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  #1  
Unread 03-02-2021, 03:59 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Default lament for the makers (extract)

wheat text

(more from the long poem in progress; earlier stanzas here and here. these are neither all the stanzas from this section nor does this quite track their eventual order, which will not be linear at all. )


poem of changes

....scarabs wear circles
deep into the entomological hour
....you alone see them
....no innovation
only form's geometry....only....is it
....deathfear perplexes

....love time....so your surname commands....as mushrooms
growing in their paperhouse show their faces
....but for a moment
when the smothered shiro erupts in laughter
so you track the rhythm below all rhythm
....deathfear perplexes

4'33"....for an
....autist with fidget
....spinner....vague humming
....creaking of fingers
still....be still....the digits at last releasing
....deathfear perplexes

....aeolus bygone
....nothing is stirring
....listen....xenakis
thrills the green....the grassblades again aquiver
earth again is stumbling in achorripsis
....deathfear perplexes

....never at home....your
....exile unending
....writing the darkness
visible....you love most of all your eclogues
where you sing....not envious....full of wonder
....deathfear perplexes

....as for the plague that
....finishes off your
poem....rerum close without closure....such their
natura....defer....and defer....deferral
without end....tomorrow....tomorrow maybe
....deathfear perplexes

neck blood-spotted....insula dulcamara
....face from the blue....o
....what will you do once
you have nothing left but your naked body
....raise up succession
....deathfear perplexes

....out of the chimney
....frozen in motion
comes the train....the smoke from its engine trailing
time transfixing....scurry across the hardwood
little mousey thought....for the cat approaches
....deathfear perplexes



The makers, in order

William Sharp Macleay
Jaki Liebezeit
John Cage
Iannis Xenakis
Vergil
Lucretius
Paul Klee
René Magritte
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  #2  
Unread 03-02-2021, 06:34 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Aaron - On a first read, I can get some of this, thought most of it leaves me perplexed. John Cage was an amateur mycologist (mushroom expert). So I get mushroom allusion. His surname, Cage, I suppose could suggest a paper house. Not sure which Shiro is being referenced, as there are numerous names and places of that name. But maybe it’s Kasamatsu Shiro, Japanese artist (1898-1991). But I’m not sure of the significance of the name.

4’33’’ is, of course, his famous piece of silence (though it’s really meant, not as silence, but a certain length of time for each of 3 movements that incorporate random audience noises and other ambient sounds).

I love Cage’s early pieces — for percussion, for prepared piano, and his string quartet is quite beautiful and a great example of early minimalism and a “new age-ish” mood. It’s quite soothing.

I don’t know what “deathfear perplexes” has to do with.

Is “autist” a word? Is short of “autistic”?

I also know and love Iannis Xenakis. His music is amazing, and is directly influenced by his earlier career as an architect. As a young man he worked with Le Corbusier.

Quote:
(1922–2001), French composer and architect, of Greek descent. He is noted for his use of electronic and aleatory techniques in music.
I think I can get inklings of the two painters, Klee and Magritte. The rest of the poem, however, I have trouble relating to. It’s beyond my wavelength.

Martin
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Unread 03-02-2021, 07:49 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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"Timor mortis conturbat me" is a familiar repetend in medieval poetry, meaning pretty much the same as “deathfear perplexes”, only stronger.

Is there a connection?
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  #4  
Unread 03-03-2021, 12:50 PM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi,

Two questions, as I've read this a few times now, but I'm finding it much, much more difficult to be carried along with this extract than with the others you posted.

1. Are you going to be listing the 'makers' when you publish it, as you've done here?

2. What's your rationale for the list of artists/musicians as 'makers'? I ask because for me, the idea of 'maker' is very specific - someone who makes things with their hands - a different end on the continuum from concept-driven Fine Artists. For me, 'maker' speaks of craftspeople, both rural crafts and also arts and crafts possibly Bauhaus.

So, in my world, Klee and Magritte aren't makers, they're firmly Fine Artists - one a Modernist painter, the other treading intersections between Modernism and Surrealism (if the world can be divided up into 'isms', which isn't always a helpful way to think about it and is very linear)

Anyway, 'maker' bewilders me, and the list of people make the poem more of a quasi-treasure hunt for clues/references - at the moment - it may change - I found both of the other extracts you posted easier to find entry points to after I'd read them several times.

