I'm listening to La Mer by Claude Debussy. French Impressionist Music is one of my favorite genres. Ideally you should listen to Debussy or Ravel while looking at paintings by Monet, Cezanne, or Pissaro. The flood of brilliant chords washing over each other with their stretched tonality, which at the time was pushing the musical envelope in Western culture, is the audible equivalent to the Impressionist painters pushing contemporary artistic limits defining form and color.
The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001 by Louis Simpson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fellow blogger reviewed a poem by Louis Simpson and it intrigued me so I bought this book.
I find his poems to be reflective and as capable as giving me a vision of what he's writing about as if he had taken a professional, artistic photograph. A photograph with the same dream like, haunting quality of Diane Arbus' work, except Simpson does it with his writing.
Simpson's parents are European, his mother is Russian Jewish, but Simpson was raised on the island of Jamaica. His poetry encompasses his heritage, particularly the persecution of Jews in WWII, culture on a Caribbean island and his later immigration to America.
Poetry provokes aesthetic responses. The style and substance may resonate with the reader or not. Simpson's did with me.
Here is one of his shorter poems. Like the impressionist music and art, it suggests images through the words as they enter into the reader's mind.
As Birds Are Fitted to the Boughs
As birds are fitted to the boughs
That blossom on the tree
And whisper when the south wind blows-
So was my love to me.
And still she blossoms in my mind
And whispers softly, though
The clouds are fitted to the wind,
The wind is to the snow.
And perhaps someone could explain the following poem to me. I've been puzzling and puzzling over it.
Adele said, "I know a game.
Each of us has to describe
his or her most embarrassing moment.
Then we'll all four take a vote,
and the winner will have a prize."
Joe told of going for a swim
and walking out of the showers
to find himself standing naked
at poolside, in plain view.
He had walked through the wrong door.
Maura's most embarrassing moment,
she said, was the evening
Joe's parents came to dinner
She made a shrimp remoulade,
and ruined it entirely.
Adele's most embarrassing moment,
she said, was at Carnegie Hall,
in the Divertimento for Strings
She played a wrong note, a clinker.
She could have died.
Maura was staring at Adele.
Then she said it was late
and they had to be going.
Maura and Joe are no longer
a foursome with Frank and Adele.
So what actually went on there? Was Adele setting everyone up to feel stupid so she could then brag about playing at Carnagie Hall? Did she not foresee that she would lose Maura and Joe's friendship? Or was this her way of getting rid of Maura and Joe and in a nasty way to boot? Or am I assuming the worst?
A thank you goes out to Tim Davis at Informal Inquiries for making me aware of Louis Simpson. I also have his biography which I will review as soon as I read.
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Louis Aston Marantz Simpson (March 27, 1923 – September 14, 2012) was an American poet born in Jamaica. He won the 1964 Pulitzer for his work At the End of the Open Road. (source: Wikipedia)