Friday, December 21, 2007

I like my limericks rare and my sonnets well Donne...


I hunger for the taste of hot, fierce art.
Something Yeatsy, with a gut-kick ending;
or Donneish, with a batter-my-heart-fierce-start.
The cool taste rules, and no use pretending:
a common recipe involves the blending
of wry-dry whimsy with refined despair.
Add a pale dash of sweet wist to the ending
and you feel like you just ate a plateful of air!
Give me a Hopkins-like-tongue-searing-prayer!
a sour taste of Hope, or dark seasoned Hardy
meditating life on a cold-stone-stair!
Chili-hot meats from the Devil’s party,
cellar-cold wines laced with cinnamon spice
taste best, like a Yeats-fierce dawn over ice.

- Mark Allinson

I just found this on the "Deep End" forum at Eratosphere. I don't know whether this is the final version, but I couldn't agree more with its exclamations. I share this poet's taste for chili and cinnamon - how do we escape from the "cool taste" that comes so easily just now?

New Dappled Things

The Advent issue is out.

Check out "The Gargoyles Return," by Joseph O'Brien; "Ghetto Sunrise," by Brendan McGrath; and "Parfum," (this one only if you have a strong stomach) by Gabriel Olearnik. Amanda Glass's work appears again, with more success this time, I think.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sonnet Sit-ups

In California

When evening leads the fog from over hill
Then straight struck off are seabirds in the light
Above Filoli where the woods are still
And rills of resin greening on to night.
Eastward, on the hills of sunburnt grass,
The houses all look penitent and blind.
I watch the grimy stations as they pass;
The faces in the train are tired and kind.
White is the hot haze and towers cool as stone
Where Chinese freighters win the Golden Gate.
The city poises central and alone,
And I have come too early or too late.
Where West wants East and would be at accord,
There shines the level Ocean like a sword.

I wrote this today in my spare moments, so I don't feel too guilty about it. I think it's good for an exercise, but I kind of hope that someone will tell me why I'm wrong.

It's full of images of home. The train is running on the BART line between Berkeley and Fremont. The fog-draped hills are the Santa Cruz Mountains and Filoli is an estate with gardens that look like an English Eden in the spring. The seabirds have wandered over from Crystal Springs Reservoir, which is where I have seen them wheeling. And there's San Francisco, of course.

I fly home on the 14th, and I'm very happy about it. Just have to get through finals...

Postscript: While linking to the Filoli article, I stumbled across an image of the very phenomenon I was trying to describe in the beginning of the poem. I love Wikipedia.

Odds and ends

1. I added my email address to my Blogger profile. Most of the people who really want to contact me have probably figured it out from digging up my comments in Haloscan, but I thought there should be an easier way. I don't know why I've never done this before.

2. Now that the movie of The Golden Compass is coming out, Catholic pundits are finally taking notice of Philip Pullman. Finally. After all that rigmarole about Harry Potter. Reading Mark Shea's blog, I found a link to a wonderful dissection of Pullman's literary sins. I once loved The Golden Compass, and I liked its sequel almost as much... and then I read the final volume. It was a crushing experience for a fourteen-year-old. For a whole day, I wandered around in a daze, wondering if my religion were a lie. I snapped out of that quickly - but I've loathed Philip Pullman ever since. This post from Against the Grain rounds up a lot of good Pullman articles, including one that yours truly wrote back in high school.