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April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 01:34PM

W.D. stands for William DeWitt, I believe. Am I the only one who gets the feeling that WDS may be discussing a theme other than just 'growing old' in the one below? A bit more than just a passing interest in young girls, that is?



The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven't learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
The blossoms snow down in my hair;
The trees and I will soon be bare.

The trees have more than I to spare.
The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach.
The pear tree lets its petals drop
Like dandruff on a tabletop.

The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.
This year they smile and mind me how
My teeth are falling with my hair.
In thirty years I may not get
Younger, shrewder, or out of debt.

The tenth time, just a year ago,
I made myself a little list
Of all the things I'd ought to know,
Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who's trusted me
I'd be substantial, presently.

I haven't read one book about
A book or memorized one plot.
Or found a mind I did not doubt.
I learned one date. And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.

And smile above their starchy collars.
I taught my classes Whitehead's notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler's.
Lacking a source-book or promotions,
I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.

I taught myself to name my name,
To bark back, loosen love and crying;
To ease my woman so she came,
To ease an old man who was dying.
I have not learned how often I
Can win, can love, but choose to die.

I have not learned there is a lie
Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body's hunger;
That I have forces true to feel,
Or that the lovely world is real.

While scholars speak authority
And wear their ulcers on their sleeves,
My eyes in spectacles shall see
These trees procure and spend their leaves.
There is a value underneath
The gold and silver in my teeth.

Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives,
We shall afford our costly seasons;
There is a gentleness survives
That will outspeak and has its reasons.
There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 23, 2006 11:46PM

Sounds to me like he's infatuated with his pupils, Hugh.


Les


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: Marty (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 24, 2006 12:01AM

Yes, a lewd and lascivious teacher who can't keep his spectacles on.


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 24, 2006 02:44AM

Anybody know anything more about Snodgrass than this brief bio. contains?

[www.britannica.com] />

Les


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 24, 2006 12:27PM

Zip in my local library on him, except one poem from a book of 'war poets'. He won the Pulitzer, and was the first of the 'confessional poets', others being Sexton or Plath for example. The Pulitzer was apparently for 'Heart's Needle', poems about his young daughter. Relevant? Dunno.

For some difficult-to-read rambling, see also,

[www.cosmoetica.com] />
Heat's Needle is also on that link, but nothing I saw concerning possible hidden or pedophilic themes.


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 24, 2006 02:36PM

Reminds me of Prufrock.

pam


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 25, 2006 01:38PM

Yup. I am not certain why I get such a bad feeling when reading this one, and I could surely (once again) be reading too much into it. I got my first stumble when I reached these lines:

I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.

Sure, could be a platonic love, and/or one for the luna moth itself. Not to say the moth is a particularly lovable fellow, although one could infer an elephant-like face, eyes and trunk when viewing it from above:

[tinyurl.com] />
But then, shortly after the lines above, I see:

To ease my woman so she came,

Huh? So, I scan through and see other oddities,

The trees and I will soon be bare

Could be lack of hair, right. But note,

... the cherry blooms once more.

and

The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach

The cherry and girls bloom gradually out of reach!? Perhaps they get too old for instructor Snodgrass to teach them? Mebbe so, but ...

The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.

He has to nudge himself to stare at younger and younger girls? As one gets older, those around him seem younger, sure, but why would he have to prompt himself to stare at them?

Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who's trusted me
I'd be substantial, presently

Once he gets older, he won't have the same nagging hungers? Substantial could be wealthy, but could also be stronger, I mean. Seems he violated their trust somehow?

I have not learned there is a lie
(that) Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body's hunger;

Hmmm ... there is a lie he has not learned that love shall be always ... younger? His eye is two-faced, ambivalent, evasive? He loves only by his body's hunger!

I taught my classes Whitehead's notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler's

I have to wonder why Snodgrass would be teaching young girls Whitehead's notions and providing a song of Mahler's (only) to a lovely one. Alfred W's notions seem to have been about 'concrescence' (concreteness/growing together) and 'prehension' - like apprehension/grasping/understanding? Seems a bit complicated for a younger student, or even one in graduate school! Same for Gustav M's song - dunno what it might be, but seems to deep for a child to follow.

Anyway, leaves me wondering. On a more 'normal' note, what is the finish all about:

There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.

There is a loveliness that preserves us (all), but is not for (some) specialists?


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 25, 2006 03:14PM

I wonder who these lines were aimed at:

In one whole year I haven't learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.

Sounds to me like he's pointing fingers, as well as confessing a preoccupation with the girls.



Les


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: Talia (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 02, 2006 03:38PM

Now see, I think your all just reading a bit too much into. Yes, I see what you mena by these lines in particular, but on the whole, I don't think that is the "main" thing on the poet's mind.

Perhaps, however, he is like the poet Gerald Stern, who wrote great poems, but as he got older his poems seemed to be more and more sexual. He came to our campus 2 years ago and did a reading, as well as a close intimate reading and "talking" in our Writing Poety class and (when we were able to get him to stop flirting with the girls) he read some of his newer not-yet-published stuff which made all of our faces turn red!!


Re: April Inventory - W.D. Snodgrass
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: February 02, 2006 04:01PM

Thanks for the insight Talia, sometimes you can tell a tiger by their stripes.

Les




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