x_los: (Russian Church)
I went looking for Donne, but came up hands-full. Poems about home, specifically poems titled after it:

* I, Too, Sing America, by Langston Hughes: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15615

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

* Robert Creely, America: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/america/

Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.

* Long, Too Long, America by Walt Whitman: http://www.whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/170

And now to conceive and show to the world what your children
en-masse really are,
(For who except myself has yet conceiv'd what your children
en-masse really are?)

* Langston Hughes, Let America be America Again, particularly good in light of OWS: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/let-america-be-america-again/

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

* Claude McKay, America: http://poemhunter.com/poem/america-2/

* Allen Ginsberg, America: http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/america.html

America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?

* and a cheat: the initial John Donne, 'To His Mistress Going to Bed':

Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O, my America, my Newfoundland,
My kingdom, safest when with one man mann'd,
My mine of precious stones, my empery ;
How am I blest in thus discovering thee !
x_los: (Andrae?)
Bitching to Alena about how, even knowing it's terribly wrong and inacurtate of me to wish Chaucer would learn to spell, I REALLY wish Chaucer would fucking learn to spell, yielded GREAT FRUITS!



Tell me that's not weirdly cute.



Also, that his INTENSITY isn't kind of hilarious and great. (Guys, SIGURD IS THIS INTO HIS POETRY. Fact.)
x_los: (Not My Real Dad)
What.
The fuck.
Is up.
With the ending of the Odyssey.
It just...
That's not even a good CHAPTER ending.
That's like 'PEACE IT'S DINNER.'

So here we are at page four FUCKING HUNDRED and 85-- Athena's being Discreet atm, and has disguised herself as Some Dudeus, who people vaguely know, so it's not a whole OMG WTF PALLAS MOTHERFUCKING ATHENA?! every time she walks into the room.

SO HERE'S THE ENDING OF ONE OF HISTORY'S GREATEST BOOKS:

"So she commanded. He obeyed her, glad at heart.
And Athena handed down her pacts of peace
between both sides for all the years to come--
the daughter of Zeus whose shield is storm and thunder,
yes, but the goddess still kept Mentor's build and voice."

WHAT?

'And also she still looked like that other dude.' Fin.

YEAH! SUCK ON THAT! STILL WEARING A FUNNY HAT!
ATHENAAAAAA...

Christ, Athena is such a big wierdo. Always like, hiding up in your rafters Watching You Battle--she's the Ceiling Cat of ancient Greece.

On a more Al Gore note (I'm super serial, guys!!), I love this book. Previously I'd read shoddy translations, in chunks, out of order, abridged, etc., all glued together into a coherent order by common knowledge. While that added up, at various points and via various channels, to having read the whole work, I'd never properly read the thing. I find the Fagles translation as immediate as I do his Aeneid--perhaps more gripping and vital, due to the nature of the pieces in question. I love so much of the characterization--the humor, the friendship, the family ties. The Odyssey is a gorey Revenger's Tragedy, and a bitter picaresque, but it's also a bildungsroman for Telemachus, and a long, sweet tapestry of love and loyalty. I was frequently delighted reading this, I am taken by several characters--and characterization is not what I looked for from my ideas about the somewhat cold, stock, over-hearty epic tradition. I nearly cried at points.

It's difficult to break into the rhythm of the poetry while catching moments on a bus, or when distracted by worry or what have you, but when I had time to devote to this world I found myself slipping down, seeping into the lines like ink droplets bleeding into a glass of water. Once properly there, I moved at a satisfyingly brisk clip.

Telemachus is engaging enough in his introduction, and I quite liked him there. But his creepy loathing of his mother is difficult to countenance or explain away. Fagles attempts in his appendices (and his translators and authors' notes are placed and worded in such a way as to be authoritative--to the point that they lose the status of Opinions, which is kind of disingenuous on Fagles' part as an academic, even if they ARE good opinions), but ultimately its a jarring misogyny in a book that's otherwise full of empowered and interesting women.

I kind of lost the thread of his journey/the status of his crew at one point when he was recounting it on Sailor Island due to leaving Alyssa V's copy, which I was reading in NY, with Danny, having to amazon.uk a new one here, and just now starting up on it again. But that's situational rather than structural.

The last chapter is the obvious and often-remarked-upon problem-area, but other than that slowly deflating balloon of an ending, it's really not bad. The poem, in this translation, is curiously modern and filmic--perhaps it's the adaptations the teacher's flagged up for class discussion that make me think how an actor might deliver certain passages, or how a relatively straight-forward adaptation could be shot.

On a random Who note:

I like Seven more now that I've come to think of him as a hero in the Odysseus mold. Romans were never very comfortable with Odysseus--his guile, cunning, and strong sense of self-preservation read as deviousness, trickery, and lack of discipline to the more regimented, civic-minded Romans--Virgil and the antecedents of the literary tradition that bore Homer. A Roman 'Ulysses' is rather sanitized. He's less bold and less fun, more a responsible, stern family man who's fed up with shenanigans than the emotive, clever and lovable Odysseus. If I look at Seven's plotting not as some gross Cartmel totalizing that takes a perfectly decent character and then strips away all the good bits so you can have an Archetype/God, then I could see it as a Man Of Many Schemes (tm Odysseus) thing, and the habitual mendacity (or simply the lack of interest in open communication on an equal level--Seven has few he considers or treats as his equals, which is probably a deliberate production gesture to increase his personal mystique and power) would be grounded in a framework I could get on board with, and that's all much more comprehensible, touchable and sympathetic.

SO ESSENTIALLY: of my generally miserable course novels, this is, thus far, the most spirited and memorable. I'm very glad I read it, and would recommend it (specifically in this translation) very highly.
x_los: (Default)
My 3am response to why I hate Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock got too big for one comment, so I figured it was too big NOT TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD!!

From comments to this excellent fic (http://halfpenny-green.livejournal.com/6952.html?view=25128#t25128), for context:

POEMZ, WHUT? )
x_los: (Default)
My 3am response to why I hate Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock got too big for one comment, so I figured it was too big NOT TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD!!

From comments to this excellent fic (http://halfpenny-green.livejournal.com/6952.html?view=25128#t25128), for context:

POEMZ, WHUT? )
x_los: (Default)
Mufasa is Dead
A sonnet

*new CAVEAT: only funny if you know the biblical phrase 'the honey in the lion'*

I have ripped open my tenth goddamn lion.
Last time- a ribcage and a bleeding heart!
I get in there with axes and with siphons.
Zoo keepers have been bitching from the start.
“Please leave lions be, they are endangered!”
What, all of them? “That’s what endangered means!”
So maybe I have thinned that regal herd—
manned opportunists! only fit to preen.
I crave that clover honey like a fiend,
to douse English muffins and cereal,
to sugar over losses and bad dreams,
erase my food with taste ethereal.
Though my ten lions have yielded no trove
I’ll have that honey, if I go through droves.
x_los: (Default)
Mufasa is Dead
A sonnet

*new CAVEAT: only funny if you know the biblical phrase 'the honey in the lion'*

I have ripped open my tenth goddamn lion.
Last time- a ribcage and a bleeding heart!
I get in there with axes and with siphons.
Zoo keepers have been bitching from the start.
“Please leave lions be, they are endangered!”
What, all of them? “That’s what endangered means!”
So maybe I have thinned that regal herd—
manned opportunists! only fit to preen.
I crave that clover honey like a fiend,
to douse English muffins and cereal,
to sugar over losses and bad dreams,
erase my food with taste ethereal.
Though my ten lions have yielded no trove
I’ll have that honey, if I go through droves.

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