Monday, April 21, 2014

National Poetry Month: Joseph B. Connolly

 Cutie Pie Snacks

"The Demise of French Fried Cutie Pies"
(Joseph B. Connolly)

Bully for bakers, bakeries and fried cream filled pies
For the delight of putting them in our mouth to swallow
For sugared donuts baked, fried and filled to the brim
With different fillings, jellies, flavors, shapes and size
Liquids, hot coffee, tea, iced lemonade to follow
Lingering sights and smells after the day grows dim
Comfort foods continue from meringues to muffins
Sweet potato curly fries and WallaWalla onion rings
Gourmet chips, garlic dips and corn dogs to stuff in
Clogging up those veins for a massive heart attack
What did you expect after eating all those things?
As the gluttonous curtain closes and fades to black
Think Moon Pie mortality and Grim Reaper song
As those rolls of fat appear before not too long

"The Demise of French Fried Cutie Pies" by Joseph B. Connolly appears online at the Saipan Tribune in a series of his poems about food in celebration of National Poetry Month. He adds: "When I heard of the demise of Hostess Twinkies I thought, “Oh no!” There goes another edible icon of my childhood. ... I’ve heard Twinkies are coming back, though, along with a chocolate drink called Yoohoo. Next I want Fudgcicles and Creamsicles—creamy frozen confections—to make a reappearance. 'The Demise of French Fried Cutie Pies' will have to do ’til then."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

National Poetry Month: William Bronk

"The Acts of the Apostles"
(William Bronk)

The second time the flesh was harder to put on
and there was no womb to shape and soften it,
unless it were Joseph's tomb in the cut rock
that shaped, perhaps, but more misshaped to a kept
mask, as a wet shoe is hardened as it dries
to a foot shape and the print of a step, but not
to the moving muscle and bone that walking was.
What wonder then that Mary, who loved his life,
mistook him for the gardener, and humbled by love,
asked only where they had laid him that took him away.

The men, too, were uncertain they saw, at first.
Thomas doubted and thrust his hand in the wounds.
There must have been some subtle difference gone
from the flesh they loved, or a difference newly come
to make a change in it. Say the change was death
that had wrought hard with it; or say the fact
that flesh appeared and disappeared without
their knowing, bewildered them. They did rejoice,
but only as though their hope had stretched too far.
And Peter went back to cast his nets upon the sea.

Some grief is stronger than any joy before
or after it, and life survives. It feeds
within itself on grief, not nourished then
by other food, as winter trees survive
because they do not feed. Their mouths refused
almost the taste of the brief return; grief-seared,
they could not savor it. The time did come, --
but it was afterwards, that a new joy
leafed over their grief as a tree is leafed.
It was the tree of grief that grew these leaves.

We share the movement that young birds learn
when clumsy with size, they grow to the empty air
and fall, and find the empty air sustains.
So we are lofted in our downward course by the wide
void of loss through which we fall to loss
and lose again, until we too are lost
in a heavier element, the earth or sea.
We grow in stature: grief is real and loss is
for life, as long as life. Long light,
soar freely, spiral and glide in the empty air.

"The Acts of the Apostles" by William Bronk (1918-1999) appeared in The Gist of Origin, 1951-1971 edited by Cid Corman (1975), an anthology of the literary magazine where the poet was a frequent contributor. The forms of his poetry developed gradually: in 1988 he was asked if he consciously chose the structure of his poems: "It never happens that I said, well, I think the essential poetry today is poetry in three lines, and I’m going to have to write some poetry in three lines. It’s just that it started to happen in that way ...I went through a period of many months, maybe a year, with Shakespearian sonnets. Almost every night before I went to sleep I would read one or two and read them very carefully: what’s he saying here? How’s he doing this. What’s he mean by this word? Very close reading, so I suppose it probably formed my mind into thinking in that span, and I also occasionally before and after that period wrote in fourteen/ lines but it wasn’t a decision on my part — except that it was an interesting form and what could be done with it, and I didn’t have to force it. This is the way things happen." His collections in a long career include Life Supports (1982), My Father Photographed With Friends (1976), The Cage of Age (1996), and  The World, The Worldless (1964). 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

National Poetry Month: A.E. Stallings

"Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther"
(A.E. Stallings)

Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night,
The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away the sad afternoons
And the long, lonesome Sundays? Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night?

"Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther" by A.E. Stallings appeared in the April 2005 issue of Poetry. Her new verse translation of Lucretius is The Nature of Things. In a 2011 interview the poet explained her interest in the classics: " ... the classical authors were so contemporary—they were writing about contemporary situations, which, frankly, haven’t changed that much.   They seemed fresher and more modern than most of the contemporary poetry I was reading in journals in the late eighties and early nineties.  It was a revelation, for instance, that a poet like Catullus was writing about contemporary (and raunchy) things in contemporary Latin diction, but in tight, elegant metrical forms.  One shouldn’t confuse fusty, schoolmastery Victorian translation with the direct electrical jolt of the originals ... I grew up in Atlanta—well, the area around Emory was a suburb of Atlanta when I was growing up, but now is practically intown ...  My father taught at Georgia State University and my mother was a school librarian.... I took a scholarship to the University of Georgia in Athens GA, where I eventually found a home in the warm and welcoming Classics Department, then chaired by Richard LaFleur." Her three collections are Archaic Smile (1999), Hapax (2006), and Olives (2012).