Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lecture 5: Poetry, Thought, Feeling (the Mind & the Body—Stevens & Ginsberg)

“The poem is the cry of its occasion,” wrote Wallace Stevens.

What are we? Are we mind, body, soul? Some combination of these parts? Some other kind of whole?

Perhaps it depends on the occasion, the moment we’re asking the question.

In poetry, there are moments of intellectual reaction to chaos and disorder, to volatility and instability. Wallace Stevens can be said to be of this moment: the mind thinking through itself, seeking order in the medium of its reality, language.

There are other moments of a visceral reaction against order and conformity, against the madness of reason. Allen Ginsberg is definitely of this moment: the vitality of the whole individual resisting constraint, repression, and fear in the psychic medium of linguistic imagination.



Garret, thank you for such a wonderful class!. I found this spanish translation of the poem you presented last night.

I can see that the original in english is much more powerful and poetic but still I submitted to the group.

Suffice to say that Stevens is a poet for poets or a poet of poets.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird / W. S.

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Wallace Stevens
"Trece maneras de mirar a un mirlo"

Entre veinte cerros nevados
lo único que se movía
era el ojo de un mirlo.

Yo era de tres pareceres,
como un árbol
en el que hay tres mirlos.

En el viento de otoño giraba el mirlo.
Tenía un papel muy breve en la pantomima.

Un hombre y una mujer
son uno.
Un hombre y una mujer y un mirlo
son uno.

Yo no sé si prefiero
la belleza de las inflexiones
o la belleza de las insinuaciones,
si el nido silbando
o después.

El hielo cubría el ventanal
de cristales bárbaros.
La sombra del mirlo
lo cruzaba de un lado a otro.
La fantasía
trazaba en la sombra
una causa indescifrable.

Oh, delgados hombres de Haddam,
¿por qué imagináis pájaros dorados?
¿No veis cómo el mirlo
anda entre los pies
de las mujeres que os rodean?

Conozco nobles acentos
e inevitables ritmos lúcidos;
pero también conozco
que el mirlo anda complicado
en lo que conozco.

Cuando el mirlo se perdió de vista
señaló el límite
de un círculo entre otros muchos.

Al ver mirlos
volar en la luz verde,
hasta los charlatanes de la eufonía
gritarían agudamente.

Viajaba por Connecticut
en un coche de cristal.
Una vez le entró el miedo,
por haber confundido
la sombra de su equipaje
con mirlos.

El río se mueve.
Estará volando el mirlo.

Toda la tarde fue de noche.
iba a seguir nevando.
El mirlo se detuvo
en la rama del cedro[/size]

Versión de Raúl Gustavo Aguirre

garrett said...

Thank you Sergio and everyone! I've really been enjoying the class and the conversation. I'm so happy to be able to share something that I know and care about with you all.

nanuka said...

...I just liked so much the poem, thank you Sergio, I really need the translation of the poems.