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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Hi Chris,

Intriquing photographs! I found a few more sites about Maier and her work:

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Thanks for the link (which I am going to try to edit make clickable).
May/20/2011, 2:53 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


I just read Vanessa Place's explanation of Kenneth Goldsmith's WH performance over at the Poetry Foundation. After that I read about Walid Mohamed Ahmed al-Ramisi, the young Yemeni poet who had his tongue cut out this week. It struck me that the word "soul" was used by both Place and al-Ramisi.

Excerpt from Place's article:

From to river as bridge to bridge as river to bridge as bridge, the movement in the triptych goes from Man as nature’s capital to the capital of Nature to the nature of Capital. In Whitman, the poet is God like Nature is God, the one that sees each in each, and in each, the same multifarious reach. In Crane, the poet serves, like the bridge, to tether earth and air, the breath that is here arching out-there. In Goldsmith, it is just the bridge that is. There is no ontology beyond facticity. Words are things like people are things. Things to be counted, if not weighed. Put another way, the singular soul that collectively appears to Whitman is sublimated in the symbology of Crane and gutted in Goldsmith’s gutter-work.

. . .The easiest thing to comment upon here was the immediate institutionalization of conceptualism. By casting a piece of conceptual poetry in its thematic lineage, Goldsmith deftly made issues of form, etc., seemingly (or seamlessly) immaterial—this is a poem about the Brooklyn Bridge like that is a poem about the Brooklyn Bridge, we are all of us poems about the Brooklyn Bridge, or at least its geography. Epic poems, as a matter of fact, which are so very American, at least in their ontological sentiment. Like our continent, we do go on. (This is the common aspiration of every soul and institution.)

. . .For although the Author’s been bones for forty-four years now, we still saw the little-c creator—the one that peeps through page and poem—revivified by Alison Knowles reading barefoot from a dot-matrix printout and Rita Dove chewing syllables like salted caramels, oh, the sweet irrelevancy of any picturesque existence. And then there was Kenny, not being ironic, for irony is a foolish and sentimental gesture, betraying as it does, belief, and although we Americans are a foolish and sentimental people, pinning our hopes on hope and salvation (ethical or ethereal) via the singular soul, but not textually being at all. The text is dead. It is incapable of being read, though it lends itself to contemplation.

. . .The text is dead. It is a thing without qualities. Though it does reveal the obscenity of the special soul. And once we see this lack of subjective significance, we can perhaps begin to think about the sobjective nature of our word objects. Moving, maybe, from critique to analysis, to, maybe, something else. Because bridges are also for burning. Finally, Wittgenstein: “The proposition is a model of the reality as we think it is.” Finally, Goldsmith: “Remember how bad it was yesterday? It’s starting again.”


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Excerpt from al-Ramisi's latest poem:

"My god please lift all kinds of distress and get rid of the makers of evil My fellows think well and have awareness and know that the opposition and their parties had issued a fatwa to kill me They made the soul so cheap and they have allowed what was prohibited in Allah’s holy book You sons of Yemen have to be aware of the lies of those who wear masks of sheep while they are wolves in reality"

[sign in to see URL]



Last edited by Katlin, May/20/2011, 4:25 pm
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Thank you, Kat! Isn't she a treat?

Also read Place's comments. Interesting. I thought the bridge triptych was the most intriguing.

Chris
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Chris, Kat et al,

Yes, this woman is an amazing photographer. Most of her settings appear to be urban, though she does have some landscaping. I believe her strengths are the urban people scenes and the structural ones. I'm glad you posted this and brought attention to it. Zak

quote:

Christine98 wrote:

Thank you, Kat! Isn't she a treat?

Also read Place's comments. Interesting. I thought the bridge triptych was the most intriguing.

