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But our history is more storied than this. Indeed, VRZHU Press as it is known today is just the most recent incarnation of what began in the 1500s in the tiny German town of Bad Muskau on the Polish border. Originally known as Veröffentlicher von Versionen die Schäferhund Eingeweiden (loosely translated as "Publishers of Versions of Sheepdog Entrails"), much of its early history was lost in a tragic fire in 1816. Indeed what little we know about VRZHU's first three centuries are based on what was written down by the survivors based on their memory of the records destroyed in the fire and the oral history of earlier publishers still living at the time. While we concede that these testimonies are suspect, they are sadly all we have to go by.
The story that has come down to us is that the founder, one Leopold Fuhrwerk, was an itinerant poet who carried his books by cart, selling and reading village to village through German Silesia (then part of the Habsburg Monarchy). He seemed successful, but at some point Fuhrwerk's more satiric work caught the attention of the authorities who did not look kindly on his more pointed policial commentary. His quatrains about the "poofiness" of Archduke Rudolf pantaloons not only proved the big hit poem of 1568, it also threatened Fuhrwerk's safety. Sadly the quatrains about the young future Holy Roman Emperor were lost in the fire of 1816, but they proved scandalous enough to lead to Fuhrwerk's banishment from Silesia.
Fuhrwerk resettled in Geneva where he died in 1629 from a case of faulty leeching.
The bitter irony of Fuhrwerk's death is not lost to us. You see, in an attempt of broadening the press's offerings, Fuhrwerk had just published the German edition of William Harvey's groundbreaking treatise Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus which disproved the practice of leeching and bloodletting. His death reminds us of the importance of trusting what we publish.
His family continued publishing and took the operation in different directions. The next two centuries saw the growth of what we now know as VRZHU Press -- the name was mercifully shortened from Veröffentlicher von Versionen die Schäferhund Eingeweiden upon Fuhrwerk's move to Geneva. They specialized in devotional poetry and, most successfully, wartime pamphletry.
It is this latter work which is of note, as the press seemed to go where the work was, and in some cases operated as a proto-Hearstian fomentor of conflict. In 1673 VRZHU opened presses in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm and began publishing pamphlets that many historians credit for the start of hostilities that led to the bloody, and pointless, Scanian War of 1675. The war lasted four years; during which VRZHU profited from the publication of humorous treatises attacking the intelligence and eating habits of the enemy. What is of interest is that what VRZHU published in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm was all the same, except for the change in nationality: the Danish and Norwegian pamphlets were scurrulously anti-Swedish, while the Swedish pamphlets were fiercely anti-Danish and Norwegian. Extant pamphlets from this period include the Swedish pamphlet "What Peril Lies in the Danish Lutefisk Brine!" and the Norwegian pamphlet, "The Crown Lies Crooked on Princess Ulrike Eleonora's Head." Both published by VRZHU Press and going through multiple printings.
It was a regrettable chapter in the history of the press. But this being a particularly contentious century in European warfare, it was also a very long chapter. Historians believe the press responsible for egging on 1683's Franco-Spanish War of the Reunions, agitating both the Austrian and Ottoman empires into 1716's Austro-Turkish War, and bullying France disastrous entry into 1748's Second Carnatic War, and 1762's Spanish and Portuguese War.
Such agitations could not go uncontested and reached a frenesí when VRZHU's Madrid director,Gustav Pohleur was sentenced to death for publishing a pamphlet on the zoological parentage of the Infanta Maria Josepha. Her father, the Spanish King Charles III, was not amused and had Pohleur put in stocks, and then condemned to death after a thorough clinical entrail deciphering.
