February 24, 2010

Driving West in 1970

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--Description: 21st C, Bly R., Humanity, Life, Patriotism--

My dear children, do you remember the morning
When we climbed into the old Plymouth
And drove west straight toward the Pacific?

We were all the people there were.
We followed Dylan's songs all the way west.
It was Seventy; the war was over, almost;

And we were driving to the sea.
We had closed the farm, tucked in
The flap, and were eating the honey

Of distance and the word "there."
Oh whee, we're gonna fly
Down into the easy chair. We sang that

Over and over. That's what the early
Seventies were like. We weren't afraid.
And a hole had opened in the world.

We laughed at Las Vegas.
There was enough gaiety
For all of us, and ahead of us was

The ocean. Tomorrow's
The day my bride's gonna come.
And the war was over, almost.

Robert Bly

--Did You Know: (born December 23, 1926) Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement. Robert Bly was born in Minnesota to Jacob and Alice Bly, people of Norwegian ancestry. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University, joining the later famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, including Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York. In 1956 he received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there he found not only his relatives, but the work of a number of major poets whose work was barely known in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Antonio Machado, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl, Rumi, Hafez, Kabir, Mirabai, and Harry Martinson. Bly determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States. The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies, introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation, and also published essays on American poets. During this time, Bly lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and children. His first marriage was to award-winning short story novelist Carol Bly. They had four children, including Mary J. Bly, a Literature Professor at Fordham University and also a best-selling novelist. Bly and Carol divorced in 1979; he has been married to the former Ruth Ray since 1980. He has a stepdaughter from his marriage to Ruth Bly. A stepson from the marriage died in a pedestrian-train incident while he attended private college in Minnesota. Suicide was suspected but never confirmed. Read more at: Robert Bly

--Poetry Terminology: Four Ages of Poetry-
Title of a (light hearted) essay by Thomas Love Peacock in which he classified poetry in terms of four periods: iron, gold, silver and brass.

--Word of the Day: hypnagogic \hip-nuh-GOJ-ik; -GOH-jik\, adjective:
Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the state of drowsiness preceding sleep.
It is of course precisely in such episodes of mental traveling that writers are known to do good work, sometimes even their best, solving formal problems, getting advice from Beyond, having hypnagogic adventures that with luck can be recovered later on.
-Thomas Pynchon, "Nearer, My Couch, to Thee", New York Times, June 6, 1993

--Quote of the Day: The 1970s, the decade of my teenage years, was a transitional period in American youth culture.
-Eric Allin Cornell

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