Dasein, Red Elephant.

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Poetry category.

Please Plant this Book. Richard Brautigan.

I came across a pretty cool website which has put up aRichard Brautigan’s Please Plant This Book, a 1968 books that consists of eight packets of garden seeds, each with an imprinted poem. Why the act of planting text into the earth? Each poem reads like a tangible ray of hope and a prayer that is offered to the living. I somehow feel that Brautigan is weary of too much knowing and has chosen to replace knowledge with begone innocence. Even thoughts buried in soil, will eventually decay.

Flash Version of the book | Text Version of the Book




I’ve written about Podslam above and I still think there their website is really cool. Bringing performance slam poetry onto the web has given much needed exposure for these wonderful artists. Their rhymes and songs spit out with so much fury and passion you’ll feel like writing yourself. The theme of writing and rewriting your history with words and oral tradition holds strong with these guys.

See more at Podslam.

Dover Beach must be nice

Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

redelephant: Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach. A melancholic meditation on the ocean. Pathetic fallacy. I particularly like the long sentences in this passage from the first stanza. Meant to be read in one breath, it is akin to an terrific, worded sigh. Or the sound of a wave when it reaches the furthest point of shore.

Damn. I miss the ocean.

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Righteous Podslammin’: Poetry and Black History


I'm really excited about PodSlam.org's first feature: 15 poets from Denver poetry slammin' on the web about Black History Month. The site is pretty interactive.. you can watch videos of the poets reciting their poems, rate them, do up your own blog or participate in a forum. So far, the poets I've watched are pretty high quality. Voters on the website also stand to a chance to win a spankin new video Ipod (Final draw is on 24th February)

Check out Isis and Ken Arkind. They good. We like!

Bukowski – A Smile To Remember

A Smile to Remember
Charles Bukowski

We had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, “be happy Henry!”
and she was right: it’s better to be happy if you
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn’t
understand what was attacking him from within.

my mother, poor fish,
wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a
week, telling me to be happy: “Henry, smile!
why don’t you ever smile?

and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the
saddest smile I ever saw

one day the goldfish died, all five of them,
they floated on the water, on their sides, their
eyes still open,
and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother

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Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus

L to R: “Two Women Reading” and “Nine Female Figures” by Sylvia Plath

I'm currently reading and re-reading Sylvia Plath's Colossus and Ariel poems. If you haven't read Plath before, this should be a good starting point. . Almost too many books have been devoted to the analysis of Plath's poetry, and because of our morbid fascination with suicide and tragedy, to her personal life. On the other hand, not much has been written about Plath's incredible oratorial stye of poetry reading. Her famous reading of Lady Lazarus for the BBC shows an extraordinary forceful enunciation that fits the poem's bitterness. Taking on some sort of an British semi-accent, the poem is spat out with controlled disgust and has so much aural power that it is almost difficult to listen to.

A collection of comments on Lady Lazarus. Link

On Poetry.

This pretty summarises what I think of some people's works.

Most people ignore most poetry
most poetry ignores most people.

– Adrian Mitchell

Baudelaire, still a pervert.

Charles Baudelaire by Gustave Corbert (L) and Henri Matisse (R).

"If he were alive today...would Charles Baudelaire employ venture capital for a sinister new internet startup, Fleurs du Mal Inc? Would Arthur Rimbaud use information technology to disorder the senses? Would any of them, were they alive today, find some way to advance literature by means of artificial intelligence?"

Fetishistic, schizophrenic and iconoclast extraordinaire, Supervert is celebrating the two year anniversary of their Baudelaire site by uploading new translations of Fleurs du Mal. The site also features several new audio files, recitations of poems from Baudelaire's famous discourse of poetic evilness.

Scorpion and Other Poems


Can a poem be as simple as this? A nursery rhyme, a half-remembered phrase and pure emotional instinct. No big words and delicate meter structures. No sentimental gushing of heart torrents, only childishness and dreamy insouciance with words that are sung in a million variations of feeling. Yes, Scorpion and Other Poems is as simple as that. I've recently finished reading this extraordinary volume of poetry by Stevie Smith, published a year after her death in 1971.

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Words and Schematics


Just read the latest copy of Diagram 5:1, an electronic journal of text and art. This issue has the usual dose of taxonomic diagram-pictures, along with a decent collection of hypertextual and text-referential poetry. I found Marc Pietrzykowski's javascript poem rather.. interesting. It's a likely representation of how a computer would write, if it had a moment of sentience.

Reading Poetry, Saying Hello

Allen Ginsberg.jpgSeamus_Heaney.jpgmain.jpgpaz.jpgsnyder.jpg

Recently came across an awesome collection of hour long videos featuring interviews with writers on their work. Some of the lovely videos include rare poetry readings by poets in both dingy clubs and posh auditoriums. Featured writers include Seamus Heaney, Allen Ginsberg, Kazuo Ishiguro,William H.Gass (rare!), Czeslaw Milosz and crazy dharma bum Japhy Ryder, Gary Synder himself! A must see.

The Forsyth Library. Link

Lozenge of Love – Radiohead, Philip Larkin


I’ve recently been reading a lot of Philip Larkin for class. Today I came across Sad Steps, a short poem by Larkin that wonderfully exemplified the bittersweet, pessimistic-hopeful fatalism characteristic of all his work… reading through the poem, I realized that Radiohead had taken a phrase from the poem and made it into a song.

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Not Waving But Drowning

Not Waving but Drowning
Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

This poem is really hip. It’s totally black out wicked tongue-in-cheek manic depression. Like a secret suddenly blurted out and stoically defended against no one in particular.

Some have said it’s a call for help but I didn’t see it that way. It’s more about the difference between appearance and reality. A secret life of sorrow and instability hidden behind a facade of ‘larking’.

It’s not so much a desperate plea but a calm acceptance of chronic emotions along with a depth of alienation that couldn’t possibly be easily communicated to others. There’s some unintended antisociality in this individualistic sorrow; Hey, I wasn’t waving to you .. I was bloody drowning.

A fanpage for Stevie Smith. Link

Stevie Smith Bio, links and poem. Link

Stevie does great illustrations for her book of poems. I’ve recently got her last volume of poetry, Scorpion and Other Poems and they’ve got little cute melancholic kiddie-ish doodles in it.

Some Illustrations by Stevie

Stevie Smith Book Cover