The press' century of war-related endeavors were put to an end by Fuhrwerk's great, great, great grandson, Michel Le Caretier (who Francified the family name open moving operations to Paris in 1753). In the aftermath of their wartime publications, the company's fortunes were vast, but its political position precarious after Pohleur's public trial and execution. Having made a fortune of ridiculing the culinary customs, hygienic habits, and questionable ancestral roots of most of Europe's nations and their aristocratic houses, Le Caretier had the good sense to move operations to the American colonies, opening businesses in New York and Philadelphia. Le Caretier (now operating as "Michael Carter") returned the press to its poetic roots and established itself as the home for the voices of American poetry. This is the inheritance we look forward to sharing with you in future installments. The earlier history is largely regrettable, although it allows us the shabby comforts of our architectural déshabillé.
We're lucky and proud, especially in these days of publishing industry contraction and meltdown, to benefit from such a long and storied past, albeit little known to the outside world. As a limited release publisher of poetic disquisition and arcana approaching its fifth century of productivity, we're blessed with a remarkable archives of material from our publishing forebears.
Yesterday during a rainy day conclave at VRZHU's Southeastern Regional Headquarters, we took some time to go through our voluminous archives. Now the VRZHU Archives archives are immense and due to the economic downturn we have had to lay off about three quarters of our staff. That staff included three interns and a chihuahua. So after feeding little Fallstaff, we settled into about two hours of cobweb clearing and were delighted to find this gem from VRZHU Press's 1886 publication Pastures of Poetic Anthems and Descants of Delectation. The work was a huge success of the year and served as the requisite anthology for two generations (copies fetch a pretty sum online and in antiquarian bookstores). Here is Horace Bowleshare's gripping Ode from this collection.
To A Plum-Pudding
Shall fumes of haggis fill Apollo’s nose?
Of “country messes” shall the Muse be fain?
And thou, consummate compoud, thou remain
But them (too rare) of culinary prose!
Spheroid oblate, whose microcosm shows
Choice gifts of nature from her triple reign
For Art’s deft hands to mingle and constrain,
Till round thy “spotty globe” blue ether glows.
Salt, sugar, suet, flour and eggs and spice,
Citron’s green masses, raisin’s sanguine crowd,
Milk, cognac, lime-juice; minor dainties which,
Though not essential, are exceedingly nice—
Sweet may be other cates (sic), but thus endowed,
O well-yclept plum-pudding, thou art rich.
So last night Michael Gushue and I had the pleasure of reading together at Riverby Books on Capitol Hill. It was such a wonderful evening with a great crowd in a pleasing space. I understand it may have been the largest crowd for that reading series (click on the photo at left to see the whole crowd).
I want to thank everyone who came out in support of Michael and I and those who bought our books, Michael's chapbook Gathering Down Women and my new book from Beothuk Books, The Space Between Our Danger and Delight. It was a pretty stunning turnout and I was moved to see so many friendly faces in the crowd.
Michael read first and I read second. We both began our times by reading a poem by another author. After a lot of thought it seemed appropriate to begin a reading for my new book by reading a few short poems from the very first book of poetry that impacted me. Pablo Neruda's Libro de Preguntas/Book of Questions (the Copper Canyon editions with William O'Daly's marvelous translations) And then I had what I can only describe as sublime and mindbending.. the opportunity to read from my own book of poems. It was great to read a few old poems and a number of newer poems from the book, especially those dealing with Texas and family. Seemed fitting as I spied in the back of the crowded room my oldest friend on the planet, Rob Crangle. We were in college together and have had the good fortune to stay in touch all these years. He was around when I first started writing poetry during another Middle East war while we were in college. Fitting to have him there. Other highlights for me were a dear older friend who is the beloved matriarch of an extended group of friends Pete and I hold dear. She came all the way from Alexandria and I was moved to be able to sign one of my books for her. So many friends were there it was just very moving and humbling. Pete even got me these lovely red roses for the evening! How perfect is that?!?
Throughout our readings people kept walking in to find a seat, and when all the chairs were taken folks went for spots on the floor. At one point my housemate Jason walked in with my friends Baba and Jomo and they carried with them pans of blondies and other treats and it became a surreal, almost Dr. Seussian scene. It was all too lovely for words. I'm still feeling over the moon about the book and the gracious response and all the lovely people at the reading tonight. It's all cream. All cream.
