June 25th, 2013
pejmanyousefzadeh

In Which Edgar Allan Poe Pays Homage to the Chicago Blackhawks

After the Chicago Blackhawks triumphed over the Boston Bruins, winning the Stanley Cup in a six game series, the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe visited me and demanded that I take down the following poem that he composed in praise of my hometown Blackhawks. I offer it now for your reading and reciting pleasure. Admittedly, Poe is out of practice when it comes to composing poems, given that he has been dead for 164 years, but I think that he still has enough of the old magic left in him to make poetry lovers sit up and take notice.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you Poe, resurrected: 

Once upon an evening dreary, with the Bruins, beat and weary,
With their faces sad and teary and hearts dragging on the floor.
While the Blackhawks celebrated, the Bruins to their foes migrated,
Even though they truly hated what for them was now in store.
"Tap, tap tap," did the Bruins on the Blackhawks’ locker door.
"Away," said the Blackhawks. "You saw the score."

"Oh Blackhawks," said the Brui
ns. “You have brought us woe and ruin.
"Brought shame upon our crew and have achieved a higher score.
"But now, we’ve come to ask you, to charge, request and task you.
"Corey Crawford, put on your mask, you, and let’s go and play some more.
"Give us another chance at Stanley, and let’s go and play some more."
Quoth the Blackhawks, “NEVERMORE!”

"Blackhawks," said Team Boston. "Your obstinance is costin’
"Us redemption. We know we’ve lost and we’ve no right to anything more.
"But upon us take some pity, because our souls now feel quite s****y,
"There’s despair within our city, another shot we do implore.
"To take the Stanley Cup another shot we do implore."
Quoth the Blackhawks, “NEVERMORE!”

"Blackhawks," cried Team Beantown. "You know, you’re being mean now.
"If only you could have seen how Bostonians are sick and sore.
"We are beaten now in hockey, but Solo said ‘don’t get cocky,’
"Clubber Lang once gave Rocky a chance to even the score.
"We’re admittedly not from Philly, but we want to even the score."
Quoth the Blackhawks, “NEVERMORE!”

"Blackhawks," screamed Massachusetts. "We know that it’s quite useless
"To chew your ears off since we’re toothless after hockey fights galore.
"Instead, your ears entreat we, your championship conceit we
"Seek to use to cause deceit; we want to play one series more.
"Oh come now, in your hubris, consent to just one series more."
Quoth the Blackhawks, “NEVERMORE!”

And with that, the Bruins scattered, with the Blackhawks not quite flattered
To think that Boston’s begging mattered. There wouldn’t be one series more.
Lord Stanley’s Cup made bolder the great City of Big Shoulders,
Which has the Field of Soldiers where the Bears will Packers gore.
Let’s now look to autumn, when the Bears will Packers gore,
And win Chicago championships more.
January 30th, 2013
pejmanyousefzadeh

theparisreview:

On January 29 in 1845, “The Raven” was published in the New York Evening Mirror. It obviously follows that we should bring you a recording of Christopher Walken reading Poe’s poem.

Well, it is a day late, but yes; it does indeed follow.

Reblogged from The Paris Review
January 22nd, 2013
pejmanyousefzadeh
To be perfectly original one should think much and read little, and this is impossible, for one must have read before one has learnt to think.
Lord Byron, born 225 years ago today, on originality (via explore-blog)
Reblogged from Explore
January 13th, 2013
pejmanyousefzadeh

davidajohnsonart:

And it is enough for the poet to be the guilty conscience of his time.
Saint-John Perse

January 8th, 2013
pejmanyousefzadeh

davidajohnsonart:

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.
Aeschylus

November 25th, 2012
pejmanyousefzadeh

davidajohnsonart:

Poets are people who can still see the world through the eyes of children.
Alphonse Daudet

November 6th, 2012
pejmanyousefzadeh

laphamsquarterly:

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and
show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor
Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still
small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—
Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

Walt Whitman, “Election Day, 1884”

