POETRY MONTH 30/30/30: Inspiration, Community, Tradition :: DAY 7: Gregory Crosby on Kenneth Fearing
When I moved to New York nearly eight years ago, I became a determined flâneur—in Baudelaire’s formulation, one who walks the city in order to experience it—and although the New York I walked was not 1929 or 1938 or 1943, I heard everywhere, persistent, sardonic, and expansive, the voice of Kenneth Fearing (1902-1961) in the back of my mind. To read Fearing is to suddenly meet Walt Whitman not in a supermarket but in the neon shadows of a film noir. I can think of few other poets who capture the alienation and exultation of urban existence, at once cosmopolitan and proletariat, sophisticated and vulgar. To live in a city is to live at all times inside the human mind: Fearing’s best poems buzz in that hive of loneliness and longing: X Minus X Even when your friend, the radio, is still; even when her dream, the magazine, is finished; even when his life, the ticker, is silent; even when their destiny, the boulevard, is bare; And after that paradise, the dance-hall, is closed; after that theater, the clinic, is dark, Still there will be your desire, and hers, and his hopes and theirs, Your laughter, their laughter, Your curse and his curse, her reward and their reward, their dismay and his dismay and her dismay and yours— Even when your enemy, the collector, is dead; even when your counselor, the salesman, is sleeping; even when your sweetheart, the movie queen, has spoken; even when your friend, the magnate, is gone.
POETRY MONTH 30/30/30: Inspiration, Community, Tradition: Day 4 :: Tishon Woolcock on Orhan Veli Kanik
Today we begin the community portion of our Poetry Month: Inspiration, Community, Tradition series with Peter Reilly writing on Mary Oliver's poetry and its influence on his work. PR: Mary Oliver's gift is to describe the natural world simply, in a way that reveals the deepest secrets of our human heart. She is grounded in the reality of survival - life and death - predator and prey; yet never loses her eye for the eternal, for amazement, and for the magic of transformation. From "Wild Geese" You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. [caption id="attachment_434" align="alignright" width="300" caption="photo: Brian Reilly"][/caption] But little by little as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do - determined to save the only life you could save.