Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Shakespeare and Neruda and William Carlos Williams, oh my

One of the great things about having daughters in college is they get excited about their reading and performing and I get to vicariously fall in love with poets again. Caitlin is enraptured with William Carlos Williams. She is taking a book history and binding class and plans to put shorter WCW poems into the pages she is building. She is at that stage of quoting a few lines and practically swooning, "Tufts of purple grass spot the / green meadow and clouds the sky" she says, "I could eat those words." Not to mention the plums.

I have directed her to Neruda (Twenty Love Poems & a Song of Despair) and the visual treats of William Blake.

Natalie is performing a gruesome scene from one of Shakespeare's bloodiest romances, Cymbeline, for her acting 3 class. As princess Imogene she awakens next to a headless corpse she believes is her husband, the appropriately named Posthumus. Lots of shock and weeping, and smearing of gore. Delicious amounts of rage. She did a summer intensive at Shakespeare & Company when she was 18. Since then she has had classes that have added more depth to her understanding of the language and context. Not to mention becoming 21. How I wish I could see her perform. I hear the excitement in her voice.

And I am rereading the wonderful poetry of Bill Matthews. God he could write. He made the meditations of a drunk man pissing off the back of a boat into poetry. His language has that immediacy of surprise. The sure heft of original observation. So good to rediscover and find it still is as good as I remembered.

When I was 18 I was crazy about Don Marquis' Archy and Mehitabel poems. I still am.

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