Thursday, May 14, 2009

Windy, windy, windy today: the kind of wind that blows doors out of your hands, and hurls metal chairs into the firepit, and scares the dog; and it's so cloudy and dour that I cannot dredge up any enthusiasm for yard work.

I finished composing my terza rima talk and choosing my exemplars, though I haven't yet chosen anything for my own reading. I am actually going to attempt to read aloud a bit of the Inferno in Italian; then I'll read some Chaucer in Middle English, which should be less laughable. Nonetheless, I think the sonic contrast should be interesting for the audience: give them a chance to hear for themselves why the form is so glib in Italian and so much chunkier in English. Sometimes such differences are clearest when the listener doesn't entirely understand the language. Then, yes, I've broken down and decided to read Shelley because he really was so very good at the form. And I'll end with Richard Wilbur and Hayden Carruth as contemporary examples. Carruth's poem, "Adolf Eichmann," is actually quite ugly, but then so is his subject. (Wilbur's poem is available at the New Yorker's website if you want to take a look at it.)

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