Chris



May/21/2011, 6:34 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Katlin,

I read this once, and maybe scanned it the other day. I don't quite get it. Maybe it's too early in the morning. Can you help me out? What are they trying to say. I read one of the poems by Goldsmith. It was a series of weather reports. Maybe the intent was to put them together kind of like Pollock threw paint on a canvas, or like Picasso glued pieces of wood and glass together. I don't know. I know I've seen "found poems" before on TCP, and have often seen things myself that I thought would make good found poems. This seems to be what Goldsmith is about. A weather report poem and a Brooklyn bridge traffic report poem. What amazes me is that he's found respectibility in the mainstream poetry world where many others writing found poems have not. What gives? Are we back to having the right pedegree (sic), the right education, the right contacts? Is that it? Or is it something else? Is he "selecting" pieces of the weather reports or traffic reports and placing them in such a way that they draw in the reader? Do you have any insights? Thanks. Zak

quote:

Katlin wrote:

I just read Vanessa Place's explanation of Kenneth Goldsmith's WH performance over at the Poetry Foundation. After that I read about Walid Mohamed Ahmed al-Ramisi, the young Yemeni poet who had his tongue cut out this week. It struck me that the word "soul" was used by both Place and al-Ramisi.

Excerpt from Place's article:

From to river as bridge to bridge as river to bridge as bridge, the movement in the triptych goes from Man as nature’s capital to the capital of Nature to the nature of Capital. In Whitman, the poet is God like Nature is God, the one that sees each in each, and in each, the same multifarious reach. In Crane, the poet serves, like the bridge, to tether earth and air, the breath that is here arching out-there. In Goldsmith, it is just the bridge that is. There is no ontology beyond facticity. Words are things like people are things. Things to be counted, if not weighed. Put another way, the singular soul that collectively appears to Whitman is sublimated in the symbology of Crane and gutted in Goldsmith’s gutter-work.

. . .The easiest thing to comment upon here was the immediate institutionalization of conceptualism. By casting a piece of conceptual poetry in its thematic lineage, Goldsmith deftly made issues of form, etc., seemingly (or seamlessly) immaterial—this is a poem about the Brooklyn Bridge like that is a poem about the Brooklyn Bridge, we are all of us poems about the Brooklyn Bridge, or at least its geography. Epic poems, as a matter of fact, which are so very American, at least in their ontological sentiment. Like our continent, we do go on. (This is the common aspiration of every soul and institution.)

. . .For although the Author’s been bones for forty-four years now, we still saw the little-c creator—the one that peeps through page and poem—revivified by Alison Knowles reading barefoot from a dot-matrix printout and Rita Dove chewing syllables like salted caramels, oh, the sweet irrelevancy of any picturesque existence. And then there was Kenny, not being ironic, for irony is a foolish and sentimental gesture, betraying as it does, belief, and although we Americans are a foolish and sentimental people, pinning our hopes on hope and salvation (ethical or ethereal) via the singular soul, but not textually being at all. The text is dead. It is incapable of being read, though it lends itself to contemplation.

. . .The text is dead. It is a thing without qualities. Though it does reveal the obscenity of the special soul. And once we see this lack of subjective significance, we can perhaps begin to think about the sobjective nature of our word objects. Moving, maybe, from critique to analysis, to, maybe, something else. Because bridges are also for burning. Finally, Wittgenstein: “The proposition is a model of the reality as we think it is.” Finally, Goldsmith: “Remember how bad it was yesterday? It’s starting again.”


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Excerpt from al-Ramisi's latest poem:

"My god please lift all kinds of distress and get rid of the makers of evil My fellows think well and have awareness and know that the opposition and their parties had issued a fatwa to kill me They made the soul so cheap and they have allowed what was prohibited in Allah’s holy book You sons of Yemen have to be aware of the lies of those who wear masks of sheep while they are wolves in reality"

[sign in to see URL]




May/21/2011, 6:41 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Guess I am still focusing on that a poet's tongue got cut out. I keep saying it. No coincidence that women get mutilated, children raped, the poor shoved off the face of the earth, nature herself ripped apart, and poets get their tongues cut out. It is all part of a design, politically motivated.

