RIP, Mark Strand

on November 29, 2014 with 0 comments » |

One of my favorite poets, Mark Strand, is no more.

I don't know where to start in terms of poems by his which I love but for now, I'm only going to put the many links stored in my Mark Strand Bookmarks folder here.

Poetry 365 - Snowfall, Mark Strand
YouTube - Mark Strand reads "The Couple"
Mark Strand « MCQESQ
VQR » I Am Not What I Am: The Poetry of Mark Strand
Reading as Poets Read: Following Mark Strand
In a Dark Time … The Eye Begins to See » Mark Strand
PBS interview - Strand Pulitzer for Poetr Apr 1999
Mark Strand's "Elegy for My Father"
Mark Strand poems on p 906
Mark Strand poem - p 170
Mark Strand | "The Story Of Our Lives" | poetry archive |
Interview with Mark Strand - Oxonian Review
UI Pulitzer Prize Winners - Mark Strand
The Continuous Life by Mark Strand | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
Jean Nordhaus Interviews Mark Strand
Mark Strand (Bold Type Magazine) - Blizzard of One
Simic and Strand - The Presence & Absence - JSTOR
Edward Byrne: "Weather Watch: Mark Strand's 'The Weather of Words'"
The Oxonian Review » Mark Strand’s Words and Weather
YouTube - A Reading by Mark Strand
Mark Strand, a former U.S. poet laureate and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, gives this fall's Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture, reading poems spanning his 40...
Poetry in the World, Mark Strand
Mark Strand - Ullinois English
Mark Strand on Poetry and Poetics--from Essays and Interviews
Conversation: Mark Strand: Post Road #13
42 Years of Consistency: New Selected Poems by Mark Strand | Quarterly Conversation
New Selected Poems Mark Strand. Knopf. 267 pp, $21.00 When I heard Mark Strand read at Yale last spring from his New Selected (2007), I resolved to read a
The twilight zone of experience uncannily shared by Mark Strand and Edward Hopper. 
Although Strand has written books about artists, his poetry never is compared with visual art. This essay compares Strand with Hopper and offers an...
Edward Byrne: Mark Strand on Measured Verse and Free Verse as Poetic Forms
Mark Strand - Dark Harbor Part 1-3
Strand - 2 poems
'A Devotion to the Vagaries of Desire' : DARK HARBOR, \o7 By Mark Strand (Alfred A. Knopf: $19; 51 pp.)\f7 - Los Angeles Times
The last 30 years have been good ones for American poetry. Never before have so many poets of true stature and lasting importance written so powerfully and beautifully, some addressing the urgent
Farewell no matter what « il mare a destra
YouTube - A Reading by Mark Strand
Mark Strand, a former U.S. poet laureate and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, gives this fall's Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture, reading poems spanning his 40...
Dark Harbor - Essay
Here, for the first time, David St John has selected from essays and reviews written over the course of his career -- about many of the major figures of our time: W S Merwin, Philip Levine, Mark Strand, Charles Wright, Donald Hall, Marvin Bell, Donald Justice, Jorie Graham, and dozens of others -- and brought them together with six uncompromising and refreshingly candid interviews about the craft of poetry and the state of poetry today.
Poet's Alphabet - OverTheRhine.COM -- Orchard
Mark Strand: Biography from
Mark Strand (born April 11, 1934, Summerside, P.E.I., Can.) Canadian-born U.S. poet and writer of short fiction
"It is so much easier to think of our lives" Mark Strand - Google Search
In Celebration by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.
You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling / the old self become the older self, imagining / only the patience of water, the boredom of stone. / You think that silence is the extra page,
Paris Review Interview - Mark Strand
The Paris Review is a literary magazine featuring original writing, art, and in-depth interviews with famous writers.
Mark Strand - perpetuate the balance between the past and ...
mark strand | Tumblr
Jacket 19 - Mark Strand: The Seven Last Words
1981 Interview with Mark Strand - JSTOR
Blizzard of One - Mark Strand: Review by Ernie Hilbert
The Delirium Waltz .. by Mark Strand
Why Delirium Waltz? | Delirium Waltz
Mark Strand: Answers by Mark Strand
Mark Strand - Slate Magazine
Slate articles by Mark Strand
Poet: Mark Strand - All poems of Mark Strand
Poet: Mark Strand - All poems of Mark Strand. poetry
Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation
In a field / I am the absence / of field. / This is
The Continuous Life by Mark Strand | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: 'The Continuous Life' by Mark Strand, and the literary and historical notes for Monday, August 11, 2008.
