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Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Revision #1


I remember trilling grasshoppers
on a terrace, a sentimental visit
to offices of Botteghe Oscure
my fathers first publisher, the second
story landing, the mildewed boxes
of magazines in humid air, frail dust;
but memory is a losing game.

In the hotel lobby, a Quetzal opens
slick wet wings, gold and green
in drab water;

Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus,
blistered, patched and exquisite.

Gold pilasters, pink nymphs painted
on the vaulted ceiling, olive oil
glimmers on the sideboard,

sotte voce as restaurants change
to dinner menus. We drink an Armagnac
that throbs and clings to the tongue;

a slouch Borsalino, a buttoned cloak
for the damp palazzo.

Did your calf-skin glove wave goodbye
to me or the unseasonable weather?
      
The doors of the airport bus open
(accordion like), bringing mold scented
leaves, dirty and badly branded
by Texas cattlemen;

the autumn whirlwind
a bandana at your head.







Original:

One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
half-frozen stems of memory, dry bents, the chirr (of what?)
The languor of grasshoppers trilling on a terrace; the oars
of gondolas, captive Myna birds from India, the oily peac ock,
a Burmese Wood Partridge rattles his thin silver chain,
a Quetzal opens slick wet wings, gold and green in drab water;
I am borne across the center of your white paper, dank canal
boat; Venice, the Botteghe Oscure offices that first published
my father; boxes of mildewed magazines up three floors rot
in humid air, shop grills and studios crowd back from the dock.
The goldsmith's blue fire, the hiss of the glass blower, open air
stalls of half-bald men fix the price of money, their hands caress
banknotes as though stroking a woman’s thigh; Venice that stirs
the dead heart of Lazarus---blistered, patched and exquisite.
Gold pilasters, the pink nymphs painted on the vaulted ceiling,
glimmering olive oil on the side of my dinner plate; sotte voce
as the lights come on, the dusk settles into lemon tinged night.
Your hair wild as the chestnut burr; the drink you offered urban,
a throbbing Armagnac clinging to the tongue; a slouch Borsalino
and buttoned cloak rubbed by the gale; did you wave goodbye
to me or the unseasonable weather? The doors of the airport bus
open (accordion like), the scent of leaves dirty and badly burned.



Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/28/2013, 6:46 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Hi Bernie,

Your poem was my prompt to do some research into Harvey. I had heard the name but wasn't familiar with her work. I enjoyed my investigation, but obviously I'm no expert on her, which might be impeding my reading and appreciating this poem. For me, overall, the poem doesn't work. I don't know if it is the layout of the poem, the nonstandard punctuation, the piling on of images without more connective tissue, or a combination of all of these, that is bothering me, but the poem does not coalesce into a satisfying read for me in the way I wish it would.

I saw another post in which you talked about the importance of "seeing" to a writer, and this poem reminded me of an O'Keeffe quote I often cite: “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like the time it takes to have a friend.” There is a lot of seeing going on in this poem, but because there is so much of it and because of the things I mentioned earlier, none of the things seem to be valued in and of it self. The value of each thing seems to be its inclusion in the list. The way the poem is written, it strikes me as a list poem,which can be great if the whole is greater than sum of the parts, but in this piece I don't feel that is the case. I get the sense the poem is structured and punctuated the way it is to convey a sense of exuberance, but for me there is something off in the pacing and/or the layout that is preventing me from appreciating the richness and excess expressed, as a whole, despite my enjoyment of the individual lines and images. If that makes sense. Perhaps I will read this again tomorrow or next week or someone else will post a comment that will make this click for me. IOW, perhaps I am missing an important key or clue as to how to read the poem.

In L2 if you are trying to convey that the N is questioning what is being heard and then answering that question in L3, I thought it might work better this way:

One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
half-frozen stems of memory, dry bents, the chirr--of what?
The languor of grasshoppers trilling on a terrace; the oars

HTH. If not, you know what to do. emoticon

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/22/2013, 4:38 pm
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ineese Profile
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Bernie,

This is not a poem I would want to research or study, but simply read. I found it exquisite.
Feb/21/2013, 6:11 pm Link to this post Send PM to ineese Blog
 
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


"This is not a poem I would want to research or study, but simply read. I found it exquisite."

