hollow and stuffed


I am having a poetry morning. On Micheal Robbins website (which I have been checking regularly), he had this posted:

Any lists of poetry that begins with Robbins and continues and mentions John Ashbery  interests me.

I have read both of the books by them mentioned.  Yesterday I interlibrary loaned as many books of poetry by the other poets as possible.

This morning, I decided to try to read a poem online by some of the poets and Rachael Carson.

As I did so, a pattern emerged.

Here are the poems I randomly found:

Book of Isaiah, Part I by Anne Carson : The Poetry Foundation

Litany by Rebecca Lindenberg : Poetry Magazine

To the Angelbeast by Eduardo C. Corral : Poetry Magazine

Two Poems By Brenda Shaughnessy | The Awl

Wishing by Allen Peterson

The  pattern is one of spirituality if not faith.

Ay yi  yi. Carson imagines Isaiah tousling with God. Rebecca Lindenberg’s Litany is just that, an address to gods. Exactly who Euardo C. Corral is addressing in his poem is unclear. Is he the angelbeast? Is he speaking to  angelbeasts? Or is he talking about a third person’s reaction to beasts? At any rate, “All that glitters isn’t music,” the first line of the poem, draws me into a spiritual question. The second of Shaugnessy’s two poems uses a religious metaphor: “The Seven Deadly Sins (and Necessary Steps Toward) Making Art.” “Wishing” by Peterson includes a “theologist” who imagines that “this is the afterlife.”

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I am fully aware that my morning poetry reading has a sort of spiritual/religious halo around it anyway. I seek poetry in life and living much like many people thirst for an authentic faith.

But it continues to strike me in an ironic way when consistently I return to the spiritual in my thinking.

I reread Eliot’s “Five Finger Exercises” and “The Hollow Men” this morning.

In the margin of the latter I found this note I had written to myself:

“—- a good description of bad music this whole section (I) makes me think of how empty music, art, whatever can leave me when it is cheap, and in the service of the god of consuming, Servile act that both “hollows” and “stuffs” me. 12/25/98″

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