Category Archives: Talk About Poetry

Some Words of Hart Crane

     1.  It’s a mysterious process, how a poem starts and grows, what makes it take root, why this and not that.  And the writing, the building-up or building-down, from these words or those, to those finished quatrains or these couplets, to something free-form, or to some mix of all of them, all those choices guided… Continue Reading

Poetry and the Lion’s Mane

By Stephen Kuusisto, co-editor Nine Mile Magazine   Why do lions–male lions–have manes? “Protects them in fights,” some say, but lions mostly attack each other at the hips which is a fact like candy or coconuts as Anselm Hollo once said though he wasn’t talking about lions. A contrary view: the mane advertises a lion’s… Continue Reading

Sand in the Oyster: Auden, Eliot, & the Making of a Poem by Dylan Thomas

1. Let’s do a thought experiment.  Here’s the scene:  It’s 1934, a decade less and less dominated by the powerful poetic voices of the  near-50ish T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, those enfant arbiters who initiated the modernist movement in the Anni Mirabiles years of a decade ago, and more and more by the 20-something new generation… Continue Reading

Trakl’s Helian, An Utterly New Thing

Trakl called “Helian” “the most precious and painful [poem] I have ever written.”  He wrote it between December 1912 and January 1913.  I believe that the poem earned his description by dealing in entirely new ways with related themes that were difficult for him, as they would be for anyone:  the decline of family, and of civilization,… Continue Reading

Trakl: the Elis Poems

Trakl’s brilliant Elis poems, “To The Boy Elis” and “Elis,” were written between spring, 1913, and early 1914, part of the late flowering that began with the masterpieces “Helian” and “Psalm.”  The Elis figure is literary, from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale, “The Mines at Falun.”  In that story Elis Frobom is a 17th century Swedish miner who… Continue Reading

Trakl: The Dark Paths Of Men Are Strange

Trakl’s four mature prose poems written after 1913 all use the new style begun in “Psalm” and “Helian.”  All are strange and mysterious, fragmentary narratives that hint at a greater story lurking just beyond what we can easily see.  As with all things that hint of narrative, once we are swept up in it, once we engage, we… Continue Reading

More of the Brilliant Trakl Poems of 1914

Here are more of my translations of the great Trakl poems of 1914.   These include the terrifying war poem, “In The East,” the odd and lovely and desolate “Homecoming,” and a first version of “Lament.”  This is not the famous “Klage,” one of Trakl’s last poems, but neither is it an early version.  It… Continue Reading

Trakl: More Late Period Poems

Here are more of my translations from Trakl’s extraordinary May-July 1914 outpouring that produced “Das Herz” (“The Heart), “Der Schlaf” (“Sleep”), “Der Abend” (“Evening”), “Die Nacht” (“Night”), “Die Schwermut” (“Melancholy”), and “Die Hedmkehr” (“Homecoming”).  These, and the poems to come, are all affected by the impending sense of doom and of the war that would begin in… Continue Reading

Trakl: The Storm That Is The World & The Home

“Storm” is one of the half-dozen or so poems completed by Trakl in 1914 in the months before his suicide.  It is a significant further development from the style of “Psalm” and the great poems “Helian” and “Elis.”  It maintains their technique of narrative construction as a form of symbolic argument, but much else is new.  There… Continue Reading

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Thank you to the Central New York Community Foundation, which has generously provided a grant to aid in the publication of Nine Mile Magazine and of our Nine Mile book series.

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