Tere
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Terreson,

It's not that some of us are ignoring this. But as terrible as this act is, it's not new. I quote Wikipedia:

Cicero's last words are said to have been, "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he wouldn't resist. According to Plutarch, Herennius first slew him, then cut off his head. On Antony's instructions his hands, which had penned the Philippics against Antony, were cut off as well; these were nailed and displayed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum according to the tradition of Marius and Sulla, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum. Cicero was the only victim of the proscriptions to be displayed in that manner. According to Cassius Dio (in a story often mistakenly attributed to Plutarch),[49] Antony's wife Fulvia took Cicero's head, pulled out his tongue, and jabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin in final revenge against Cicero's power of speech.[50]

Again, not to diminish the more current and heinous act. Just to put it in perspective. Cicero was a great writer, as you know. Hope you're doing well. Zak



quote:

Terreson wrote:

Guess I am still focusing on that a poet's tongue got cut out. I keep saying it. No coincidence that women get mutilated, children raped, the poor shoved off the face of the earth, nature herself ripped apart, and poets get their tongues cut out. It is all part of a design, politically motivated.

Tere



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The Insularity of American Literature: Philip Roth Didn't Deserve the Booker International Prize

Anis ShivaniWriter, [sign in to see URL]

"There is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary [sign in to see URL] the United States," Horace Engdahl, permanent secretary of the Nobel Prize jury, recently said. "The US is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of [sign in to see URL] ignorance is restraining."

Engdahl couldn't be more correct. We are too insular. We specialize in quantity, not quality. Our publishing model, like that of the lapsed auto industry, is a failed one. It survives only because of our gigantism--mere volume is sufficient to ensure a certain amount of financial success, but it is not producing a worthwhile cultural product. Just as we might have 500 television channels but not one will ever offer the challenging movies of Buñuel or Godard, or a Wagner opera, we might produce 175,000 books a year, but quality is elusive. What we're talking about is a business model that is outdated, cannot keep up with globalization. There ought to be no bail-out of American writers. It is a case of market monopoly run amok, taking self-publicity for truth.

May/23/2011, 2:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


In my case, Libra, you are preaching to the choir. I've never used the terms, insular or isolated, even though they both fit. The terms I tend towards are provincial and a backwater. When you think on it it is a curious circumstance. There can be no discussion of Modernism in literature without a discussion of the U.S. American scene. Not quite interchangable, but close enough. Whitman's impact became global. Dickinson's almost as much so. Of the four greatest 20th C. poets, two were American: Pound and Eliot. In the novel genre, so many, so many solidly good and a few great novelists. Faulkner's genius, of course, remains unexplainable. James Baldwin, I could argue, stands as U.S. America's Flaubert. Mentioning Hemingway and Fitzgerald would amount to a cliche. But there writing was not. I count two generations of extraordinary writing. Then the mediocrity set in. Where's a Steinbeck, a Cather, a Nin, a Cummings, a Tennessee Williams? (Actually dramatic poetry might be in better shape.) What happened?

I've been thinking on this for a couple of decades now, almost exactly. Is commercialism in the pub industry the problem? Sure. Is academia the problem? Yes again. Is an MFA program designed to mass produce writers the problem? I tend to think so. But after I consider everything I come back to two sources of the problem: a lack of will on the part of all, from writer to publisher, to take down the big themes; and a lack of imagination on the part of writers and poets. Kunitz said that about the American (U.S) scene in the late 90s. From memory he said 'American poetry today tends to lack imagination, which is a curious thing to say about art.'

It is a sorry scene. A backwater and provincial. I remember something our buddy Zak said either here or on some other poetry board. It has stuck with me. Responding to a poem he said something like 'Why can't I find this kind of poetry (I took him to mean its quality) on a shelf in a bookstore?' Just a sorry scene and with no change in the weather in sight. Sometimes, you know, stormy weather can be a good thing. Especially when it brings rain.

Tere
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


eyes opening ever more deeply water from your touch

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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Hi to all.

Chris, I really like Maier's photographs. They are gritty, honest, real. I also enjoyed her self-portraits, with and without shadows.

