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Peter Barry

9.  Poems and pictures This chapter concerns poems which are about an art object. It may be a vase, a piece of sculpture, or, more frequently, a painting or photo­graph, hence the chapter title. This kind of work is now usually called ekphrastic poetry. The word ‘ekphrasis’ is derived from Greek roots, ek, meaning ‘out’, and phrasis, meaning ‘speech’, and hence denotes an act of description, a ‘speaking out’ or speaking plain. It is given to this kind of writing because these poems often begin with something like a description of the object, before going on to

in Reading poetry
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The supernatural and the textual
Janet Hadley Williams

Literature in Older Scots includes a group of poems, mostly anonymous, that employs supernatural phenomena for burlesque or satiric purposes. Aptly called ‘elrich fantasyis’, 1 they include Roule’s ‘Devyne poware of michtis maist’, The Gyre Carling , ‘My gudame wes a gay wyf’, ‘God and Sanct Petir’, ‘The Crying of ane Playe’, Lichtoun’s ‘Quha doutis dremis is bot phantasye?’ and Lord Fergus Gaist . 2 In their ‘comic supernaturalism’ 3 and inventive mixed reference to popular traditions, romances, classical literature, magic, witchcraft and church ritual

in The supernatural in early modern Scotland
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Lee Spinks

The Dainty Monsters Although Ondaatje has won international renown as a novelist, his first four published books were volumes of poetry. The Dainty Monsters , his first book, appeared in 1967, quickly followed by the long poems the man with seven toes (1969) and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970). A fourth volume, Rat Jelly , was published in 1973; six years later Ondaatje made a selection of his poems which appeared under the title There’s a Trick With a Knife I’m Learning to Do . Unlike many

in Michael Ondaatje
Rachel Blau DuPlessis

10 Olson and his Maximus Poems Rachel Blau DuPlessis ‘The advantages of a long poem, is like pot au feu, it creates its own juice [...] Or put it formally:    the long poem creates its own situation.’ (Olson, ‘From Notebook “I ... Sept. 15, 1957’’’)1 Here they are. The Maximus Poems. An ‘Alps’ – that other, American Alps.2 A masterpiece of poesis, particularly for people curious about the workings of a very long poem. For many readers, it exists not in the mode of monument but in the related, equally pertinent mode of midden or ruin. At the end of the book, all

in Contemporary Olson
Ralph Maud

23 Charles Olson’s first poem Ralph Maud ‘Purgatory Blind’ is probably what Charles Olson is referring to in a letter to Robert Creeley as ‘the very 1st po-em’, adding that it was written in Gloucester on the Annisquam River 1 – that is, the early draft (before it got its title), the first six lines of which we have known from George Butterick’s transcription of them, published in his Guide To the Maximus Poems of Charles Olson: Between the river and the sea I sit writing, The Annisquam and the Atlantic My boundaries, and all between The moors of doubt and

in Contemporary Olson

This book is an open-ended critical account of the Gawain-poems. The four poems of MS Cotton Nero A.x, Art. 3 are untitled in the manuscript, but titled by modern editors, in manuscript order: Pearl, Cleanness (or Purity), Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The poems testify that he was cultivated, with an appreciation of the finer points of chivalric life, and also deeply religious - a cleric, no doubt, given his biblical knowledge, his interest in Christian doctrine, and his understanding of sermon style. Pearl is a religious dream-vision in which the dream is largely taken up by dialogue between the narrator or dreamer, as a figure in his dream, and a woman who is a fount of divine wisdom. Cleanness combines discussion of a religious virtue with retelling of stories from the Bible. Its three main stories are from the Old Testament, and they centre on Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Belshazzar's feast. Patience is a poem that combines discussion of a moral quality with biblical narrative, in the case of Patience, one narrative only, the story of Jonah.Sir Gawain is a record of, and tribute to, the beauties and pleasures of chivalric life. Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience suggest that for the poet national events may have merged with events in his own life to challenge his faith. With Gawain too it is possible that the public and the personal intermingle to shake his faith in chivalry and the feudal model of social order.

Margret Fetzer

2 Promethean and protean performances – Worldly poems And by these hymnes, all shall approve Us Canoniz’d for Love. (‘The Canonization’, ll. 35–6) Despite almost two hundred years of critical neglect, Donne is nowadays thoroughly ‘Canoniz’d’. His popularity results from his erotic and devotional poetry, but it is the interrelationship between the two genres that makes for Donne’s idiosyncrasy. Hence ‘hymnes’ are to bring about ‘The Canonization’ of two not merely spiritual lovers, who ‘dye and rise the same’ (l. 26). While this may be read as a reference to

in John Donne’s Performances
‘In the deed itself ’, or the triple excavation of the unchangeable
Michel Morel

R&G 18_Tonra 01 11/10/2013 17:27 Page 183 18 Howard Barker’s paintings, poems and plays: ‘in the deed itself ’, or the triple excavation of the unchangeable Michel Morel Always the knowledge kills / […] You will starve of their scholarship1 My argument here is that painting, poetry and theatre being three generic means that make one see – painting shows, poetry lays bare and theatre does both through re-presentation on the stage – Barker’s triple creation operates a centripetal triangulation. I will take advantage of this fact to show how the paintings and the

in Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre
Miriam Nichols

1 Myth and document in Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems Miriam Nichols Large in person, sprawling on the page, and epic in ambition, Charles Olson stands in mid-twentieth century American poetry like the diorite stone on Main Street to which he once compared himself (MP, 221). Such bigness and energy have both attracted and repelled readers. Since his death in 1970, Olson has received a number of extended readings from distinguished scholars, and he continues to engage more recent critics. Jeff Wild, for example, opens an essay titled ‘Charles Olson’s Maximus: A

in Contemporary Olson
Descartes, Sidney
Shankar Raman

which he expresses – and indeed complicates – the alliance between geometry and poetry in the very form of his poetic matter. Let us consider the much-studied opening sonnet of the Astrophil and Stella sequence – a poem especially memorable for its penultimate image of the pregnant poet, ‘helpless in [his] throes, biting [his] truant pen’ (ll

in Formal matters