Kathleen,

I wanted to research Harvey in order to appreciate why Bernie dedicated this poem to her. IOW, I wanted to read her work as a tribute to his poem. Not because I am fond of research or study, per se. emoticon Tell me why you find the poem exquisite. I sincerely want to know what I am missing. I am puzzled myself that the poem does not move me. I enjoyed Bernie's earlier poem about NYC, which was lush with images, and thought the poem improved when he expanded it.

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/21/2013, 6:24 pm
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


hi bernie,

I've read the poem several times on different days and find myself in agreement with Kat's comments, particularly, "the piling on of images without more connective tissue."

I'm glad Kat's taken the time to tease out and articulate her difficulties with the poem; it helps me understand my own.

I'd never heard of Matthea Harvey so I did a little research of my own to help me understand the poem and I'm happy to discover her.

Chris
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Frozen stems of memory,
the chirr (of what?)
grasshoppers trilling on a terrace;

Venice, the Botteghe Oscure
offices that first published
my father; mildewed magazines
three floors up rot in humid air;
a Quetzal opens slick wet wings,
gold and green in drab water;
   
Venice stirs the dead heart
of Lazarus, blistered, patched
and exquisite.

Gold pilasters, pink nymphs painted
on the vaulted ceiling,
glimmering olive oil on the side,

sotte voce as restaurants
change to dinner menus. A throbbing
Armagnac clinging to the tongue;

a slouch Borsalino and buttoned cloak
rubbed by the gale;
          
did you wave goodbye to me
or to the unseasonable weather?

The doors of the airport bus
open (accordion like), the scent
of leaves dirty and badly burned.

          


Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/22/2013, 2:35 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Hi Bernie,

Ultimately it doesn't matter what I think of the revision; the question is: what do you think of it? When I critique a poem, I always ask myself when I feel something is amiss: is it my limitation as a reader making me feel this way, or could the poem be improved?

I'm still questioning my own critique of this one. Rereading, I realized, for example, that your punctuation is fine; you are just using a lot of semicolons. I once attended a poetry workshop with Eamon Grennan. I remember someone used a colon in a poem, and he said, "Never use a colon in a poem. Ah, but a good semicolon--that is a different matter." emoticon

When I read these comments you made about one of Kathleen's poems, I wondered if you had more succinctly identified what was troubling me about your poem:

"my favored construction style is an image followed by something very, very human:

. . .

a personal, human detail; allows the reader to catch his/her breath."

and:

"here again, that personal detail that makes the narrative the more vibrant for being owned by someone."

http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t2095

For example, in L1 there is a traveller, but it isn't until L7 that an "I" appears--?

One thing I didn't say in my original response, is how much I admire your use of image/detail, how much and how well you see. I would be hard pressed to name another poet who can bring an image to life in such precise and uncliched language as you do, as often as you do.

Thanks, Bernie, for your patience as I read your poem and make a few comments, all the while endeavoring to become a more receptive reader and a more helpful critic.


Last edited by Katlin, Feb/22/2013, 4:33 pm
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Bonnard the Novel---a poem written and read by the author at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 11 minutes in to the video:

http://tinyurl.com/b9oovyn



rich Bonnard gallery:

http://tinyurl.com/bfmcrnd


With the first decade of the 20th century Bonnard's works grew in complexity and color. He continued to paint loving portraits of Marthe in intimate domestic and erotic settings... but he also began to incorporate friends and family... nieces and nephews... and even the landscape settings surrounding his home. Bonnard begins to play "hide and seek" with the figures... allowing them to be seen in reflections in the mirror or "losing" them against the surrounding space and color. In this manner he echoes Matisse's argument that "Expressionism" to him, lies in the whole of the painting, not any one subject, so that no single subject... not even the human figure... is more important than the painting as a whole:

i think clearly supports your POV, your desire for a whole---Tere calls it a gestalt.


and this comment from Picasso and photographer Clement Greenberg:



By the end of the 1920s Bonnard was one of the most successful and in-demand painters in Europe. Russian collectors Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov obsessively collected Bonnard along with Matisse... until the Russian Revolution. The French government offered the Légion d'honneur, but the painter, ever modest, refused. Of course not everyone was supportive of Bonnard. Pablo Picasso called Bonnard "hideous" and "not really a modern painter - a decadent, the end of an old idea". And when Bonnard died in 1947, Clement Greenberg remarked that his art "smells permanently of the fashions of 1900-14, expressing as it does the desire of the French middle classes to make history stop and stand still at 1912". The great photographer, Cartier-Bresson, however, exclaimed “You know, Picasso didn’t like Bonnard and I can imagine why, because Picasso had no tenderness. It is only a very flat explanation to say that Bonnard is looking in a mirror in this painting. He’s looking far, far beyond. To me he is the greatest painter of the century. Picasso was a genius, but that is something quite different.”





Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/22/2013, 3:19 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Kathleen---

you can imagine how much i appreciate your comment; several new tricks this old dog is attempting to perform---i shake with both excitement and trepidation: the tight box which is so Matthea Harvey; the many images, very much not Matthea---only a few words beyond that reminding me of Ms. Harvey.


here, for example where she is saying goodbye to a love:



I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run

    
by Matthea Harvey


Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked

under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign

for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.

When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.

The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.

The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.

 




bernie
   

Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/22/2013, 3:28 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Hey Bernie,

Just wanted to let you know I did check out the links to the Howard reading and the Bonnard gallery that you posted in another thread. Only listened to a bit of Howard reading the first poem about Cavafy and then the one about Bonnard. He has a dry sense of humor. The Picasso quote you cite is one that caught my eye as well. I've never been a big fan of Surrealism, and I do love the Impressionists. Decadent, middle-class, I ain't no genius.

Kathleen is your ideal reader of this poem, and I'm not. Like I said, maybe I will reread the poem someday and have an aha! moment. It has happened before with poems I've read and not connected to at first, and I love it when it happens, so thanks for the c(l)ues.

I think that we would all agree that a poem must stand on its own without the need for research, or as Kathleen wrote: "This is not a poem I would want to research or study, but simply read. I found it exquisite." There is no higher compliment, especially for an old dog who is attempting new tricks. The fact that you are willing to attempt new tricks is very cool. Kudos!


Last edited by Katlin, Feb/22/2013, 4:40 pm
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


I hesitate to comment on the poem. Maybe I take poetry too personally, but when a poem doesn't work I feel a hurt. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to see here as new or different. Poem comes across as belonging to the sub-set called catalogue versification, a listing of people, things, places, even ideas. A device as old as poetry is and employed world-wide. So I'm not seeing how the poem constitutes a new trick. Not that I object. Old tricks, when put to good affect, work just fine. Still, the poem does not draw me in. Something I always require.

Bernie, you mention my use of the notion of gestalt. Gestalt in poetry isn't just the whole, as you put it. It is a matter of organic unity in which all parts dove tail, relate to each other in such a way so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To me you know a poem has gestalt when it, the poem, hovers above the page. But gestalt is just one of three ingredients in my holy trinity. There are also the poem's kinetic energy, what carries the poem over from the poet to the reader, and there is the poem's tension. All living things have all three.

Tere
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


K---

no research asked for or needed, nes pas?

anymore than research regarding crows is necessary to get Poe's use of the raven or your poem using crows making the boids into a practical symbol of the dark, the iconic fairy tale figure. What if you had named your fairy tale, Goodbye Mr. Poe.

if so, i don't think we would talk about research; no real difference, we are more immediately read of Poe, a little less so of Ms. Harvey, but in either case the derivative must stand alone.


the poem stands alone, or falls on it's own sword with no help from Google. LOL.

maybe the revision is more immediate.

but here is the poem i wrote to her about, sorry but i'll keep my question private as i promised her:


quote:

I May After Leaving You Walk Quickly or Even Run
   
by Matthea Harvey

 
Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked

under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign

for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.

When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.

The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.

The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.


 

 

Tere---

you too, i hope the revision is less layered,
less arctic clothing that does not encourage the reader to think of this couple (and a stray reader or two) making a romantic pass.

as always, thanks for stopping by.

bernie
 



Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/26/2013, 6:56 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


no research asked for or needed, nes pas?

anymore than research regarding crows is necessary to get Poe's use of the raven or your poem using crows making the boids into a practical symbol of the dark, the iconic fairy tale figure. What if you had named your fairy tale, Goodbye Mr. Poe.

if so, i don't think we would talk about research; no real difference, we are more immediately read of Poe, a little less so of Ms. Harvey, but in either case the derivative must stand alone.


