Above technicolour snails and terns’ eggs. Auden remarked, in his introduction to Shakespeare’s sonnets, that much scholarship “is an activity no different from that of reading somebody’s private correspondence when he is out of the room, and it doesn’t really make it morally any better if he is out of the room because he is in his grave.” Reading these poems by a man about to die is unusually painful because unusually private, with an intimacy now almost lost from confessional poetry. The skittery style (either jumped up or watered down), the perfunctory wordplay (“maybe ‘laze’ is just/ ‘zeal’ rearranged”), the description that never quite describes—the writing is more porridge than poetry. His bijoux never come to much, if they come to anything at all—and a few show lapses of sympathy, like his description of a suicide “coupling the lips of his car exhaust/ to the roots of his lungs/ via a garden hose.”. Rosemary Garvey, blind and in her eighties, Cared for two donkeys at Dadreen, Harriet. As many, but in the first-person singular. Longley writes of a little girl who has just played the Virgin Mary, probably in a school pageant, “You . “Let me have men about me that are fat.” —Julius Caesar, act 1, scene 2 Just as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe admired small, brave men who stick to their principles, I like—in the movies at least—heavyset, flamboyant types who walk a. An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, Hobson’s Choice stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late Victorian northern England. All are graced by evocative, shadowy black-and-white cinematography and elegantly restrained compositions. 2Angel Hill, by Michael Longley; Wake Forest University Press, 72 pages, $14.95. The ending almost conceals the quiet ambiguity—the soldier means his new outfit; but he could also mean his lost one, as if he were already a ghost among ghosts. . Shaughnessy’s occasional sardonic amusement isn’t frequent or devastating enough. Half sounds like a ted talk, half like romantic nonsense (“Innumerable names and doings, innumerable/ Destinies, remote histories, deities and tongues”). Dragonflies, not machines. I was seven years old, my sister was two. Michael Longley is a member of the old school, the old Northern Irish school. He doesn’t seem the type to traipse the moors chanting lines to himself, scribbling them down back at his peat fire. The museum possesses some eighteen thousand of these pathetic aides-mémoire. . The performance is certainly embarrassing; but Eliot did not, in the strict sense, suppress the very short set of lectures—he at some point merely declined to reprint them after the second impression. Simon Armitage’s larkish, laddish poems have been part of the British landscape for the past three decades. His portraits show the inheritance of Browning, rare in our day—but Williams added a flair for the grotesque all his own. Removing the Nativity to northern England allows a witty commentary on pliant Christian myths; Yorkshire’s high opinion of itself; even the belief of many nations, as well as American football teams, that they are singularly blessed by God. His last poems, each restricted to five tercets of unpunctuated free verse, impose a shape on what otherwise might have been unbridled rambling. . The beautiful reticence, common to veterans, and especially common to those who survived the worst of the fighting, makes the small touches more insinuating, more enduring. demanded by a beautiful or terrifying story. Qty: Add to Cart. . List Price: $39.95. Williams found his gift in long-lined psychological portraits. Directed by David Lean • 1954 • United Kingdom Starring Charles Laughton, Brenda De Banzie, John Mills An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, HOBSON’S CHOICE stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late Victorian northern England. The year was 1947 and his boss, planning to run for mayor, Wanted to hire an Italian veteran, he explained, putting it. Shaughnessy can go on for fifteen lines about tightening a drawer knob: This is as hilarious, in its awful way, as Longfellow’s endlessly parodied lines about Hiawatha’s mittens. During the ten years the book remained in print, however, he did nothing to stop its sale. Confessional poetry, in the long age after Lowell and Plath, has become so diluted that the poet’s private life no longer has to be crippled, shameful, or dramatic. Grandiose gestures are symptomatic of the vatic strain, the hectoring inside the lecturing, that infects Pinsky’s verse. William Logan’s new collection of criticism, Broken Ground: Poetry and the Demon of History, will be published in 2021 by Columbia University Press. You have to think your puberty awfully special to write a puberty poem half again as long as The Waste Land. This recalls the blowsy fantasias of Isaac Asimov. Mothers in addition sometimes left tokens that make up the most affecting part of the museum collection. Waiting for the end is for most unrewarding, nothing but discomfort and dread. Like the chorus of Greek drama they will speak. Bruce Beresford is the director of more than twenty-five features, including Breaker Morant (1980), Tender Mercies (1983), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Mister Johnson (1990), and Black Robe (1992). The wake widening behind me in time, those restive devisers. Though he ranges across culture and history like a boy killing