I know I left feeling incredibly thankful for the community of poets and friends that make an evening like this possible. I want to particularly thank everyone who put the word out about the evening including Sandra Beasley who posted a nice note on her blog and Philip Clark over at The New Gay who posted a great announcement for the evening. Monica Jacobe was such a great host and runs one of the nicest series in town. Hope we get more evenings like tonight.
Hello, and welcome to Vrzhu Bullets of Love blog, the only blog with the Fine Beekeeping seal of approval.
For a while now, poets have been writing into the Vrzhu Research Bureau (a wholly owned subsidiary of Vrzhu Press) and asking: “Dear Vrzhu Research Bureau, how can I take advantage of today’s exciting new “web log” technology to increase my market share in the highly competitive world of being noticed by the rest of the poetry world?”
Well, as Mark Twain said, "Don’t panic! The VRB is here to take advantage for you!"
INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST SERVICE
That’s right, the VRB is on the cusp of introducing a dynamic new way to make your poetry successful and talked about! Now you cannot only be part of the conversation, you yourself can be a topic of conversation by signing up for the VRB Blogtopia Mentioning Service (BMS).
What is the VRB Blogtopia Mentioning Service?
Many of you have invested in previous VRB products and services, such as
The Poetry Poncho
TheInspiration Poetry Success Training
Famous Poem Tablets
Poetry Protective Safetywear
Now, VRB’s Blogtopia Mentioning Service takes it to a whole new level. With BMS, for just a small monthly fee, we will work your name into every single one of our patented “vrzhu” posts. This is guaranteed. No matter how unrelated the post topic might seem your name will be seamlessly woven into it so as to appear an organic and integral part of the whole.
Of course that's just the basic service. For a limited time during this introductory period, we are also offering the BMS Enhanced Package. The BMSEP includes up to 4 links of your choice per month, with an appropriate context, photos of you in every 5 out of seven posts (cumulatively), and selected quotes by you highlighted at your request in every other post. And this special package is TOTALLY FREE for the first 9 months, and at a 27% discount off our regular enhanced package price from then on.
But, exciting as that sounds, hold on! Because THAT'S NOT ALL. For just $4.99 more a month--that's right! $4.99 (are we crazy or what?!)--you have the fantastic opportunity to become one of the few customers receiving our BMS Executive Deluxe Skybox Service. Our BMSEDSS service is UNIQUE in the blogroll servicing industry, and we accept only a very limited number of applications for this high end product. With our Executive Deluxe Skybox service, here's what you’ll get:
Everything already included in both the basic and the enhanced service
We're TOTALLY EXCITED to be able to offer you this amazing service. Why not sign up today? An initial, binding, three year contract with your name on it is waiting for YOU to say YES.
Our amazing new service will leave you "Speechless, upon a peak in Darien!"
Note: This service may not be available in some jurisdictions and on some network servers. Void where prohibited.
* * * * *
A recent search through the vast holdings of the Vrzhu Research Bureau archives uncovered the draft of a previously unknown poem by John Keats. It appears that Keats started on this poem just before his Annus Mirabilis of 1819. He abandoned the effort late in 1818, as is made clear by a hastily scribbled annotation at the bottom: "Note to self: Never drink Laphroaig Scotch again! Bloody newfangled hippocrene nearly did me in! Look at this shite!"
It's evident that Keats cannabilized the best of this draft for his "Ode to Pysche," but why he did not continue with the poem below, or why he made the change is open to speculation, absent any other documentary evidence.
Ode to the Accordion (draft)
O Accordion! Hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
Even into thine own squeeze-boxèd ear:
Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
The strapped accordion with awaken'd eyes?
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
Saw two fair creatures, couchèd side by side
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
Of leaves and tremblèd blossoms, where there ran
A brooklet, scarce espied:
'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
He lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass;
Arms embraced an accordion new;
His lips mov'd not, but had not bid adieu,
As if disjoinèd by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still to play a Polka number
At tender eye-dawn of Tyrolean love.