the poem stands alone, or falls on it's own sword with no help from Google. LOL.

maybe the revision is more immediate.

but here is the poem i wrote to her about, sorry but i'll keep my question private as i promised her:


Hey Bernie,

We agree that a poem should stand on its own without research, but perhaps we disagree on the following point: I think if research is done it should amplify or deepen in someway the reader’s appreciation and/or understanding of the poem. If such is not the case, why bother to mention Harvey’s name in the first place? Why not write, Saying Goodbye to a Contemporary American Poet? For example, Naomi Shihab Nye has this poem:

You Know Who You Are

Why do your poems comfort me, I ask myself.
Because they are upright, like straight-backed chairs.
I can sit in them and study the world as if it too
were simple and upright.

Because sometimes I live in a hurricane of words
and not one of them can save me.
Your poems come in like a raft, logs tied together,
they float.
I want to tell you about the afternoon
I floated on your poems
all the way from Durango Street to Broadway.

Fathers were paddling on the river with their small sons.
Three Mexican boys chased each other outside the library.
Everyone seemed to have some task, some occupation,
while I wandered uselessly in the streets I claim to love.

Suddenly I felt the precise body of your poems beneath me,
like a raft, I felt words as something portable again,
a cup, a newspaper, a pin.
Everything happening had a light around it,
not the light of Catholic miracles,
the blunt light of a Saturday afternoon.
Light in a world that rushes forward with us or without us.
I wanted to stop and gather up the blocks behind me
in this light, but it doesn’t work.
You keep walking, lifting one foot, then the other,
saying “This is what I need to remember”
and then hoping you can.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under The Words


Doesn’t Howard’s poem make you want to look into Bonnard’s work, despite the fact that such research is not required? If you promised to keep the question you asked Harvey secret, that’s cool, and as you say, the reader shouldn’t need to know it to appreciate the poem. If the reader did need to know, the poem might be better titled: Saying Goodbye to You Know Who You Are. JK. emoticon

I have a good friend who years ago wrote to Annie Dillard about her book of found poems, and Annie Dillard sent her back a handwritten note of thanks. Dillard said something to the effect, “You understood my book better than most of the reviewers.” My friend, of course, was pleased. She wrote back to Dillard, but this time Dillard did not reply. Still, the original confirmation in that handwritten note keeps as a positive exchange in my friend’s memory.

I like the Harvey poem you posted. The first line makes me laugh. Come to think of it, my above mentioned friend would like that line too. Think I’ll send her the poem. Will be back in a bit to talk about your revision.

Perhaps the word research is what turns some folks off, sounding as it does, too academic. Ditto the word study. Investigate might be better. Or inquire into/after better still. Or maybe simply, read up on, read about, read. If I read a poem I enjoy by a poet I respect, and it mentions another poet's name whose work I don't know, I'm naturally inclined to want to follow-up. For instance, Jane Hirshfield has a poem, "Letter to Hugo from Later." I didn't need to know Hugo's work to like the poem, but I appreciated it in a different way after I'd read some of Hugo's own letter poems.
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


K---

research, some folks mock me saying --- i digress.

and them's my friends, LOL.

the Naomi Shihab Nye poem you posted was a partial reference for a 2010 IBPC poem of mine about Chichicapa, Mexico.

beyond the obvious, any research similarities? yup. tone, theme, treatment or voice; and crickets in one, grasshoppers in the current poem, dried stigmas, the memories of the second poem;

how about the Chichicapa poem---

quote:

Shooting stars
are clean as bells, voyaging planets slide close.



or the ending of the current poem:

the autumn whirlwind
a bandana at your head.




http://ibpc.webdelsol.com/poems/chichicapa-mexico


so many of these triggers, i love them, but i understand to some they are boring and even devisive.

not so much you and me.

caution, of course, that the research does not overshadow the triggering source.

why bother to mention Matthea Harvey?

1. soon she will earn a Pulitzer.

2. the poem i posted of hers, signals a goodbye to a companion---so my poem.

3. both her poem and mine feature the up close and personal---the non-sexual---of a conversation (a monlogue, really) played against a European backdrop.

4. the tone, the imagery, the sentiment close---and theme, that is, one poem is not about science fiction, the other a western adventure say by Zane Gray or

Cormac McCarthy:

quote:

“They’d had their hair cut with sheepshears by an esquilador at the ranch and the backs of their necks above their collars were white as scars and they wore their hats cocked forward on their heads and they looked from side to side as they jogged along as if to challenge the countryside or anything it might hold.”