(I like the idea of 'deathfear perplexes', but only understood that after Allen's post)

Sarah-Jane
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Unread 03-04-2021, 12:31 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Martin, thanks for letting me know what's working for you here and what's opaque. For my money, Cage's best compositions are those from the final five or so years of his life (the "number pieces").

Allen, thanks for your critique of "deathfear perplexes". While there are similarities between "timor mortis conturbat me" and "deathfear perplexes", they most certainly do not mean "pretty much the same", and the differences matter.

Jane, thanks for letting me know your difficulties with this one. It's tough to navigate the fact that this is a deeply personal piece for those artists and thinkers who matter to me, for one reason or another with the need to make it publicly approachable. I'm still working on that.

— — —

A few notes in relation to some of Martin's and Jane's worries/questions.

This selection is eight stanzas (of an eventual twenty-five) of a "lament for the makers"—a genre of poem in which a poet looks back on their dead forebears to confront their own mortality. Here are examples from Dunbar and Merwin. "deathfear perplexes" is a quasi-translation of Dunbar's "timor mortis conturbat me".

The narrow sense of "maker" here refers to a poet, not someone who makes things with their hands. I'm of course being more inclusive in who I choose to lament, but it's worth noting that as I will eventually present it, the term "lament for the makers" will not appear, though those familiar with the tradition will recognize it (I hope).

I haven't fully figured out the final presentation, but it will be a quinarian arrangement. I may present one such arrangement with the list of makers, and another with the stanzas themselves, but I'm not fully certain. The work is still taking form.

The "shiro" is the mushroom's mycelium: the main living mass below the more transient fruiting bodies—as Jaki Liebezeit found the rhythm below particular rhythms. An "autist" is an autistic person.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 03:01 AM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Hello,

Thank-you for the clarification - 'lament for the makers' makes a great deal more sense now I know the tradition. I think perhaps the difficulty there is that it was easy to interpret the phrase from my knowledge-base. When I meet something wholly unknown, it cues me to google/research - that phrase didn't. This might apply to other potential readers, too.

Now I know what the phrase means, I have an entry point to the poem. I just needed that one cue.

So, although you say it won't appear, I'd maybe consider including the phrase, but in a way that means people who don't know the tradition will know to google it. Or cueing us in a different way.

I'll be back later on to look at the poem itself. Thank-you!

Sarah-Jane
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Unread 03-04-2021, 05:03 AM
Clive Watkins Clive Watkins is offline
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Aaron, could you say something about the metre in which these stanzas are written?

Clive
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Unread 03-04-2021, 09:11 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive Watkins View Post
Aaron, could you say something about the metre in which these stanzas are written?

Clive
I, too, am quite curious about how you (Aaron) would scan the poem.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 10:35 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Thanks, Jane. The poem will have various "branches" splitting off from the main stem (the seizei piece was one), and this will be one of them. I haven't yet figured out how to introduce it, but I will do something to contextualize it. "lament for the makers" does fit nicely in the middle of a sapphic line...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive Watkins View Post
Aaron, could you say something about the metre in which these stanzas are written?

Clive
Thanks for asking, Clive (and Martin). : )

Long lines are sapphics, short lines are adonics. Example:
....aeolus bygone
....nothing is stirring
....listen....xenakis
thrills the green....the grassblades again aquiver
earth again is stumbling in achorripsis
....deathfear perplexes
I'm toying around with what variants are acceptable in sapphics. I'd like sapphic meter to come to sound as natural in English as iambic pentameter, and I think to do that they need to become more tolerant of substitutions than the rigid traditional strictures allow. So some lines here depart somewhat, e.g.—
deep into the entomological hour
—with its double iamb to start (a substitution I'm convinced is perfectly ok) and the two dactyls + headless trochee replacing the usual dactyl + two trochees (a substitution I suspect needs to be used rather sparingly if at all). But, overall, the base is sapphics and adonics. I don't think I've done any substitutions in the adonics, though I do play with heavier and lighter adonic lines.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 10:43 AM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I don't want to quibble about "pretty much the same". I can grasp what seems to me to be the "why am I worrying?" tone in your poem. I mentioned the "timor mortis" item because it lies in the same general direction as a lot of other stuff like ubi sunt, which is a Latin phrase [\ ˈü-bē-ˈsu̇nt \. Definition of ubi sunt]: a shorthand for "where are" —of or relating to a type of poetry reflecting on transience and mortality — compare où sont les neiges d'antan? I agree that "deathfear perplexes" is a nice adonic.
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