Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Bishop poems?

They're billed as "fragments". If someone sent through my old notebooks after I expired and hauled out bits and pieces and called them poems, I'd be haunting them. When it's a poem, I'll let you know -- that's my philosophy of writing. Until then, it's just material. It's the putting together that makes it.

Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox has just been released. Publishers Weekly says of it, "This book is as much Alice Quinn's as Elizabeth Bishop's. The New Yorker poetry editor spent countless hours with the 3,500 pages of Bishop (1911–1979) material housed in the Vassar College library..." A Newsday article calls it a "poet's newly found treasures." I hardly think being housed in the Vassar College Library constitutes being "newly found", and I reserve judgment on whether it is full of treasures.

I'm off to throw away handfuls of my old material, in case, as my husband so amusingly put it, "that asteroid has my name on it." Worse, he named the names of people he will turn to in sorting it all out. I better label my notebooks carefully.

4 comments:

  1. ah! forfending the hauntings
    burning the jottingsome leaves

    the mulch the grise the silage
    half-formed half-vagrom grieves

    in rude retrospect some morrow
    a lingering self? for sorrow!

    cheers,
    d.i.

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  2. Hi David -- Love some of your lines: "the mulch the grise the silage" and "half-vagrom leaves". I never have looked up the meaning of "forfend" -- can you enlighten me?
    Rachel

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  3. certainly Rachel --

    heaven forfend you should lack "forfend" in your artisanal arsenal! ;-)

    Kindly note: forfend, or if you prefer, forfend

    So, "forfending" in the verse means "warding off" -- as you'd suggested one might do; that is, warding off the condition of being a ghost haunting those misusing one's literary half-bakes (or even three-quarter-bakes), through the expedient of disposing of them aforetime. So, my verse could be read something like this:

    "ah! [I see! you say you are] forfending [yourself & others from] the hauntings [that might else be occasioned / such forfending being accomplished by means of presently] burning the jottingsome leaves" [of pages, which for that matter are leaf-like -- hence mulch & silage, if not to say grise]. ;-)

    BTW, regarding those two online dictionaries, I've been using the first for ages; but only lately discovered the second. It has some advantages, such as the hint of a historical context:
    << Date "FORFEND" was first used in popular English literature: sometime before 1591 >>

    cheers,
    d.i.

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  4. I stand enlightened.
    Rachel

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