5. saying goodbye, mixed with the nostalgia for something read about, in Matthea's case, or lived through in the instance of my poem.


6. finally, saying goodbye to Matthea. saying goodbye, perhaps to her most recently published poems.

in a current poem about mermaids, she holds a fishbowl in front of the mermaid's breasts---goldfish swim by, i think she says it appears the fish tickle the nipples; i'll take the early Matthea --- not the husband who late in his marriage became an abusive drunk.

am i saying she has become an abusive drunk---tiresome, dirty? no, but i am expressing my note of this change in her work. Maybe even a divorce notification---since i like to be a little dramatic and express my
thinks with an image....LOL.

i don't begrudge Matthea her mermaids, i resent talented art burned for a few hours of heat to roast hot dogs---once again, saying a lot of that for fun.

research, or poking around in poetry and the arts? i am guilty as charged, i can only hope to avoid pillory in a public square.

you too.

bernie
 




Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/28/2013, 1:25 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Yeah, me too. One poem tends to make me think of another.

Now I'm going to be cantankerous and say I like some of the revision posted on Feb. 22 and some of Revison 1. For example, I like:

Frozen stems of memory,
the chirr (of what?)
grasshoppers trilling on a terrace;

and was sorry to see you lose those lines. Maybe something like:

Frozen stems of memory,
the chirr (of what?)
grasshoppers trilling on a terrace;

a sentimental visit
to offices of Botteghe Oscure
my fathers first publisher, the second
story landing, the mildewed boxes
of magazines in humid air, but
memory is a losing game.

In the hotel lobby, a Quetzal opens
slick wet wings, gold and green
in drab water;

(I like the line:

but memory is a losing game.

but wonder if it is coming too early in the poem and/or if you need it.)

I like all of this:

Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus,
blistered, patched and exquisite.

Gold pilasters, pink nymphs painted
on the vaulted ceiling, olive oil
glimmers on the sideboard,

sotte voce as restaurants change
to dinner menus. We drink an Armagnac
that throbs and clings to the tongue;

a slouch Borsalino, a buttoned cloak
for the damp palazzo.

Did your calf-skin glove wave goodbye
to me or the unseasonable weather?

Might tweak this to:
       
The accordion doors of the airport bus
open, bringing mold scented
leaves, dirty and badly branded
by Texas cattlemen;

the autumn whirlwind
a bandana at your head.

Was surprised to see those Texas cattlemen showing up there at the end.
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


PS And now I am going to be even more cantankerous and say that I bet if you were so inclined, you could take Revision 1, put it in the paragraph/block format you used for the original, and the poem might work now. Yeah, I think it might. Or am I going all hat and no cattle with that one? emoticon
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


yes, let's see one way that might work.


One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
dry stems of memory, the chirr (of what?) grasshoppers
trilling on a terrace; a wood partridge rattling a silver chain?
I’ll pay a sentimental visit to the offices of Botteghe Oscure,
my father’s first publisher, second story landing, mildewed
magazines in humid air, a fine dust on the top of cabinets.
Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus; blistered, patched
and exquisite; pink nymphs painted on the plaster of vaulted
ceilings; in my hotel lobby a quetzal opens wet wings, gold
and green in drab water. Olive oil glimmers on the sideboard
sotte voce as restaurants change to dinner menus, we drink
an Armagnac that throbs and clings to the tongue; a slouch
Borsalino, buttoned cloak for the sudden damp of a palazzo.
Taxis slow, the small bulbs of street lights come on, dusk
settles into a lemon tint, your hair wild as chestnut burr.
Did you wave goodbye to me? or the unseasonable weather?
The airport bus doors open (accordion like) and an Autumn
cortege of scents rush in badly branded by Texas cattlemen.
Unasked, wind wraps a bandana of leaves around your head.