Mark Strand - Major Poets, ed & intro by Harold Bloom - Google Books
white | by mark strand
Tagged "Mark Strand" | Renovating Virtues
The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life - Harold Bloom - (excerpt from Dark Harbor by Mark Strand) Google Books
The Universe Stares Back
BU - Poet Mark Strand first Hamill lecturer Boundaries between poetry and painting doubly crossed
Bold Type: Conversation with Mark Strand
Eating poetry - lovely photo of Mark Strand
Ploughshares - Mark Strand 
Mark Strand - by Harold Bloom
Mark Strand on Poetry and Poetics--from Essays and Interviews
Strand poems in Vendler's Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry - Google Books
Mark Strand - New Selected Poems
New Selected Poems - Read book online. From Sleeping with One Eye Open (1964) through the wonderful middle work that includes The Continuous Life (1990) and crowned by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Blizzard of One (1998) and his most recent new collection, Man and Camel (2006), this book gives us an essential selection of Mark Strand’s poetry from across the entire span of his remarkable career to date.
Inward Bound Poetry: 453. Villanelle - Two de Chiricos - Mark Strand
poems by Strand - The Poetry Center at Smith College
Next Time by Mark Strand
Poem of the day | The Untold Want
Poet Mark Strand Touches On Loss, Also Humor | Here & Now
Not Quite Invisible , Nathalie Handal Interviews Mark Strand - Guernica 
Pultizer Prize-winner Mark Strand on falling in love, leaving the U.S., and the next chapter.
The Writer's Almanac: Mark Strand
THE Q&A: MARK STRAND, POET | More Intelligent Life
READING BETWEEN A and B: Mark Strand
Mark Strand, Blizzard of One
Blizzard of One is Mark Strand's most recent collection of poems, and won him the coveted Pulitzer Prize when it appeared in the United States. Waywiser publishes it here in an expanded form, with eleven new poems
Mark Strand, National Poet Laureate, talks about his work - YouTube
In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo's The Writing Life, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor hosts National Poet Laureate Mark Strand. Their conversation span...
Poets Mark Strand and Charles Wright Read From Their Latest Work - YouTube
Listen to two of America's greatest living poets read from their latest books. Mark Strand reads from his book of prose poems, Almost Invisible and Wright fr...
Interview with Mark Strand conducted by Karl Elder - YouTube
Mark Strand: "What We See and What We Know" - YouTube
Mark Strand, recipient of the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009, discussed works in the permanent collection from a...
Mark Strand reads "The Couple" - YouTube
Mark Strand, a former poet laureate of the United States, reads "The Couple" at the Erotikon symposium held at the University of Chicago in March of 2001.
Mark Strand: intervista alla John Cabot University - giugno 2010 - YouTube
Borges - Influence: Mark Strand
The Garden of Forking Paths is a Jorge Luis Borges Web resource, and this page details the inluence of Borges on other writers.
Mark Strand, National Poet Laureate, talks about his work - YouTube
In this edition of HoCoPoLitSo's The Writing Life, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor hosts National Poet Laureate Mark Strand. Their conversation span...
Poets Mark Strand and Charles Wright Read From Their Latest Work - YouTube
Listen to two of America's greatest living poets read from their latest books. Mark Strand reads from his book of prose poems, Almost Invisible and Wright fr...
Mark Strand Interview with Karl Elder - YouTube
Karl Elder interviews poet Mark Strand, October 1991.
Interview with Mark Strand conducted by Karl Elder - YouTube
Mark Strand IPR Event December 3, 2008 - YouTube
Mark Strand reads from his poetry at the presentation of the new issue of "Italian Poetry Review" on December 3 at the Italian Academy in New York.
A Reading by Mark Strand - YouTube
Mark Strand, a former U.S. poet laureate and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, gives this fall's Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture, reading poems spanning his 40...
Mark Strand Poetry Reading | Sewanee Writers' Conference - YouTube
Poetry faculty Mark Strand reads at the 2010 Sewanee Writers' Conference.
A Poet Reflects, Is it you standing among the olive trees Beyond...
Conversation with Mark Strand: Ploughshares, 1975
Blizzard of One, by Mark Strand :: A Literature Break - YouTube
"The View," "The Next Time," & "A Piece of the Storm."