Zak,

Goldsmith is a conceptual poet, so his poems aren't meant to be read, rather the concepts of/behind the poems are meant to be contemplated as Place points out:

"For although the Author’s been bones for forty-four years now, we still saw the little-c creator—the one that peeps through page and poem—revivified by Alison Knowles reading barefoot from a dot-matrix printout and Rita Dove chewing syllables like salted caramels, oh, the sweet irrelevancy of any picturesque existence. And then there was Kenny, not being ironic, for irony is a foolish and sentimental gesture, betraying as it does, belief, and although we Americans are a foolish and sentimental people, pinning our hopes on hope and salvation (ethical or ethereal) via the singular soul, but not textually being at all. The text is dead. It is incapable of being read, though it lends itself to contemplation."

It's true that Goldsmith can not be accused of being a "little-c creator" but he does embody the little-p's: plagiarist and performer. If there was nothing ironic in Goldsmith's performance as Place maintains, wouldn't that be ironic in itself? To quote Jackson Mac Lowe once again:

"Cage and, through his influence, I began composing by means of chance operations . . . in an attempt to escape the dominance of the ego—especially personal passions—in art.”

“It is just that in the course of using chance operations over many years, I came to realize that the ego is inescapably there, whether one is expressing one’s feelings and thoughts or making works by chance operations or ‘other’ impersonal methods. If you invent a method, you invent it and choose to use it—the ego makes that choice just as much as it makes the choice to express feelings about a lover or a war. . . .I feel that we’ve extended the possibilities of music and poetry through the use of systematic chance, but not that we’ve invalidated intuitive methods of making art.”

If there was nothing ironic in Goldsmith's performance that doesn't mean there was nothing ironic about it. Must be nice to think you have eschewed false hope, foolishness, sentimentality, ego, belief in a singular soul, the need for salvation "(ethical or ethereal)", the obscenity of the special soul, yaddayaddayadda.

In the end, I don't really get it either, Zak, but I did think Goldsmith's reading was interesting in that it underscored, for example, how much the population in America has grown and how industrialilzed we have become since Whitman's day. It's true that comment says something about me, just as Place's comments say something about her. "We see things not as they are but as we are."

Last edited by Katlin, May/24/2011, 3:13 pm
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


I have a friend who recently received an MFA in Creative Writing. Her concentrations were creative nonfiction and poetry. She is very interested in nature/ecology and much of her creative nonfiction work falls into that category. I know of another person, a friend of a friend, who got an MFA in creative writing with a concentration in poetry a few years back. From what I can tell from reading her before and after work, her poetry did improve after she got the degree.

For me the bottom line is this: competency, however one defines it, in writiing can be taught; genius cannot. How many geniuses are there writing at any given time in the world? MFA programs in writing can teach people competency, again as it is variously defined, and having a degree can help people get jobs teaching creative writing, although less and less as more and more MFAs are produced and as more and more cuts are made to education in this country, but MFA programs cannot make/teach/create geniuses in writing. Perhaps they can nuture genius, or perhaps they can provoke genius by providing frameworks/manifestos/status quos to resist and overthrow. I'm not saying, of course, that only the works of genius are worth reading or that one must be a genius to write something of value to oneself (process) or to others (product).

IMO, you can teach people to be better writers, often good writers, but not great writers. An MFA program is not going to "produce" a Whitman or a Dickinson, which isn't to say a Walt or an Emily couldn't graduate with an MFA or potentially benefit from studying to get one, but I also don't think that they would have to have the degree to be today's Walt or Emily.

Last edited by Katlin, May/24/2011, 12:06 pm
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


[sign in to see URL]
Bob Dylan: "I'm a poet, and I know it"

May/24/2011, 2:52 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Thanks to the link about Dylan, Libra. I enjoyed reading the article as well as the one about Woody Guthrie. Dylan and Guthrie, two American originals who speak to working class people.
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Goldsmith on avant-garde poetry today:
 
[url][sign in to see URL]

Goldsmith reading a weather report:

[url][sign in to see URL]

Place reading "Pussy":

[url][sign in to see URL]

More conceptual poetry and flarf:

Christian Bok sounds off:

[url][sign in to see URL]

Sharon Mesmer reading "From genitals to yours":

[url][sign in to see URL]

Nada Gordong reading "Art":

[url][sign in to see URL]


Okay, so they aren't little-c creators, but they are little-p performers, no?


