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Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 03:21AM

What does everyone think of Mark Strand's work? Here's a sample:


The New Poetry Handbook
---Mark Strand

1 If a man understands a poem,
he shall have troubles.

2 If a man lives with a poem,
he shall die lonely.

3 If a man lives with two poems,
he shall be unfaithful to one.

4 If a man conceives of a poem,
he shall have one less child.

5 If a man conceives of two poems,
he shall have two children less.

6 If a man wears a crown on his head as he writes,
he shall be found out.

7 If a man wears no crown on his head as he writes,
he shall deceive no one but himself.

8 If a man gets angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by men.

9 If a man continues to be angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by women.

10 If a man publicly denounces poetry,
his shoes will fill with urine.

11 If a man gives up poetry for power,
he shall have lots of power.

12 If a man brags about his poems,
he shall be loved by fools.

13 If a man brags about his poems and loves fools,
he shall write no more.

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.

15 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow,
he shall have a beautiful mistress.

16 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow overly,
he shall drive his mistress away.

17 If a man claims the poem of another,
his heart shall double in size.

18 If a man lets his poems go naked,
he shall fear death.

19 If a man fears death,
he shall be saved by his poems.

20 If a man does not fear death,
he may or may not be saved by his poems.

21 If a man finishes a poem,
he shall bathe in the blank wake of his passion
and be kissed by white paper.


Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 03:38AM

Here's another:

Readings in Contemporary Poetry
---Mark Strand

I am writing from a place you have never been,
Where the trains don't run, and planes
Don't land, a place to the west,

Where heavy hedges of snow surround each house,
Where the wind screams at the moon's blank face,
Where the people are plain, and fashions,

If they come, come late and are seen
As forms of oppression, sources of sorrow.
This is a place that sparkles a bit at 7 p.m.,

Then goes out, and slides into the funeral home
Of the stars, and everyone dreams of floating
Like angels in sweet-smelling habits,

Of being released from sundry services
Into the round of pleasures there for the asking --
Days like pages torn from a family album,

Endless reunions, the heavenly choir at the barbecue
Adjusting its tone to serve the occasion,
And everyone staring, stunned into magnitude.

copyright 1994, from Dark Harbor



Post Edited (03-31-05 01:39)


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: paul turpin (---.w80-8.abo.wanadoo.fr)
Date: March 31, 2005 07:30AM

Extraordinary, strong and also elusive at first reading. I must find out more about this fellow. Well spotted Ig!


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: March 31, 2005 10:47AM

Well, I like it, but I also like Celery Soda


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 12:54PM

Paul, here's a small biographical sketch and a link to more of his poems:

[www.poetryconnection.net] />

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 09:19PM

Any one care to dispute this one?

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 09:21PM

Why the Jackass Laughs
---Andrew Barton Paterson

The Boastful Crow and the Laughing Jack
Were telling tales of the outer back:
"I've just been travelling far and wide,
At the back of Bourke and the Queensland side;
There isn't a bird in the bush can go
As far as me," said the old black crow.
"There isn't a bird in the bush can fly
A course as straight or a course as high.
Higher than human eyesight goes.

There's sometimes clouds -- but there's always crows,
Drifting along for a scent of blood
Or a smell of smoke or a sign of flood.
For never a bird or a beast has been
With a sight as strong or a scent as keen.
At fires and floods I'm the first about,
For then the lizards and mice run out:
And I make my swoop -- and that's all they know --
I'm a whale on mice," said the Boastful Crow.

The Bee-birds over the homestead flew
And told each other the long day through
"The cold has come, we must take the track."
"Now, I'll make you a bet," said the Laughing Jack,
"Of a hundred mice, that you dare not go
With the little Bee-birds, by Boastful Crow."

Said the Boastful Crow, "I could take my ease
And fly with little green birds like these.
If they went flat out and they did their best
I could have a smoke and could take a rest."
And he asked of the Bee-birds circling round:
"Now, where do you spike-tails think you're bound?"
"We leave tonight, and out present plan
is to go straight on till we reach Japan.

