, is here.)

*

Made a Wiki Walk over to [livejournal.com profile] incandescens's journal today, and found that she posts marvelous poetry by many different people all the time. I really like quirky, but not to the point where it stops making sense, and it's like [livejournal.com profile] incandescens can read my mind. I've been backreading like crazy.

My favorite so far is this one:

Winter Solstice, Camelot Station )

I also really like this one, for entirely different reasons:

People )
icepixie: ([Poetry] October Twilight)
All right, [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay wrote this epic post about "perfect" poems, and now I have to navel-gaze about that for a while. A perfect poem is different from a "favorite" or "best" poem, though for me there's significant overlap. The working definition that she came up with is that "it has to do with some kind of intersection between an idea that affects me viscerally and a structure/progression/formulation that mirrors the way my mind works." I'm defining it as a poem (or section of a poem, if it's long) that you get and understand down in your soul. Of all the possible ways to put whatever it is that the poet has written into words, this is the one that makes the most sense to you, and you can't imagine it working as well in any other formulation.

(I'm stealing the Alan Bennett quotation [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay used as well: "The best moments in reading are when you come across something—a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things—which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.")

To be honest, any number of Millay poems could be included here, because I think of all the poets I've read, her verse works most similarly to the way my mind works--very odd since she so often wrote in sonnets and other forms and I hate writing like that, but I guess it speaks to a certain organization of thought that functions similarly to my own. In the interest of brevity, I will limit myself to four: "Recuerdo," "Journey," "Renascence," and "What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why."

Others: "The Wild Swans at Coole" and perhaps "The Circus Animals' Desertion" (Yeats), "The More Loving One" (Auden), "Patchwork" (Boland), "Diving into the Wreck" (Rich), Sonnet 73/"That time of year thou mayst in me behold" (Shakespeare), "A Kite for Michael and Christopher" (Heaney), "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio" (Wright), "Horses and Men in the Rain" (Sandburg), the untitled poem that begins In Search of England (Morton), the last twenty-one lines of "Little Gidding" and possibly also part I of "Burnt Norton" (Eliot), maybe "Nostalgia" (Collins), maybe "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (Gray), and perhaps "Church Going" (Larkin).

Yes, fully 75% of them were written between 1910 and 1963, WHAT OF IT. Modernism and its close successors ~speak to me~. And yeah, a few are cliches; I'm gonna say it just speaks to how perfect they are, how not a word is out of place, and so they're recognized as such by many people.

Further analysis )

What are yours?
icepixie: (Default)
Matt Wertz
Red Meets Blue. Not, as I thought at first, a love song concerning a Republic and a Democrat, but catchy and pretty nevertheless. (The lyrics about red and blue are fairly nonsensical, though.)
Everything's Right. Catchy. Catchy, catchy, catchy. It makes me want to choreograph a dance that includes a lot of leaps and acrobatics. Again, the lyrics lack much of any meaning, but did I mention that it's catchy?

Patty Griffin
When It Don't Come Easy. I liked to play this one in the car last semester when I was driving home from campus after my evening class. Something about it is just perfect for that situation.
Burgundy Shoes. I already linked this some time ago, but if anyone missed it, go take a listen. Stay at least until the bridge, which is incredibly beautiful.

Beegie Adair
Pick Yourself Up. A jazz piano version of the jaunty little song from Swing Time. I find the lyrics a bit insipid, so I like that this is an instrumental.

Constance Amiot
Clashes in the Air and Clash dans le Tempo. Okay, I can't find a full-length stream of either song, but I did find samples of the whole album . It's also on iTunes. It's the same song, but one is in English and one in French. I think I prefer the French version, but the English one is very nice as well. I'd still categorize both as singer/songwriter, but with a bit more energy than one usually finds in that field.

Leigh Nash
Need to Be Next to You. (I make no recommendation for or against the associated fanvid, as I didn't actually watch it except to see that it used the whole song.) More pop-ish than I usually go for, but I've liked her voice since she sang for Sixpence None the Richer.

Holly Brook
Heavy. She reminds me a tiny bit of Sarah McLachlan, but less...something, and more something else. I'm not sure. It's a good song, though.

Vitamin(?) String Quartet
Cover of Coldplay's Yellow. I'm not actually sure what the group is called, but the cover is fabulous. (Apparently it was used on a TV show recently? I dunno. I've had an mp3 of it for years and years, probably thanks to Kenster.)

*

And for no particular reason but the fact that I read it today and thought it was beautiful, here's 'Horses and Men in Rain,' by Carl Sandburg )
icepixie: (Default)
Very possibly my new favorite Boland poem )


Okay, so I know much of her thing is that she is both a woman and poet. That's what 250+ pages of prose in Object Lessons boils down to, as do many, many poems. And yet I think I only understood that intellectually, because the aspects of womanhood she most often writes about are sexuality, motherhood, and domestic chores related to raising children. She writes about various activities that aren't necessarily gender-coded, either by biology or social convention, as well, but the poems that are most obviously about her identity as a female tend to cluster around those three areas. None of which, as you might guess, I can really relate to all that well, although I think she treats them beautfully.

And then there's this. Quilting is not biologically restricted only to females, true, but it's very socially coded as a feminine activity. And here I can see her, quite vividly, sitting cross-legged on a dining room floor, sorting patches of fabric. I can see myself doing that. (Okay, I don't quilt, but I have in the past done artsy-crafty things like quilting that required laying out materials on a floor.) And suddenly I go, "Oh. She is like me. We share this. We can make those same motions and see those same patterns." She had written about my experience of being human, of being a writer, of being interested in poetry; until now, I had not run into a poem where she captured part of my experience of being female.

