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  #11  
Unread 07-30-2021, 07:12 AM
Seree Zohar's Avatar
Seree Zohar Seree Zohar is offline
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Cameron -

'not having trouble' is perfectly fine ! tnx for swinging by, and also for helping David out with links.

David, I didn't see your response for a while bc my puter went skew, been trying to work on a friend's, sort of puter-sharing, it's traumatic when you workspace isn't where you want it to be! So, I'm happy Cameron introduced you to another remarkable (imh) poet.
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  #12  
Unread 07-30-2021, 08:34 AM
MJ Starling MJ Starling is offline
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Iíve spent an hour or so this morning reading some of Samuel Menasheís poems. Simply beautiful! They have a mystical timelessness to them. When you strike a wooden match, there is a moment of ignition, a sparking, that occurs just before it bursts into flame. For me, the present is that sparking, a continuous ignition. Menashe captures that instant. Seree, your tribute to him is wonderful.

MJ
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  #13  
Unread 07-30-2021, 09:01 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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What a lovely image, MJ! As you say, a continuous ignition.

Cheers,
John
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  #14  
Unread 07-30-2021, 11:42 AM
Jim Ramsey Jim Ramsey is offline
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Hi Seree,

You prompted me to look up Samuel Menashe and read a few poems of his. Stylistically youíre paying nice homage but it seems to me his work was more accessibly narrative.
This piece first made me think of different images: the proverbial rolling stone; the Easter Island stone that sits stoic in the weather; the stone that marks the grave; the stone that seals the tomb; the stone of mountains turned to sand. But then I googled Menashe. Since this piece is in memoriam to a dead poet, I am leaning toward gravestone. Are you hinting that a life gathers complexity but is ultimately pared back to its inert origins? That Menasheís contributions are being forgotten and all that remains will be his grave marker? I think readers might appreciate this piece more with a couple concrete images as guidance. I myself donít mind a little mystery, but I donít want to be a detective solving a cold-case murder either.

All the best,
Jim
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  #15  
Unread 07-30-2021, 01:51 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Seree,

Interesting to see a rhymed metrical poem in non-Met. You'd get more critique if you got this moved to Metrical. Googling the Menashe and his poems helps me see the appropriateness of this form, though likely not enough to get all the references. I'd not heard of him before reading your poem.

The grammar of the first two lines of S1 seems off to me and trying to decode it slowed down my getting into the poem. I take the subject to be Menashe, and I think you want him "shaped by a known unseen" and not (I think) him "muddy by a known unseen".

You could go with commas, "Shaped, but muddy, by a known unseen", but even that doesn't seem to quite make sense, such that I start to wonder if you mean "by" in the sense of: "shaped next muddy next to a known unseen". But "fashioned" in L3 makes that seem unlikely.

I take the known unseen to be God, but I could be wrong. And that God is known to Menashe, and Menashe is nevertheless muddied: either he is unclean or his understanding is unclear -- or both. I like the double meaning.

So you want say: Shaped by a known unseen, but muddy. So that that the muddiness is not caused by the known unseen? Or perhaps the known unseen is the cause of both, in which case, maybe:

Shaped but muddied
by a known unseen,

(or "shaped and muddied"?)

After S1 you abandon punctuation. I guess I wonder why you don't do that throughout. Or punctuate everything.

I take S2 and to be about his death, his life a brief flourish. "Efface" has nice double meaning of "erase" which I can read as death/dying, and also "to make oneself appear insignificant" which I can read as, perhaps, a period of religious/spiritual humility, perhaps he came late to his faith, or to fully embracing his faith?

My reading of S3 relies on this quote I found from Dana Goia, "The public career of Samuel Menashe demonstrates how a serious poet of singular talent, power and originality can be utterly ignored in our literary culture."

Final S has a nice play on "stone", I think. Grave-stone, I think, and also that which is hard-wearing, not easily worn down. But also the centre of a fruit, the seed. This last I might also apply to his poems and their concision: only the stone, only the heart/centre.

Anyway, I like the poem. It's briefness seems an appropriate homage to Menashe's style, and I enjoy the play of possible meanings in the words you've chosen here.

best,

Matt
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  #16  
Unread 07-30-2021, 02:25 PM
MJ Starling MJ Starling is offline
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Hi Everyone,

I read this poem differently. I hear Samuel Menashe’s voice. He speaks about how he was formed by his maker out of clay, the earth. For me “stone” is the stone of fruit - his poetry left behind. But I’m probably crazy!

MJ

Last edited by MJ Starling; 07-30-2021 at 03:31 PM.
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  #17  
Unread 07-31-2021, 10:05 PM
Seree Zohar's Avatar
Seree Zohar Seree Zohar is offline
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Matt -
Your in-depth is much appreciated, esp the ponderings on "muddied" and the homing in on "stone".

Interestingly, whereas we humans tend to think of ourselves as the highest life form, an esoteric view - and fascinating insight - is that stone is the purest form of existence since it is not required to change or develop in any way in order to continue existing.


Jim - "more accessibly narrative" is an interesting observation which I'll ponder more. With an anthol of Menashe at hand, I can't say I found the majority of his work more accessible,despite being fairly well steeped in many of his the sources. The degree of cold-case solving has, I imagine, more to do with personal preferences although there's a fine tipping point between not spoonfeeding the reader, on one hand, and becoming utterly obscure, on the other. Thanks for coming by on this one!

MJ - firstly, thanks for the "sparking" - SM would have loved that, a concept certainly familiar to him! As for your 2nd comment, why would you consider it crazy? It's a wonderful understanding to have reached! So, thanks!
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