The winged boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
His Accordion true!
O German born and loveliest vision far
Of Terpishore’s faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Banjo or torso’d Guitar,
Or Bagpipes, amorous wheeze-drones of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Nor dirndl’d-choir to make delicious moan
Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no Pilsner sweet
From foaming beer stein teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
Of pale-mouth'd Polka dreaming.
O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retir'd
From gay pieties, thy lucent bellows,
Fluttering among the Czech-Slovak fellows,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
Upon the midnight hours;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy keyboard sweet
From swingèd tempos teeming;
Thy reeds, thy grill, thy bass buttons, thy heat
Of pale-mouth'd Polka dreaming.
How green is the poetry world? You could say not much since the overwhelming majority of poems do not use the full surface area of the paper upon which they are written. But you could counter this by saying that more and more poetry is showing up on the Web, thereby saving loads of paper. Certainly a calculus can be done here for someone who’s interested and is pretty good with algorithms.
What is the environmental impact of a poetry reading? Of a chapbook? Is innovative poetry inherently more green than neoformalist poetry? What about the means of production? Is on-demand publishing better for the environment than traditional publishing? Are DIY productions more environmentally friendly than poetry contests, no matter how prestigious?
These are questions and areas ripe for study. We here at the Vrzhu Research Bureau share most Americans' worries and concerns over the environment, global warming, and the need for grant money. I don’t know if the EPA has any plans, but the Bureau is considering modestly funding an initial study within the next 3 or 4 years.
In the meantime, there is one area of waste in the literary world that has so far escaped attention, an area where the need for the 3 R’s could not be clearer. That area is the literary interview.
And within literary interviews, there is no item more disposable than the question. With rare exceptions, an interview question is asked once, and once only, and then only of one person. Each year, hundreds, perhaps thousands of interview questions are used once and then discarded. What an enormous waste of time and energy, let alone raw material!
Interview answers are nearly as wasteful, but, on the whole, I suspect answers get recycled much more often. And, even if not recycled, they are reused in different context, such as quotes, or biographies, or studies, or dissertations. I doubt anyone ever has the need to quote the interview question in and of itself.
How can we conserve this [precious] resource? I believe, given the millions of questions asked in interviews over time, a small effort to recycle can be made. Some of this is already taking place. Think how often you’ve heard the question about where does a poet write, what kind of pen, et cetera. But more needs to be done.
The VRB is taking a bold step forward by planning to recycle ALL the questions asked in an interview. Ideally, if in print, the re-questions would just be indicated by number or some other designation, or perhaps not referred to specifically at all. In this case the re-answers would only be printed, with a reference to another interview from which the questions have been taken.
Depending on the ratio of Question Word Count (QWC) to Answer Word Count (AWC), this could result in a dramatic reduction of the total carbon footprint for the interview genre as a whole. For example, a ratio of 1QWC:1AWC would mean a 50% cut in the paper (and energy) used in producing the interview for readers. Eventually, a bank of questions could be established where all interviewers would be able to access previously used interview questions. The interviewer could draw questions as needed (appropriately identified by serial number) from the question-fund, and use them in a re-questioning context.
The VRB has produced a prototype sample of a Re-Question Interview to show how it might work. Note that this RQI includes the text of the original questions as they appeared in the source interview. This is for demonstration purposes only, and to familiarize readers with how the process would work. Once in production, the Re-Questions would be indicated by some referential sequencing. The whole original interview can be found in Poetry Daily’s archive, which, along with Gulf Coast, Matthew Seigel, and Bob Hicok, the VRB thanks profusely.
* * *
Interview Test Case 1.0
RE-QUESTION: Some of your newer poems seem to be much more meditative and less "witty" than your earlier work. Also, I've been told that you are trying to turn away from this perception of you being a "funny" poet. Is this true? If so, what do you find troubling about being called a "funny" poet?
