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National Educational radio takes pleasure in introducing one in a series of recorded lectures and readings from the Library of Congress in Washington. The lectures were given in cooperation with the Gertrude Clark quit all poetry and literature fund of the library today. Josephine Miles and elder Olson will read from and discuss their poetry with James Dickey a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. This is not a last program of poetry and comment. As the Library of Congress is consultant in pirkei and except for a farewell reading that will give Mr. This series as you may know is made possible by the Gertrude Clark widow poet for fun. This evening. I'm particularly happy. Because I can't think of any two American poets I'd rather have to gather on a program than these two. Josephine Miles of Berkeley California and their OSen
of the University of Chicago. As usual we shall divide the next hour between us and Mr. Sun and we will divide it also between poetry and comment on the poetry or indeed comment on anything that strikes us as interesting. This mouse will read first from her work for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then Mr. Olson and I are joined by Mr. Will make such observations and raise such questions as seem to us to arise out of the material mismatch presents. It will then be Mr. Olson's turn and he will correspondingly read for 20 to 25 minutes and his selection will then be followed by a comment and perhaps a few of mine. And that should bring us to the end of wherever we go and in the next hour. MISS MOUSE is one of the finest scholars in the country as well as one of the finest
poets. She was born in Chicago and took all her degrees in California first at UCLA and then at Berkeley books of Persia are lines at A.S. local measures poems on several occasions prefabrication a big retrospective volume poems nine hundred thirty one thousand sixty and most recently kinds of affection her scholarly and critical work is included in the continuity of poetic language errors and modes in English poetry and Renaissance 18th century and modern language and poetry. She has won the Shelley award the seal and awarded an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and was a Guggenheim fellow. And Olson was also born in Chicago and attended the University of Chicago. He is also a scholar and critic of the highest merit. His poems have been appearing since 1934 when his first book thing of sorrow was published. Since then he has brought out the cock of heaven the
scarecrow Christ plays in poems one thousand forty eight nine hundred fifty eight and collected poems. His very influential criticism has appeared in works like General prosody rhythmic metric harmonics. Critics and criticism the poetry of Dylan Thomas and tragedy and the theory of drama. He is now collecting his criticism in a single volume. Mr. Olson has won the friends of Literature Award in the unit Memorial Prize for his poetry and the poetry chapbook award of the Poetry Society of America for his critical book The poetry of Dylan Thomas. Let us begin with. The first few points I'll be reading are from kinds of affection and they're about kinds of affection. Sad as well as having horns.
The mailman is coming. From the next block down. Where the sycamores been out. And the flowering plums begin. The little boy's mother is terrified as he beats his head on the pavement in anger. She is crying. Softer. From the next block down her flowering plums the into industrial. Coconut soap on the cottage is. A great morning squabble races in which the big machines. Call softer. One letter from the Merchants Association asks. How improved status in his concrete forms without demolition. How does the cleaners sponge up the spine. Without breaking the code. One from the emporium of knowledge how can we not corrupt answers with questions. And clearly enough say to the coasting pavement heap off the grass. One from the Hill.
What do we do when the formulas buckle and men beat their heads on the pavement in pure anger. Write them a letter. 1 3rd class and from the snow fields of the Sierras the mailman's birthplace he says. Comes cool across orchards to the bay. To say to his readers softer. Softer. Friends you know that question. We look together at several mysteries. And I argued at them long and lightly whether they're no or yes. Yeah one of us is sure. Another question turns counterfeit. I'm negotiable in a redemption by ear. Or yet. Wish that the future in its
mysterious motion. Will come. And will bring sureness to us all in our devotion. But no. But still. You. Are. We have the generation. Which carry something. NEW not Hina. And then the generation which carries it too far. And then the generation which brings it back again. Do I think of something and do you not understand it. And does it brew along without momentum. And does finally it take its place and move like serfdom in a slow slide to the future. Or do you yap those absolutes of last degrees without which we are impatient. Come on.