Last edited by Katlin, May/24/2011, 3:36 pm
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


In honor of his 70th birthday, here are a few Dylan chasers:

One of my favorites, "When the Deal Goes Down"

[url][sign in to see URL]

I like all the old photos of Dylan in this one, "Thunder on the Mountain"

[url][sign in to see URL]



Last edited by Katlin, May/24/2011, 11:56 pm
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Hi,

Was wondering what anyone thought about the conceptual and flarf poets I linked to above? Would any of them appeal to working class folks? If so, they would probably be disappointed. emoticon
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I came across two articles on MFA programs recently that I thought might be of interest:

Tradition trumps Twitter at Iowa Writers' Workshop

The program, which has helped train everyone from Flannery O'Connor to Michael Cunningham and T.C. Boyle, remains a powerhouse in American literature as it turns 75 this week. To mark the milestone, hundreds of alumni are coming back to campus in what amounts to an all-star gathering of writers who have breathed the air in Iowa City and that of its once-smoky bars.


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On Blowing My Load: Thoughts From Inside the MFA Ponzi Scheme

“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” Flannery O’Connor

We MFA writing students are having a grand time. We appear nonchalant, cheerful, full of promise; we eat pizza and drink beers and speak up in class, saying things like–but has this story got, well, too much rising action a la George Saunders? Is this pattern perhaps a bit exhaustive? Do you think you’ve earned this? We seem so critical and astute, like we know what the hell we are doing.


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Reading the article on the Iowa's Workshop made me realize I know one person who got an MFA in poetry there years ago. She is a lovely woman, intelligent, funny and a conscientious poet. Her mentor and friend is Tess Gallagher; she has one or two chapbooks published and has been trying for years to get a full length poetry collection published. She does't teach but has a number of poetry world contacts. Reading the two articles also reminded me of something else: Teaching poets have the added pressure of publishing well in order to first establish tenure and then fulfill the publication requirements most academic positions require. How does this relate back to the topic of this thread (workiing class poems)? Any thoughts?
 
I'm not one who thinks that all MFA programs are created equal, and even within MFA programs I would imagine experiences vary depending on poet/teachers one encounters and how well those poet/teachers fit with any given student's inclinations. People often speak of academia and the Academy as if referring to one monolithic entity, which I do not think is the case in reality.
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Poetry Bombing With Agustina Woodgate for O, Miami (Video)By Swampdog,
Graffiti: The art of marking a surface to convey a message. Poetry: The echoes of the sound of your synapse relays crackling.

Combine the two and you've got poetry bombing, the method Agustina Woodgate is using to realize her project for the O, Miami poetry festival.

For the past month, the artist has been sewing verse bySylvia Plath and Li Po into jackets, pants, and dresses on thrift store shelves all over the county. We caught up with her at Flamingo Plaza in Hialeah to document her work. Check out the video.

[url][sign in to see URL]

©2011 Miami New Times, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Poetry bombing is a much more personal approach than posting poetry on buses, that's for sure. I wonder what folks think when they come across a bit of stitched on poetry in their thrift store finds.
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The sewn verse of Plath and Li Po brings a memory to mind. A few years ago a poet going after her MFA had an assignment: When does poetry become public? (I think that is how it went.) She needed some ideas. I thought on it for a couple of days and got back to her with this: Poetry becomes public when it brings to the forum what the rest of us conspire to ignore. (I think that is how it went.) She takes to it. So the poet asks me to write the comment on a piece of paper, hand written like, and send it to her. She takes the comment in my script and silk screens it on however many white, long sleeved T shirts. Forgot to ask what grade she got on the project. But she sent me two shirts both of which I wore until frayed, sometimes as a nightshirt. I remember once wearing one of the shirts to work. A co-worker, a good man, stopped me in the hall, started reading the caption, got half-way through, shuddered, started walking away and muttered: That is way too deep for me.

Post not so tangential to the thread's theme I ween.

Tere
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


A working class poem.