VRZHU: The same thing I find funny about a troubling poet. I think my biggest motivation for trying to shed the funny moniker is that, though I’m funny poet, no one ever laughs. Ever.
RQ: So many contemporary artists seem to scoff at the idea that art might still be able to change the world. What is the best thing a book of poems can accomplish today, in 2006? Can poems be catalysts for change in the world at large?
VRZHU: I think the best thing a book of poems could accomplish would be to broker a sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine. That would be pretty cool. That, or get published. One or the other.
RQ: This past summer, you were part of the Wave Poetry Bus Tour, traveling and reading with the likes of Joshua Beckman, Gillian Conoley, Carrie St. George Comer, and Matthew Zapruder. How do you feel about the energy of these and other young, up-and-coming poets?
VRZHU: I was part of that? I have no recollection whatsoever. I…(puts hand to forehead)…maybe we should just go on, ok?
RQ: Years ago, you used to organize poetry slams in Ann Arbor. Did slam poetry in any way affect your own work, and if so how? Do you think there is anything publishing poets could extract from the spoken word community?
VRZHU: Look at this. Slam. I slam. I. Slam. Put them together. Eyeslam. Islam. Islam. See? Get it? I personally would be happy to extract a couple benjamins from the spoken word community. I mean, think of all the money they’re saving on paper.
RQ: It seems that much of contemporary poetry is compartmentalized into cliques, groups, schools, etc. Why do you think this is? Do you see it as a good thing, a bad thing, or simply a function of the poetry business?
VRZHU: The...what? Poetry business? Cliques? What…do I…think about…what? About little compartments for poetry? That click shut? What? Like in your belly button, you mean? What?
RQ: It seems as though you are really pushing your voice forward with these new poems. Who is influencing your work at this stage of your career?
VRZHU: At this very moment, Bob Hicok. After this, who knows? Wendell Wilkie.
RQ: Your poems are often ambitious, as in, you seem to jump around in terms of subject matter while keeping a consistent narrative thread running through them. Do you find yourself ever pushing a poem too hard to get it to do what you want it to do? If this is at all possible, does it occur during the revision process?
VRZHU: Man, you have no idea. I had this poem once. Jesus. It would not f[-----]g budge. I was ready to put the electrodes on that sucker, I mean. Of course, I didn’t put electrodes on it. I’m joking, really. Ha-ha. That would cruel. Um…on the hand I’ve had poems go on to successful careers in paralegal professions and retail sales management. Does that count as ambitious? No electrodes, no sir.
RQ: Oftentimes writers will begin a piece knowing where and how it is going to end as well as having a clear goal of how they want the piece to function (in the world and/or on the page). Do you find yourself setting out to accomplish something specific when you begin to write a poem? How much do you think about your audience?
VRZHU: What is this stuff on my pants?
RQ: In 2002, you abandoned a successful die design business, one which you built from the ground up, to teach in the academy. Do you have any regrets about this decision? Was this ever a goal of yours?
VRZHU: Dye? You think it’s dye? Well, it’s…yeah, I’m regretting wearing this right now. Maybe I should get it dry cleaned.
RQ: I find it comforting to know you came on the poetry scene without any glittering degrees. How do you think this influenced the direction and velocity of your career? When did you find your work started getting the attention it deserved?
VRZHU: Gee, that’s swell that you find it comforting, because, yeah, it influenced the way my career has been accelerating toward the toilet big time. I’d be happy to get a simple, form letter of rejection instead of my poems all torn up and smelly, that would be a start. Is that what you mean by the attention it deserves?
RQ: What was the strongest physical reaction you've ever had to a poet/book of poems? What about to a reading?
VRZHU: I’m not allowed to talk about that. And that wasn’t me, it was somebody else.
RQ: To whom have you reacted this way?
VRZHU: Hey, I mean, like next question, alright already? Can we move on here?
RQ: What was it like studying in an MFA program after already having published four books of poems? How did it change your own work?
