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  #11  
Unread 06-12-2021, 12:36 PM
F.F. Teague's Avatar
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Isbell View Post
Hi Fliss,

A day in the park surely doesn't require an oops!

I enjoyed and was educated by your link about Greek small penises, and only regretted it didn't show any of this: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=...AAAAAdAAAAABAD or this by Aubrey Beardsley: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/679190

Lear is so superb. Yes, every inch a king is full of irony. The crown is lovely and rather Christlike. The play also contains my favorite iambic pentameter, as it happens: Never never never never never.

Glad you enjoyed the poem. It seems to have drawn relatively little comment.

Cheers,
John
Hi John,

The 'oops' is for the amount of time spent out of office; however, we've managed to catch up today :-) :>)

Thanks for enjoying and being educated by the link. I liked your links in turn; I've encountered the Satyr, but I didn't know that much about him. I agree that Lear is superb.

I'll return once I've had more time to think :-)

Best wishes,
Fliss
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  #12  
Unread 06-12-2021, 10:32 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Dan, hi Fliss,

Dan: thank you! I felt ready to post again, and it's nice to be welcomed back. I think your idea of the two stanzas as the kouros's two clenched fists is both splendid and poetic. I can't claim I had that in mind, but yes, each stanza does seem to have something of a fist to it - they are each a sort of coiled spring, I think that's fair, much as a fist is. I'm glad as well that you caught and enjoyed the internal rhyme around Lear - I favor alliteration in my work, and it's good to feel that it's heard. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on!", as it were.

Fliss: I'm glad to hear you have completed and won the noble and venerable game of catch-up. I play it constantly. Beardsley was a tremendous draftsman, and Lear is hard to match, I think. Overpowering might be a suitable adjective, like Othello: "And say, that in Aleppo once ... I took by the throat th'uncircumcised dog, / And smote him - thus."

Thank you both,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 06-12-2021 at 11:19 PM. Reason: colon insertion
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  #13  
Unread 06-13-2021, 07:13 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi John. Long time no see. I seem to remember another poem of yours with the kouros figure. Was it set in the British Museum? Maybe my memory is playing tricks.

The figure’s stride is interesting and suggestive, but I don’t find much of versified the essay-argument of the poem very convincing or compelling. For one thing, there are unquestionably universal patterns in art, from prehistoric to the present. The poem proceeds to reduce art (and the argument is reductionist, as modernist and postmodern aesthetics tend to be) to tools and structures that “speak our language” (unclear to me what this means) and “articulate a brand of freedom and intent that finds an echo in [our]brain” (again this is abstract, vague, and could mean just about anything).

I would find it more interesting to be led into “first step” of the kouros as a symbolically pregnant image and to see (rather than be told about) how the figures steps into art from brute matter.
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Unread 06-13-2021, 07:38 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Yup, here I am. I'll try by and large to eschew long replies, since poems really ought to speak for themselves, otherwise they've failed.

I think you're referring to my poem on The Dying Gaul. I have various sculpture poems, including one on Canova I've thought of posting.

You raise a series of interesting points, to my mind. Basically, I'd argue that there are three forms of meaning in the world. First: meaning we see and understand - broadly, the constructed world we live in, of language, edifices, and whatnot. Second: meaning we see and don't understand, like petroglyphs or shrunken heads. And third, lack of meaning, like the entire natural world. I find their interation fascinating (more than many people, maybe), and in particular here, the interface between one and two, which is going to be extremely fluid. Do we really understand the high-rise we live in? The conversation we hear? Likely not. Do we understand the kouros? A bit, but really, not so much. That I think is the point of my poem. The stride, we can get. It marks progress, and leads, as I say upthread, to the Baroque in the end. Alessandro Vittoria's St Sebastian with no contrapposto and so forth. Interesting stuff, but fundamentally, the kouros is unknowable. He's too far away. I do hope though that this isn't postmodern, since I have a low opinion of that trend's contributions to thought.
I guess that's about it. People seem to like the stride, which is nice.

Update: oh - the British Museum poem (which you liked as I recall) was about the ram god Khnum. It appeared in modified form in The Ekphrastic Review some time ago and now opens a MS. of mine on deities and so forth.

Thank you - your comments are always interesting,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 06-13-2021 at 07:42 AM.
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  #15  
Unread 06-14-2021, 10:14 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I enjoyed your comment in your last post, John. What I meant by “postmodern” was what I saw as a certain noncommittal quality in this poem, a beating about the bush, which I think postmodernism does in spades. Your phrase “the kouros is unknowable. He's too far away.” is the essence of this piece, imo, and could make an amazing poem if that can be evoked rather than denotatively told.

I do remember liking the Khnum poem. The Ekphrastic Review was a good placement. Congrats on that.
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  #16  
Unread 06-15-2021, 02:15 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your last helpful comment. I've posted a fairly detailed revision (edits in italics), aiming to clarify my thought a bit on three types of meaning in the world and on where this kouros stands in that 3-tier reality I believe we all inhabit. I do hope to have been less shilly-shally, if you like, and I've quoted the phrase you enjoyed from my upthread comment. Curiously, I've ended up with two thirteen-line stanzas. But there we go.

Oh - I have a handful in The Ekphrastic Review. Susan McLean has been publishing Rilke versions there as well, so there is some ongoing Eratosphere presence in it. Thanks for the good word.

Cheers. I'd love to hear people's thoughts,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 06-15-2021 at 02:18 AM. Reason: the-this, ekphrasis
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