Kategorie: USA

3. American Life in Poetry: Column 487

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Who hasn’t wished he or she could talk to a carnival worker and find out what their lives are like? Everybody, perhaps, but the carnival workers. Here’s a poem by Mark Kraushaar of Wisconsin that captures one of those lives.

The Ring Toss Lady Breaks a Five

It’s all of it rigged, she says,
Bust-one-wins, Hi-striker, even the Dozer.
It’s like you think you’ll score that giant panda
for the wife except you can’t, or not
without you drop another twenty
and then—what?—then you win
a thumb-sized monkey or a little comb.
She hands me five ones and then stands.
She’s worked the whole of the midway,
she says, funnel cake to corn-dogs.
She’s worked every game
plus half the rides, Krazy Koaster,
Avalanche, Wing-Ding, Tilt-a-Whirl
and if there’s somebody sick she’ll do
a kiddy ride too, Li’l Choo-choo, maybe
the Tea Cup.
There’s a collapsing soft sigh
and she sits, opens the paper, turns a page
and as if she were the one assigned to face forwards,
as if it were her job to intuit the world
and interpret the news,
Anymore, she says, it’s out of our hands,
it’s all we can do—it’s not up to you.
You see that bald bronco tearing
tickets at the carousel?
We worked the Bottle-drop
and now he’s mine: he’s no genius
but he loves me and he’s mine.
Things happen, she says, you
can’t take them back.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by the Alaska Quarterly Review. Mark Kraushaar’s most recent book of poems is The Uncertainty Principle, Waywiser Press, 2012. Poem reprinted from the Alaska Quarterly Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 & 2, by permission of the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

94. American Life in Poetry: Column 486

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Poetry has room for everything and everybody, for every subject and object. Here’s a poem by Sharon Chmielarz, a Minnesota poet, on a subject I’ve never seen written about. And poetry, and American Life in Poetry in particular, now welcomes pillow cleaners!

The Pillow Cleaners Come to Town

and turn the senior citizen center
into an automated assembly line.

Goodbye, dross of long winter nights.
Farewell, old skin cells and reek:

what couldn’t come clean on a clothesline.
Bundles of pillows, caroming, bouncing,

sloshing along, even as more
mistresses of pillows hurry through the door,

hugging stained sacks of feathers
like thoughts kept well past prime.

Sure, they should’ve been thrown out
long ago but—we paid so dearly for them.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Sharon Chmielarz from her most recent book of poems, Love from the Yellowstone Trail, North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Sharon Chmielarz and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

90. American Life in Poetry: Column 485

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

No ideas but in things, said one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams, and here’s a fine poem by Maryann Corbett of St. Paul, Minnesota, about turning up one small object loaded with meaning.

Finding the Lego

You find it when you’re tearing up your life,
trying to make some sense of the old messes,
moving dressers, peering under beds.
Almost lost in cat hair and in cobwebs,
in dust you vaguely know was once your skin,
it shows up, isolated, fragmentary.
A tidy little solid. Tractable.
Knobbed to be fitted in a lock-step pattern
with others. Plastic: red or blue or yellow.
Out of the dark, undamaged, there it is,
as bright and primary colored and foursquare
as the family with two parents and two children
who moved in twenty years ago in a dream.
It makes no allowances, concedes no failures,
admits no knowledge of a little girl
who glared through tears, rubbing her slapped cheek.
Rigidity is its essential trait.
Likely as not, you leave it where it was.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Maryann Corbett, from her most recent book of poems, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, Able Muse Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Maryann Corbett and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

85. American Life in Poetry: Column 484

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I’m especially fond of sparklers because they were among the very few fireworks we could obtain in Iowa when I was a boy. And also because in 2004 we set off the fire alarm system at the Willard Hotel in Washington by lighting a few to celebrate my inauguration as poet laureate. Here’s Barbara Crooker, of Pennsylvania, also looking back.