Last edited by Bernie01, Mar/1/2013, 7:02 pm


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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Bernie,

For me the poem is working much better now. I'm happy to see the return of the traveler with his faux violets. I like the way you have set up the Q & A in L2-3, and having the first person N appear in L4 gives the poem a tentative center the reader can whirl out from. Having the quetzal opening its wet wings in "my" hotel lobby also offers just enough grounding. I actually think, if you wanted to, you could incorporate more of images from the original version into this and it would hold together in a loose, intriguing way. For example, these lines could all be worked back in (not saying you need to do this, only that I think you could):

I am borne across the center of your white paper, dank canal
boat; [reintroducing this would add an element of conflation between memory and reading on the N's part]

and:

The goldsmith's blue fire, the hiss of the glass blower, open air
stalls of half-bald men fix the price of money, their hands caress
banknotes as though stroking a woman’s thigh; [strong image I like]

Yes, to the wind action in the new last line:

Unasked, wind wraps a bandana of leaves around your head.




Last edited by Katlin, Mar/3/2013, 11:29 am
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


K---

That means a lot to me.

You can imagine how rarely any reader asks me to add lines. One thing, I felt troubled because there was only slender info about the narrator’s paramour; a woman who lives in Rome and is now visited by our narrator.

Her voice? Manner of dressing? Music she found moving. What art did she pause before at museums? The clavicle bones lightly exposed through a silk blouse? (LOL)
A slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable (love, giving a character a physical flaw).
The natural eyelashes, so dark and long; the pauses in her speech, the long and unexpected silences.

The poem featuring those additions might look like this:


One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
dry stems of memory, the chirr (of what?) grasshoppers
trilling on a terrace; a wood partridge rattling a silver chain?
I’ll pay a sentimental visit to the offices of Botteghe Oscure,
my father’s first publisher, second story landing, mildewed
magazines in humid air, a fine dust on the top of cabinets.
Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus; blistered, patched
and exquisite; pink nymphs painted on the plaster of vaulted
ceilings; in my hotel lobby a quetzal opens wet wings, gold
and green in drab water. Open air stalls, the goldsmith's
blue fire, the hiss of the glass blower, half-bald men
fix the price of money, their hands caress banknotes
as though stroking a woman's thigh. Olive oil glimmers

on the sideboard sotte voce as restaurants change to dinner
menus, we drink an Armagnac that throbs and clings
to the tongue; a slouch Borsalino, buttoned cloak for the damp
of a palazzo. Her voice beside the Debussy; natural eyelashes,
dark and long; pauses in her speech, unexpected silences;
frail clavicle bones lightly exposed through a blouse;

a slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable as she walks.
Taxis slow, the small bulbs of street lights come on, dusk
settles into a lemon tint, your hair wild as chestnut burr.
Did you wave goodbye to me? or the unseasonable weather?
The airport bus doors open (accordion like) and an Autumn
cortege of scents rush in badly branded by Texas cattlemen.
Unasked, wind wraps a bandana of leaves around your head.






new portions in italics.

Oh my god, poetry pal. I tremble pushing this sample before you, to wriggle on your plate. Loved thinking about this again.


bernie

Matisse retrospective:
Music - Arabesque No. 1 in E Major composed by Claude Debussy

by Philip Scott Johnson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m-B_15icZA


Last edited by Bernie01, Mar/3/2013, 5:42 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Hey Bernie,

Oh, you're gonna kill me. I decided I don't like those lines about the open air markets, etc. added in here, and I'll tell you why. There is an intimate setting created by going from the hotel lobby to talk of olive oil and Armagnac, which the inclusion of the goldsmith and glass blower and so on interrupts. I really like all those lines though, so I would suggest using them in another poem. Or perhaps you could try working them in earlier or later in this poem, but I don't know. I like the movement here; it's lovely (sorry I messed up the line breaks; yours are good):

One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
dry stems of memory, the chirr (of what?) grasshoppers
trilling on a terrace; a wood partridge rattling a silver chain?
I’ll pay a sentimental visit to the offices of Botteghe Oscure,
my father’s first publisher, second story landing, mildewed
magazines in humid air, a fine dust on the top of cabinets.
Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus; blistered, patched
and exquisite; pink nymphs painted on the plaster of vaulted
ceilings; in my hotel lobby a quetzal opens wet wings, gold
and green in drab water. Olive oil glimmers on the sideboard
sotte voce as restaurants change to dinner
menus, we drink an Armagnac that throbs and clings
to the tongue; a slouch Borsalino, buttoned cloak for the damp
of a palazzo.