Reblogged from Lapham's Quarterly
October 31st, 2012
pejmanyousefzadeh
Poets are worshipful men, who never traffic with treason:
Both our vocation and art keep our characters pure,
Free from the greed for gain, out of the clutch of ambition,
Scorning the market place, fond of the study and shade.
But we are easy to hold, we burn with the strongest of passions,
Only too well we know loyal devotion in love.
Our native gifts are refined by the gentle art we practice,
Our behavior, of course, fits with the ways we pursue.
So be kind to us, girls, be gracious, always, to poets;
In them divinity dwells, they are the Muses’ own.
Ovid.
July 2nd, 2012
pejmanyousefzadeh
theparisreview:

“My poetry has been called polyphonic, which is to say that I have always been full of voices speaking; in a way I consider myself an instrument, a medium. My friend Jeanne Hersch, who introduced me to the existentialism of Karl Jaspers, used to say, “I have never seen a person so instrumental,” meaning that I was visited by voices. There is nothing extraterrestrial in this, but something within myself. Am I alone in this? I don’t think so. Dostoyevsky was one of the first writers, along with Friedrich Nietzsche, to identify a crisis of modern civilization: that every one of us is visited by contradictory voices, contradictory physical urges. I have written about the difficulty of remaining the same person when such guests enter and go and take us for their instrument. But we must hope to be inspired by good spirits, not evil ones.”
—Czeslaw Milosz, The Art of Poetry No. 70

theparisreview:

“My poetry has been called polyphonic, which is to say that I have always been full of voices speaking; in a way I consider myself an instrument, a medium. My friend Jeanne Hersch, who introduced me to the existentialism of Karl Jaspers, used to say, “I have never seen a person so instrumental,” meaning that I was visited by voices. There is nothing extraterrestrial in this, but something within myself. Am I alone in this? I don’t think so. Dostoyevsky was one of the first writers, along with Friedrich Nietzsche, to identify a crisis of modern civilization: that every one of us is visited by contradictory voices, contradictory physical urges. I have written about the difficulty of remaining the same person when such guests enter and go and take us for their instrument. But we must hope to be inspired by good spirits, not evil ones.”

Czeslaw Milosz, The Art of Poetry No. 70

Reblogged from The Paris Review
January 19th, 2012
pejmanyousefzadeh

The Very Strange Lives of Three Great Poets

Algis Valiunas:

The term poète maudit, or “cursed poet,” was coined by Paul Verlaine. His little book Les poètes maudits (1884) interleaved his own honorific prose with poems by some of the poets he most esteemed but whose very greatness assured that they were known only to the cognoscenti. It was their obscurity—society was indifferent to them because they were hard to understand—that prompted Verlaine to speak of them as cursed. This cultivated sense of neglect, even oppression, at the hands of the bourgeois philistines became the classic pose of the avant-garde.

But the curse seemed to be as much moral and spiritual as social, contributing to the presumption that a true artist must suffer agonies of genius. Verlaine himself happened to be about as cursed as they come: alcoholic, wife beater, child abuser, jailbird, syphilitic, down-and-outer. In no small part because of Verlaine’s own harrowing life, the meaning of maudit has come to include not only the troubles such poets suffer from society but also the troubles nature inflicts on them and the ones they inflict on themselves, body and soul.

The paradigmatic poète maudit was Baudelaire (1821–67). His Les fleurs du mal (1857), or The Flowers of Evil, is the most famous book of nineteenth-century French poetry and one of the most famous in world literature. The poems, which were revolutionary in their intermixtures of the sordid and the beautiful, reflected a spiritual extremity that the modern era has long savored, one both hell-bent and heaven-storming.

Baudelaire knew his share of hell on earth, much of it self-inflicted. In his youth he took as his mistress a bald, frightful-looking, broken-down prostitute. From her he contracted the syphilis that would ravage and kill him. As he wrote to his mother at the age of thirty-three, his was a life “damned from the beginning.” 

Blighted loves were only part of the story. As a young dandy he tore through an inheritance that would have set him up comfortably for life, and his family appointed a legal guardian to supervise his finances, an insult that galled him to no end. Laudanum (opium dissolved in alcohol) became an addiction. He was a virtuoso at wasting time, and he loathed himself for the irremediable injury he did to his talent.

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