Sunday, December 21, 2014

Poetry Pantry #232

Holiday Poetry Pantry

Greetings, Poets! Happy Holidays to You!

This will be the last Poetry Pantry here at Poets United this year.  After Monday, December 22, when the link closes, there will not be another Poetry Pantry until January 4.  Between these dates Poets United will be taking  a two-week break.  (Sherry has prepared a Holiday Message you will see tomorrow.) We will resume a full schedule again in the New Year.

We here at PU would like to thank you for your participation during 2014.  Sherry Blue Sky, Susan Chast,  Rosemary Nissen-Wade, and I  have enjoyed our 'work' here throughout, and it is rewarding for us to have so many visitors each week.  Each of you is integral and important.

And I would like to thank Sherry for all of the great interviews she has done this year, Susan for excellent challenging prompts she has provided, and Rosemary for her  features on poets both living and dead.  

Poets United is a wonderful community, and what fun it is to be in touch with people from around the world each week, get to know one another, and have the opportunity to read such fine poetry.

If any of you regular participants have photos of the area in which you live or an area that you have traveled to, I will need more photos in 2015.  Please email me or write a note below or in my blog to tell me what you have.  (I am looking for scenery - city or country or landscape views - primarily.)

Now...enjoy the Pantry.  Link your one poem below.  Stop in and leave us a comment.  Visit other poets.  The Pantry will stay open until 12 noon (Central Time) on Monday.  See you next year.

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

After Kandinsky: Yellow, Red, Blue (1925)

By Katherine Gallagher

Watch the animal eyes that whisk corners
faster than an angel breathing passwords
in a mesh of yellow. Cloud-sure, life flags itself on. 
Circle after circle is mapped in the mystery
of a line quicker than an arrow, shot from left to right,
the dark corners turned in on themselves,
while the sea advances up the cliffs.

Presently a cat walks tall out of the waves,
eyes open, heading for the fire at the centre,
the red waves fanned, turned crimson,
surrounded by purples that ferry
the jigsaw’s spell. Choices multiply,
resonate, form patterns for love-songs
the heart claims again and again.

In the background, dark moons, resilient,
juggle patchwork squares, lines, and curves.
Light bounces off them as finally the perfect blue
you’ve been waiting for, dips, tumbles
into the still of the storm, among reds, purples,
all shades — this country you keep coming back to,
that walks you home to yourself.

From: After Kandinsky
Publisher: Vagabond Press, Sydney, 2006

Wassily Kandinsky, the great Russian-born painter and pioneer of abstract art, was born on December 16, 1866 and died on December 13, 1944. He was also known as an art theorist, and his ideas on colour, line and point are summarised in the Wikipedia article I've linked to his name.

He was a poet too, who wrote what he called prose poems, which we would perceive as free verse. He was as interested in 'pure sound' as he was in the nature of colour, but in my opinion was less successful in turning his experiments with words into great art.

I find his abstract paintings very beautiful — and joyful, which was his intention. London-based Australian poet Katherine Gallagher obviously loves his work too, as it has inspired some of her poetry.  I chose this particular poem partly because of its references to home. Christmas is just around the corner — a time when, for many of us, home becomes very significant. 

I've been acquainted with Katherine for many years, as she has made visits back to Australia, specifically Melbourne, where I used to live. But it's been a while. It was wonderful to discover her splendid interpretations of Kandinsky's paintings. Although this poem refers to the images in the painting, her descriptions seem to me redolent of Australia, as the country she 'keeps coming back to'. Stunning poem, anyway!

Unfortunately the book, After Kandinsky, is evidently out of print, but you can find Katherine's equally beautiful yet very different poem about his Blue Painting (1924) here and images of the actual painting here.  You can find more of Katherine's work at her Amazon page. I have her first collection, Passengers to the City, which is still in print, and I'm pleased to see that it and most of the others are available in Kindle as well as paper editions. You can also read a wonderful collection of her poetry, and her biographical details, at the Australian Poetry Library. The biography there tells us: 'She is active in poetry and community reading groups in London and continues to be involved in mentoring and workshops. Besides her own work, Gallagher has published translations of French poetry.'

She lived and taught in Paris in the seventies, and evidently keeps some connections with France. At any rate Viv Blake, one of our Poets United community, who lives in Normandy, spoke some little time ago of attending a workshop Katherine gave in France. Small world!

Her website also refers you to her books, and to her workshops and other projects, as well as including her literary biography and a list of interviews. She obviously leads a busy life, yet was prompt and gracious in agreeing to my request — at very short notice — to feature her here this week.

This is the last 'I Wish I'd Written This' before Christmas. Have a great festive season, folks, and I'll see you in the New Year!

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ MUSIC

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ” 

“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

Midweek Motif ~ MUSIC

What are you listening to?
What do you hear?
And where?

For holiday celebrations?
For love, remembrance?
For the end of the year?
For the return of Light?
Resounding through atmos-spheres?

Your challenge:  Match the mood 
of your poem to the music in it.
I tied together
a few slender reeds, cut
notches to breathe across and made
such music you stood
shock still and then

followed as I wandered growing
moment by moment
slant-eyes and shaggy, my feet
slamming over the rocks, growing
hard as horn, and there

you were behind me, drowning
in the music, letting
the silver clasps out of your hair,
hurrying, taking off
your clothes. . . .    (Read the rest HERE at Famous Poets and

Langston Hughes' "The Weary Blues" begins at @ 1:44. 

From You Tube: African-American poet, Langston Hughes recites his poem, "The Weary Blues" (1925) to jazz accompaniment with the Doug Parker Band on the CBUT (CBC Vancouver) program "The 7 O'Clock Show" in 1958. Host, Bob Quintrell introduces the performance.

I can't wait to read your poems!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  
This is the last MidWeek Motif until January 2015.

"The International Year of Light"

For those who are new to Poets United:  
  1. Post your new music poem on your site, and then link it here.
  2. If you use a picture include its link.  
  3. Share only original and new work written for this challenge. 
  4. Leave a comment here.
  5. Visit and comment on our poems.

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