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Showing posts from November, 2009

Michael Hofmann - Changes

Changes

Birds singing in the rain, in the dawn chorus,
on power lines. Birds knocking on the lawn,
and poor mistaken worms answering them ...

They take no thought for the morrow, not like you
in your new job. - It paid for my flowers, now
already stricken in years. The stiff cornflowers

bleach, their blue rinse grows out. The marigolds
develop a stoop and go bald, orange clowns,
straw polls, their petals coming out in fistfuls ...

Hard to take you in your new professional pride -
a salary, place of work, colleagues, corporate spirit -
your new femme d'affaires haircut, hard as nails.

Say I must be repressive, afraid of castration,
loving the quest better than its fulfilment.
- What became of you, bright sparrow, featherhead?




poem by Michael Hofmann
republished with permission of the author
first published in TheNew Yorker
from Acrimony (Faber, 1986)




I've loved Hofmann's poetry since I first came across an old copy of what I still think his best collection, Acrimony, some years ago. Despite fr…

Verse Palace

The questions and discussions surrounding why and how writers write can be as fascinating and thought-provoking as good writing itself, no? And this is particularly true of poetry, with all of its nuanced complexity and intoxicating musicality (but then I would say that, wouldn't I). Well the good news is that - my witterings aside for a moment - an excellent new online project has recently been launched, intended to offer a platform for poets to talk about an aspect of writing or reading poems which currently interests them.

It's called Verse Palace, and will feature a post a week solicited from poets, teachers and poetry readers of all opinions, interests and tastes. Some of the contributors already lined-up include David Wheatley, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Mary Jo Bang and Michael Hofmann. Well worth visiting the site over the coming months as it develops then, and getting involved in the discussions.

First up is Poetry Review editor Fiona Sampson, with her thoughts on translation …