I don't know if that makes sense as written. But I hope this little epiphany translates into some progress on the thesis...
icepixie: ([Art] Dance Me to the End of Love)
Along with finishing Midnight's Children, I renewed my acquaintance with Edna St. Vincent Millay today. Although, yes, I'm writing my thesis on Boland, and I've always loved Yeats, Millay might actually be my favorite poet. Well, tied for first, anyway. I always think of the latter half of my teenage years when I think of her, because I discovered "Renascence" when I was perhaps sixteen and fell utterly in love with it. (Here, read it. Very melodramatic, yes? You can see why a teenager would love it.) Then my AP English teacher gave me a volume of her selected poetry as a graduation gift, and I discovered, oh, pretty much everything in A Few Figs from Thistles and Second April, and just...ah, I think it's wonderful. She wrote a lot about grief and mourning, which perhaps turns people off, but which I always thought was beautiful.

Now that I'm no longer a teenager, I find some of my old favorites even more nuanced. I think I've begun to better understand the aura of ephemerality that hangs around poems like "Recuerdo" and "First Fig" ("My candle burns at both ends;/It will not last the night;/But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--/It gives a lovely light!"). "The Un-explorer" also makes more sense to me now that I am older.

However, I am dismayed to discover that she's not as well-known as I thought she was. (The MLA database has been shattering illusions right and left tonight.) Hence, a poll:

[Poll #1423068]
icepixie: ([Personal] Book)
Fifteen books (and/or plays) you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

1. Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (also Ulysses)
2. Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio
3. Bujold, Barrayar (also perhaps Shards of Honor and A Civil Campaign)
4. Steinbeck, East of Eden
5. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
6. Dahl, The Witches
7. Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
8. Helprin, The Winter's Tale
9. Byatt, Possession
10. Sewell, Black Beauty
11. Russell, The Sparrow
12. Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
13. Tolkien, LOTR
14. Wilder, Our Town
15. Stoppard, Arcadia

Fifteen Twenty poems:

1. Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," "Song of Wandering Aengus," "The Wild Swans at Coole," and "Sailing to Byzantium"
5. Boland, "That the Science of Cartography is Limited" and "Mise Eire"
7. Parker, "Resume"
8. Millay, "Renascence," "Spring," "Recuerdo," and "Journey"
12. Heaney, "Digging" and "A Kite for Michael and Christopher"
13. Collins, "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July," "Nostalgia," and "Lying in Bed in the Dark, I Silently Address the Birds of Arizona"
17. Longfellow, "Woods in Winter"
18. Donne, "Song" (aka "Go and catch a falling star")
19. Coleridge, "The Nightingale"
20. Anonymous, "The Seafarer"
icepixie: (Swans)
I'm reading H.V. Morton's In Search of England*, and was struck by this apparently-untitled poem he wrote as an epigraph. I've heard rumors about this month being some kind of poetry-posting month, so here it is:

You will remember, lady, how the morn
Came slow above the Isle of Athelney,
And all the flat lands lying to the sky
Were shrouded sea-like in a veil of grey,
As standing on a little rounded hill,
We placed our hands upon the Holy Thorn.

Do you remember in what hopeful fear
We gazed behind us, thinking we might see
Arthur come striding through the high, bright corn,
Or Alfred resting on a Saxon spear?
And as the cold mists melted from the fields
We seemed to hear the winding of a horn.

You will remember how we walked the Vale,
Through Meare and Westhay unto Godney End;
And how we said: "Time is an endless lane
And life a little mile without a bend...
Behind us what? Before us, if we ran,
Might we not be in time to see the Grail?"


Very Tennysonesque, to be sure, but with less bombast and overwrought epicness, which is good.


* Rather patronizing to lots of people in several places, but quite good otherwise. I found this little bit unutterably melancholy: "'[The battleship's] not being built against time for anything,' I asked suspiciously, 'for the Great War was the war that ended wars, wasn't it?'" Keep in mind that this was published in 1927.

Ow.
icepixie: (Never hearts and flowers)
I just sat down with the version of Candide I've had out from the library for more than a week now. I opened it, only to realize that it was in the original French.

Sigh.

I suppose I could try and use my rapidly-atrophying Spanish skills to puzzle it out (and if I find myself with writer's block and nothing better to do tomorrow, I may very well do so), and yet...so much easier to get the English version on Sunday.

And I was looking forward to something witty and amusing after finishing The Diamond Age this evening--Stephenson has some awesome ideas about what society with nanotech could/will be like, and can write some decent action scenes, but the extraneous orgies really killed the mood, as did ending things with more of a whimper than a bang. Er, plotwise. I assume the orgies went off okay. I mostly skimmed those parts.

*

I just recced Billy Collins to [livejournal.com profile] alto2, and in doing so, I found this ad-and-popup-riddled site which, despite being horrifying to navigate, nevertheless has 40-odd of his poems up there. If you haven't run across Collins before, treat yourself to any of them. (Although my personal favorites out of what's there are "Flames," "Nostalgia," "On Turning Ten," "Litany," and "Walking Across the Atlantic.") He's fabulous, and very funny to boot. ("Flames" has an awesomely hilarious punchline.)

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