Come on. Or do we recall a past complete golden and still turd which we tired turn and bring again our brilliant splendors to its ample sail. We have the body which retails ontogeny. Through all its narrow selves. By largely through all its hair road wheels. I. As difference blends into identity. Or blurs into obliteration. We get to zero. Our position at the center. Withdraw our belief and baggage.
As rhyme at the lapses at from tear custom scatter like a flight of snow and brown breeze moonlight dries out. Our opponents. Join us. We are very refuge. As barriers between us melt. I may treat you unkindly as myself. I may forget your name as my own. Then enters our anonymous assailant. As assonance by impulse virgins and that quaver shakes us by which we are spent. We may move to consume another with us stir into parity another Cyprus. Then when our snipers steps to a window in the brain starts shooting and we are surprised. Of what we know not do we seek forgiveness from ourselves for ourselves. In the town one where every man is king. Every man has one
subject. Every man bends to his own foot. Bring on the mirror that he may properly banned. But who will bring it on. In the castle where he is no hunger and no need. Every man gives gifts and receives gifts. But of these only his own and hands him the ring giver. He must wear his ring. Gradually as he resolves the oppression. Obvious edicts. Losing his fellow Lords to dim perspectives. Monoliths of rock and stone. Even of reinforced concrete. Become before him mirrors. He licks. The glass. Throwing his life away he picks at. And smells
it. Done up. When did I do this up. I date it's death. To the time someone said something. Back then. Everything else all striving making. Marrying. Error. Is this old bird. Pile. He throws it. As the long string lengthens out his hand. It begins unwinding the ligaments. Of his hand. What. Would you like me to stop there or go I'm really not well I was thinking now that we've we've been sitting here listening to Joe read as a spark in the immortal critical thoughts in your
mind or stopped any train of thought that may eventually lead to the salvation of mankind. And briefly you know my critical and other thoughts are very mortal and I was ever interested in the. Precision with which you saw a whole series of human situations. To go back to the first poem if I may. I was interested in the way in which you had played a kind of. Fugue on the basic theme. How does one write a poem like that. Myself I've never tried it. You mean there was a sense in the words a variation on that theme in it with a sense a refrain in Rayne repetition. Yes he said of the softer softer business. I think I think I think I hear things that way. I think I am. If I hear people talking.
Over here people talking I think that certain things they say come back to my mind over and over. So I probably build refrains into the world. Do you think of yourself primarily as a lyric poet you know most of the formidable reputation as a scholar so maybe I'm getting on the ground and should be very much toward building up. But do you think of yourself primarily as a Live writer of literature or as a kind of a philosophical. Poet of the kind of lyric that goes with music. I do I don't have a very good sense of but I would love to you know I'd left. I'd love to play the guitar. But I don't have that sense of you know of accompaniment that kind of refrain and beat. I would love to have him down but I think that what I hear a kind of.
A lyric sound in this in speech in the way people talk. Yes one notices that all over your poems I think you've captured. Conversational rhythms. And. Seen human situations I think with extreme precision and with lovely humor the fact that the way you know. The way people restate things to each other when they're arguing or explaining has a kind of pattern to it I think that seems to be poetic. Yes that was when I said the very thing that I get from your poetry at least the poems of yours that I like I like them the best as a kind of strange gnomic philosophical quality an odd generalizing quality that I don't I don't exactly the same in anybody else as the one I cared for the most in the series that you read was the one about the kingdom in which each man is
king. Having only one person a subject that that's that's extremely original and also happens to be true hell and horrible. How are you doing all right. If you're thinking that of that some will ultimately a kind of a social problem it really isn't a problem on a kids I don't know is a book about democracy. If I was in for about a student of mine actually didn't bend he was on foot on the planet. Well. I have one that's a kind of a group and it's about. This. Could be called a long form could because the Google Forms about. A and a problem. Civic enterprise. In and around the San Francisco Bay area.