"Every year, on the self-same day,
We call our children and start away,
Twittering, travelling day and night,
Over the ocean we take our flight;
And we rest a day on some lonely isles
Or we beg a ride for a hundred miles
On a steamer's deck,* and away we go:
We hope you'll come with us, Mister Crow."

But the old black crow was extremely sad.
Said he: "I reckon you're raving mad
To talk of travelling night and day,
And how in the world do you find your way?"
And the Bee-birds answered him, "If you please,
That's one of our own great mysteries".

Now these things chanced in the long ago
And explain the fact, which no doubt you know,
That every jackass high and low
Will always laugh when he sees a crow.

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: March 31, 2005 10:15PM

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.

no, sounds about right

so, what does everyone think of my postings, bray tell?


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2005 10:20PM

so, what does everyone think of my postings, bray tell?

I give up.

Giving Myself Up
---Mark Strand

I give up my eyes which are glass eggs.
I give up my tongue.
I give up my mouth which is the contstant dream of my tongue.
I give up my throat which is the sleeve of my voice.
I give up my heart which is a burning apple.
I give up my lungs which are trees that have never seen the moon.
I give up my smell which is that of a stone traveling through rain.
I give up my hands which are ten wishes.
I give up my arms which have wanted to leave me anyway.
I give up my legs which are lovers only at night.
I give up my buttocks which are the moons of childhood.
I give up my penis which whispers encouragement to my thighs.
I give up my clothes which are walls that blow in the wind
and I give up the ghost that lives in them.
I give up. I give up.
And you will have none of it because already I am beginning
again without anything.

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: Veronika (---.213.143.81.63.dc.telemach.net)
Date: April 01, 2005 04:34AM

This is my favourite:

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.


-- Mark Strand


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 01, 2005 11:44AM

Interesting author, but, for me, too much head and not enough heart


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: ilza (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: April 01, 2005 11:47AM

I like him more as a translator
( Portuguese, as he lived in Brasil for a while, Italian, etc)


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 01, 2005 01:20PM

He does some weird, but interesting stuff.


The Tunnel

A man has been standing
in front of my house
for days. I peek at him
from the living room
window and at night,
unable to sleep,
I shine my flashlight
down on the lawn.
He is always there.

After a while
I open the front door
just a crack and order
him out of my yard.
He narrows his eyes
and moans. I slam
the door and dash back
to the kitchen, then up
to the bedroom, then down.

I weep like a schoolgirl
and make obscene gestures
through the window. I
write large suicide notes
and place them so he
can read them easily.
I destroy the living
room furniture to prove
I own nothing of value.

When he seems unmoved
I decide to dig a tunnel
to a neighboring yard.
I seal the basement off
from the upstairs with
a brick wall. I dig hard
and in no time the tunnel
is done. Leaving my pick
and shovel below,

I come out in front of a house
and stand there too tired to
move or even speak, hoping
someone will help me.
I feel I'm being watched
and sometimes I hear
a man's voice,
but nothing is done
and I have been waiting for days.

------------------------------------------

Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 01, 2005 01:28PM

"Eating Poetry" is one of my favorites by Strand. Thanks for posting it Hugh.


Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 01, 2005 01:37PM

The Tunnel reminded me of this

Digging My Lawn - Giles, Giles, and Fripp


Early one Sunday
Well anyway, early for me
As I slid from my double bed
What could I see

Standing outside as the night turned to dawn
There was a man who I didn't know digging my lawn

Was it her husband, I pondered
Or was he a crook
Why was he taking car numbers down in a book

I started to ring and I rung 99
"Nein, you must not" she said
She was half German
Half out of bed
Which half was which doesn't have to be said

Turning her head
Her face was red

He is my husband she whispered
I started to sweat
Just my luck
When I'd only done this for a bet


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: jerrygarner7 (---.lax.untd.com)
Date: April 01, 2005 07:37PM



15 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow,
he shall have a beautiful mistress.

