writing


No sea too long time

Hi all long distance friends. The title should rather be: no time -> no see, but then I wouldn’t been able to use the lovely picture. Lately I’ve been busy running around looking stressed out, but I thought it was high time to do something I liked instead. Hence, a new blog post. By the way, I’ve started to write a book. 5 hours each sunday I’m free dwelling on 1900-century life and thoughts. And saints. Theres a lot of saints in my book (as in all good books)! 😉

Its a very fulfilling hobby.

Hope all old blog acquaintances are thriving.

See you!

 

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,

Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, unto which we doom

Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;

Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

                                                      William Wordsworth 1806.

 

Many people say they have a problem with poetry because they are not able to understand it. At the same time they have no problem appreciating a piece of music, even though they don’t “understand” it, but still are able to appreciate it.

Art is all about correspondence. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and art is all about beauty, sometimes as beauty of thought more than visual, but never the less: Art lies in between people.

I often find today’s poetry is written more for the poet’s sake than for the reader. Even though I love modern poetry, like Eliot or Sefaris’ I have found that too much liberty in how to write poems often hinders the poetry from taking wings and lifting off. I believe that poets need limitations to steer them from their personal horizons and into those what can be shared with others. Eliot and Seferis both made use of technical limitations in their writing even if they did not always use the classical metrical limitations… (However it would be interesting to read a comparison of prosody between Elliott and the Victorian English poets – G.M. Hopkins is a metrical key here -or between Seferis and the classical Greeks – Eliot is a key there)

Metrical poetry frees the verse. It’s not about Iambic Pentameter or Hexameter. It’s about making use of the tradition (as Catholics we should have a deeper understanding of this) It’s not even about having rhymes or not. There is a difference between free verse and stapling words. By finding your restrictions, you give yourself wings.

 

 

Wordsworth
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Comforter, where is your comforting?

 

As a hobby I translate GM Hopkins poetry to Swedish. It’s an impossible task and I will never be able to satisfyingly complete this project. His poetry is far to interlinked with the English language and how he perceived things in his time… But this is why I enjoy it so much. It’s not about accomplish something. It’s about being close to my favorite poet.

Poems and texts are living things and you should keep changing them and letting them evolve until you grasp what was meant to be said. This is my way of keeping his poetry alive. At least for me.

I used to be quite keen on writing my own poetry, but I haven’t for more than a decade. In my previous post on this blog, I finally wrote one… Well this wasn’t much of a poem to start with. It was more one of those things, when you need to formulate something and you don’t now beforehand what will come out.

I guess this one reflects the strange mood I’ve been in lately. I think it’s a response to all that has happened to me and my family this past year. My mothers disease, which have been really hard for us all in the family, (she’s better now) and I guess all other things that has happened, like my conversion, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at, people I met and a lot of thoughts on where I’m heading in life. To me life seems to be an on going lesson in humbleness. I guess thats why I’m where I’m at. I Don’t know if there’s any reminiscence left of this in the text though.

I find that poems have a habit of taking their own turns after a while. There are things that triggers the writer so he/she writes a text. The produced text triggers change to conform to that someone else will read it. This is what I find most interesting. Hopefully this process eventually end up in a text that triggers a reader. Text as interaction.

The title “Comforter, where is your comforting” in my poem is a quote from one of GMH’s “terrible sonnets”. The question – as I interpret it – is not whether there is a comforter, but when, how and where the comforting will come.

Some people misinterpret his late poems as being a record of lost faith. To me this is not grasping the texts at all. Then they would have lost their worth. Hopkins saw Gods beauty and presence in everything, not just in his wonderful descriptions of a God charged nature, as in his most famous poems, but also in patterns of urine in the snow, over a little child’s first communion, the death of five nuns in a shipwreck, in music and paintings, in Duns Scotus and a lot more that we will never know about; until his naked and bare stripped poems from his depression, at the end of his life. His poems do not deal with lost faith at all, as I see it. Rather the opposite. In all of his poems the world is charged with the grandeur of God.

Sometimes it’s like Christians can’t be depressed misfits or rational humans with ups and downs… It’s like we are supposed to be those cheerful, innocuous proper groups of people overfilled with joyful feelings from an ever happy and harmless Holy Spirit.

Measure-The-Presence-Of-Christ-By-The-Smile-On-Your-Face kind of folks… Otherwise someone comes along and tells us that we are doubting our faith.