VRZHU: Do you blah blah blah blah? What was it like blah blah blah blahing? How did it blah blah blah? What *is* it with you, man? What is this? The third degree? [pauses] Hold on a moment, give me a moment. [put head between legs] Okay, okay, get a grip on yourself. [sits up] Sorry. What were you saying?
RQ: So many poets are rushing to get that first book out, spending hundreds of dollars on contests and reading fees. Do you believe this is the best way for young poets to get noticed?
RQ: What message, if any, do you have for the several thousand people who are going to graduate this year with MFAs?
VRZHU: Dear several thousand people: You are the future leaders of the world, and, together, you can set the world on fire! It’s a bold new dawn, the air is fresh, and the herring are running. Seize, catch those herring with your bare hands, laddies! But remember: catch and release. For he who releases shall himself be released. But he who guts and packs in ice shall himself be gutted and packed in ice, and then fried up with onions and butter. I say to you: remember to give back. Remember to uphold what’s good about the past, and forge what will be good about the future. For you are the future, our future, the future that awaits this still young nation, this emerald continent still in onesies. Wait, did you say MBA or MFA?
RQ: What would Bob Hicok launch from a giant sling shot?
VRZHU: Bob Hicok. [waves] Thanks, Bob!
A Note on Poetic Thought Disorder
Poetic Thought Disorder (or PTD) has traditionally been applied to a variety of ill-defined speech acts, poems, and poetic forms which are assumed — and it is an assumption — to be secondary to a more fundamental disturbance of versifying or writing poems. These practices were first noted by Hecker in 1871 but they were studied and described in much more detail by Bleuler who regarded them as a direct consequence of ‘metaphors and poetic associationalism’ which he thought was fundamental to poetry. Thus the long-lived assumption that Poetic Thought Disorder was of cardinal importance, aetiologically and diagnostically, being exhibited by all poets and by no one else. However, no one has ever succeeded in producing a satisfactory definition of the term poetry, or in identifying any fundamental psychological or linguistic term capable of accounting for the various observable qualities of a poem. Worse still, few of the qualities have proved to be specific to a poem, and none to be manifested by more than a proportion of poems in what in other respects are typical examples of the genre. Indeed, large studies of the symptomatology of poems show them to be rare in comparison to delusions (“this is a great poem”) and hallucinations (other poets envy me”).
Preliminary Classification of Poetic Thought Disorder (PTD)
The following definitions are taken from authoritative texts, and are widely accepted.
Derailment occurs when a train jumps off the track. Andreasen (1979) defines derailment as “A poem in which the ideas slip off the track onto another one which is clearly but obliquely related, or onto one which is completely unrelated”.
Each is truly a unique piece,
you said, or, perhaps, each
is a truly unique piece.
I sniff the difference.
It’s like dust in an old house,
or the water thereof.
Then you come to an exciting part.
The bandit affianced
to the blind man’s daughter. The mangel-wurzels
that come out of every door, salute the traveller
and are gone. Or the more melting pace of strolling players,
each with a collapsed sweetie on his arm, each
tidy as one’s idea of everything under the sun is tidy.
And the wolverines
return, with their coach, and night,
the black bat night, is blacker than any bat
-John Ashbery, The Burden of the Park
Derailment is one of a number of types of PTD. However, it is a basic type and at least some of the other types of PTD appear to be elaborations of derailment.
This term can be applied when a question is asked in a poem and the poet gives an answer which has “slipped off the track” and is either obliquely or even unrelated to the question.
An example of tangentiality:
It doesn't seem as though we could die up here, does it?
The Acropolis is so old that death on it seems superfluous.
So we can afford to take some chances—
Leap off the wall! Bash statues with our heads!
-Kenneth Koch, On the Acropolis
At first glance it might appear the writer is making a mountain out of a mole hill, as this is the sort of response we all might make, sliding off the question and communicating other important information. However, this answer came early in the poem. In this setting, such a response suggests, but does not prove, PTD. As mentioned, isolated examples of derailment occur in the writing of normal individuals as well as poets.