An image
Or the apparition
Just after.
(Apologies to Wallace Stevens.)

The word apparition reminds me of Impressionist paintings, which to me capture the image seen not exactly as they are but like it would be remembered by the mind of the eye if it took a quick glance (a glance is always quick, I suppose... pardon the tautology) and then looked away and tried to capture via paint that which was seen. But it isn't exactly what was seen. .how can it be. ..not the image itself but an apparition.a reflection of what was seen. In fact i have come to see many Impressionist paintings as that which you would see as a reflection in water...the clouds and trees in Monet or Renoir painting look like .they all look in reflections in a lake or river. 

Claude Monet - La Grenouillere

Renoir - La Grenouillere

I recall that Ashbery's Self Portait in a Convex Mirror delves into the self and the image of the self but that is a whole other world of exploration that goes into philosophy also... but I will limit myself to the Imagists and the Impressionists for now. Both capture an image. .a moment. ..but it isn't the present. .it is a presence that lingers in the mind. Recollections of a past remembered. Proustian nostalgia for a moment passed.
Next week in ModPo, it time to meet Gertrude Stein and Picasso and view poetry through the Cubists mode of thinking  (though we already kinda met the Cubists (Juan Gris) with Williams' The Rose is Obsolete and this insightful post about that poem.

This blog has been latent. Dormant. Like a volcano. And today, I've been inspired to jump-start it again.

I'm taking ModPo, the course on Modern & Contemporary American Poetry, offered via the Coursera platform by University of Penn's Professor Al Filreis. I took the course last Fall and enjoyed it a lot. I've waxed eloquently about its many delights often - though not on this blog - but thought that this time I would participate more in the course forums and discuss the poetry more and even post sometimes on this blog. I think I might be able to make time for this despite a busier work schedule this year since I do not intend to be spending time this year on completing assignments and quizzes in the course, having done all that was necessary and received a "Statement of Accomplishment" to denote that I had successfully completed the course. 

After having spent the better part of my time online last evening and this morning with Emily Dickinson's poem, Volcanoes be in Silicy, since Sunday evening has sneaked in and before the week and its many frustrations come in due time, I better spend some time with Walt Whitman, whose all-encompassing openness and big-heartedness was something I took to right away the first time I read parts of Song of Myself (this was before ModPo but ModPo 2013 enhanced the reading and also took me to sections I had not read before.)

There were more doors than windows in that House of Possibility in Amherst but evenso, if those doors aren't open, there is a sort of constraint, an imprisonment (even with the sky as gambrels of the roof, which allow us to take flights of fancy while still being "trapped" inside one's own self.) 
But no... Walt says...shut not those doors (and windows)...throw them open..let the blab of the pave and the sounds of the outside world flood in. Go out and wander.. reach out to the world... "A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms" ...."The delight alone, or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides; The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun." (Quoted lines from Song of Myself, by Whitman.)

And so on..he sings...he celebrates life - his, yours, mine, all of us - for he contains multitudes!
"The words of my book nothing—the drift of it everything; A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect, But you, ye untold latencies, will thrill to every page..."- Walt Whitman in Shut Not Your DoorsLeaves of Grass, 1900

Song of Everyone

on September 10, 2013 with 0 comments » |

I have found Whitman's Song of Myself to be poetry at its most exuberant in my (limited) past readings but I am learning so much more following a closer-reading and discussion of the poem  at the ModPo class run by Professor Al Filreis.

For example, if I read it by myself, I would have, in my impatience, not appreciated the beauty in these lines but after the discussion in the class I slowed down and read it more carefully and now see how he is here going beyond the pedagogy of I-teach-You-learn I-give-You-Take in teaching and learning.

It is very clear from the first few lines itself that the celebration of the poet's "self" ("I celebrate myself, and sing myself") in the poem is the celebration of everyone for he follows the famous first line immediately with: "And what I assume you shall assume,/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." Elsewhere in the poem, he writes:

"In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them."
and also:
"Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same."
Equality for him cuts across races, gender, and seen above but also in the lines excerpted here:
"I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men."
"I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)

Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children."