Bringing in talk about the lover works well here, but I think the description could be pared down a bit. Maybe something like this:

Her voice beside the Debussy; pauses in speech, unexpected
silences; frail clavicle bones lightly exposed through a blouse;
her slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable as she walks.

I would change "a slightly" to "her slightly". "a" sounds too analytical, impersonal to me.

I have a question about this last section. Why "your" hair wild as [a?] chestnut burr [great image, btw]? I'm wanting it to read "her" hair, and then the switch to "you" to come in the next line.

Taxis slow, the small bulbs of street lights come on, dusk
settles into a lemon tint, your hair wild as chestnut burr.
Did you wave goodbye to me? or the unseasonable weather?
The airport bus doors open (accordion like) and an Autumn
cortege of scents rush in badly branded by Texas cattlemen.
Unasked, wind wraps a bandana of leaves around your head.
 
Just some thoughts for the pot!
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


K---

that's one important way i learn, revising and posting the revision, to see it on the broad screen rather than just in my head.

trying to use only three descriptors, but slipping here to four:


1. voice beside the Debussy;

2. frail clavicle bones exposed,
rising under a pearl blouse;

3. brushed hair like chestnut burr;


4. her slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable as she walks.





One day a traveler returns holding a bouquet of faux violets,
dry stems of memory, the chirr (of what?) grasshoppers
trilling on a terrace; a wood partridge rattling a silver chain?
I’ll pay a sentimental visit to the offices of Botteghe Oscure,
my father’s first publisher, second story landing, mildewed
magazines in humid air, a fine dust on the top of cabinets.
Rome stirs the dead heart of Lazarus; blistered, patched
and exquisite; pink nymphs painted on the plaster of vaulted
ceilings; in my hotel lobby a quetzal opens wet wings, gold
and green in drab water. Olive oil glimmers on the sideboard
sotte voce as restaurants change to dinner menus, we drink
an Armagnac that throbs and clings to the tongue; a slouch
Borsalino, a buttoned cloak against the damp of a palazzo.
Her voice beside the Debussy; frail clavicle bones lightly
rising under a pearl blouse; brushed hair of the cotton burr;
her slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable as she walks.
Street lights come on, a lemon tint of street lights and dusk.
Did you wave goodbye to me? or the unseasonable weather?
The airport bus doors open (accordion like) and an Autumn
palette of colors rush in badly branded by Texas cattlemen;
a red wind furls a bandana of dry leaves around your head.







that line about the Texas cattlemen, never tried anything quite that incongruous to the narrative---


original close:

The airport bus doors open (accordion like) and an Autumn
cortege of earth scents spill and blow over the passengers;
a red wind wraps a bandana of leaves around your head.






thanks for your thoughts. they are very, very helpful.


bernie

Last edited by Bernie01, Mar/5/2013, 7:11 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


Bernie,

You picked the strongest descriptions of the lover to include. I very much like this version. Romantic and mysterious. A poem to reread and linger over.

FWIW, I miss the word "lightly". How about:

Her voice beside the Debussy; frail clavicle bones exposed,
lightly rising under a pearl blouse; brushed hair like chestnut burr;
her slightly skewed left leg, hardly noticeable as she walks.

Gives you a rhyme with "slightly" in the next line.

Also, I want to read:

an Autumn cortege of scents rush in badly branded by Texas cattlemen;

as:

an Autumn cortege of scents rushes in badly branded by Texas cattlemen;

But I don't know if that is grammatically correct. Probably isn't, just sounds better to my ear.

I'm taken in by this version. If I had come to it first, I would have read it and loved the mystery so much, reading up on Harvey would have been an afterthought. I would have, and enjoyed doing so, and except for the paragraph-ish layout, would have concluded, "Hmm, it's all part of the mystery." Good. Now where the heck are you going to submit this? Got any venues in mind?
Mar/5/2013, 8:25 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


I just want to say that this thread wows me -- the close reading and the responses and dialogue, the revising, the listening and the time and care spent.... Something that happens here on this board and I find it very powerful. People giving of their time and minds give hugely, true gifts to be cherished.

Well done all....

I don't think anything I might have to say at this point about the poem would be worth a hill of beans! I'll bow out, applauding....
vkp
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Re: Saying Goodbye to Matthea Harvey


vkp---


amen.


bernie

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Mar/12/2013, 5:24 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 


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