Last month I learned from Serena that Lu, Kelly, and Eva had issued the following challenge: post about poetry once a month, on the last Tuesday of the month, for 2012, and so here I am again. Last month I posted one … Continue reading
Tag Archives: Poetry
When I learned this past weekend from Serena that Lu, Kelly, and Eva had issued the following challenge: post about poetry once a month, on the last Tuesday of the month, for 2012, I knew I had to participate. However, I didn’t … Continue reading
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Poetry and I have had an on-and-off again relationship since my days in college. It all started with a class on contemporary poetry, then continued with another class on poetry writing and finally ended (in college anyway) with an independent class … Continue reading
Earlier this month I read the book Godric by Frederick Buechner for a Faith’n'Fiction Saturday Round Table taking place over at My Friend Amy (for a list of others that have taken place and that will take place the rest of this year) with seven other bloggers including Amy.
In alphabetical order, by name, the seven are:
- Amy of My Friend Amy
- Carrie of Books and Movies
- Hannah of Wordlily
- Heather of Book Addiction
- A.S. “Pete” Peterson, a contributor to The Rabbit Room and author of The Fiddler’s Gun
- Teresa, a contributor to Shelf Love
- Thomas of My Random Thoughts
We participated in an e-mail discussion starting this past Sunday and lasting through the later part of this week. Each of us are posting a part of the discussion sometime during the weekend (after the weekend, I will edit this post to include actual links to the posts themselves, so you don’t have to search for them).
Here’s the part I was asked to post:
Teresa: It took me a while to get into the novel. Godric’s voice is so strange, and it was especially hard for me to get used to the shifts from first-person to third-person. But once I settled in, I enjoyed it. Like Hannah said, self-perception versus others’ perception seems like a major theme. And l think those shifts in person ended up being a clever way of showing the difference in how Godric views himself and how he imagines his biographer, Reginald, sees him.
Carrie: the style of the language and the switching point of view kept Godric at a distance – I didn’t ever connect with him as a character. I felt like I was watching him from far away, instead of viewing him and his life at a close and intimate level, if that makes sense. Sure, I was privy to some intimate details of his life, but as a character, I never connected emotionally with him.
Bryan (that’s my real name, shhhh, don’t tell anyone): As a person who once wrote poetry and studied poetry in college, I think one of the first things that stood out to me in reading Godric were the poetic qualities of the writing. I especially noticed a plethora of passages with alliteration in them.
Another thing that stood out to me was the mixture of the sacred and the profane, especially in that Godric didn’t glaze over his faults throughout his life and, in fact, laughed at them. Godric, as Pete mentioned, was fallible — and yet a saint. Personally, I am reminded of living with the Benedictine monks at Mt. Saviour Monastery in Pine City, N.Y. for six weeks about 16 years ago and how refreshing it was to see that they were human, but that God worked, and continues to work, through, and sometimes despite, their humanity. I also am reminded of the Dalai Lama and how when you see interviews with him, often he is laughing.
Pete: I think a lot of people have a reaction similar to Carrie’s due to the language. It’s tough to penetrate for many readers. It has a rhythm and a flow to it that’s incredibly unique. It’s almost like reading Shakespeare or Milton in that you’ve got to attune yourself to the movement of the writing before you can actually settle into it and ride it as it gallops along.
Carrie: Pete – the comparison to Shakespeare is apt, as I found myself “reading it aloud” in my head in a sing-song way, almost like it was in iambic pentameter. (Former theater major here.)
Teresa: I had the same experience, Carrie, although I ended up liking the language more. I actually spent a good bit of time during one chapter trying to figure out if there was a clear meter there. It wasn’t consistent throughout, but there was a definite rhythm to the language, and at times it really did read like poetry.
Hannah: For me the language was fun — even thrilling at points. I love that lyrical, poetic quality in prose.
For the other parts of the discussion, please visit the blogs listed above later in the weekend.
I also want to add this review of Godric by Pete Peterson from The Rabbit Room, in which part of what he says about the book:
It is the book that fundamentally altered the way I read and the way I write. It is the novel that moved me to write my own. It is the canon by which I have measured every book read since. Am I gushing?
Um, yeah, Pete, you are, but that is all right. After reading it, I concur that it truly is a great book and like you, challenge “anyone to read this book and not be changed.”
I purchased this book from From My Shelf Books in Wellsboro, Pa.
This week’s Weekly Geeks:
April 2nd was International Children’s Book Day. And April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, I have two lovely options for you this week: Be a kid! Be a poet!
So I decided to be a poet, since in college I dabbled in it. Here’s a poem I wrote years ago about reading, and have shared on my blogs previously, but thought it was worth digging out for this week’s theme:
— after smelling a dusty copy of a John McPhee book
I picked up at the library for 50 cents
I was biking down
the Marsh Creek Road
that day when I spied it,
lying there, cover ripped off,
inviting me to stop
and pick it up.
Inside its pages was
a story of
the architectural superiority
of man, how he had built
skyscrapers to show
I stooped down and
learned to what heights
men could climb.
Later reading Jon Krakauer,
I learned of men
who failed to attain such
but for now,
with one bare knee in the dirt,
as I read her philosophical objectivism,
I chose not think of how
from dust I had come,
to dust I would return.
I let my thoughts soar higher.
Or inside its pages was
a song not of myself, but of America
of Texas gaining its independence,
of Alaska and Hawaii,
and even farther out
space, the final frontier
and its Valley of the Dolls.
We thumb through the lurid details of the lives
of others, celebrities like
they were going out of fashion, lurid details
that is, but they’re not,
they are so chic, so in
the moment, so…so….
(“a man breathes deep into his saxophone”)
From a satellite, I see that boy kneeling
beside the back road, wish
I could be like him.
I need to be like him,
in love with the printed word,
(like my neighbor John,
who has to print out
articles from the Internet he wants to read
– he has to touch them, feel their weight,
to make it a corporeal
like ink smudging on your fingers
after reading a newspaper)
not the digitized code
a poem like this breaks down into eons later.
For other poetry-related posts, here on this blog, click here.
Whenever I think of poetry, I think of this scene from the movie Moulin Rouge.