The Poetics prompt at dVerse today is play. I was inspired to play with motion in the mirror world with my new filters which was fun. And for my poem I played with the answer ball I created over a year ago.
The answer ball is a ball of photographs of specific nouns. The idea is to ask it a yes or no question, throw the ball, and interpret the noun that comes up as either yes or no.
Playing with the Answer Ball in a Thunderstorm
I feel the plush wine carpet between my toes, run my fingers along the couch while watching the thunder roll in over the lake and ask, Is this real? I roll the ball which bounces along the carpet and lands on scissors. Scissors slice through doubt, cut through the crap, and carve out a truth. But is there truth?, I wonder as I toss my oracle down the hall. It wobbles then stops on afternoon. So the morning is a deceit, and evening is a lie, but the slightly slanted sun overhead, casting a shadow on the grass has my trust, but can I trust? I ask my oracle as it rolls across my shadow, Are you lying? It lands on poison. Every lie a bit of hemlock, a death cap stealing meaning from interpretation, clouding doubt over perception, leaving so many questions unanswered.
I’ve been playing around with creating found poetry from The Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper (1653), one of the texts suggested for submissions to the next issue of Heron Tree.
Culpeper believed that the medicinal properties of herbs were connected to stars and planets, writing, “I knew those various affections in man, in respect of sickness and health, were caused naturally (though God may have other ends best known to himself) by the various operations of the Microcosm; and I could not be ignorant, that as the cause is, so must the cure be; and therefore he that would know the reason of the operation of the Herbs, must look up as high as the Stars, astrologically.”
The book is a really fun read, and the man was very poetic in his description of herbs and remedies, so I’m enjoying using the text for found poetry. I am also continuing my study of drumbeats in relation to poetry and this week I’m looking at 1, 2 &, 3, 4 & and 1 &, 2, 3 &, 4. For fun, I decided to combine the two and attempt to tame some of Culpeper’s words into my drumbeats for today’s quadrille.
Let Her Be With a Fixed Star
Upper crust of the earth, shooting forth like a star, the planet that governs, the stronger the better, written fixed before the nature of planets, take notice those houses, they delight star fashion, smell somewhat sweet up as high as the Star under them.
The Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is a new to me poetry form called “Memento.” The Memento form “created by Emily Romano is a poem about a holiday or an anniversary, consisting of two stanzas as follows: the syllable count should be 8 beats for line one; 6 beats for line two; and two beats for line three. This is repeated twice for each stanza. The rhyme scheme is: a/b/c/a/b/c for each of the two stanzas.” Here’s my attempt at my first Memento:
we gather, heads tilted, eyes wide as pyros, born of flame alight each explosion elicits cries of fright then quickly came delight
brilliant color blossoms fall wide Boom! rockets rise again free flight when lights sparkle in hopeful eyes we bathe in warm ash rain tonight
The poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to “write a poem inspired by a vision, dream, or both.” I tried to do the spoon in the bowl trick to induce a dream state, but all I saw was a big orange square of color with a read shadow moving around, so I decided to sleep on it and I’m glad I did because I had very vivid dreams last night.
I am a group of three women going to a writing retreat
but I was waffling, so I just followed to enjoy the talk and be in the walk but before we left, we needed relief we arrived upstairs and entered the booths but they crammed in mine, their laughter was bright and throwing a card up in the thick air it defied logic and surprise! froze there she threw a whole pack of colored small cards they tumbled then froze in patterned tableaux I needed to go, I squeezed through the mess to the booth next door glad for a rest, but card woman followed, black straight hair shining she revealed a new pack, and sent those cards fly- ing into the air, creating structures like bridges Venetian, cov’ring canals eyes flashing from one amazing wonder to land on the next joy to discover but I could not stop my mind from worry we needed to go and be in a hurry because time moved so unlike the cards and we would miss the bus to their ferry
Today at dVerse Poets Pub it’s quadrille Monday which means we are writing poems of exactly 44 words and today, De Jackson has offered the word “bold” to inspire and be included in the poem. “Bold” is also a great word to inspire today’s images.
Life of the Party
I want to be bold a grand story told if only it were so easy along the fold I rolled in gold shimmering and breezy never cold and never old the whirl lost hold fruit lost to mold and I fell dizzy and queasy
Turns out last week was “International Happiness at Work Week.” Does that mean people are expected to be in a steady-state of unhappiness at work except for one week a year? Here is the International Week of Happiness at Work “manifesto”:
And here’s the “manifesto” from Happiness Academy:
So now that we know nothing new about Happiness, I tried to explore the grief in happiness and the happiness in grief which made me think of the phrase “good grief.” I looked it up expecting some fantastic story of how grief can be good, but instead only learned that the word grief was used in replacement of the word God—because it started with the letter g—to create a mild oath. So that also didn’t get me much of anywhere.
