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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Poem Request Week

The Conqueror Worm, Edgar Allan Poe.
this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday Morning (parts I-IV), Wallace Stevens.
this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday Morning (parts V-VIII), Wallace Stevens.
this is an audio post - click to play

Love Song: I and Thou, Alan Dugan.
this is an audio post - click to play


Nothing is plumb, level or square:
the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
I am no carpenter. I built
the roof for myself, the walls
for myself, the floors
for myself, and got
hung up in it myself. I
danced with a purple thumb
at this house-warming, drunk
with my prime whiskey: rage.
Oh, I spat rage's nails
into the frame-up of my work:
it held. It settled plumb,
level, solid, square and true
for that great moment. Then
it screamed and went on through,
skewing as wrong the other way.
God damned it. This is hell,
but I planned it, I sawed it,
I nailed it, and I
will live in it until it kills me.
I can nail my left palm
to the left-hand crosspiece but
I can't do everything myself.
I need a hand to nail the right,
a help, a love, a you, a wife.

Alan Dugan

Starting today (Wednesday, April 19), I will be taking requests for poems people might like to hear. I'll be able to do audioposts tonight, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If you would like to make a request, you can do so in the comments to this post, or you can email me (my address can be found in my profile). If I can find a copy of a poem I'll give it a shot.

Later today, a look — literally — at some books of which I'm particularly fond.

update: I'm going to keep this post at the top of the page for a while.

update: I will post three requested poems tomorrow: Poe's The Conqueror Worm; Stevens' Sunday Morning; and Alan Dugan's Love Song: I and Thou. I may do the first one when I get home from work tonight, depending upon how I feel. I'll continue to keep this post at the top of the page.

update: I've decided it would be most convenient for everyone if I place the requested poems at the top of this post as I do them.


Brenda Schmidt said...

I'd really like to hear you read one of your poems.

MackJohnny said...

Well, you'll have to pick one.

Humble Servant said...

Two suggestions, one serious and one for grins (you figure out which is which).

1. "A Book in the Ruins," by Czeslaw Milosz--I know you've mentioned him so you may have a hard copy--I can't find it on line but I copied the last part of it into my livejournal. If it's too long, it's that last part that I suggest.

2. "The Conqueror Worm," by that well-beloved poetic genius, Edgar Allan Poe.

I'm out until Monday though so don't think silence means I don't appreciate the reading (if granted).

Brenda Schmidt said...

Well, I'd still like to hear "A Crisping of Leaves (after Before Nightfall)." Or "Like Fibres of Glass (Through Our Hearts)" or "This Silence You Have."

MackJohnny said...

Okay, I'll do A Crisping of Leaves now. And The Conqueror Worm either later tonight or Saturday.

MackJohnny said...

I'd like to do Milosz's A Book in the Ruins, but I don't have a copy and can't find one. If someone out there could send me a copy or point me to one, it would be much appreciated.

Tracy Hamon said...

I would love to hear Wallace Steven's "Sunday Morning" although it may be too long for a post? If so, other Stevens will suffice. Or a Whitman from Leaves of Grass the 1855 edition #23 (or any)?

I'm happy to see/hear you back blogging.

MackJohnny said...

Sunday Morning might take three or four posts. I 'll do a time check and decide.

Just to be clear, the Whitman piece would be the one which starts like this?

"Endless unfolding of ages!
And mine a word of the modern....a word en masse."

In either case, it will be Saturday or Sunday before I can do it.

Tracy Hamon said...

Hmm, the one I was looking at started like this:

"On the piazza walk five friendly matrons with twined arms;
The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,
The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle, "

but, no matter, whichever one you want to do is fine. I like them all I think.

MackJohnny said...

Okay, Tracy, I've figured out the Whitman. I'm leaning towards doing the Stevens, though.

Zach said...

Hey John, if it ain't too late to get in on this, how's about "Love Song: I and Thou" by Alan Dugan. I think there's an e-copy out there in the ether if you don't know/have it. Damn good poem, and I can hear it in your voice.

MackJohnny said...

Not too late at all, Zach. Yes, I'll do the Dugan poem. It'll be a couple days though, I have to get it into me first. Never ran across it before. Thanks for the introduction.

Zach said...

My pleasure, sir. Looking forward to it.

Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel said...

I did a reading of the Dugan poem last year. It's a brilliant work.

John said...

It is a good poem. Unfortunately, when I tried to listen to your recording, I got this message: The page you were looking for doesn't exist.