More updates on my writing: edited and hopefully improved Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen (small changes for clarification and better transitions); Community: Journal of Power Politics and Democracy revised to show the contrasts of joy and sorrow, good and bad, about the neighborhood (and life); and Passages is in the final or next to final edit stage. I think that book will be my last. To end at the beginning! And in Spring 🙂
First a few poems and then a selection from Into The Fire.
One poet I mention in the book is Jules Supervielle, a Uruguayan poet whose poem, “Champs Elysées,” published in the American Poetry Review, 1981, impressed me. I quoted the beginning:
“Poets of two shores
we who drink night and day at the fresh spring of the world…”
Here is one of his poems which presages climate change: “Prophecy,” by Jules Supervielle, Poetry Foundation.
by Barbara Crooker
Here, in the vernacular suburbs, lawns verb up
from curb to sidewalk, the active voice of spring.
The adjectival plantings of azaleas, rhododendrons.
The punctuation of small bulbs: pauses of crocuses,
semi-colon hyacinths whose perfume stops you short,
daffodils’ asterisky golden heads, the exclamations
of tulips: red red red. Though textbooks caution
the road to hell is paved with adverbs, spring
comes at us riotously, vigorously,
with a break-your-heart flourish.
Meanwhile, the house, the one solid noun
in this story, rests on its foundation, happy
to be modified, ready to open its door
to the other noun, the collective one,
that’s just now coming up the driveway.
Here’s a lovely poem by Claude McKay, “After the Winter,” Poetry Foundation.
And a thought-provoking one from Delmore Schwartz, “Calmly We Walk through This April Day,” Poetry Foundation.
A poem by one of the poets in the 1980s poetry scene (which I describe in Into The Fire).
by Toi Derricotte
I went down to
mingle my breath
with the breath
of the cherry blossoms.
There were photographers:
Mothers arranging their
gnarled old trees;
a couple, hugging,
asks a passerby
to snap them
so that their love
will always be caught
between two friendships:
ours & the friendship
of the cherry trees.
why can’t my poems
be as beautiful?
A young woman in a fur-trimmed
coat sets a card table
with linens, candles,
a picnic basket & wine.
A father tips
a boy’s wheelchair back
so he can gaze
up at a branched
All around us
you have an ancient beauty.
you have an ancient beauty.
From The Undertaker’s Daughter, by Toi Derricotte, © 2011. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Poets online that I follow include: Balroop Singh and David Selzer.
Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen, Chapter 2: 1978, Culture Review, excerpt:
Denise Levertov’s speech, “The Education of the Poet” at the Donnell Library, was thrilling, incredible. When I walked into the packed auditorium, I was amazed at the auditory surge of anticipation and urgency in people turning out for a talk on poetry. Her presentation was musical, flute-like, resonance and eloquence. (I recommend her poem, “Another Spring.”)
At St. Clement’s, the next Poetry Festival reading drew eighty people, almost a full house. A notice had appeared in the Daily News “Leisure” section, using a press release by the readers. The poets: Susan Axelrod, Linda Stern, Kathryn Cullen DuPont, Keelin Curran, and Amy Roth.
With a bow to Linda Stern’s “Music of the Spheres” poem: five women moved across the stage as though on one wheel, carrying a spherical instrument that vibrated with music, a murmur traveling across the universe and back.
There was always music playing in my head, connecting the spheres of my life. In my SRO hotel room in an Upper West Side residence for women, I was reading The Aesthetics of Silence by Susan Sontag. The old myth about art was that it was “an expression of consciousness, consciousness seeking to know itself.” This consciousness could be noble, inspiring, affirming itself. The new myth was anti-art, replacing the materialistic with the spiritual, with “a craving for the cloud of unknowing beyond knowledge and for the silence beyond speech.” Rather than confession, art became a deliverance.
Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey through Hell’s Kitchen, a memoir, by Mary Clark
Community: Journal of Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen, a memoir, by Mary Clark
Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, All Things That Matter Press, a creative memoir
Children of Light, Ten Penny Players’ BardPress, poetry novel, by Mary Clark
Covenant: Growing Up in Florida’s Lost Paradise, by Mary Clark, a novella
The Horizon Seekers, by Mary Clark, a novel
Racing The Sun, by Mary Clark, a novel
Thank you for sharing these spring poems and the excerpt from Into the Fire. I enjoyed reading all of them, particuarly “Calmly We Walk through This April Day” and “Cherry blossoms.”
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