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I keep going back to the Gil Scott-Heron video posted immediately above. It shakes me down every time. Goes through my body like a dull knife tearing upwards in my gut. Where indeed are the working class poems? Better yet, where anymore is the working class able to feed and house itself, and make for a better future for its children? But I shouldn't go there. And is Scott-Heron a poet? Damn right he is and in the fullest measure of what it means to be a poet. Still adjusting to the new attitude required, knowing he is dead.

I've remembered another Scott-Heron poem that also speaks to the working class, maybe to the working poor. He was a young poet then. This goes back to the 70s. Ostensibly addressed to Billy Holliday and John Coltrane, read closely enough and the working poor address comes through.

[url][sign in to see URL]

Oh my God. Just was brought back to this:

[url][sign in to see URL]

Working class poems.

Tere
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A sometime member of our board, Ms. P, led me to this working class poet. I am reading his most ambitious cycle of poems, Letters to an Imaginary Friend How did I miss him all these years? His poetry absolutely illustrates Kat's point in the thread. Whitmanesque for sure.

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Tere

  
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Whoa, Tere, "Me and the Devil" is powerful and scary. Not sure if you can follow my connection here, but that Gil Scott-Heron put me in mind of another video you posted on another thread:

"A Southerner's sensibility?"

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Point and counterpoint, maybe. Scot-Heron's video being the soulful, night-time, city life, flipside to "Interstates and States of Grief."

Can't say more at the moment. Circuits on overload.
Jun/24/2011, 9:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Whoa again, Tere, regarding the article on Thomas McGrath. I'm not familiar with his work but that essay makes me curious:

McGrath's work is "powerful, original, absorbing, funny and uncompromisingly American in its resources, techniques and hopes," wrote Reginald Gibbons in TriQuarterly. Calling him "the most important American poet who can lay claim to the title 'radical,'" Stern observed that the essence of his poetry lies in "the past as shaping force, death as personal and political fact, the horror and loneliness of living in an inhuman and dehumanizing society." In North Dakota Quarterly, Valery Kirilovich Shpak, a Soviet poet and educator who understood the "democratic traditions" in McGrath's work, observed that he "depicts the life and struggle of working people who face the necessity of remaking themselves within capitalist society." New York Times correspondent Hugh Gibb stated: "In the first place, when contemplating a harsh and chaotic world, [McGrath] never allows his genuine pity for the oppressed to degenerate into self-pity; and secondly, he is never forced to retreat into a world of private fantasy and introspection. In consequence he has been able not only to sustain the tradition which would otherwise appear to be almost extinct, but has brought to it a new and vigorous honesty."

Any of his poems you particularly recommend?

Thanks for getting this thread back on track!

Jun/24/2011, 9:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


An Alan Price song, Price on the piano. Wiki will clue you in on the "Jarrow Crusade" of the 30s. It's back to the future for the working class.

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Tere
Jun/25/2011, 2:08 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


A working class poem? You bet.

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Tere
Jun/25/2011, 2:50 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


"Shelley in Egypt: How a British Poem Inspired the Arab Spring"

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” Percy Shelley wrote in 1821. Not surprisingly, this claim has earned some snickers from people who think of poets as barely able to legislate their own grooming habits. Fellow writers have made fun of it, too: in the twentieth century Auden shot back, “‘The unacknowledged legislators of the world’ describes the secret police, not the poets.”
 
But Shelley was speaking metaphorically, of course, and also fairly broadly; his general point was that language is the decisive force in human affairs. Culture, religion, and politics derive from narrative, myth, and rhetoric—and all of these things derive from “poetry,” that is, memorable figurative language.
 
Even if you interpret Shelley’s words in the narrowest sense possible—“Verse writers are the secret movers and shakers of global politics”—you’ll find that Shelley himself, more than almost anyone else, has proven them true. Don’t believe me? Look up his poem “The Masque of Anarchy,” which, although now largely forgotten, has sparked some of the most sweeping historical changes of the past two centuries.


To read the rest of the article:

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Jul/18/2011, 3:20 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Whatever Happened to Working Class Poems


Kat, I am very much liking this thread you started up. Meat and flesh on its bones.

Tere
Jul/18/2011, 6:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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