Monday, October 4, 2010

O Poem, Hopeful Body

After Visiting Hours
Leon Weinmann

All unnecessary weight is eliminated….Even the brain cells needed for song are lost and seasonally replaced in some birds.
--All the Birds of North America, p. 63

At midnight, in the sunroom of the ward,
when you’re locked in your pajamas, stupid
with heartbreak, and your throat a frozen stream,
you’ll read how birds in winter lose their minds,
or lose that part that urges them to sing—
each glad cell dying in the blood, until
they know no love but the sparse, sterile seed,
the bitter pills that fatten and preserve
their hearts against this heartless cold, this dark.
And yet they seem at peace with this: they love,
they turn away from love, they wait for love
to come for them again, and trusting, sing
the song they knew was gone for good—I knew
you’d come back, I knew it, I knew you’d come.

After a long break, it seemed appropriate to return with a poem that speaks and embodies hope, hope also being the implicit character of the efforts we make to make sense of suffering.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Delicate Unraveling

In the Tannour Oven
Brian Turner

Stitched into the gutted belly of the calf:
a fat young lamb, dressed and cleaned,
its organs removed from the cave of bone.
And within the lamb: a stuffed goose.
And in the goose’s belly: a mortar round.
And within the mortar round: a stuffed hen.
And in the hen’s belly: a grenade.
And within the grenade: a stuffed thrush.
In the thrush: a .50 caliber bullet.
In the .50 caliber bullet: seasoned
with murri, oil, and thyme—a wedding ring.

Ah, love—when you undo the stitches,
take your time. I have love letters
stuffed inside of me, these tiny bodies
made heavy by their own labored breathing.

from Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010)

I'm interested here in the complex intimacy portrayed between this speaker and his beloved, an intimacy that grapples with the violences occasioned by experiences in war. Another intimacy is the one implied between the poet and the reader or listener, the poet warning and assuring the reader about what struggles to be contained between them also. And in the context of this blog, the relationship between a helper and someone coming to be helped is finally brought to mind, especially when the latter lives with what has almost been unbearable. What a triumph loving can sometimes be!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

blessing the boats

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton 1936-2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Poetry Reading with Cello and Conversation

Bridge Crossings---Conversations in Poetry
A series of four Sunday afternoons, Feb. 7, May 16, Sept 26 and Nov. 7, 2010, 3:30pm to 5:30 pm. C.G. Jung Institute, San Francisco.

We hope to offer you an enjoyable afternoon through the poems and conversations of two poets who will address a common theme. Accompanying music and visual images will also be featured. The impetus for these conversations arises from the notion that poetry is a “crossing” over varying psychic territories that touch our lives, our practices, and our humanity with both a feeling of recognition and surprise.

February 7, 2010, “Soul’s Tongue: A Poetry Reading with Cello and Conversation.” Poets Naomi Ruth Lowinsky and Forrest Hamer will read and converse; Cellist Chris Evan will provide musical accompaniment.

The poet and the analyst share the medium of language; both engage in the work of translation—from image, affect and memory into words.
• Does soul speak to each in the same tongue?
• If the poet is also an analyst, does one discipline support the other? Or are they conflicting practices?
A Freudian and a Jungian, both analysts, both poets, will read from their work and reflect on these questions.

FORREST HAMER is a widely published poet. He is the winner of the Beatrice Hawley award for his collection “Call and Response” and the Northern California Book Award for his collection “Middle Ear.” His most recent book of poems is called “Rift.” Poems of his have been published in “The Best American Poetry.” Forrest Hamer also works as an analyst and comes from the Psychoanalytic tradition.

NAOMI RUTH LOWINSKY has published her work in many literary magazines. Her poetry collections are “red clay is talking” and “crimes of the dreamer.” Her memoir on creativity, “The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way,” was recently published. Naomi also works as an analyst and comes from the Jungian tradition.

CHRIS EVANS has performed classical music in the Bay Area and France. She has played in the orchestras at San Francisco State, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley. Lately she has become interested in improvisation and composition.

Refreshments will be served. $20.00 Donations requested.
Directions and parking information is attached.