Chapter 2: a continuation

Sujata Bhatt - 19 February 2007

POEM OF THE DAY FOR MONDAY, 19TH FEBRUARY, 2007: Read and listen to 'In My Craft or Sullen Art' by Dylan Thomas. I've answered everyone, (most rercently H, and Lois) in the previous section which you can access by clicking on the blue words: 'more from this term's poet in residence' which will appear below this comment. As I mentioned earlier, this second chapter has been started for technical reasons (and is actually a continuation of what we have been discussing before): This way (for now at least) you won't have to scroll down so much to read the most recent comments.

Needless to say, I look forward to hearing more from you! Do any of you enjoy reading travel books or travel poems? Or do you prefer to simply travel? Until soon,I hope.---Sujata Bhatt


Dear Sujata,
I am very happy after reading I got to know that you are Indian born. I am also Indian, I am very proud about you because of your success in English language. I am a Software professional & very much interested in learning English well. Can you tell me the different ways of learning English well.

Dear Mahesh, thanks for writing. To answer your question: one of the best ways to learn any language is to read,read, and continue reading! Listening is also helpful-- and of course, conversing with people who are fluent in the language you wish to learn. You could begin by exploring the Poetry Archive site. I find it useful to keep a small notebook to jot down new words, ideas etc. I also enjoy reading the dictionary-- just for fun. Does anyone else have other suggestions for Mahesh? Thanks. ---Sujata Bhatt

Hello everyone! I'll write more about Yeats and Dublin-- and also simply about Dublin (without Yeats) after I return to Germany. Meanwhile, I'd like to post the POEM OF THE DAY FOR TUESDAY, 20TH FEBRUARY, 2007: Read and listen to 'The Wishing Tree' by Kathleen Jamie. Thanks. ---Sujata Bhatt

(This is just a quick note - I'll reply fully later!) I've been reading and listening to some of Fried on his site, and also some of Brecht's love poems this afternoon, but I'm really trying to find some in bilingual book form - I'll have to keep searching, but that way it would be better because I could make notes on my own books, and it'd also help me learn more of the German -- I worry my understanding is very limited because I don't know the nuances of the language enough! But Fried seems very lyrical? There are many repetitions with little altercations, it is quite simple, playful language. The second stanza of 'Was weh tut' is similar to Greenlaw's description of what the blue is not, as you say, they are 'nonetheless imagined by the reader'. I think this is important - we need something to ground our visual mind with, images to travel between when intangibles are thrown in.

In a way it makes me appreciate English differently to how I would perhaps if I was just reading English - I'm not really sure how to try and explain, but it makes me look at the language differently, to compare it, evaluate it against the others. One thing that really struck me about Fried's readings was how I could listen to them so many times - more than I could with English - the sounds entertain me themselves, the fall and rise of the lines, the stress etc - it really is a good way to enjoy readings more!

Last night I was reading some Baudelaire, which I got from the library, and having a copy but without being able to scribble notes in it was extremely frustrating! I am one of those annoying readers who has to underline, make notes, stick post-its in, etc - I wonder whether anyone else reading feels a compulsion to do this? It is amazing how when you read in a foreign language all sorts of new connections are made - very exciting - there is a French song, 'Maudie' by Thomas Fersen which has the line 'Maudie est folle' repeated, which began playing in my head when I was reading 'Le Vampire', simply because of the similar sound of the words 'Maudite' and 'Maudie'... and there was something I copied out to see what you thought. It is a Baudelaire quote, from one of his three prefaces to 'Flowers of Evil'. It reminded me of when you said 'I'm sorry I don't interpret or 'explain' my own poems.' I'm sure you'll see why: 'Do we display all the rags, the paint, the pulleys, the chains, the alterations, the scribbled-over proof sheets, in short all the horrors that make up the sanctuary of art?' His use of 'horror' surprised me - why is it a horror, if it is to make up a 'sanctuary', the thing he calls art?

