I had the good fortune last night to be at the Marfa Book Co for a reading by poet Michael Morse, which was prescient as today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a “review poem.”
Instead, of writing a review of the reading (which was terrific) or Morse’s new book Void and Compensation (Don’t you just want to read the book for its title?), I decided to assemble a modified cento poem—a poem composed entirely of the words of other authors arranged in a new form or way.
For me, Morse’s lovingly haunting lines stand as their own review.
Void and Compensation* —After Michael Morse
So you are related to the iris, in and of its family. April, the meadowlark back on his post, I led wayward bees to open windows.
We had put our hearts down on paper. Since when did keeping things to ourselves help us to better remember them?
My poem is told from the point of view of Anne of Cleves, the 4th wife of Henry ViII—his wife, however, for only 6 months. The marriage had been arranged abroad by Thomas Cromwell as, at this point, Henry was no longer thought to be “a catch” and the young eligibles were fearful of being wed to a king who had three prior wives dead—one exiled, one beheaded and one dead from childbirth fever.
Anne was brought to England from Flanders and Henry upon seeing her was dismayed by her looks. Since a commitment had been made, the wedding went forward but, soon thereafter, Henry found a legal way out of the marriage.
Anne knew what had happened to the Queens before her so she did not object. As a consequence, she enjoyed the King’s future favor and friendship and stayed a member of the royal family as”the King’s Beloved Sister”.
I have not been well handled. I, of noble birth, sent to this barbaric land to wed a king, one with a small show of man, his member a wet twig underneath white mounds of fat, gangrenous toes.
My eye that saw him did not enchant the mind.
A king who left a trail of dead wives across England The broken bosoms that to him belong.
Yet he so calleth me the Flemish mare. I, full and sensuous, of tawny complexion, not full-pale like the English maids.
Trained to please, I tried to catch his passions, his whims. In love, I was rejected, in friendship not. Feat and affectedly in my chambers each nigh, we sharen spit-roasted meats, black pudding
w/ ale over a match of chess. I’d harvest the most wins or so say I until Friday twelfth night ago when forth with I must quit with my ladies to Richmond Castle. I did not list his double voice.
The gardens are sorrow’ winds and rains.
Note: Quotes and certain phrases are from various Shakespearian sonnets.
NaPoWriMo Day 25: Write a clerihew—a short poem consisting of rhymed, humorous quatrains involving a specific person’s name.
Ok! I’m game but today all roads lead to Chaucer as it is Day One of THE CHAUCER READING GROUP. Check it out! It’s not too late to join. It’s totally free—even the book can be downloaded for free online.
Geoffrey Chaucer became an author after war & prison & his return to England
Look not upon the wine when it is red. There’s the trick of the eye, the trompe l’oeil. We think it’s one way but is it another? My eyes focus on the red of the courtesan’s hat, then circle to the sheen of the jeweled collar, the gold threads of the young man’s cloth. How light filters through the feathers of his headdress! Tilted. Ah! There’s the cheat dressed in yellow, the color of deceit, eyes level with the maidservant’s breasts, bared at the bodice of her crimson dress. The ruby-colored wine just poured. The glass suspended among the hands of the connivers as the cheat slips the secret card from his belt. We are complicit. We see what the young man cannot. The trick, the one played every day—the Ace of Clubs.
Just the Facts (a found poem) by Alice-Catherine Jennings
Texas changed nationality three times between 1821 and 1836.
In September 1995, the French nuclear weapon tests on the Mururoa atoll were launched.
Fairfield Porter was born in 1907 in Hubbard Woods, Illinois.
The Texas Revolution lasted only about six months. The plural of English words are generally formed by the addition of the suffix -s or –es (laws, taxes) but there are exceptions (e.g. children, halves, mice, sons-in-law, and bison).
The Worker-Peasant-Student coalition of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (COCEI) emerged in 1973 and by 1980 was strong enough to ally itself with the Communist Party and run one of its leaders for mayor of Oaxaca’s second largest city, Juchitan.
As a young artist, Donald Judd was impressed by the paintings of Barnett Newman, Clifford Still, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock.
A book with no edition number or name on its title page is usually a first edition.
Maximilian, the only Emperor of the Second Mexican Empire, and his wife, Carlotta, arrived in Mexico in June 1864.
Donald Judd declared in 1993, that material, space, and color were “the three main aspects of visual art.”
Vorrei prenotare un posto sul treno delle dodici per… means I’d like to reserve a seat on the 12 0’clock train to…in Italian.
—a landay from the district of Rodar, Afghanistan, as translated by Eliza Griswwald
Thank you to NAPOWRIMO for introducing me to the world of “landays’— 2-line poems, generally rhyming, used—sometimes in secret—by the women of Afghanistan.
Looking for something interesting to do this Sunday afternoon? Then read this awesome investigative article on the landays of Afghanistan and then watch “Snake,” a 15-minute documentary by Pulitzer Center grantees Seamus Murphy and Eliza Griswold, which showcases the photography and video behind their Afghanistan landay project. You’ll be moved, delighted, saddened and sickened but ultimately inspired.
It’s Day 17 of NAPOWRIMO and today’s prompt is to try to write a “social media”-style poem. We were to raid FB, Twitter and blah blah blah. I started with a line from a FB post but then found inspiration reading Octavio Paz.
Finding Salmon in El Centro by Alice-Catherine Jennings
We are in the city without
four rivers, larger than three
yards square, but not endless
like a galaxy. Salmon swim
in the waters of time. We await
their arrival in streets, busses
taxis, pigeon coops, and catacombs,
in the fish markets near Merced,
where time ceases to flow
and so do the four rivers