Sunday, August 8, 2010
"Much have I traveled in the realms of gold." (Keats)
.....For those readers who have been late reading these blogs, I went for the first time out of curiosity--and something to do--to a Poetry Workshop held at our local public library last Tuesday. Well, thanks to JR, my son, I have some information about the lady who runs the class, Stacie Kiner. She is listed in the library newsletter as an "...award winning poet." I couldn't find any information by googling her name. Her background, disappointingly, doesn't amount to much, really. I haven't been able to track down any of her poetry. But according to Joel (formerly of the CIA) she has been published in the "Madison Review" which is the undergraduate magazine of the University of Wisconsin. I can match that one, because I was published in "Quarto" the literary magazine of the School of General Studies in Columbia University. In fact I have Pres. Eisenhower's signature on the cover of that magazine. I wonder if that could be worth something on E-Bay?? Also, Ms. Kiner is a recipient of the "Hannah Kahn Award". I have had no success in learning about that one. And finally, her poem or poetry has appeared in "The Apalachee Review", a publication originating in Tallahassee, Florida. I don't mean to denigrate Ms. Kiner's poetic accomplishments, but apparently she has had no teaching experiences that I know of, and it shows in the class she is conducting.
.....The poem she chose to discuss with a classful of seniors--mostly elderly women--was John Donne's "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" purportedly addressed to his wife, but more likely to his mistress, in which he forbids crying and sighing at his demise because their love is too strong for such wringing of hands. Their love, he says, is not a separation, but it is more like "...gold to airy thinness beat." (Considering the price of gold these days, I don't think it wise to beat it to airy thinness). Donne is considered the leader of a group of poets in the 17th Century called the "metaphysicals" Their style was characterized by wit and "metaphysical conceits"--far fetched or unusual similes or metaphors, such as in Andrew Marvell's comparison of the soul with a drop of dew." I bring this up because I don't think a discussion of metaphysical poetry is appropriate for the group in Ms. Kiner's class.
.....Well, as I wrote in the August 4 blog, Ms. Kiner distributed copies of a poem by Anne Sexton, a Pulitzer Prize winner, called "Angels of the Love Affair". Again, she is a member of a school of poets called "confessionalists" whose poetry is so introspective and flagellative (I just made up that word) that it borders on the unintelligible. Another "school" that I deem inappropriate for a large group of elderly men and women who may not care to read about Anne Sexton's views on her bouts with her toilet, adultery, masturbation, isolation, depression, suicide, and despair. I believe Ms. Kiner is a nice young woman; her poetry may be excellent; I haven't read any--but I question her judgment about how to conduct this class wherein I believe the "students" would like to read and analyze intelligible poetry and possibly how to better write their own poetry. We'll see what happens next Tuesday.
.....And now, I will close today's blog by admitting an error I made when I wrote that August 14 was VJ Day. September 2 is VJ Day and August 14 marks the end of WWII if anyone wishes to quibble about it.
.....Secondly, I received a blog comment from a former student, Hugh Gilson, whose e-mail address I would love to have.
....Thirdly, speaking of gold--Rhoda, like alchemists of old, you turn my life's base metal into gold.
.....Fourthly, I know. I know. I said I was finished writing these things. I lied. Sue me.