Last night I watched Mike Newell’s Love in the Time of Cholera. I’m not recommending it, I’m afraid (the NYT review sums things up nicely when it says “The literary texture that elevates Florentino’s story to epic proportion on the page is missing here”), but I had to watch it because it was filmed in Cartagena, with some (just gorgeous) shots of the Río Magdalena and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
And I now find myself haunted – haunted – by the combination of cinematography and sound in one particular scene: the record of the journey when, in order to separate her from Florentino Ariza, Fermina Daza’s father takes her by mule train from Cartagena over the mountains to distant relatives. As they travel across the river and up the forested hills the sound track has Shakira singing Pienso en tí (you can hear the film version here – ignore the visuals) and the lament, the music, her voice and the cinematography together make the loveliest most unforgettable poem.
Helped, no doubt, by the fact that Shakira, of course, is Colombian and was born in Barranquilla, which is in Atlántico, the province that lies sandwiched between Bolívar and Magdalena, the two provinces where the movie was shot.
Which all goes to prove – as if proof were needed – that Colombia is a little silver dagger that will never fall out and never stop suddenly twisting. Here’s one result of the infestation.
Here’s a Paul Guest review of Sarah Manguso’s Siste Viator, which is the other collection I am reading for NaPoReMo. I don’t think I disagree with anything Paul says, although not quite sure what coherent thing I could say myself about this collection.
Strong. Clever. Individual. Corner of the eye. Brilliantly coherent (sometimes). Sweet. Endearing. Mad. Completely personal.
Definitely worth reading.
First, a terrible loser with NaPoWriMo this year, then an even worse loser with NaPoReMo this year. Although I have actually been reading the two collections I said I would read in June, just not writing about them.
Here, just a couple of lines about Tony Hoagland’s What Narcissm Means To Me. So much of today’s poetry offerings focus on the look and feel of the grain of dust on top of the grain of coffee — real micro-stuff. And yes, I know, from the particular to the general, to the universe through the detail, etc, but one doesn’t realize how much one is squinting and frowning at all the detail and the micro-ness — how much squinting becomes a fact of reading poetry. That is, until one reads poetry that is much wider and bigger — (not sure I should not say, more generous, more unafraid), such as Hoagland’s work in this volume.
Which doesn’t mean he launches off into orbits of abstraction and airy formlessness that make you squint even more. On the contrary.
Just found this interview with him online, where he says:
There was a time when I looked at a scene and saw a man and a woman kissing. Now I am aware that the man has a credit card in his pocket and that just behind the woman a beer commercial is on the tv, interrupting war coverage
Well, yes — engaged poetry, a topic I have bleated on about here in some detail in the past. Here and here and here, for example.
Hoagland doesn’t abandon detail, he employs it to convey a wider spectrum of vision.
My poem the jungle and the bungalow is up at Poetry Friends today.
Poetry Friends is a terrific poem-a-day site published by Susan Culver, who used to edit Lily (how could she stop?!). I was lucky enough once to have a poem in Lily and that poem felt, now I think about it, correct in the same way the jungle and the bungalow does — although I would not have thought to link them in that way before. Thanks, Susan! (And if you ever have the urge to edit a poetry manuscript, let me know and I’ll send you mine post-haste).
Go check out Poetry Friends and send in your own submissions!
Not sure I completely agree with this analysis. At least not where frequency/regularity of posting is concerned. By which measure this blog should be dead many times over.
I wrote that growling thing from a day or two ago and really like it so far. Gave me an idea for a bookbinding project. I’ve been slow on the bookbinding (or anything fun, really) lately.
The new issue is up and looking fabulous. Some terrific poems as well – am very proud and happy to be in the company of cool poets such as Cheryl Snell and S. Thomas Summers, among others, in this issue.
My piece, mother wolf, is a NaPo piece from this year. I had a pathetic NaPoWriMo this year, in the sense that I only stuck with it for ten days, but it was a pretty intensive ten days while it lasted and I feel very attached to some of those pieces. Two other NaPo pieces from this year have been accepted for publication so far, so yay for NaPo, is all I have to say.