When I telephoned her friend her husband told me she's not here tonight. He's out saving the day. She's serving and listening in committee chambers maybe speaking with her light voice from the 14th row about where the birds and fish will go. We feel in the bay. The fish she says include starry flounder Pacific herring rock fish surf perches and the flat fish who come to the spawning flats in the shallow waters near the narrow sure's. The shadow look you know. The fish shooting in that light green shallow dark air. Otherwise we will get a bowling alley a car park and go off course with financing souped up the shallows into a solid base with sand dredged from the deeper channels brought in Scouser Hopper dredges and dumped on the fish and then paved over for recreation with no cost to the city.
And so we have the sides of the margins speaking to a lot of the commission in the public interest permits for the recovery of sand and gravel from the submerged tide lands of the state. Full of unlimited quality clean sand replenished by the Southern literal drip. Or yet. Dear sir as your bill flies in the face of the U.S. Army engineers barrier study the drone to study the transportation study. Even the Petroleum Institute plan for bringing freighters and hundreds of workers into Contra Costa to boat bathe drink and return these waters. A student. Student I remember said to me my mother wants me to be a banker. But I want to be a sanitary engineer. Spending all that money back toward the sea. Do you think it's possible
seeing how these heroes shape down back of the college in summer streaked with little dry Arroyos in winter running over Rush and fresh it through storm drains. Sellers sometimes parlors straight away down to the sea. Think of the veins of this earth off flowing raining water the drover rivers in the pipes we've laid. Effluent said my student. There's a word. Give me a choice between it and de brézé any day I'd choose effluent. Cover and fill his bleach and burn with tires sticking up out of the muck and loads of old brush and tree branches crisping away they're not for me. I like the purest water sparkling green under a saw oil and it can breeze out of our pipes and chemicals loosened as the rain itself. Around the bodies of fish and swimmers.
Saving the bay. Saving the show. Saving the tides of shallow deep begun. Between the moon and sun. Saving the sidings of the center. Saving the e great and the herring run came and acacia Mallow and Hero say. Against the seventh wave. Boundary and margin. Meeting and met. So that the purists will not forget ratios as it is its form kind. And serve the land were gracious as it is will not redeem another's diadem. Saving the show or. Saving the lines between kelp shrimp and the green between the lap of waters and the long shoulder of St.. Very in between. No genius dredge.
But see the edge of action and the chance. Met to its multiple and variable circumstance. Though a news column says that Aquatic Park is a police headache in the past year 87 arrests of characters for crimes better not talked about. But the lake is a favorite dumping spot for hard saves bird rituals strip bikes even a body. Yet a notice says next week at Aquatic Park The View Drive boating club holds its annual race everybody comes out for this event. These are the world's fastest boats faster than hydros meeting the quiet water the embankment provides. And a letter from a statistician founder of the facts compares the use of Aquatic Park to the Rose Garden. The same pattern. Fewer people about five each on a Friday of terrible weather next about 50 on a warm Wednesday
afternoon. Most. One hundred fifty on a clear windy Saturday signed sincerely statistician. Somewhere in the deeps. A freighter plying between here and Yokohama. Somewhere in the rose gardens. Deeps of a street. A two storied observer and participant daily move moving out into the traffic. Back into it. Where curtains billow in their breakfast room. The deeps. Somewhere in the margins. Have they the golden mean. Freight whistles reach here and the fire engines coming from town. Foundry hammers. Among the warship waves. Killed drifts them up afloat and suddenly they are in the tender world of lizards cut ashore. They bask and breathe and then plunge back down the long glimpse that take their weight
at home at home but which is likely a sea captain will live in a margin but never wants to. Once a deep molded farm. Likely an architect but mainly weekends. And the weekdays along the bay margin. Little happens small objects breed and forage. Flights come in and vanish. Solicitude and tail solicitude. Dredge the channel. Reinforce the seawall. We shall have deep calling to deep directly. She starts to speak. My friend in her light voice of margins. Marshes birds and Embarcadero those. Truths spread to dry like nets mended like nets draw in at the edges. Their corruptions.
