About Me

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I write, translate, and study poetry. Sonnets, in particular, captivate me: I’m now anatomizing Robinson’s for my dissertation and rendering Rilke’s into prosodic rhyme. I also teach composition at LMU’s Amerika-Institut, English at Münchner Volkshochschule, and literature at Amerikahaus.

20150721

XIII

by John Milton

To Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires

February 9, 1646

Harry, whose tuneful and well-measur'd Song

     First taught our English Musick how to span
     Words with just note and accent, not to scan
     With Midas Ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
     With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
     To after age thou shalt be writ the man
     That with smooth aire couldst humour best our tongue.
Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must lend her wing
     To honour thee, the Priest of Phœbus quire,
     That tun'st their happiest lines in Hymn, or Story.
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
     Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing,
     Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.

Note:  A recitation can be found here.





20150720

Sonnet

by John Keats

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150718

On the Night of a Friend's Wedding

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

 If ever I am old, and all alone,
 I shall have killed one grief, at any rate;
 For then, thank God, I shall not have to wait
 Much longer for the sheaves that I have sown.
 The devil only knows what I have done,
 But here I am, and here are six or eight
 Good friends, who most ingenuously prate
 About my songs to such and such a one.

 But everything is all askew to-night, —
 As if the time were come, or almost come,
 For their untenanted mirage of me
 To lose itself and crumble out of sight,
 Like a tall ship that floats above the foam
 A little while, and then breaks utterly.


20150710

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd

by Walt Whitman

15


To the tally of my soul, 
Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird, 
With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night. 


Loud in the pines and cedars dim, 
Clear in the freshness moist and the swamp-perfume, 
And I with my comrades there in the night. 


While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed, 
As to long panoramas of visions. 


And I saw askant the armies, 
I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags, 
Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc’d with missiles I saw them, 
And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody, 
And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,) 
And the staffs all splinter’d and broken. 


I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them, 
And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them, 
I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war, 
But I saw they were not as was thought, 
They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer’d not, 
The living remain’d and suffer’d, the mother suffer’d, 
And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer’d, 
And the armies that remain’d suffer’d.

20150709

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd

by Walt Whitman

16

Passing the visions, passing the night, 
Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades’ hands, 
Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul, 
Victorious song, death’s outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song, 
As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night, 
Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy, 
Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven, 
As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses, 
Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves, 
I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring. 

I cease from my song for thee, 
From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee, 
O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night. 

Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night, 
The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird, 
And the tallying chant, the echo arous’d in my soul, 
With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe, 
With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the bird, 
Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well, 
For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands—and this for his dear sake, 
Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul, 
There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

20150708

Haiku


Morning lightning broke the oppressive choke of heat whose wake awoke me.

Mark Olival-Bartley

20150707

Beginning My Studies

by Walt Whitman

Beginning my studies, the first step pleas’d me so much,  
The mere fact, consciousness—these forms—the power of motion,
The least insect or animal—the senses—eyesight—love;  
The first step, I say, aw’d me and pleas’d me so much,  
I have hardly gone, and hardly wish’d to go, any farther,        
But stop and loiter all the time, to sing it in extatic songs.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.