Elizabeth Alexander's poem at the inauguration of President Obama (1 Viewer)

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Odds are he would not have. He wasn't much for formalities, so the circumstances might have doomed Alexander from the start.

Does anyone know if Buk expressed an opinion about Robert Frost reciting at JFK's inauguration in 1961?
 

Johannes

Founding member
Yes. He did in several letters.

"Culture and knowledge are too often taken as things that please or do not disturb or say it in a way that sounds kindly. It's time to end this bullshit. I am thinking now of Frost slavering over his poems, blind, the old rabbit hair in his eyes, everybody smiling kindly, and Frost grateful, saying some lie, part of it: "... the deed of gift was the deed of many wars" ... An abstract way of saying something kind about something that was not kind at all."

- Living On Luck, p. 11


"And Frost out there blubberin his poem, blind and white in the snow. Jory-Shermanizing himself. I'd like to see them catch Jeffers on that hook. No, they couldn't. Not enough bait."

- Beerspit Night an Cursing, p. 167


"Frost said, "The deed of gift was the deed of many wars." Poetic blather. This country won some struggles for POWER. Why dress it up in Sunday clothes?

- Beerspit Night an Cursing, p. 171
 

Johannes

Founding member
Seems so, yes. But is it really that few people? It's, as I said elswhere, very interesting to read once you got over some starting difficulties.
 
Can't speak for Buk, by I was waiting for the Disney characters to prance about the stage. And when it was over, I had a sick feeling inside. This represents American poetry today...to the world. I'm going to get my nostrils waxed.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
The only case that could be made, I think, is:

1) At least poetry was included.
2) At least it was free-verse...as opposed to some brutally forced rhymer.

But I imagine he would've prefered someone stand up there & say something like "the country's in ruin, a cute little poem won't save us, we won't even save ourselves, I'm hopeful, like everyone else, but honestly I'll be shocked if this won't just end up being more of the same..." Something with a lot of truth & some heat under it, at least.

I've certainly read/heard worse...but there's plenty out there that is much, much better too.

My 2 rusty sheckels for the slagheap...
 
What if, instead of a brutally forced rhymer, it was just a rhymer. Maybe somebody like Larkin, only alive?

Or are rhymes not cool here because Buk didn't ryhme?
 
Of course, they should have got someone
to read

Born Into This. [edit: Dinosauria, We]

Given the state of the economy etc etc.......

:cool::cool::cool:

the fingers reach for the bottle
the pill
the powder

we are born into this sorrowful deadliness
we are born into a government 60 years in debt
that soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
and the banks will burn
money will be useless
there will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
it will be guns and roving mobs
land will be useless
food will become a diminishing return
nuclear power will be taken over by the many
explosions will continually shake the earth
radiated robot men will stalk each other
the rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante's Inferno will be made to look like a children's playground

the sun will not be seen and it will always be night
trees will die
all vegetation will die
radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
the sea will be poisoned
the lakes and rivers will vanish
rain will be the new gold

the rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
the last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases

and the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
the petering out of supplies
the natural effect of general decay

and there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
born out of that.

the sun still hidden there
awaiting the next chapter.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
Of course it does. Just as time dictates trends that will someday fade. Just as the crap eventually disappears, & the good stuff works it's way to the top. Yes, time very much dictates style &, to a lesser extent, quality. That's why the truly great writing (rhyming & non-rhyming) is often described as timeless...or that it's such a rare & powerful gem that it transcends the fickle prejudices of time.

& rhymers being "cool" or "not cool" has absolutely nothing to do with Bukowski or his work. Maybe the people gathered here (as fans of his work) trend against rhyming poetry, and maybe they don't...I don't see your connection though. That is unless you're implying that all gathered here are little more than mindless sheep...that we like what (we imagine) Buk liked; hate what he hated...

But don't fret: People still write rhymers--then they just turn them into pop tunes & make a shit-ton of money, win fanfare & adulation & MTV Awards...which, the world will surely tell you, is pretty "cool."

