Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Zukofsky and Oppen

Did anyone see a similarity between Zukofsky’s A-2 and H.D.’s “Sea Garden?” After reading the poem, I was able to draw a somewhat unexpected parallel (maybe it was abstract) between some of his imagery and language in this poem and several of the floral/fauna images H.D. uses in her work. The fourth stanza read so musically and I loved the lines: “The music is in the flower / Leaf around leaf ranged around the center; / Profuse but clear outer leaf breaking on space / There is space to step to the central heart” (7). I found A-2 to be the most musical of his poems; the others seemed a bit more controlled, so that spontaneous quality was subdued. I also really liked Oppen’s “Of Being Numerous.” It read like a wonderful reflection on so many interesting possibilities, and at times, it seemed to take off in many tangents (corporate vs. spontaneous, emotion vs. intellect, the pulse of the metropolis). I suppose all of those possibilities are reflected as tangential offshoots of the title – numerous options in a varied world.

1 comment:

rodney k said...

Great post, Shilpa.

Re: the controlled musicality of "A," for Zukofsky, the music in the ear is Bach more than be-bop. So those organizing principles--those forms--from the Baroque canon (fugue, counterpoint, sonata, etc.) are the kind of intricate structures he's modeling his language effects upon, in a way that would probably make "controlled" a compliment in his book. Heck, this was a guy who counted the number of "n"s and "r"s in his lines!

I bring this up too because the musical model is so different for our poets over the next two weeks. Break out your Charlie Parker, quick!