Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Here are some short poems:


A blue coat is guided guided away, guided and guided away, that is the particular color that is used for that length and not any width not even more than a shadow.


I had angst


Above his head clanged
And there were no dreams in this sleep
Over this table


rather than melt the ice passes through my hand
i pass through another way
dead surrounded by white
light flowers out


A color in shaving, a saloon is well placed in the centre of an alley.


Enthusiastically hurting a clouded yellow bud and saucer, enthusiastically so is the bite in the ribbon.

Recognise them? The second and third poems were written by Ted Berrigan in the 1970s, the fourth was written by Tom Raworth in the 1960s, and the others were written by Getrude Stein, a woman born 134 years ago, and who published these poems in 1914. The poems in 'Tender Buttons' wouldn't be out of place in a poetry collection written now, and they seem to prefigure a lot of contemporary work, including LANGUAGE poetry and much of what we'd currently call post-modernism. All of the poems above, by their very abstraction, are questioning the relationship between language and the world - a contemporary preoccupaton, but not in 1914 (I'm ready to be contradicted here). It strikes me that Ezra Pound now reads like a great poet from another era, while Gertrude Stein reads like a great contemporary.


Ed Baker said...

hey you 'got it'

she and they sort of cut across and above all drivel

eh? eh?


I had Angst
once't in the back of a '55 Buick Special her name her
name her was not "Angst" it was Dorrie..
and The Pill was a newfangled sort of liberating 'thing' for girls in early '60's so I asked her "you take The Pill today? she said" Yes. I took three."

I asked "why rhree?" she said. " well two for the headache and one for good luck."

"what were these pills?"


luckily she moved on soonly got pregnant via a fireman and had a baby now 45 years later (she calls me on my birthday) she is still married and only the one child and several grand children.

so I asked her "are you happy?" "hell no", she says "I took the wrong pills."

so now THAT could have been my permanent angst..

which gets me back to this Stein/Modern

fun reading, eh?

cheerio, Ebpoint:

Alan Baker said...

Hi Ed
'they sort of cut across and above all drivel' is a good way of putting it - though poems with a lot of drivel can also be good (like Ashbery's).

Fun reading, yes, and so much more to read - I handn't realised quite how much.

Glad it all worked out with Angst/Dorrie...