Posts Tagged 'poetry'
Tags: Academy of American Poetry, Creative Writing, English Major, Essays, poetry, Professional Writer, Prose, Writing
I suppose I can officially call myself a Professional Writer now. The top check is for the George B. Ogden prize for best essay in English prose, and the bottom check is for the Academy of American Poetry Prize.
So, if my blog entries have been lacking text lately, it’s because I’ve been channeling it elsewhere!
Tags: Frank O'Hara, John Berryman, poetry, Poets
…with short and snarky commentary!
John Berryman’s 77 Dream Songs
I’ve now written two extended critical papers on Berryman’s Dream Songs, and I keep wondering why I’m so attached to a suicidal, racist, sexist Confessional poet who completely infuriates me with his solipsism. But at the end of the day, what he did with race, sex, and identity in the Dream Songs is a thousand times more fascinating that Berryman’s actual [offensive] opinions.
Lunch Poems changed the way I thought about poetry. For my birthday this year, I received two copies of the complete poetry of Frank O’Hara. Double the queer city fun!
O’Hara is good to read: before bed, to take a study break, when you are in bed with a lover and wake up before them, if you’re queer, if you’re a hipster, when you are in love, and in cities.
Tags: Artist, Erotic poetry, Gertrude Stein, Lifting Belly, Love Art Lab, poetry, Sexuality, Women Artists
I’ve been bonding a bit with Gertrude Stein lately through a class that I’m taking. In the process, I stumbled across these drawings from Love Art Lab:
Tags: Alice Walker, Creativity, Forbidden Fruit, Fruit, Kathleen Norris, Literature, Monkey King, Mythology, Orchards, poetry, Trickster, Writing
At times the world seems to demand a moment of reflection: to bring your feet together and stand still, to breathe deeply the newly-crisp air.
In Virginia I was only just beginning to feel it: the peak of Harvest time, full of watermelons. But the academic calendar forced me to jump start a new season, driving north and skipping a few weeks forward into cooler weather.
So I thought (in my moment of reflection) that it would be a good time to revisit The Orchard. You know, that mental place where ripe ideas hang low on the branches, the namesake of this humble blog.
Ironically, I was sorting through poems entitled “The Orchard” when I came across a poem by Kathleen Norris, whose book of nonfiction sits just to my left, dog-eared halfway through. Her book Dakota got me through last Spring Break the same way that In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens saved me a few years ago. The poem is titled “The Monastery Orchard in Early Spring,” and ends:
Encounter with fruit is dangerous:
the pear’s womanly shape forever mocked him.
A man and a woman are talking.
Rain moves down and
branches lift up
to learn again
how to hold their fill of green
and blossom, and bear each fruit to glory,
letting it fall.
* * *
In one sense, the orchard resembles the garden in parallel world mythologies and fairy tales. It is enclosed; it is forbidden; it is the realm of the gods. More than the garden, though, the orchard is immortal; it is old (these are trees, after all, not daffodils).
Poor Persephone, who ate the pomegranate seeds from Hades’ orchard and was thus tied forever to the world of the dead. The Monkey King, on the other hand, stuffed himself with the Peaches of Immortality, setting off a long chain of events which ends with his elevation to Buddhahood. But Pomona, the wood nymph, tried to enclose herself in her orchard in order to keep suitors away, and was eventually forced to marry Vertumnus. Daphne too, being chased by Apollo, turned into a tree. Coincidence?
It’s a complicated place, the orchard: women running every which way, trying to find safety in trees, or running away from them. Some do find safety; others are victim to Trickster’s invasion (The Monkey King is China’s Trickster figure; Vertumnus disguises himself as an old woman to seduce Pomona, the Norse Trickster god Loki allows for the theft of the goddess Idun’s orchard, which contained the apples of immortality).
It’s a place where women, having always been the target of theft alongside the other ‘forbidden fruits,’ are beginning to climb trees.
And some are wandering into the woods, which are equally immortal but a bit more crooked than the orchard’s rows. Women are re-learning how to graft trees, which is the method for repairing fruit trees, and for making hardier breeds. Beautiful beautiful, to be grafting new trees from history.
Others are writing in the shade, resulting in something like Alice Walker’s Celie, who says, ”my first step from the old white man was trees.”