So, in some ways, the Song of Myself is, in actuality, a Song of Everyone... because, as he writes: "I contain multitudes." His heart is so big that it encompasses everyone. His thoughts are your thoughts. The air you breathe is the air he breathes. His appeal lies in celebrating not merely the universality or common themes that bind us but in you, and me, and him, and everyone, being, essentially, the same.
And he tells us that there is an element of universality in his thinking...
"These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they
are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe. "

WOW! Simply....WOW! I still have not read all 52 parts properly -- it is simply too much to read in one or two or three sittings. It is the kind of poem that you can read an entire lifetime and keep coming back to!

Today, an excerpt from an essay adapted, I believe, from the PEN/Nabokov Award acceptance speech given by novelist Cynthia Ozick:

Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (Fame merits its capital F for its fickleness, Literature its capital L for its lastingness.) Thespians, celebrities and politicians, whose appetite for bottomless draughts of public acclaim, much of it manufactured, is beyond any normal measure, may feed hotly on Fame – but Fame is always a product of the present culture: topical and variable, hence ephemeral. Writers are made otherwise. What writers prize is simpler, quieter and more enduring than clamorous Fame: it is recognition. Fame, by and large, is an accountant’s category, tallied in Amazonian sales. Recognition, hushed and inherent in the silence of the page, is a reader’s category: its stealth is its wealth.


..we had better recall that celebrated Jamesian credo, a declaration of private panic mixed with prayerful intuition, which so many writers secretly keep tacked over their desks: “We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.” The statement ends, memorably: “The rest is the madness of art.

The madness of art? Maybe so. But more likely it is the logic of invisibility. James has it backwards. It’s not the social personality who is the ghost; it is the writer with shoulders bent over paper, the hazy simulacrum whom we will never personally know, the wraith who hides out in the dark while her palpable effigy walks abroad, talking and circulating and sometimes even flirting. Sightings of these ghost writers are rare and few and unreliable, but there is extant a small accumulation of paranormal glimpses which can guide us, at least a little, to a proper taxonomy. For instance: this blustering, arrogant, self-assured, muscularly disdainful writer who belittles and brushes you aside, what is he really? When illicitly spotted facing the lonely glow of his computer screen, he is no more than a frightened milquetoast paralysed by the prospect of having to begin a new sentence. And that apologetically obsequious, self-effacing, breathlessly diffident and deprecatory creature turns out, when in the trancelike grip of nocturnal ardour, to be a fiery furnace of unopposable authority and galloping certainty. Writers are what they genuinely are only when they are at work in the silent and instinctual cell of ghostly solitude, and never when they are out industriously chatting on the terrace.

What is the true meaning of “the madness of art”? Imposture, impersonation, fakery, make-believe – but not the imposture, impersonation, fakery or transporting make-believe of inventive story-telling. No: rather, art turns mad in pursuit of the false face of wishful distraction. The fraudulent writer is the visible one, the crowd-seeker, the crowd-speaker, the one who will go out to dinner with you with a motive in mind, or will stand and talk at you, or will discuss mutual writing habits with you, or will gossip with you about other novelists and their enviable good luck or their gratifying bad luck. The fraudulent writer is like Bellow’s Henderson: I want, I want, I want.

If all this is so – and it is so – then how might a young would-be writer aspire to join the company of the passionately ghostly invisibles? Or, to put it another way, though all writers are now and again unavoidably compelled to become visible, how to maintain a coveted clandestine authentic invisibility? Don’t all young writers look to the precincts of visibility, where heated phalanxes of worn old writers march back and forth, fanning their brows with their favourable reviews? Isn’t that how it’s done, via models and mentors and the wise counsel of seasoned editors? “I beg you,” says Rilke, addressing one such young writer, “I beg you to give all that up. You are looking outwards, and of all things that is what you must now not do. Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one single means. Go inside yourself. Discover the motive that bids you to write; examine whether it sends its roots down to the deepest places in your heart, confess to yourself whether you would have to die if writing were denied you. This before all: ask yourself in the quietest hour of the night: must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this solemn question with a strong and simple ‘I must’, then build your life according to this ­necessity.
Thus the poet Rilke, imploring the untried young to surrender all worldly reward, including the spur, and sometimes the romantic delusion, of Fame, in order to succumb to a career in ectoplasm. Note that he speaks of “the quietest hour of the night”, which is also the darkest, where we do what we can and give what we have. The madness of art – and again I willingly contradict Henry James – is not in the art, but in the madding and maddening crowd, where all manner of visibilities elbow one another, while the ghosts at their writing tables sit alone and write, and write, and write, as if the necessary transparency of their souls depended upon it.

