Week 1 - February 4
Winged Life: Poetry's for the Birds
"I become a transparent eyeball"
begin those old rascals H.D. Thoreau and Bobby Bly and with Pam
Saunier's "Zeus Makes His Pitch
" (33) and
in a cheating haiku poem say what in nature you'd make love, making
sure you have a resonant particular in the poem.
make love to a slug
so I could be touched by something glistening
and glisten myself.
Winged Life --ed. by Robert Bly
eyeball (4), Bly and "soul truth" (5) - Thoreau's
"fierce and meticulous observation" (111)
2. Bly: Thoreau
"noted the exact day on which wildflowers
- dozens of varieties -
opened in the forest ." compare Moore -poetry in the precision/precision
in the poetry
3. Thoreau: "
a commonplace book of facts and another
of poetry. I find it difficult always to preserve the vague
distinction - for the most interesting and beautiful facts are
so much the more poetry." (79) examples:
(88): " Her hide was mingled white and fawn color and
on her muzzle's tip there was a white spot bigger than a daisy,
and on her side.. the map of Asia plain to see"
b. hawk (89): "mounted again and again with is strange
chuckle it repeated it free and beautiful fall"
c. fox: "
ran as though were not a bone in his
"to see through, not with the eye."
III. Bright Wings and the Shadows They Cast " --Before
anything had a soul" (Lawrence 113)
(poems from Bright Wings ed. by Billy Collins (that S.O.B.)
unwavering and alert,
Within my aching empty mind
the bright bird hovers - and the dirt
Of bottomless black ways and blind,
And all the hundred things that hurt
Past healing, seem to drop behind
Wilfred Wilson Gibson, World War I poet (85)
That flew about restlessly
And flung their shadows
Upon the sunbright walls of the old building;
The shadows glanced and twinkled,
Interchanged and crossed each other,
Expanded and shrunk up,
Appeared and disappeared, every instant;
And I observed to William and Coleridge,
Seeming more like living things
Than the birds themselves.
Dorothy Wordsworth (157)
interviewed the birdwatchers
" (BC 247-248)
each person reads a line
2. The shadows wings cast
the difference between the bird and me" (Yezzi 19)
(compare to Rivers: "Not me!. in "Why I Plant Lettuce")
in the mind, brother/Blue Turquoise
" (Snyder 135)'
(compare Rivers: "Sister Zinnia")
views of spring birds
need their spring arrival" (Jarman 108)
ii. "I dreaded that first robin
"Swan and Shadow"(37) "ripples of recognition"
light or heavy handed we hold the birds in our poems
"Darkling Thrush" (177-178) & Wilbur: "Still,
Citizen Sparrow" (45)
ii. Wagoner: "To a Farmer Who Hung Five Hawks on His
Barbed Wire" (47-48)
"Here's the point where I should turn the birds/ to metaphors."(227)
for the bird in the poem assigned your group:
a picture that captures the essence of the bird as presented
by the poet
(it can be abstract as well as representational)
b. identify 1 case of personification or metaphor
c. explore how similar, how different to a Field Guide rendering
of the bird
is this poem
d. identify lines that capture the "ripples of recognition"
transcendental glimpse, intoxication
do not know the custom of herons
" vs. "I think
I know how they must feel" (139)
- frigate pelican (35)
b. Moore - frigate (26-27)
c. Tate - blue booby (29)
d. Hirshfield - blue heron (32)
e. Plath - pheasant (63-64)
f. Mehigan - sandhill crane (67)
g. Bishop - sandpiper (79)
h. Steele - phoebe (127)
i. Perillo - crows (139)
j. Aaron - cedar waxwing (193)
k. Woloch - goldfinch (244-245)
l. Wrigley - raven (143-1440
Plath: "You said you'd kill it in the morning./Do not kill
vs. Wrigley: "That they may know the delicacy of my eyes"
Pastan: "After Reading Petersen's Guide" (87)
of the resonant particular you most love in nature and bring
a picture of it - and a poem as invocation
It will be your muse for the semester.
Over the course of this Spring Workshop: create a FIELD GUIDE
it can be a field guide to slugs or wildflowers or things with
wings or terrors or small blessings or punk rock songs or poets
but have at least 5 of the poems in your chapbook be modeled
after a Field Guide ---scientific description, coloration, means
of identifying, habitat, kind of "speech or song,"
location, habits, feeding
to bring 4 copies of a poem of yours to work on our small workshops
Each person chooses a bird that most symbolizes his or her poetry
and makes up birdsong for it - and then sings it
gets the last word
Thoreau: winged life" inside wood
IX No Pam
gets the last word
a tree learn what it learns?
Do the feet of a blue jay teach a sycamore branch
by example to rebound?
grip of the mockingbird instruct it
how to mutter its own dim branch song
changing as the sun changes.
tree might know from the cardinal
how to light its apples in scarlet,
the plum learn its iridescence and purple sheen
mud dauber. But we?
We sink. As if too deep in ourselves to be found
by the birds, their feet, flares of color, woven song.
branches without rebound
under the weight of our sorrows and knowings.
We need not sink. Better to learn from the trees.
will want to know there will be blood" vs
"we'll/ survive on hardtack and grit/as we always do"
vs. "Not me I change
vs "I wonder if he resides elsewhere/outside my mind"