Lemme see if I got it right, I just have to scrawl some words, call it
a poem, then laud another fellow’s scrawls and I get a fancy woman.
It that how it’s done?
Then, if she becomes aware of my poetic vices and becomes sharp tongued all I gott’a do to get rid of her is:

16 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow overly,
he shall drive his mistress away.

I applaud the decisive, but the devices?
You got any testimonials?


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: -Les_ (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: April 01, 2005 10:51PM

Jerry, it's just a poem. I don't think he means for us to take it seriously.

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 02, 2005 11:34AM

  1. If a man reads a Strand creation and declares it to be true poetry,
    he shall be forever scorned by Calliope.

    --JoeT--

Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 02, 2005 01:48PM

I concur, Joe. Can you cur?


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 02, 2005 02:29PM

So You Say
---Mark Strand


It is all in the mind, you say, and has
nothing to do with happiness. The coming of cold,
the coming of heat, the mind has all the time in the world.
You take my arm and say something will happen,
something unusual for which we were always prepared,
like the sun arriving after a day in Asia,
like the moon departing after a night with us.


Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 02, 2005 06:17PM

Hear, hear!

JoeT


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 02, 2005 10:57PM

There there !


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 03, 2005 01:42PM

Now, now....

JoeT


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 04, 2005 09:36AM

he he


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 04, 2005 12:57PM

Coming To This
---Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 05, 2005 02:26AM

Black Sea
© Mark Strand (from the collection "Blizzard of One")



One clear night while the others slept, I climbed
the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky
strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it,
the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming
like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long
whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach
of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer,
the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea,
and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light.
The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood
on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea
break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear ...
Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all
that the world offers would you come only because I was here?

Les



Post Edited (04-05-05 01:32)


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 05, 2005 03:54AM

I really like 'So You Say', Les, but all the others leave me cold at best. Is 'So You Say' and early one of a type that he's moving away from, a recent one in a direction that he's moving towards, or a one-off?


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 05, 2005 03:02PM

Marian, I don't know when in his career, he wrote this one. I'll see what I can find though and post it back here. Check back in a couple of days.

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: tandy (---.sui213.atln.attga31ur.dsl.att.net)
Date: April 06, 2005 12:18PM

Didn't you like "Readings in Contemporary Poetry"? It's the one that really stuck in my mind since I read it a few days ago. (Or maybe what's in my mind is the image of that heavenly choir, after they finish singing, sitting down at the picnic tables in their spotless white robes to eat spareribs dripping in honey barbecue sauce!)


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 06, 2005 12:37PM

Actually my favorites, are tha last two I posted "Black Sea" and "So You Say".

Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 11, 2005 12:31PM

Marian 2, I looked for the poem "So You Say" on the internet and can't find it.
I agree with your assumption that it's probably one of his earlier works, but at this point I still do not know.

Ilza, or anyone else out there know what volume this is from, or when it was published?


Les


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 11, 2005 06:54PM

I find him entertaining. Is that ok. I don't know why I would need to decide if he is a poet or not.

Peter


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-155.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 12, 2005 04:20AM

Peter - on the first post, Les asked what we thought of Strand's work. I'm not keen, except for the one poem 'So You Say'. It isn't anything to do with deciding whether he's a poet or not - I just don't find him very entertaining, I find him annoyingly cerebral and not emotional enough for my taste - a bit like Motion. I only really like clever poetry if it's emotive or or appeals to my sense of humour (eg Ogden Nash & Dorothy Parker). I'm glad you enjoy him, though- it wouldn't do for us all to be alike. I was interested in where So You Say came into his career, as I'd like to read more he wrote around the same time, if it had similar qualities.


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 08:39AM

Peter:

I don't even like "So You Say." But, like marian2, I have no quarrel with people who consider Strand a poet; I just find his poems quite banal and uninspiring. Nothing that Les has posted has persuaded me otherwise.

JoeT


Re: Mark Strand
Posted by: drpeternsz (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 12, 2005 11:32AM

All you say sounds good to me on this matter.




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