Flight of ideas (includes clanging (rhyming, alliteration, etc.))
The central feature of the flight of ideas in a poem is rapid, continuous verbalisations which are associated with constant shifting from one idea to another.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
-John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale
et al (1974) describe three types of flight of ideas: 1) where there is
rhyming or clanging, eg, “pards, retards” above, 2) where there is an
association by meaning, including opposites, eg, “Beauty is truth,
truth beauty”, and 3) where there is distraction, e.g., “O for a beaker
full of the warm South,/Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,/
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,/And purple-stained mouth.”
CLOUD-PUFFBALL, torn tufts, tossed pillows ' flaunt forth, then chevy on an air- built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ' wherever an elm arches, Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ' lashes lace, lance, and pair.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins, That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection
Under the heading of clanging, Andreasen (1979) has drawn attention to punning, as well as alliteration. Not surprisingly, with high mood elevation the punning of flight of ideas can be frequent, amusing and apparently clever.
The wasp and all his numerous family
I look upon as a major calamity.
He throws open his nest with prodigality,
But I distrust his waspitality.
-Ogden Nash, The Wasp
Andreasen (1979) states “flight of ideas is a derailment that occurs rapidly in the context of pressured speech”. (“Objectivity and again objectivity, and no expression, no hind-side-beforenesss, no Tennysonianness of speech - nothing, nothing, that you couldn't in some circumstance, in the stress of some emotion, actually say.” –Ezra Pound, known to have suffered from PTD (emphasis added)).
Perseveration and Echolalia
Perseveration is the repetitive expression of a particular word, phrase, or concept during the course of speech.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they crushed an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
have they bent an aluminum can.
-Robert Grenier, Sentences.
Echolalia is the repeating of words or phrases in the poem:
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight? Echo: Light
-George Herbert (1593-1633), Heaven
This by no means exhausts the typical manifestations of PTD in a poem. We have yet to cover Poverty of thought, Poverty of content, Illogicality, Incoherence , Blocking (Thought blockage), and Neologism. There is much of interest here (e.g., a remarkable feature of neologisms is that the poet usually seems unaware that they lack meaning to the listener), however, these topics will be covered in a later installment, where we hope also to elucidate neopoesis, exceptionalism, revisionology, Williamloganism and Billycollinsism.
Gaea Honeycutt has just posted a wonderful interview with Kim Roberts on her blog Weirding Word: Writing, Writers and the Power of Words.
In this conversation, Roberts speaks about her work and The Kimnama. She also talks about the interaction between the poet and the reader:
"Poetry is an interaction that depends on the reader. In poetry a lot of the process of reading depends on the reader working with the writer. For that reason, poetry is more difficult. It requires more. So, people get scared of it, but it also has the potential to be so much more powerful than the other arts. Poetry can actually change the way you see the world if you let it. But I think, often times, people don’t trust themselves to make meaning."
Please visit her blog and enjoy more from this fascinating conversation. The interview is in two parts.
There was a great turnout for these poets with all the seats filled. Both Hiram and Kim are returning guests to this long running poetry series.
Right before the reading I learned that Minas has hosted a poetry reading for many years dating back to their earlier location in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. The gallery moved two years ago to their current location in the funky Hampden neighborhood north of downtown. As anyone with experience with readings knows, you don't last as a series without establishing a reputation and the Minas reading is certainly respected for its knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowds. So we were very happy to have a reading there. The group received Kim and Hiram's work very warmly.
The second half of the reading was set aside for a small open mike for area poets and a few folks took part. Running through the reading, both Hiram & Kim's and the open mike section, was a desire to pay homage to the life of Barbara Simon who was a pillar in the Baltimore poetry scene. Every reader shared a few words about this very committed and socially-engaged poet and a few read poems in her honor.
Many thanks to Minas and our terrific hosts.
Here are a few other photographs from the reading.