The Me I See: A Collection of Poems


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Oddly, he made early forays into music as a teenager, forming a country-folk band with friends called the Buckskin Boys, but he mostly let music drop until the release of his debut at age Those first poems emerged from a close-knit group of Canadian versifiers reading stanzas to each other in cafes and flats, printing mimeographed copies.

But his sense of the art stretched back thousands of years and great writing would, he knew, outlive what he saw as his own meagre contributions. Cohen was an exacting reader of the verse of others. In , he sued his longtime business manager, a decade or so after she began taking his money.

For his final publication, he left almost nothing to chance. Though Cohen came up during the beat era and admired Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, the cult of spontaneity never appealed to him. I find last thought, best thought. The first is a selection of 63 poems, some of which have been published before, going back several decades.

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Most of it is in rhyme and metre; at least half could be described as light verse. Cohen produced and wrote the lyrics. On the page, the poise and polish of these songs remain striking. A acceptance speech for a Spanish award serves as a brief coda. Ammons, Amy Clampett, Gerald Stern — have all penned memorable poems expressing the essential nature of their experiences of birds. In doing so, they have taught us much about how to see the world, about intimacy, and about our connection to nature.

Galvin is an established poet who has penned a National Book Award finalist. He also happens to be a birder. This collection of 43 poems is delightfully entertaining, literate, and full of the surprises one finds in things familiar. I enjoyed all the poems in this collection. One that stands out for me is "Great Blue ":. Often, around certain backwaters like the ponds behind the oyster shacks, I hope for a heron,. But I never expected it this morning, Mother, on the wall of this room you share with strangers:.

The Egyptian sign for the generation of life, its wisp of feather hairlike off the nape, among the old in their own humped solitudes. Reason, that chain-store item, can deny this forever, but that bird shadows us, at key moments is there,. But at the war's end it was not the same robust, virile man who came out of that hospital tent.


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Bucke, "from a young to an old man. Under the constant and intense moral strain to which he was subjected.

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The doctors called his complaint "hospital malaria,' and perhaps it was; but that splendid physique was sapped by labour, watching, and still more by the emotions, dreads, deaths, uncertainties of three. There is no need perhaps to dwell here upon the story of his stupid dismissal from one office by a certain benighted official because of the alleged immorality of Leaves of Grass , though it was this that provoked W. O'Connor to his remarkable, if rather combative, manifesto on the poet's behalf, entitled "The Good Grey Poet.

It must be kept in mind, however, that this was only an extreme instance of the social and literary persecution which was levelled at him from the first. But there were critics who, instead of meeting with courtesy this poetic attempt to raise noble functions, long ignobly tainted with obscenity, to their true dignity and natural relation in the great scheme of earth and heaven, attacked him with incredible viciousness and rancour.

As, however, considerations of Mrs. Grundy have caused the omission of the poems objected to in the present volume, there is no need to dwell further upon the matter here. There are many delightful glimpses to be got in John Burroughs's Notes , and in his capital little. In spite of light heart and cheery temper his ill-health increased upon him, and culminated at last in a parylitic seizure, in February , from which he had almost recovered when in May the same year his mother died somewhat suddenly in Camden, New Jersey, in his presence.

He left Washington for good, and took up. A briefest backward glance through the history of letters teaches another conclusion; constantly, it will be found, the order of poetic expression is changing and developing. But we do not need to make any far historical excursion for light on the subject: the experience of almost every poet will show us the simple rationale of the matter. The first literary instinct of the young writer is always to transcend the traditional means of utter- ance; the conventional forms have lost their vital response to the subject, he feels; they want re-adjusting, renewing.

As he goes on he reconciles in time the new need with the old equipment, bringing in as much fresh force and quality as his genius and energy can satisfactorily compass. This achievement of renovated modes of utterance is of course largely dependent upon the new condi- tions of life, and therefore of literary subject-matter, amid which he is placed. But what must be specially remarked, it is not usually from too ardent a renascence of words and their art forms that a writer fails in the translation of life, but usually from his being overawed by tradition.

Convention is the curse of poetry, as it is the curse of every- thing else, in which at a second remove the outward show can be made to pass muster for the inward reality. Now, the hastiest glimpse at the conditions under which a poet who has attempted to deal with the whole scope of the new civilisation, and with all that it implies of new science, new philosophy,. Poetry of the last few decades in England has occupied itself mainly with archaic or purely ideal subjects, with specialist experiments in psychology and morbid anatomy, or the familiar stock material of fantasy and sentiment.

For these a certain art- glamour, so to speak,—a certain metrical remove, —is required as a rule, which can be best attained, perhaps, by the fine form and dainty colour of rhyming verse. And there will always, let us hope, be those who will continue to supply this artistic poetry, bringing as it does so much inestimable enchantment to the everyday life. Up to the pre- sent it may be that this poetry has fairly satisfied the need of the time,—a time occupied too much with its processes of material civilisation and wealth-acquirement to attend very truly to the ideal.