starlings with a BB gun, the poems turn repeatedly to family. The wrist-watch is gone, but the widow keeps the strap. At this stove I cooked beans on toast for him, And, later, for young Muldoon, scrambled eggs. Heaney’s Nobel was a triumph for and blow against other Irish poets of his generation. Most of them cherish a few anecdotes that take the great man down a peg, though an Irishman’s fondness, like his envy, carries a sharper blade than most. Hobson's Choice (Criterion Collection) DVD. Few poets have been cheeky enough to launch themselves with an exclamation point (his first book was titled Zoom! Pop music remains for most the great medium of feeling and expression, but her poems for Prince or Madonna or some half-forgotten band would make poor Apollo gnash his teeth. and some with trolleys, back wheels flipping like trout tails. Longley stands in the long tradition after John Clare, the great English poet of weeds and ditches. ), a replica Louis Vuitton man-bag, a two-piece. The poem succumbs to a gout of etymology. created community and supportive space for our family,” “my . A quatrain for his father finds its emotion beneath the dry surface of description: His medals, the strap from his wrist-watch. Many of the poems feel as if the writer had been sitting at his desk with nothing much to do. 4So Much Synth, by Brenda Shaughnessy; Copper Canyon, 98 pages, $22. Yet too many are longish poems of shortish interest, too many a medium for humdrum lists, as if the only poem Armitage ever loved was “Jubilate Agno”: It’s too late now to start collecting football shirts. Robert Pinsky is an agreeable, hard-working poet with a professorial air. When Heaney wrote one of his farm- implement poems, though there were surely too many, you knew the tool intimately, but also something of the man who had seen it. Armitage can make a slick and stylish portrait of some mundane object, though not one the least revealing. Another poem starts with the Mauna Kea submillimeter array, tossing in astrophysics, Hindu gods, Hawaiian gods, Biblical characters, Sappho, Abelard, then, well, a cast of billions. Williams will be remembered as an fbi profiler watching for the nuance of psychological weakness, the twitch that gives away guilt. However irreverent, the whimsy is still a touch labored. Poems so rich in description are betrayed by the heavy thumb-print of sentiment: I’m not sure whether that poetry should be fried with onions or just smeared on toast, like Marmite. A reader must appreciate the will required when the horizon is so bleak—courage is necessary to write at all, or at least the longing for distraction from the unbearable. The shears were a crude beast, lumpen, prewar. . entered its furry heat, its flesh-toned fluorescent light. . Another poem consists of a to-do list so tedious Parliament recently banned such lists for a twelvemonth. Hobson's choice is one between something or nothing. C. K. Williams died of cancer two years ago at the age of seventy-eight. velvet-lined guitar case our Saviour slept. Reading about someone else’s adolescence requires payment in advance. With his haughty, independent daughter Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally, with none other than Henry’s prized bootsmith Will (a splendid John Mills), father and daughter find themselves head-to-head in a fiery match of wills. Despite the haunting charms of poems that leave much unsaid, far too many say too much. Robots, then: When they choose to take material form they will resemble. Shaughnessy has a sympathetic humanity, however, where Plath often seemed as cold as Philadelphia. A starsplat of sleep! At the Foundling Hospital is earnest in all the wrong ways—however personal the poems seem, they have a polished veneer that makes them appear second- or third-hand.5 Twice-told tales are not always best-told tales; but think what Jarrell, who never saw combat, did with stories picked up from returning pilots. Their colors in the sky will canopy the surface of the earth. . The children never learned of their mothers’ devastating sorrow, or their parting affection. With his haughty, independent daughter Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally, with none other than Henry’s prized bootsmith Will (a splendid John Mills), father and daughter find themselves head-to-head in a fiery match of wills. . Shaughnessy’s is no more loaded with longing, self-loathing, and unmodulated rage than most—toward the end, the poem becomes a rant against tampons, menstruation, body hair, and idiotic young men. You Save: $8.00 (20%) Share. A poet with Bishop’s quirky view or Lowell’s tour-de-force style might manage; but Williams found his gift in long-lined psychological portraits and what he calls “granite memories/ of myself as thoughtless selfish self-centered/ beyond what even the term might imply.” The nature of the disease and treatment makes it taxing to keep up self-reflection very long. In such lines illness is not the point. Wandered the battlefield till they lay down. the prow of our journeying cleaving stale air. The rare hard look takes the reader aback—“Here’s my face slung on its bones like a slop/ of concrete here the eyes punched into the mortar/ hardened it seems to something like stone.” Williams pays homage there to his unsparing earlier poems, the lack of self-deceit worth reams of sub-Augustinian meditation. A poet should be wary of goading poems toward vision or grace.