I didn’t think I was going to find inspiration this week until I sat down with a line from the poem “On Good and Evil” by Kahlil Gibran. The line that really stuck with me is “For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?” I started thinking of how grief is torture. Then I thought of the line as a form and wrote, “What is grief but happiness tortured by loss and regret? What is happiness but grief minus torture?”
I felt like I was finally getting somewhere and did a dictionary deep-dive. In the definition of grief it said to see Sorrow. Anguish also said to see Sorrow, so a deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone of something loved links grief and anguish. The definition of torture links anguish and agony. At agony, I found what I was looking for.
Agony is defined as intense pain of mind or body: anguish, torture. b. the struggle that precedes death. Since every moment from birth is the struggle that precedes death, that puts us all in a constant state of agony and thus grief. However, agony has another meaning: a strong sudden display (as of joy or delight): Outburst. Thus, through some circular definitions, I have found the happiness in grief.
But what is the grief in happiness? Thinking specifically of the happiness I find in this work. Visually, is it the obsessive desire for ever increasing beauty and perfection? In a way, each new discovery and technique though it is exciting and makes me happy, also brings grief because I can’t lose what I don’t have, and I don’t grieve what I am ignorant of. In this way a discovery is grief in happiness AND happiness in grief.
A couple weeks ago in my post How to Capture the Love in Apathy and the Apathy in Love, I mentioned I found a treasure of Home Ec Magazines from the early 1960’s. I’ve been going through them, and this week I collected phrases from three Vogue Pattern Books and a McCall’s Pattern Fashions. Whoever was writing for VPB was a poet (I couldn’t find a writer listed in the Staff). The language used to describe one outfit at a time was very creative, and I found so many interesting phrases that when taken out of context are rich with meaning. For today’s poem, I used some of this found language to help me express my ideas of grief in happiness and happiness in grief.
what’s RIGHT right NOW!
Here—along my struggle that precedes death I hunger for kaleidoscope coloring and thirst for firm but fluid texture aching for the shape that expresses most perfectly
And now, further along my struggle that precedes death I agonize with possible discovery the ecstasy of expected but unknown result exhausting abundance for a glimpse of beauty
And now, continuing my struggle that precedes death I hunger for stronger solid colors harmonizing and thirst for an incendiary force aching for the evolutionary change for anything that is not changing isn’t alive.
The first, by Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel is an excerpt from his book called The Age of Insight. The study of art through neuroscience excites me so much, I ordered the book and it arrives on Sunday. Hopefully, it will inspire for a long time to come, so you will be hearing a lot about it. Guess we’ll find out on Sunday. For today, I want to share what I found most exciting from the Scientific American article.
“Beauty does not occupy a different area of the brain than ugliness. Both are part of a continuum representing the values the brain attributes to them, and both are encoded by relative changes in activity in the same areas of the brain. This is consistent with the idea that positive and negative emotions lie on a continuum and call on the same neural circuitry.”
This physiological connection between contradictory abstract nouns is really exciting. I wonder if this has only been studied through visual stimuli.
Yesterday I started thinking about how visual definitions of beauty and ugliness are, so today I wanted to focus on the other senses. Though beauty and ugliness are particular to the person perceiving the stimulus, are there consistencies within an individual across the senses? If someone perceives a beautiful smell, do they also find the stimulus visually beautiful? If she finds a texture uncomfortable or painful, does she find the stimulus ugly, and vice versa?
For today’s Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, Laura Bloomsbury invites us to write in couplets. She introduces the prompt speaking of marriage which I think goes well with the physiological marriage of contradictory abstractions as laid out in Eric Kandel’s article above. I haven’t tried the Côte form before, so I thought I would give it a try.
A Movement that Married Right and Left
Become, a fevered dreambook brimming
Survive, a wooded area secreting
Discuss, absolute wilderness loving
include, visions of annihilation
predict, variations of our ruination
until, a poisoned well is flowing
Produce, divided people by labeling
Attract, all within orbits spinning
Cover, the shadowy trails leading away
This poem was a culmination of many ideas I was playing with this week. First, a friend mentioned working on bringing meter into my free verse. Then I watched a ModPo discussion of Lorine Niedecker’s work that talked about how the she didn’t use strict meter, but created meter like bars of music. And I started reading The ABC’s of Reading by Ezra pound in which he writes:
“music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music: but this must not be taken as implying that all good music is dance music or all poetry lyric.”
