Saturday, February 21, 2009

Angelou beats Alexander

In terms of the sales of Inauguration Day poetry, Elizabeth Alexander's "Praise Song for the Day" has failed to magnetize the book-buying public. Six thousand copies sold, contrasted to over a million for Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of the Morning."

I still maintain that Ms Alexander's poem is better.

(HT: Poetry Foundation.)

Last Marianne for a while, methinks

I'd do away with forced retirement. I would let people work as long as they can. The country needs their knowledge and experience, and they should have the joy of being productively employed, useful.

Pure water and pure air seem to me needed above all else. This would require vigorous efforts toward pollution control.

Some women are overlooked who have capacity for service -- as mathematicians, as scientists. I wish this could be given intensive thought.

I would encourage more government support of projects to save or restore historic houses and landmarks. Road and tree care seem important. Mrs. Johnson has aroused much incentive toward making scenery inspiring. I wouldn't overlook the beauties of Brooklyn. There, Mrs. Millar Graff's appeal for aid to historic trees has borne fruit by salvaging the beautiful Camperdown Elm in Prospect Park, planted in 1872.

The government is doing much for musicians, composers, and writers. I'd continue this help.

In response to a 1968 McCall's questionnaire asking, "What would you do if you were president?" From The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore (Penguin Books, 1987), p. 691

Friday, February 20, 2009

In heaven there is no beer ...

That's why we drink it here.

Marianne Moore for Friday

When I wake at six or seven -- I drink a glass of water -- write a résumé in a little 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 Swiss calendar-diary, given to me by a friend, of the previous day, any special name or fact I mustn't forget -- hang on my trapeze for a moment or two -- whether infirm or not, read a few lines calculated to counteract infirmity, from the Bible usually, as stabilizing "the innocency of our lives and the constancy of our faith" -- impatient to work but pause for breakfast -- bring it to my room -- half a grapefruit or orange juice, honey, an egg, hard-boiled or scrambled, a piece of Pepperidge white toast -- may eat a chocolate leaf if I have one -- in winter, dark hot chocolate with marshmallow or whipped cream, in summer perhaps no egg -- hearing meanwhile what Bob Hite has to say about the weather -- dress and go on answering correspondence of the day before, interrupted constantly by the telephone.

"How They Start the Day," originally in the September 1963 Glamour. From The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, pp. 660-1.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

November's antics

Don't fiddle with the gadgets in the pantry;
Go scrape the ice from birdbaths and tree-houses.
In the town of Marblehead, denizens are spry --
The water-works, the mine-shaft, what else gives?
Woods were foliate, back when, with veined nouvelles
At seven-three-thirty, at fourteen-five-point-six.
Night practices her scales, the lissome singer,
When insular starlight glozes our dismay.
The repertoire's impertinent : loose change,
Moon over Winnipeg, astral patty-cake.
Is this production feeling its oats? We need perchance
Full recompense for all those graceful oafs
And two-bit, three-bit players -- they gave us much :
Bright colors and a cheerful mise-en-scène.

An echo of a celibate shibboleth,
Eerie and wan, sneaks in beneath the harsh
Snarl of neighbors bickering over snowbanks,
Drifts of the white stuff blocking the Johnsons' driveway
Through which a snazzy Merc Cyclone is wont to roll.
The argument makes a crumpled, dusky din;
Trees overlook the ringing ... Time out! Zut! We need
A respite from rambunctious hoi polloi,
Drawn-out retreats at abbeys 'mid whose groves
Howl wolves, wail owls; every now and then
Wafts the lyric plaint of Philomel, alias Biffo Bailey,
On a leafless bough, alas, or winging high above
The wounded earth, with its parties and its rhetoric,
Breeze of a charlatan, jocular, sublime.


Marianne Moore por jueves

No, but I am conservative; opposed to regimentation.

Response to a questionnaire asking, "Do you take your stand with any political or politico-economic party or creed?" From The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, p. 674

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Haiku by Steven Riddle

Here and here. Good to see poetry from the blogger at Flos Carmeli!

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow

Shakespeare's sonnet 2. Here.

I'm pondering a parody:

When forty harvests shall expand my gut
And cause a paunch where once was slenderness ...


Respice. Adspice. Prospice. A new Catholic blog from the Philippines!

Quotation of note therefrom:
Martha was doing a lot of things FOR Christ, so it wasn't her running around that didn't set well with the Lord. It was her running around without listening to Him first that caused the whole scene. If Mary, who had sat at Christ's feet and listened to Him, had gotten up and fixed the house, she would probably have done a much better job than Martha. On the other hand, Martha could have done a thousand different chores for the Lord, but she would end up feeling fatigued, disoriented, and possibly even disappointed right afterwards.

(HT: Sancta Sanctis.)

Marianne Moore per mercoledì

The surrender of life doesn't seem to be demanded of me.

In response to a questionnaire from The Little Review, the last question of which was, "Why do you go on living?" From The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, p. 673

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Marianne Moore for Tuesday

I am not voracious, eat regulation food, meat, cheese, vegetables and an additive when needed -- brewer's yeast, powdered alfalfa, watercress, dehydrated potato and tomato as convenient -- fisheggs of all kinds, raisins, honey and anything that purports to "make powerful animals." As for spirits, loyalty to brandy and whiskey, and certain wines, in signal emergencies, subdues intolerance on my part to alcohol, but I am simultaneously addicted to what Randall Jarrell in his book, The Lost World, calls "clear water, cold, so cold."

from The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, pp. 599-600

Monday, February 16, 2009

This song

(and this particular version of it) has been going through my noggin of late. Enjoy!

As another blogger might say ...

If only women could be Protestant pastors! If only Protestant pastors could marry! Then we wouldn't see stories like this.

Oh, wait ... Never mind.

Marianne Moore für Montag

I see no revolution in the springs of what results in "poetry." No revolution in creativeness. Irrepressible emotion, joy, grief, desperation, triumph -- inward forces which resulted in the Book of Job, Dante (the Vita Nuova, Inferno), Chaucer, Shakespeare -- are the same forces which result in poetry today. "Endless curiosity, observation, research, and a great amount of joy in the thing," George Grosz, the caricaturist said, explained his art. These account for many other forms of art, I would say.

from The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, p. 592

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marianne Moore pour dimanche

A narrow sheath or pant (if I may use the word) does not set a hippomoid figure off to advantage.

from The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore, p. 616