I found it via a comment left at the article "Under All This Noise: On Reclusion, Writing, and Social Media" by Peter Orner, which is also worth reading.)

Elsewhere, I read that we humans write to get laid! ;-) I jest but read the article - is an interesting hypothesis.

In terms of sexual advantages, a tale well told can undoubtedly up the storyteller’s charm factor.  Tales aren’t bland renderings of narrative events; they are, at their best, colorful, brilliant, and poetically polished.   They get gussied up.  And when storytellers use ornament and plumage to draw attention to their tales they inevitably draw eyes themselves. .... Literary peacockery benefits the audience as well. When we read books, we enhance our vocabulary. We glean information about particle physics or virtual reality or Australian Aborigines that make us better conversationalists. We hone our metaphors, refine our wit.  From the elaborate plumage of the story the reader, too, makes off with a few feathers.  

We possess nothing

on September 6, 2013 with 0 comments » | ,

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.” ― John Cage
I was exploring John Cage's minimalistic music earlier today -  like I wrote earlier, some days you need quiet. And in the spaces between the quiet, you need some notes.

Also, listen to this lovely meditative piece, composed for 5 voices, which is one of his many  Number pieces, a body of late compositions by John Cage where "each piece is named after the number of performers involved: for instance, Seven is a piece for seven performers, One9 (read "One Nine") is the ninth work for one performer, and 1O1 is a piece for an orchestra of 101 musicians."

It is only this year that I have started exploring the so-called "minimalistic" music of such 20th century music composers as John Cage, Arvo Pärt, and La Monte Young.

"Silence is the pause in me when I am near to God." - Arvo Pärt
Listen to this composition by Arvo Pärt, for example.

Though I should admit I have not reached the point where the music is stripped so bare that all that is left is the silence, as in John Cage's 4'33".

"I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I needed it" --John Cage 

Ancient proverbs tell us that "Silence is Golden" and Rumi may have said that "Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation.” but John Cage gives us a very different interpretation of silence in 4'33".

Let John Cage speak for himself.. ;-)

"In this music nothing takes place but sounds: those that are notated and those that are not.  Those that are not notated appear in the written music as silences, opening the doors of the music to the sounds that happen to be in the environment...... There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot." - John Cage, in his essay Experimental Music

But more than avoiding silence or filling space and time with sounds, sometimes one does crave silence for like the poet, Robert Penn Warren, wrote:
In silence the heart raves. It utters words Meaningless, that never had A meaning. - See more at:
In silence the heart raves. It utters words
Meaningless, that never had
A meaning.   
 Or like the poet, Mary Oliver, writes:

this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

And to put it more philosophically, these lines from Wallace Stevens' poem, Evening Without Angels, come to mind -- some of the lines have been bold-highlighted intentionally by me.
In silence the heart raves. It utters words Meaningless, that never had A meaning. - See more at:

Air is air,
Its vacancy glitters round us everywhere.
In an accord of repetitions. Yet,
If we repeat, it is because the wind
Encircling us, speaks always with our speech. Of dark, which in its very darkening Is rest and silence spreading into sleep. Where the voice that is great within us rises up,

Its sounds are not angelic syllables
But our unfashioned spirits realized
More sharply in more furious selves.


Let this be clear that we are men of sun
And men of day and never of pointed night,
Men that repeat antiquest sounds of air

Light, too, encrusts us making visible
The motions of the mind and giving form
To moodiest nothings, as, desire for day
Accomplished in the immensely flashing East,
Desire for rest, in that descending sea

…Evening, when the measure skips a beat
And then another, one by one, and all
To a seething minor swiftly modulate.
Bare night is best. Bare earth is best. Bare, bare,
Except for our own houses, huddled low
Beneath the arches and their spangled air,
Beneath the rhapsodies of fire and fire,
Where the voice that is in us makes a true response,
As we stand gazing at the rounded moon.