specimen days poem
“Peace” begins amused and dead-serious: “The boy climbs the tree that will be his ruin, and the ruin of his generation.” That’s a real boy and a real tree and, since this is a war poem, also symbolic of soldiers and war danger. I often mistrust writing that says writing can’t adequately express thought or emotion. I am merely a friend visiting the hospitals occasionally to cheer the wounded and sick. The last two days have been faultless in sun, breeze, temperature and everything; never two more perfect days, and I have enjoy’d them wonderfully. As I write this, two or three weeks later, I am sitting near the brook under a tulip tree, 70 feet high, thick with the fresh verdure of its young maturity—a beautiful object—every branch, every leaf perfect. I don't believe you find sentimental cliches compelling, and you know your readers don't either, so please just go ahead and admit that it's bad writing. It’s interesting that she confines emotion to the prose section of a book elsewhere careful not to be manipulative. “Remember Lot’s Wife”. “O My Very Dear Child. The recent, six-line “On Hearing I’d Outlived My Son the Linguist” is extremely moving as it turns away from the fact of death, without grasping for consolation: Two days since I heard you were gonesuddenly in your forties and me still not quite eightyand hour by hour today with no whole word allthe emptied patterns of your talk come crowdinginto my brain for shelter:bustling, warm, exact. Is it true? Sometimes this complicated poet simply charms. Your son, corporal Frank H. Irwin, was wounded near fort Fisher, Virginia, March 25th, 1865—the wound was in the left knee, pretty bad. He previously had some fever, with cold spells. Are these lyrics Howe’s version of Poussin’s lake? Trees, fields, moonlight, garden—but no real toads in imaginary gardens: The way music is formed ofcloud and fire once actually, concrete now accidental ashalf truth or as whole truth. Composed in 1881 largely out of notes, sketches, and essays written at various stages of the poet's life from the Civil War on, it is the closest thing to a conventional autobiography Whitman ever published. His poems can be ultra-short or extremely long. He was lying in bed with his eyes closed. . From the beginning, Fisher’s writing dealt with landscape—urban, rural, sea—which he describes wonderfully. I knew when I saw him with the cpap mask over his mouth and nose and heard the whooshing sound of air blowing air that he wasn’t asleep. A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud.” On April 3, 1758, Sarah Edwards wrote this in a letter to her daughter Esther Edwards Burr when she heard of Jonathan’s sudden death in Princeton. Which music? “wild unbounded place.” These operate cumulatively as expressions of states of mind, emotions, and idea—confession-by-proxy. There’s a vision of a one-winged bird flying in Purgatory, an autobiographical moment both mundane and perceptive (“I wake up decades later, having dreamt I was crying”), and a figure for sorrow in a “daughter/of the owner of the Laundromat.” Having leapt from Europe’s traumas and tourist delights to a dying mother, Kasischke returns to war and a ghoulishly arresting image, to the hospital cafeteria, then finishes with a mysterious and desolate rhetorical flourish: and the soldiers marching across some flowery field in Francebear their own soft pottery in their arms—heart, lung, abdomen.And the orderlies and the nurses and their clatteringcarts roll on and on. The British poet Roy Fisher has written astonishing poems … Fisher seldom relies on personae or traditional narration. For those who want a way into understanding writing that gets labeled experimental, it could be important, organized as it is from most to least accessible technique. Down in the apple-trees and in a neighboring cedar were three or four russet-back’d thrushes, each singing his best, and roulading in ways I never heard surpass’d. The seven lineated poems in the third, title section of That This are virtually unpunctuated, all but one a pair of couplets centered on the page. It is primarily based on the poems of Walt Whitman, and the title is based off one of Whitman's works. some bumble-bee symphony?) Moving back and forth between the hill and artifacts from the Bronze Age grave mounds which have disappeared in the quarrying process, Fisher imagines a future burial: On a day I could hardly be presenta group I guessed at came to the ridge here again and opened the moundlaying there three rivets, a grooved bronze dagger,flakes and a knife of flint, a piece of iron ore and a bone pin. One of the sorriest results of the battle between stylistic camps in American poetry is that extremely important foreign poets go unnoticed here for decades. I will write you a few lines—as a casual friend that sat by his death-bed. For a couple of weeks afterwards he was doing pretty well. He was sent up to Washington, was receiv'd in ward C, Armory-square hospital, March 28th—the wound became worse, and on the 4th of April the leg was amputated a little above the knee—the operation was perform' d by Dr. Bliss, one of the best surgeons in the army—he did the whole operation himself—there was a good deal of bad matter gather'd—the bullet was found in the knee. Kasischke is too witty to sustain melodrama for long. Specimen Days is a novel by American author Michael Cunninghan published in 2005. Something Howe says about Jonathan Edwards in My Emily Dickinson might be useful: “Edwards’s apocalyptic sermons voice human terror of obliterationHe exhorts us to turn from the world, to live ascetically, while actively striving to obtain the emotional peace that is grace.” Coming after Howe’s prose and collage sections, the lineated poems make emotional and conceptual sense. The first section, “The Disappearance Approach,” is twenty-five pages of clear, utilitarian, plain-spoken, specific prose. It was remark'd that many a man's conversation in his senses was not half as good as Frank's delirium. How it all nourishes, lulls me, in the way most needed; the open air, the rye-fields, the apple orchards. Kasischke’s mannerisms are moment-by-moment always interesting. Fisher seldom sticks long with a strategy, image set, or technique. As if regretting—but not obscuring—them. “The Thing About Joe Sullivan” (the early twentieth-century jazz pianist) is good jazz criticism, advice for living, and much more—in three grammatically-complex sentences distributed over short-lined couplets. This diction doesn’t weaken individual poems with their excellences of craft and meaning, but becomes habitual, making it difficult to remember one from another. find poems find poets poem-a-day library (texts, books & more) materials for teachers poetry near you Frank H. Irwin, company E, 93rd Pennsylvania—died May 1, '65—My letter to his mother. A mile away in the night I had heard the bombsSing and then burst themselves between cramped housesWith bright soft flashes and sounds like banging doors; The last of them crushed the four bodies into the ground,Scattered the shelter, and blasted my uncle’s corpseOver the housetop and into the street beyond. Such things are gloomy—yet there is a text, "God doeth all things well"—the meaning of which, after due time, appears to the soul. A brief description of carnage in a palace feels like it could be part of the boy’s imaginary play. Specimen Days is essentially the great American poet Walt Whitman's scrap book. He seem'd quite willing to die—he had become very weak and had suffer'd a good deal, and was perfectly resign'd, poor boy. At any rate what I saw of him here, under the most trying circumstances, with a painful wound, and among strangers, I can say that he behaved so brave, so composed, and so sweet and affectionate, it could not be surpass'd. Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry: Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice (2013); My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (2006), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and She Didn’t Mean to Do It (2000), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. The judges laud her career and cite That This, saying it “makes manifest the raw edges of elegy through the collision of verse and prose.” This is a moving book and a smart one. They also form the most problematic, possibly the most essential, part of the book. That This’s middle section, the part that deals most directly with the language of grief, was first published as an art-book collaboration. Sometimes prose, sometimes lineated, they are dense except when they aren’t, restless except when still, improvisational in feel inside a kind of nonce formal rigor. I thought perhaps a few words, though from a stranger, about your son, from one who was with him at the last, might be worth while—for I loved the young man, though I but saw him immediately to lose him.


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