But standing now on the verge of a new era—an era of democratic ascendancy—it may be well to ask ourselves, even in conserva- tive England, whether, seeing the immense poetic need of a time dangerously possessed of new and tremendous forces, this poetry of archaic form and. It may seem that a dangerous comparison has been invited in these instances, but it is one that must be faced straightforwardly.

The name of Burns suggests a solution of the whole matter.

He at any rate sang out of an abounding sympathy with, and knowledge of, the popular need of his day,—. Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,. But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater. I myself but write one or two indicative words for the. I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in. Thinking on this suggestion, first of all from its purely literary side, we are brought face to face at once with problems of extreme difficulty, which have been suggestively treated by William Sloane Kennedy and other American writers recently, but which it will be rather attempted to roughly state than to solve here.

The whole of Whitman's depart- ure in poetry is concerned with the vexed question of prose and verse, and the proper functions of the two modes of expression. Absolutely stated, prose is the equivalent of speech in all its range; verse, of song. But it is evident at once that the matter does not rest here. In a hundred ways needs arise which cannot be met by a strict adherence to this line of demarcation, as when, for instance, an elevation of utterance is required that yet does not, properly speaking, arise into pure song.

In the right adjustment then of the relations betwixt prose and verse lies the difficult secret of the art of words. Whitman noting in his literary work the restricting effect of exact rhyme measures, sought to attain a new poetic mode by a return to the rhythmic move- ment of prose, with what signal result may be seen by a sympathetic dive almost anywhere into. Thinking on Walt Whitman's initiative in the larger sense, and turning over the Leaves of Grass.

The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of.


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The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I. I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the. I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each. Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust. It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that.

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It is not possible here to go much into detail in speaking of the great wealth of poetry to be found in Leaves of Grass. Perhaps it is best for the uninitiated reader to begin with the "Inscriptions," then turn to the section called "Calamus," Calamus being a sort of American grass which is used here to typify comradeship and love! Proceeding then, turn to the more simply tuneful summons of "Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Many of Whitman's most characteristic poems have necessarily been omitted from a volume like the present, intended for an average popular English audience—an audience which, be it confessed, from the actual experiment of the present editor, is apt to find much of Leaves of Grass as unintelli- gible as Sordello , not without a certain excuse haply in some instances. The method of selection adopted in preparing the volume has certainly not been scientific or very profoundly critical. The limitations of the average run of readers have been, as far as they could be surmised, the limitations of the book, and upon the head of that unaccountable class, who have in the past been guilty of not a few poets' and prophets' maltreatment, rest any odium the thorough-paced disciple of Walt Whitman may attach to the present venture.

For those who wish to thoroughly apprehend the Leaves of Grass it will be necessary, let it be said at once, to study them in their complete forms, which is to be obtained in the edition of Messrs. Maurice Bucke, mentioned in these pages. The Specimen Days. At last, in thinking on all that might have been said to aid the true apprehension of one of the few true books that have appeared in the present generation, these jottings of comment and sug- gestion seem, on looking over them, more or less futile and beyond the mark.

But it would be im- possible for any writer, and especially for a young writer, to speak at all finally and absolutely in dealing with a nature so unprecedented and so powerful. All that he can hope to do is to suggest and facilitate the means of approach. Else there is a great temptation to dwell upon many matters left untouched, and specially to enlarge with enthusiasm on certain of the poetic qualities of the book.

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Of Whitman's felicitous power of words at his best; of his noble symphonic movement in such poems as the heroic funeral-song on President Lincoln,—. Apart from any mere literary qualities or excel- lences, what needs lastly to have all stress laid upon it, is the urgent, intimate, personal influence that Walt Whitman exerts upon those who approach him with sympathy and healthy feeling.

There are very few books that have this fine appeal and stimulus; but once the personal magnetism of Walt Whitman has reached the heart, it will be found that his is a stimulus unlike any other in its natural power. His influence is peculiarly individual, and therefore, from his unique way of relating the individual to the universal, peculiarly organic and potent for moral elevation.

Add to this, that he is passionately contemporary, dealing always with the ordinary surroundings, facing directly the apparently unbeautiful and unheroic phenomena of the everyday life, and not asking his readers away into some airy outer-where of pain- ful return, and it will be found that the new seeing he gives is of immediate and constant effect, making perpetually for love and manliness and natural life.

With this seeing, indeed, the com- monest things, the most trifling actions, become. It is the younger hearts who will thrill to this new incitement,—the younger natures, who are putting forth strenuously into the war of human liberation. Older men and women have established their mental and spiritual environment; they work according to their wont. They, many of them, look with something of derision at this san- guine devotion to new ideals, and haply utter smiling protests against the deceptive charms of all things novel.

The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems
The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems
The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems
The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems
The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems
The Me I See: A Collection of Poems The Me I See: A Collection of Poems

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