(The attitudes reflected in the above post are personal opinion and are, in no way, meant to indict the bukowski.net community as a whole)
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
:cool:
Of course, they should have got someone
to read:

Born Into This.

...
we are born into this sorrowful deadliness
we are born into a government 60 years in debt
that soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
and the banks will burn
money will be useless
there will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
it will be guns and roving mobs....
Best suggestion so far!:cool:
 
What is old is new again.

Time doesn't dictate quality.

Quality dictates quality; quality is timeless.

I agree.

And to my initial line: listen to any Hendrix lately?

Or read any Edgar Allan Poe poetry?

Poe lived the life Bukowski wrote about, without the BMW and mac, and died in an alley. Dead, alone, not immortalizing what it would be like to do that, as Bukowski wrote. Read, "Old man, dead in a room." (Note: I really dig the poem, so no flames, please.)

And, he wrote (Poe) rhyming poetry; one of my favs: Annabel Lee. About kingdoms by the sea, and shit like that "” very cool.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/annabel-lee/

I wear psychedelic shirts today; so do my kids, and their friends. We all dig Jimi. Trends that fade, come back "” quality rises, I think we both agree with that fact. But quality also takes time to be noticed; think William Blake. He was considered a madman until about 50 or so years after his death. Then, he became William Blake. So the times are wrong about many things, and art/writing is one of them.

What is old is new again.

And time can be a fool, Falstaff, just like me.
 
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mjp

Founding member
Language changes. Poe, and even the beloved Whitman, are tough reads to most young brains. People no longer convey ideas using many of the words they used, so the writing naturally comes across as dated. It is dated. All poetry used to rhyme. Then for a time most of it did, now most of it does not. Things change.

I don't think comparing poetry to music or fashion is valid. Musical and fashion tastes are cyclical. Once language changes, it generally changes forever. That's why there are threads here where people are asking what Bukowski meant by "moxie." And that's also why he wouldn't have written a poem in 1980 that used the word "nigger," but he did in the 1940's.
 

cirerita

Founding member
What if, instead of a brutally forced rhymer, it was just a rhymer. Maybe somebody like Larkin, only alive?

Or are rhymes not cool here because Buk didn't ryhme?

B had three rhymers published, and I bet he wrote a few more which were probably rejected.
 
why am i not surprised in the least? :)
I also know how to put on a tie; and tie it; but only on rare occasions. Do you mind if it's tie-dyed, the tie that is? And in daze gone by, I liked tie stick (tai-stick?). Exhale. And currently, I know how to tie one on...

I'm getting tongue tied.

:eek: :D

Language changes. Poe, and even the beloved Whitman, are tough reads to most young brains. People no longer convey ideas using many of the words they used, so the writing naturally comes across as dated. It is dated. All poetry used to rhyme. Then for a time most of it did, now most of it does not. Things change.

I don't think comparing poetry to music or fashion is valid. Musical and fashion tastes are cyclical. Once language changes, it generally changes forever. That's why there are threads here where people are asking what Bukowski meant by "moxie." And that's also why he wouldn't have written a poem in 1980 that used the word "nigger," but he did in the 1940's.
Language certainly evolves and changes; not always for the better, but for the more simplistic, imo. It's a shame Poe is a tough read, as his mastery of language is amazing. His short stories don't waste a word; they are as tight as...

If we are judging a time for it's music and fashion, I think poetry can be included. But I can see your point. And poetry is much more underground, imo, than fashion or music. Fashion and music are in newspapers, magazines, and on the airwaves. And tastemakers can fraudulently promote cool music or fashion (payola, etc.)

But I think the great ones always rise, yet sometimes it is way after his or her time. Again, William Blake. The lunatic wasn't that crazy after all...
 