To let the moving world of bay and town mingle. As they were amphibian again. Saving the bay. Saving the blasted Bay. That there be margins of the difference. Scrap Heap and mopey ill wind ridge and ledge mud and debris. That there be sure. And see. The. Whole. World. 1. 0 let me just ask you one thing before we can part of the performance. It strikes me that Joe your viruses as an absolute triumph of colloquialism and that some of your phrases reveal as no one else
else's do with maybe Marion morrow's would be the closest defender today. What what latent poet for there is in the ordinary kinds of verbal sources like newspaper accounts and so on. Now since you move so well in this particular idiom you would surely prefer it that is for your own work to a highly artificial kind of language such as say Gerard Manley Hopkins he is or that Dylan Thomas uses that is it would be artificial to us are that an American poet like John Barrowman uses. Would you want to comment on this. This Hopkins actually wrote that he thought potato was a terribly bad word that could not be used in poetry and it always struck me as funny. Who could object to potato. So yes I can admire it very much but I can't I can't I
don't you know hear it in my own hand. Well would you like to say well. The first poem I'm going to read is called chess game. My enemy and I are playing chess. Trapped by an idiot's trick of circumstance. A rainy weekend. And a woman's whim. Civilization effects this at least. But face to face in rigid courtesy. We sit like friends. And share a narrow board. Two who can barely breathe in the same world. But men's the manners need not demand the man. To be amended. Is to reenact.
Ghostlike. Own wickedness. And so we do. Reckless emperors. We sacrifice pawns ignorant as peasants. Why they die. Now I tricked him with a wooden horse. His castle falls as bitterly as Troy. What's strong is hatred. Joy has no such glee. Greed is less eager. Love less intimate. Locked in an intricate interplay as fierce and delicate as the tact of swords. We know each other to the soul. Can love do that. Feel our own blows. Exchange identities. Becoming each other. Remain enemies. I move. And nearly pinch my pawn in half. His nostrils sharpened as he shifts his queen.
Knight Castle King all ancient symbols almost meaningless now powerless in themselves but potent still with powers we still confer. What if we should deny them. We do not. Claim to our antique world. Four Cornered. Flat. And hosts identical in all but hue. May kill their quarrel. Having nothing else. The godless priests pursue their biased still. The lightless uninhabitable towers move from their stations and four horsemen ride till all are swept away to leave behind empty spaces. Blackened. Or stained red. I. In a less grim mood a poem called ice skaters.
Excuse me. Snow here is all about and snowy roads and snow falling of full moons out. The river's frozen across it's avenue of ice vivid skaters swirl in the cold in the moon's light. Look look. The young the old set moving by delight. The whole town's on the ice purling in a gay preposterous ballet. Look the strides the glides bleeps dervish twirls clown tumbling clown falls. Racers rapt in speed as in the next to see swerving in a flash of sleet. Lovers hand in hand and chanted by their own music without sound. And the older pairs a little clumsy now but Mary is waltzing bears.
And children intently scuffing foot by foot stiffly rocking in and out. All intricately winding in a Christmas colored my With Lord what a rocket to live here wild with echoes bellow like mad balls. And in the dark ravines beneath the crystal floor fish quiver and wave their fins. The town clock chimes the hour. I'm heated. Let it chime. Time has lost its power.
Library of Congress lectures II
Episode Number
Episode 7 of 9
Producing Organization
WUOM (Radio station : Ann Arbor, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3701. This prog.: Poetry Readings and Discussions with James Dickey, moderator, and participants Josephine Miles and Elder Olson
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Producer: Library of Congress
Producing Organization: WUOM (Radio station : Ann Arbor, Mich.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-40-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Library of Congress lectures II; Episode 7 of 9,” 1968-10-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 12, 2024,
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APA: Library of Congress lectures II; Episode 7 of 9. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from