Sparklers

We’re writing our names with sizzles of light
to celebrate the fourth. I use the loops of cursive,
make a big B like the sloping hills on the west side
of the lake. The rest, little a, r, one small b,
spit and fizz as they scratch the night. On the side
of the shack where we bought them, a handmade sign:
Trailer Full of Sparkles Ahead, and I imagine crazy
chrysanthemums, wheels of fire, glitter bouncing
off metal walls. Here, we keep tracing in tiny
pyrotechnics the letters we were given at birth,
branding them on the air. And though my mother’s
name has been erased now, I write it, too:
a big swooping I, a hissing s, an a that sighs
like her last breath, and then I ring
belle, belle, belle in the sulphuric smoky dark.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Barbara Crooker from her most recent book of poems, Gold, Cascade Books, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Barbara Crooker and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

82. American Life in Poetry: Column 483

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

The poems of Leo Dangel, who lives in South Dakota, are known for their clarity and artful understatement. Here he humbly honors the memory of one moment of deep intimacy between a mother and her son.

In Memoriam

In the early afternoon my mother
was doing the dishes. I climbed
onto the kitchen table, I suppose
to play, and fell asleep there.
I was drowsy and awake, though,
as she lifted me up, carried me
on her arms into the living room,
and placed me on the davenport,
but I pretended to be asleep
the whole time, enjoying the luxury—
I was too big for such a privilege
and just old enough to form
my only memory of her carrying me.
She’s still moving me to a softer place.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Leo Dangel from his most recent book of poems, Saving Singletrees, WSC Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Leo Dangel and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

52. Ashbery lesen

Ashbery lesen heißt, den Faden verlieren zu wollen. Denn die Suche nach dem Sinn dieses Gedichts wäre unvorteilhaft, da es lediglich „Marginalien“ hervorhebt. Der Leser ist in der Folge völlig auf sich gestellt; stilistische Fallhöhen sind wichtiger als Stabilität. „Obwohl der Sonne knusprig verkohlte / Eingeweide hinter jenen Gipfel gesackt sind, hat bisher niemand einen Anspruch auf / die erstaunliche Summe angemeldet, welche der Sachverwalter verspricht. Weißte, kein / Minnesänger brach je einen Eid“.

Mit diesem ästhetischen „Plan“ macht sich der Autor unangreifbar. Einerseits kann man ihm vorwerfen, beliebig zu sein, andererseits ist er nicht beliebig genug, weil das „Flussbild“ nicht in alle Winkel auswuchern kann. Im begrenzten Rahmen des Buches stellt Ashbery aber klar, dass er nicht Herr im Hause seiner Dichtung ist, was den Text in Bewegung setzt. Er wendet sich gegen jede Literatur, die einen ganz bestimmten Inhalt vermitteln will, und dürfte damit viele Leser abschrecken. Wer sich jedoch darauf einlässt, empfindet mitunter Freude daran, sich dem Bilderstrom zu überlassen, den Sinn dabei jedoch zu vergessen.

Matthias Göritz und Uda Strätling versuchen, diese Problematik in ihrer Übersetzung zu bedenken. Sie schaffen es, den ständigen Wechsel stilistischer Register auch im Deutschen wiederzugeben; die weitschweifige Gedichtstruktur bewältigen sie ohne weiteres. Allerdings geben sie vor allem Fachausdrücke wörtlich wieder („dislocation“ wird zu „Dislozierung“) oder verwenden Genitive oft in altmodischer Form (z. B. „heaven’s summit“ als „des Himmels Zenit“). Gelegentlich passieren den Übersetzern auch stilistische Patzer, wenn etwa Ashberys „replacement-sun“ auf einer „Sonnenersatzbahn“ davonfährt oder wenn sich ein schlichter „someone“ in einen „dünne[n] Mann“ verwandelt.

Solche Fehler sind zwar ärgerlich, im Großen und Ganzen ist es aber auch deutschen Lesern möglich, das surrealistische Sammelsurium an Bildern, Strichen und Fragmenten zu betrachten (obwohl Textverständnis hier nicht gefragt ist). / Matthias Friedrich, literaturkritik.de

John Ashbery: Flussbild / Flow Chart. Ein Gedicht. Zweisprachig.
Übersetzt aus dem Amerikanischen von Matthias Göritz und Uda Strätling.
luxbooks, Wiesbaden 2012.
388 Seiten, 29,80 EUR.
ISBN-13: 9783939557296

44. American Life in Poetry: Column 482

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Diane Gilliam Fisher, who lives in Ohio, has published a book called Kettle Bottom that portrays the hard life of the West Virginia coal camps. Here is just one of her evocative poems.