So I looked at some piano music I enjoyed playing and listened to some records. Rêverie by Debussy worked with the Côte form in my mind.
At the beginning of the week, while contemplating how to look at the beauty in ugliness and the ugliness in beauty, I thought about how society and culture define physical beauty and ugliness which made be think of a stack of Playboys that were left in this house before I moved in.
I thought about the joke that men always say, “I only read it for the articles” and thought it would be interesting to use Playboy articles for blackout poetry about ugliness in beauty and beauty in ugliness.
The magazines are from 2002, so they are strange little time machines to twenty years ago. I chose the imperative verbs from words in an article called “The Death of Network News” by Bill O’Reilly and the couplets were inspired by phrases from “Virtual Reich” by Michael Reynolds.
I thought about continuing last week’s study of love and apathy, there is so much to think about and explore, but I decided I’ll let that simmer as I continue through my planned overview of the big five. This week I’m looking at the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness.
Remember back in January when I was going to put a word on the world every day? Like this:
Probably not, like many of my exciting ideas, it didn’t last long before I moved on to the next exciting idea. However, yesterday, while pondering this week’s contradictory abstractions and how to capture the ugliness in beauty and the beauty in ugliness, I remembered these words, and found Beauty in the box of plastic filters. When I was originally putting words on the world, I used my fisheye lens which won’t work with bokeh. This time, I tried my zoom lens and got the result I wanted.
I can’t believe it took me this long to try this. I looked back at January’s posts and found a comment in my post Unlocking New Doors that seems to say that I tried it, but it didn’t work, but I think I was focused on the fisheye lens and trying to make the fisheye work with the zoom lens, so I could increase its distance. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of the words themselves as shape filters.
I think it took reading The Last Vispo, becoming interested in text and type as visual poetry, and my more recent discovery of the negatives of my filters also making great filters (which I talk about in my post Thinking About August) to finally realize that I can combine my word filters with my shape filters.
So, of course, I had to make one that said “Ugly,” and took some pictures.
For today’s Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub, Merril invites us to spice things up by choosing a few spices from her list. I recently picked and dried (baked) my own herbs to refill my Italian Seasoning container. The process was aromatic and the result, delicious.
In Search of a Spicy Muralist
A Mural Of Flavor— blankness redefined What palette do you offer? What shapes to delight this mind?
Ginger, first to answer with fire atip her tongue wisps Arizona Dreaming in acrid cactus tones but when pressed for any detail she feels pricked and leaves for home
Basil was a little green but did not shy from leafing out He proposed a Tuscany Sunset and all that it’s about but when asked for some specifics of what that would entail, he curled up inside himself just like a little snail
I thought about the mustard seed and how it grew and grew how it was tiny but then spread out and how I could do that too So I made a mark then many more and filled the blank with every flavor and some that had never been before here for everyone to savor
This week completes my study of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Calvino died before writing this final lecture in his series on values of literature. So I get to extrapolate from the other memos and imagine his ideas of consistency as a literary value.
In her article “Calvino’s Values in Literature” in The Journal of Educational Thought Vol. 24, No. 3A, Marylou Miner presents her belief that the sixth memo would explore harmonious structure explored in a musical sense. She also presents the image of consistency to be a circle or a wave.
Let’s start with the word “consistency.” It has two different meanings that could each be a value of literature:
a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc: the condition of cohering or holding together and retaining form; solidity or firmness
steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing
I had only been thinking of consistency in the latter definition before I looked it up. Now, I’m thinking of the viscosity of my images and the density of my images.
Yesterday I tried to explore consistency through staying in one place and only creating shapes with the light on the waves. I wasn’t excited with the results, but the practice with a focus on consistency led to exciting results today.
Using Marylou Miner’s ideas for forms, I pulled out all of my circular, spiral, and wavy filters and found some fun ideas for improvement.
This is also the first week of ModPo, a free online introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry offered year round through the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania and Coursera.org. It is also a yearly ten-week symposium for poetry lovers. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. I attended my first “office hours” session today and really enjoyed the discussion. The first live webcast to kick off this year’s symposium is Sept. 7 (tomorrow at noon) at 3PM Philadelphia time.
empyrean orenda arrives as reflections upon late summer leaves, as gleams in glittering eyes, as glints upon the waves, pushing me to querencia—a timeless space, an ephemeral place—where I am sustained by isolophilia.
My logolepsy borders on the obscene in this foggy pause as I wake from the dream.