Issue 13 · November 2019
Stimulus: Extract from Ezra Pound’s Canto VIII.
A reflection on the nature of poetry and poets, and how the two are interlinked.
Grand Central Station is part commuter nexus and part wonder; the sheer scale of the arched and painted ceiling of the main terminal, the intentional, architectural symmetries and the symmetrical breaks, the dark, commuter train tunnels and descending, subway staircases, the echoing arrival and departure pronouncements, the exotic aromas from the many restaurants and bakeries.
Take ice from the freezer,
And crush it with the pestle
Chipped from doughy granite on
New Hampshire mountainsides.
I could begin, for instance, with the day on which Isobel Burton consigned the manuscript of her late husband’s revised translation of The Scented Garden of Sensual Delight to the bonfire. Or I could begin with my growing interest in Burton himself and his final years in Trieste.
“Paris horrified” hollers the headline
of my faraway city’s daily the day after
a wartime-like fire jolts the joie de vivre of spring
and ravages the regal Notre-Dame de Paris.
The title of a literary work serves one mandatory function within the literary practice and institution – that of identification. Yet, there is a second function, which might be optional in principle, yet is inescapable in practice.
Konstantis Alexopoulos discusses the different ‘faces’ of routine with reference to his photography.
Lamentations Road runs past
Judge Westcott’s mansion, out
to Weed Hollow where a dead
mule rots, a pestilence of flies,
Two original translations of poems from Charles Baudelaire’s Pièces Condamnées (Condemned Poems).
The first time I became aware of Jeanette was at the Black Sands Art Show, part of Anaconda’s annual Summerfest. Local painters, photographers, ceramicists, craftspeople, and merchants had set up awnings, tables, and booths throughout Washoe Park, with walkways looping and meandering among the stalls and temporary galleries.
No one taught me how to forget. I wanted to remember, each detail: descending from the train, arriving into the station, the porticoes, the distance to the hotel, strands of fog kissing the streets, anointing our heads, our arms locked together, the bag over each of our shoulders.
Yesterday, a Chinese artist sold | a jar filled with air | from the mountains of France | at an auction for eight hundred dollars.
Two poems by Mackenzie Schubert.
I know. It’s tacky to address you like this. Tackier to acknowledge it. Worse still to acknowledge the acknowledgement. And so on unto infinity.
It all started with a city, with the waning lights of solitude, and the shadow of a man who dared not dream.
Two poems by Lake Angela.
Sometimes, when two waves meet in the ocean,
They embrace, each smoothing the movement
Of the other, and are calm.
Where does this end, he wonders
Again and again, pointing to a wave or the sky
Blinded by an echo with no double.
One with the flatness.