Well, I was feeling moody late one night, pondering Hopkins, me and my mum, thinking about my faith and my world. 😦 Then I wrote this poem and posted it here on the blog. The next day, on the same day we celebrated John the Baptist btw, Ann from Poetry, Prayer and Praise made a reference to John 3:30 in a comment. This clarified a lot to me of what it was about.

And as I spoke earlier of living texts, well, I just had to change the text in the poem.

People often speak of the importance to “kill your darlings” when you write a text. Well, sometimes you have to incorporate them. 😉

So here’s the new and improved comforter poem.

I hope someone will find it enjoyable. It’s alive and kicking. 🙂

 

 

 

It’s midnight. Finally I’m home. Been studying all day and in the evening me and a friend was interviewing a programmer in a quite large and well known company.

For the moment though he was working as a consult for a company that would be perfect for our thesis next year. We talked a little about if he thought it would be possible for us to conduct a research there next year, and it didn’t seem impossible. Great.

Afterwards I drove the poor (and very kind) interviewee home and we ended up discussing poetry for almost an hour. I think that it was the similarity between refactoring code and writing poetry that got us started. Seems like we got pretty similar ideas about art and literature. Must be years since last that happened…

Sometimes it’s a really nice feeling to be tired: It’s been a good day.

Between 1854 to 1863 Gerard Manley Hopkins was educated at the Highgate school. For a couple of months in 1861 – when Hopkins was sixteen -the English poet R.W. Dixon was an assistant master there and even though they did not really got acquainted at that time, Dixon made such an impact on Hopkins, that seventeen years later Gerard wrote a letter to Dixon in which he expressed his high regards towards his old master and especially for his writing.

In response Dixon wrote a letter which I think draws a colourful image upon Dixons perception of Gerard as a young boy.

I think that I remember you in the Highgate School. At least I remember a pale young boy, very light and active, with a very meditative & intellectual face, whose name, if I am not vastly mistaken, was yours. If I am not deceived by memory, that boy got a prize for English poetry. I may be deceived in this identification: but if you have time to write again, I should like to know. I little thought that my gift to Mr. Lobb, which I had quite forgotten, would bear such a fruit.

The gift Mr. Dixon is referring to was his book: Christ’s Company, published in 1861. A book Gerard referred to – in his previous letter to Dixon – as a part of my own mind. Dixons memory was not vastly mistaken. The pale young boy was indeed Gerard Hopkins. And GM wrote back: The correspondence between Dixon and Hopkins evolved to a deep friendship and lasted a decade, until the very end of Hopkins lifetime.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Victorian poet but he can’t really be placed in any particular literary school. Poets like T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas have both been influenced by him. The Auden generation with poets like Robert Graves held him in high esteem. Hopkins heralds the modernistic poetry. He is famous for his very rhythmic, almost musical, poetry. Consonance, Assonance, alliteration and internal rhymes are important part of his poetry. The use of prepositions, conjunctions and pauses are an instrument of rhythm.

He uses the words like no other. Verbs, often in present participle, is creating a drive, a running feeling in the text, he transforms words to different word classes. For example the verbification: Let him Easter in us. He also often makes use of displacement of meaning, e.g. he can let a predicate belong to two subjects and bring forth simultaneous alternatives of interpretation. He is creating a weave of sounds and rhythm, forming associations and meaning.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

I rented a DVD the other day, a movie about Truman Capote. My son said it was a really boring movie, and I kind of agree. If it wasn’t for my great respect for the writings of Mr. Capote, I doubt I would have ever been able to keep awake through the entire 2 hours. I mean, I’m sure it was a great movie. The acting was superb, and the message was well put and interesting, but, well… Jackie Chan is funnier.

Nevertheless I found it to be a very accurate portrait of what I have come to admire in Capote.

Truman

Capote made most of his works in the fifties and sixties. He invented the non-fiction novel. The novel In cold blood was published in the mid sixties. After this he was writing – according to himself – the greatest work ever done, the culmination of his genre.

For the last fifteen or twenty years of his life (he died 1984) he was never able to finish this novel. He published small parts of it, like The Mojave, But at his death the book Answered Prayers, was still not finished.

Great literature comes from curiosity for others, to find out that we are the others. Capote found that when trying to describe something truthful, you still have to choose a perspective. To tell the truth was essential to Truman: Even if it was someone else’s. Lot of literature never rises above the author’s ego. Capote was humble enough to understand that he was the medium, not the object of interest.

The relation between the writer and the text itself is not as important as what happens between the reader and the text. That’s Capotes discovery: focus on the story, and leave yourself out.