Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A Century Since

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  • Lilith __,

    hard to go past Barry Cleavin for the witty bird references.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    The government will therefore introduce legislation (under urgency) to require a quota of verse (including commas) per day

    Nah, the market will provide, eh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    On the theme of extinction, here’s an update of a classic haiku:

    The same old pond’s there
    still; but listen – hush! the sound
    of no frog jumping



    (Doesn't get much applause in performance.
    Could be worse, though: one early draft of this ended "all have croaked".)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 870 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    ... Bill Hammond also flips the bird...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4622 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ... Bill Hammond also flips the bird...

    Wow! That's the first Hammond related offering I've seen recently for under 20,000. Sale coming up has one estimated at 300,000+. I like his work, but I'd rather have a house to live in.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Back on topic, this Obituary from the Telegraph in 2001was interesting;

    Throughout his life, Curnow's work was inventive and unpredictable. Despite his intensity of focus, his poems were full of wit and originality. He remained sanguine about his achievements. "The important thing in assessing the merit of a poem," he once said, "is time."

    My favourite ending, on the bird theme, XVII Lone Kauri Road also from Trees, Effigies, Moving Objects.

    A tui clucked, shat, whistled thrice.
    My gaze was directed where the branch had been.
    An engine fell mute into the shadow of the valley
    where the shadow had been.

    Just looking through the Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse, and it's good to be reminded of the diversity it represents. And Early Days Yet makes me wonder why I ever sold my Olivetti.

    e.e.cummings

    I think Allen Curnow may have appreciated this too;

    "A politician is an ass upon which everyone has sat except a man."

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    "Alone we are born"

    -o no we're not: unless we hatch from an abandoned egg, there is always another being around.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Claire at Latitude, in reply to Cromie,

    On the matter of the comma, @Cromie, I think Curnow may himself have been quoting: I've seen that one attributed to Oscar Wilde.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Re: commas, I've always loved this passage from Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas :

    Haweis and his wife, later Mina Loy were also in Florence. Their
    home had been dismantled as they had had workmen in it but they put
    it all in order to give us a delightful lunch. Both Haweis and Mina were
    among the very earliest to be interested in the work of Gertrude Stein.
    Haweis had been fascinated with what he had read in manuscript of
    The Making of Americans. He did however plead for commas. Gertrude Stein said commas were unnecessary, the sense should be intrinsic
    and not have to be explained by commas and otherwise commas were
    only a sign that one should pause and take breath but one should know
    of oneself when one wanted to pause and take breath. However, as she
    liked Haweis very much and he had given her a delightful painting for
    a fan, she gave him two commas. It must however be added that on re-
    reading the manuscript she took the commas out.

    Mina Loy equally interested was able to understand without the
    commas. She has always been able to understand.

    The addition of exactly 2 commas to The Making of Americans is remarkable, as the book runs to over 800 pages. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • bmk,

    I love commas and find the idea of them not being there a little distressing. The only exception I can think of is where the writer writes, like James Ellroy, in short, snappy sentences.

    I suppose text may still be understandable without the commas but I imagine it would make it a lot harder work to read - which I think is true of all punctuation. Punctuation almost exists as a courtesy which makes the reader's job of understanding the author's words easier.

    Since Jun 2010 • 295 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to recordari,

    A tui clucked, shat, whistled thrice.

    A line both documentary and onomatopoeiac. Simply wonderful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Simply wonderful.

    Ain't it just.

    This, from 'Time', would be interesting without commas.

    I, Time, am all these, yet these exist
    Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist,
    So do they the measurable world resist.

    I, Time, call down, condense, confer,
    On the willing memory the shapes these were:
    I, more than your conscious carrier,

    Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend,
    Though I am here all things my coming attend;
    I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.

    Strangely, there are three depictions of the poem 'Time' on YouTube. I'm not linking, because they appear to be school projects. Would be nice if RNZ made the audio of this week's readings available. If they are there, they are hidden at the end of the book review section, and I ran out of patience, and bandwidth.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    This, from 'Time', would be interesting without commas.

    OK

    I Time am all these yet these exist
    Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist
    So do they the measurable world resist.

    I Time call down condense confer
    On the willing memory the shapes these were:
    I more than your conscious carrier

    Am island am sea am father farm and friend
    Though I am here all things my coming attend;
    I am you have heard it the Beginning and the End.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    When I said interesting, what I meant was less rhythmic, but YMMV.

    I think any device used by poets to make words
    flow
    .........in the
    ......................way

    they want them to is
    important.

    e.e. cummings again wasamaster, as in [in just-]. Have to link to it, because can't insert NBSPs.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    wasamaster

    ae

    the way he placed words across
    lines had a big impact on me

    didn't use capitals for a couple o
    years too

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    Funny how some things stick.

    His perhaps hand still
    ( [sic] comes carefully
    out of Nowhere)

    25 years later.

    He was a clever little balloon man.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to recordari,

    He was a clever little balloon man.

    +1

    Really dig this too:

    I, Time, am all these, yet these exist
    Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist,

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Can I have a brief rave about Eileen Duggan, who I think is in danger of slipping into obscurity? Born in 1894, she was a little older than Curnow, but her best work is still fresh:

    Night

    You are the still caesura
    That breaks a line in two;
    A quiet leaf of darkness
    Between two flowers of blue

    A little soft indrawing
    Between two sighs;
    A slender spit of silence
    Between two seas of cries.

    She's sometimes anthologised, but I think all her books are now out of print. There are a couple more poems here, and you might find others dotted around the web.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to recordari,

    BTW, Jack, I have ONLY JUST REALISED that your gravatar is a switch and not a chaise longue! I must be cuckoo, I know. I used to wonder why you had a sofa. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    not a chaise longue

    psychiatrist's couch :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    psychiatrist’s couch :)

    I know! Quite.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3413 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    In a
    manner of meaning
    life is
    a flurry of commas
    & then
    a full stop.

    The inbetween arguments
    and agreements mean-
    everything.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    And
    nothing

    O O
    ------

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Islander,

    chaise longue!

    I do like a good chaise, but not for too longue. ;-)

    a flurry of commas
    & then
    a full stop.

    A comma coma
    'Ja make an
    aroma?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    speak softly and carry a big switch...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4622 posts Report Reply

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