onsdag 19 juli 2017

The reality of our existence

  The Ecopoetry Anthology har axlat mina anspråk på ett föredömligt sätt. Äntligen har jag funnit en urvalsantologi som speglar relationen mellan människan och naturen.

  Ibland köper jag böcker och ibland lånar jag in dem, i det här fallet blev mitt fjärrlån till ett inköpsförslag hos Stockholms stadsbibliotek, och när jag återlämnat boken kommer den till gagn för andra låntagare. Jag borde bli hederslåntagare efter alla fina inköpsförslag som de fått av mig; Rita Dove's versroman Thomas and Beulah som hon erhöll Pulitzer för och Lucille Cliftons samlade verk är två av dem.

  Men att göra mig till anställd i deras organisation tycks de inte vara intresserade av.

  Frågan är om inte kvällens tre dikter utgör det vassaste antologiurval jag någonsin publicerat i bloggen. Det är poesi av mycket hög kvalitet.


  James Galvin föddes i Chicago och tog en BA från Antioch College och en MFA från University of Iowa. Han är författare till flera poesisamlingar, inklusive Resurrection Update: Collected Poems (1998), X (2003), As Is (2009), och Everything We Always Knew Was True (2016). Han har också publicerat novellen Fencing the Sky (1999) och The Meadow (1992), en meditativ prosatext om landskapet kring Wyoming-Colorado och de människor som bor där. Källa: Poetry Foundation


Cartography, James Galvin (f. 1951)
(From The ecopoetry anthology. Edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street. San Antonio, Tex. : Trinity Univ. Press, 2013. Originally published in Resurrection Update, Copper Canyon Press, 1997.)

Out on the border a howl goes up, skinning the cold air.
A windrush as if from enormous wings descending
Slicks the grass down and thumps, and the whole sky bruises.
Out on the border it stops just as suddenly
As if there were some mistake, and there is: mortal beauty
This world can't bear, and a skeletal silence
Administrates the clouds, their passages, their dissolutions in light.

North Platte River

Out on the border right and wrong are more distinct,
But the border itself is suggestive, permissive, a thinly dotted line.
Amassed armies of forests and grasses poise,
Encroach, but never cross.
Even the sky stays on one side.
Another howl goes up, not a threat as was thought,
But an invitation to an interior. The border

Halves a piece of paper into here and hereafter.
A man, himself a fascicle of borders, draws a map and can't stop drawing
For fear of bleeding, smudging, disappearance.
When the map is complete the page will be completely
Obscured by detail, then a third howl.
Three things about the border are known:
It's real, it doesn't exist, it's on all the black maps.


  Peter Gizzi är utbildad vid New York University, Brown University och State University of New York i Buffalo. Han är författare till flera poesisamlingar, bland annat Archeophonics (2016), finalist för National Book Award; Threshold Songs (2011); The Outernationale (2007); and Artificial Heart (1998). Källa: Poetry Foundation


Human memory is organic, by Peter Gizzi (f. 1959)
(From The ecopoetry anthology. Edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street. San Antonio, Tex. : Trinity Univ. Press, 2013. Originally published in The Outernationale, Wesleyan University Press, 2007.)

We know time is a wave.

You can see it in gneiss, migmatic
or otherwise, everything crumbles.

Don’t despair.

That’s the message frozen in old stone.

I am just a visitor to this world
an interloper really headed deep into glass.

I, moving across a vast expanse of water

though it is not water maybe salt
or consciousness itself

enacted as empathy.  Enacted as seeing.

To see with a purpose has its bloom
and falls to seed and returns

to be a story like any other.
To be a story open and vulnerable

a measure of time, a day, this day one might say    
an angle of light for instance.

Let us examine green.  Let us go together

to see it all unstable and becoming
violent and testing gravity

so natural in its hunger.

The organic existence of gravity.
The organic nature of history.

The natural history of tears.


  Philip Levine var en amerikansk poet och universitetslärare.
Han växte upp i Chicago och han var även mest känd för sina skildringar av arbetarklassen i staden. Han behandlade även arvet efter judiska immigranter i sin poesi.
  Han hade själv börjat arbeta i bilindustrin vid 14 års ålder. Under universitetsstudier vid Wayne University började han skriva poesi. Han undervisade vid California State University i Fresno 1958-1992 och även vid andra universitet. Källa: Wikipedia


Our valley, by Philip Levine (1928-2015)
(From The ecopoetry anthology. Edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street. San Antonio, Tex. : Trinity Univ. Press, 2013. Originally published in News of the world, Knopf, 2000.)

We don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August 
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

Sherwin Range, eastern California

You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you’re thrilled and terrified.

You have to remember this isn’t your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.

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