It is handy and useful for lyrics to rhyme, aliterate or aim for assonance. It is tied to the physicalities of sonic performance. Fine. But poems are actually probably meant to be READ internally as a solitary experience. This event called a "reading" is for sharing, promotion, exchange and comeraderie (all good stuff,btw). So, as the sonic aesthetic of poetry gives-way to subject and content, as poets intentionally strip-away "beauty" in favor of purity - the rhymer becomes less used (as it can seem so forcefully affected).

Buk's process allowed him to be comfortable and confident in a "zone" that poets before him had not experienced. He performed "high risk", spit-in-the-face-of-the-past writing that seemed to be always looking ahead. He was not afraid of writing a "bad" poem...it seems he was only afraid of writing NO poems.
 

ROC

It is what it is
I don't think comparing poetry to music or fashion is valid. Musical and fashion tastes are cyclical.

Really?

I'm looking forward to the time Fugues, Madrigals, Sonatas and Plain chant become popular again.

Well... not Madrigals... they suck ass.

How are tastes in music cyclical?

Or are just talking about the ever-fickle pop music culture that will (it is hoped) eat itself?
 

mjp

Founding member
I'm looking forward to the time Fugues, Madrigals, Sonatas and Plain chant become popular again.
Point taken. Musical and fashion tastes aren't cyclical if we go back before the 20th century.

Or are just talking about the ever-fickle pop music culture that will (it is hoped) eat itself?
Unless I missed something, "pop music culture" is already over. You will never see a musician or group or "new" form of music have as wide an impact as some did pre-cable TV, computer and internet.

The market is not homogeneous enough anymore for a Beatles or Bob Dylan to happen. Radio doesn't matter, no centralized form of media dominates anymore. A musician or group can be relatively famous now while the entire world outside of their fan base has never heard of them. On the other hand, my parents saw the Beatles and the Who and the Doors because they were on mainstream TV shows when there were only 3 channels to choose from. That just doesn't happen anymore.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Before the 2nd half of 20C.
And I agree with the sentiment of your last point.
But I would add that the lack of homogeneity itself will result in more and greater internal 'wheel reinventing' or self-referential behavior.
I'm not sure pop music culture is dead though...dying perhaps.
Its being reshaped by media, access and the blind groping for something of meaning in an utterly meaningless form.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
And you're one of the few people who like the Beerspit Night and Cursing book, right?

I not only liked it, it's one of my favorites among the letters books. I like the insane, over the top wordplay, pushing it till it breaks. Not for all tastes, I admit. If it were anyone but Bukowski keeping up his end in this verbal contest, I might not go for it, but it's such a stretch, the down to earth plain spoken Bukowski sparring with Pound's ex-mistress, that I find it entertaining. By the way, there's a short memoir called KAFKA WAS THE RAGE that features Sherri Martinelli as a main character, although she's called something else in it, "Sheri Donatti." Set in post-war Greenwich Village, late 1940s. The book is by Anatole Broyard. I read it on the plane headed for New York. Good insights into Martinelli's personality.

"...And Frost out there blubberin his poem, blind and white in the snow. Jory-Shermanizing himself..." Ouch for Sherman.
 

mjp

Founding member
...the lack of homogeneity itself will result in more and greater internal 'wheel reinventing' or self-referential behavior.
No doubt about that. The lack of homogeneity, the pigeonholing of styles and the increasing difficulty in doing something that hasn't been done already with a guitar, bass and drums.

Although there is always room for someone's masterful interpretation in any given musical pigeonhole. Mozart didn't blaze any trails, but he did exceptional work in an established form.

That's why I still watch and listen to new groups. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for something exceptional. ;)

I shouldn't say that, there have been a few that I found exceptional in the past five years or so. Regina Spektor and Nellie McKay come to mind.
 
Time doesn't dictate quality. Quality is subjective. Time dictates perception, because society changes with time, and individual perception is based partly on societal perception.

That said, I can't say what Buk would have thought. But I thought it was trash.
 

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