Hello Katy, thanks for your 'quick note'!
I will reply to you in more detail tomorrow. Lois, I will also respond to your comments (from Feb. 20th in the 'old section') in this new 'chapter 2' section. Well, today was Auden's big day. I wonder whether James Fenton had a party for his 'Poet of the Century'? You can read about Auden on the site of the Academy of American poets. And one of his (Auden's) most famous poems, 'In Memory of W.B. Yeats' can be found at the following address:
Meanwhile, I've chosen the following for THE POEM OF THE DAY/NIGHT FOR WEDNESDAY, 21ST FEBRUARY, 2007: Read and listen to 'Lochan' by Kathleen Jamie. I think there are echoes of Yeats' The Lake Isle of Innisfree' in Jamie's 'Lochan'. What do you think? How do you feel about the 'Kathleen Jamie poems' I've suggested so far? Thanks. ---Sujata Bhatt

Hello Sujata, this is to let you know that I finally found my way here to Chapter 2 via Google :-)

Hello Sujata. I haven't written again after my first comment, but I have always followed the discussion. Today, however, I would like to join in with a suggestion to Mahesh from India who wrote recently. I suppose you wouldn't do this yourself, but I would like to recommend to Mahesh to read one of your poems on this site which has left a very strong and lasting impression on me. It's called 'A Different History' and it deals with India and the language issue. I believe it is a great political poem, too (coming back to an earlier topic of discussions here). Too bad you only have 3 poems on the web site. I suppose there's more on your CD, or is there? Can one buy it at Tower's?
Please let me know.
Bye for now,
P.S. I wonder why the 'writer in residence' still isn't mentioned on the starting page of this site. I think that really needs to be changed. Or are you afraid that too many readers would bother you?

Hello everyone! Lois, I'm relieved you found this 'chapeter 2' section of the blog. Thanks for letting me know. Lou, it's good to hear from you again! First, I'd like to post the poem of the day and then I'll begin answering you separately. Thanks. ---Sujata Bhatt

POEM OF THE DAY/NIGHT FOR THURSDAY, 22ND FEBRUARY, 2007: Read and listen to 'A Gull' by Edwin Morgan. Thanks. ---Sujata Bhatt

Dear Katy, you've been very busy reading (and listening to) Brecht, Fried and Baudelaire! It sounds like you're enjoying it! It takes time to learn all the nuances and emotional connotations in a language. Yes, Fried can be lyrical but his work is also very aphoristic and full of word games, and yes, playful as you say. That's an excellent observation you make about the similarity between Fried's 'Was weh tut' and Greenlaw's 'Blue Field'. Another Fried poem (a famous one) along those lines is 'Was es ist'. Have you read it? The first stanza goes as follows: Es ist Unsinn/sagt die Vernunft/Es ist was es ist/sagt die Liebe There's no punctuation in the entire poem. I agree, often it's helpful to have a bilingual edition. When I was younger I used to write into my books but then at some point I started taking notes in separate notebooks. Yes, I believe one learns more about one's own language when one studies another language. And yes, it's funny how the 'unusual' or 'alien' sounds in another language can be more pleasing to the ear. Is that because sometimes while hearing a foreign language we are more aware of sound than meaning? Fried is also an excellent reader of his work. I think to some extent one's perception of the world is altered whenever one begins to learn another language. The images, metaphors and idioms can vary so much--which is, of course, obvious but it can be exciting when one experiences it as you are doing right now with German and French. I like Maudie-Maudite, a bit crazy with the meanings but that's how the mind works! I haven't read any Baudelaire in ages. But now I feel inspired to do so again. Thanks for the quotation! I like it. What does he mean by the 'horror'? It seems as if he is embarrassed by all the background notes and raw drafts that come before the polished version. On the one hand, the art or the poem is a sanctuary, on the other hand, all that led up to the creation of it is a 'horror'.
He seems to imply that 'life', 'emotions' and 'experiences' are all a 'horror', and that once he gains control over them through his art, then he has created a sanctuary. Or maybe he means that until his art is a true reflection of whatever he wants to communicate or express, it is somehow a 'horror' because it's inadequate. He could also mean that until the poem is a 'being' in its own right, it is a horror, as it is incomplete. Horror also seems to imply failure. Well, he makes the process of creating something sound terrible! And that is a bit strange because I know many artists/writers who are sad when the painting/manuscript is complete and there's nothing more to do. These artists live for the 'horror' of the process!
I also believe that it's impossible to paraphrase a poem and do justice to it. And also since a poem operates on so many levels simultaneously, one can never truly finish 'explaining' it. And, oh yes, going back to what you said earlier: I agree, the mind needs something 'known' with which it can try to grasp the 'unknown'. (Maybe I already said that earlier while discussing Greenlaw?) I've started reading Fried again too! Thanks for your enthusiasm which is inspiring! Until next time. ---Sujata Bhatt


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Glossary term


The part of a poem or other work of art which makes the reader or audience feel sorrow or pity.

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