Violet’s Wash

You can’t have nothing clean.
I scrubbed like a crazy woman
at Isom’s clothes that first week
and here they come off the line, little black
stripes wherever I’d pinned them up
or hung them over—coal dust settles
on the clothesline, piles up
like a line of snow on a tree branch.
After that, I wiped down the clothesline
every time, but no matter, you can’t
get it all off. His coveralls is stripy
with black and gray lines,
ankles of his pants is ringed around,
like marks left by shackles.
I thought I’d die that first week
when I seen him walk off to the mine,
black, burnt-looking marks
on his shirt over his shoulders, right
where wings would of folded.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2004 by Diane Gilliam Fisher from her most recent book of poems, Kettle Bottom, Perugia Press, 2004. Poem reprinted by permission of Diane Gilliam Fisher and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

34. Preisausschreiben

Eine Greifswalder Buchhandlung war so freundlich, lang her schon, einen wertvollen Preis für ein Ausschreiben zu sponsern. Das Buch liegt noch immer eingeschweißt auf unserm Tisch, nur fand das Ausschreibe-Thema nicht genug Resonanz und ein zweites herbeigeschafftes auch nicht. Für ein diffuses Spielchen wollten wir das Buch nicht verschleudern, und Tagesarbeit kam dazwischen.

Gute Bücher aber altern nicht und veralten nicht. Deshalb jetzt ein Angebot zur Güte. Güte!

Wer bis 31.7. das untenstehende Sonett übersetzt und uns die Übersetzung einreicht, hat die Chance, einen wertvollen Buchpreis zu bekommen. Wir bieten als Hauptpreis an:

Ezra Pound, Die Cantos: Erste zweisprachige Gesamtausgabe [Gebundene Ausgabe]
Eva Hesse (Übersetzer)
Ladenpreis € 128

Die Jury besteht aus Dirk Uwe Hansen und Michael Gratz.

Falls mehr als eine preiswürdige Übersetzung herauskommt, würden wir keine Mühe scheuen, weitere Preise aufzutreiben. Außerdem nähmen wir geeignete Fassungen in ein – wie wir fest glauben: gutes – Buchprojekt auf.

Hier das zu übersetzende Gedicht (die Autorin hat uns die Rechte eingeräumt).

MARILYN HACKER

Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?
Before a face suddenly numinous,
her eyes watered, knees melted. Did she lactate
again, milk brought down by a girl’s kiss?
It’s documented torrents are unloosed
by such events as recently produced
not the wish, but the need, to consume, in us,
one pint of Maalox, one of Kaopectate.
My eyes and groin are permanently swollen,
I’m alternatingly brilliant and witless
—and sleepless: bed is just a swamp to roll in.
Although I’d cream my jeans touching your breast,
sweetheart, it isn’t lust; it’s all the rest
of what I want with you that scares me shitless.

Marilyn Hacker, “[Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?]” from Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons, published by W.W Norton. Copyright © 1995 by Marilyn Hacker.

32. Lied der Globalisierung

Ezra Pound gehört zu den umstrittenen Figuren des 20. Jahrhunderts. Trotz seiner politischen Nähe zur faschistischen Ideologie, der Internierung in einem amerikanischen Gefangenenlager 1945 und der Jahre in einer Irrenanstalt ist sein literarischer Rang unbestritten, sein Einfluss auf James Joyce, auf T.S. Eliot oder Ernest Hemingway, auf die literarische Moderne, verbürgt. Zwischen 1910 und 1960 hat Pound an seinem Groß-Gedicht “The Cantos” geschrieben, die gerade mal 117 Gesänge versammeln.

Monarchien vergingen, Republiken wurden gegründet, Diktatoren siegten und scheiterten. Zwei große Kriege verwüsteten die Erde. Die Dichtung durchpflügt alle Schichten der Historie und der Kulturkreise, beschreibt Wirtschaftverhältnisse, Politik, Krieg und Kunst. Mehr als ein Dutzend lebender und toter Sprachen werden in den “Cantos” verwendet. Zitate aus den Verwaltungsakten der Renaissance-Republik Venedig stehen neben Imitationen von Homers “Odyssee” und Dantes “Divina commedia”, neben Nachahmungen des Minnesangs provenzalischer Troubadours und des bildreichen Philosophierens im Alten China. Tom Peuckert entdeckt in den “Cantos” ein Lied der Globalisierung, bietet seine Lesart der Gesänge. / DLR Lyriksommer