Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two Recommendations & A Forthcoming Publication

Richard Hugo's The Right Madness on Skye (1980), contains a remarkable fantasy of escape from oedipal conflicts, time and death, 'Druid Stones at Kensaleyre,' that a discerning reader might feel evokes resonances of Keats' 'Ode on a Grecian Urn,' and less obviously, and perhaps less convincingly, Yeats' 'Sailing to Byzantium.' Its movement has some of the magic of dream, and may have grown out of Hugo's work in that subject (it might not be accurate to call the dreams in his 31 Letters and 13 Dreams a form or genre, though perhaps the movement of the content would qualify as one or the other, especially if we keep Stanley Kunitz's observation that a poem can be a representation of the poet's psyche in mind). The speaker, a tourist, plays on the meanings of stone as he establishes a contrast with the nearby and juxtaposed church, deafness of sinners, and his own deafness to religion. And then he moves inevitably to the attraction the figures, a young man and woman have for him, and imagines his approach to them and presents the paradox of their speaking to him in stone. The poem ends:

If you pass
in your car and see three of us solid
forever above and one with the sea...
... know one
came late, is happy and won't be back.

One reading of this is a rejection of flesh for the permanence of art, with a charge of latent sorrow.

Those of you interested in Twelve Step programs and psychology, either for yourselves or friends or loved ones might find much to admire in Victor Schermer's SPIRIT & PSYCHE: A NEW PARADIGM FOR PSYCHOLOGY, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Ltd. 2003). In a readable and far from jargon-ridden style,Schermer takes a rigorous, but sympathetic approach to finding points where psychology and spirituality can comfortably co-exist and even identify with each other, The parallels are many.

Here's my news: Shabdagucha has accepted Blatnoy on Bush for publication. It will be translated into Bengali and published in that language and English, which is really nice since the audience for poetry in that language is huge.

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