Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wordplay: Miss Landon Godfrey celebrates her birthday

... on the radio. She was in high spirits, given the special occasion, quick and eloquent in discussing her poetry, as she sees it -- in speaking of her attention to the materiality of language, for instance, as well as its referential sense.

Landon has studied both poetry and painting, and received her MFA in writing from the University of Houston. If you don't yet know her work as poet and painter, now's a good time to begin. Her website's over here, and here are a couple of the poems she read for Wordplay:


Calculus, lapillus,
rounded, shapely—one—
alone but friended,
kept in pockets, skipped

across smooth platters
of silver, blue, green, black
water, an arrow
with blunt tip

and wide-gyre wake,
the idea of circle
pursuing, like pack
chasing rabbit, greyhound

sleek, panting, flying, greyhound
mob, more than field
doubled, the violent math
of loose cohesion, spun

and spinning, like oranges flung,
but encased in a burlap sack,
off a cliff, separate
trajectories hitting one

target. Oy!
Praise chaste thumb-twinner,
ruminator, counter, score
keeper, even-keeled

balancer, jiggler & sounder
of seven-eight:
silent aspect a ruse

and the Buddha-thing
a clever form of begging—
love me (We do). No,
cherish me (We do). No,

wait, adore me (Oh, baby,
we do. You’re everything
we’re not). Praise
monk mime with its monkey

joie de vivre, all
curve, heft & lightness,
dense little soul marker
escaped from garden duty

having renounced
the civilizing footprint—
so many grouped around a grass
tuft and voilà

a Stonehenge-Versailles-Central-Park
argument lauding something
called nature, a form of now
filled with a whole

lot of then—escaped.
Praise and write a postcard
to wandering worn-away,
visiting ancestors all over the world,

accretions, striae, cairns & mountains,
boulders on pedestals, buildings,
ruins, roads fine and almost
frictionless and those cobbled

bicycle rumblers where bloody
knee knows to count
its blessings and be grateful
for wounds that heal

because hungry dogs
can mistake lump-shadow
for crumb and that’s-not-a-potato
boiled in a pot

is not soup for the starving
and throwing, tossing, pelting,
lobbing, flinging, heaving,
hurling, casting, slinging,

nailing, launching, firing
can be graving, battle & war
manglers of the horizon,
a straight line only

in as much as it stands in for one
side of a coffin.
Bless tiny earth-double,
countless angels dancing

on its ellipse, or one
big angel crushing it
under heel, but, no,
arch bends up, foot

surrounds humblest orb,
now hiding in makeshift
shelter, spared, not believing in angels.
Whence the blind eye-ball?

Whence the hopscotch bob?
Whence the mirrored fig,
without leaf to cover luminous energies?
Whence the memento,

lying next to palm, the word
caress not undermined
by saccharinization, for once
all care and s, tongue

taking flight, tracing the arc
of sibilance, a one-
letter lovesong to a symbol
of simple.

Embrace this heat-
thief in hand
and it gives
warmth back in kind,

the illusion of symbiosis
like perfume, seductive, fleeting.
But the thing itself
a permanence.


You flash bright
green bright shine so even
lying on the sidewalk
next to a marble pillar
you seem alive
before I can pick you
up a little boy lifts your body
his mother hums
hummingbird he hums
hummingbird back into the mirror
of her voice the sad
sound reflecting
off their tongues
and off your jewel-belly
which nudges the sun
like a hill in
a miniature landscape
painting echoing diminishing
song and off the tearless
joy of eyes hearing
your green fire

Check out the rest here (that's the .mp3 stream), or head over to the Archive page at WPVM.

Carla Bruni's No Promises furnished the music for the show. It features Bruni's sung versions of English poems by William Butler Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, Auden, and others. We listened to two by Yeats ("Those Dancing Days Are Gone" and "Before the World Was Made"), Rossetti's "Promises Like Pie Crust", and closed with another I didn't note as we cleared out of the studio and made way for Siren's Muse.

The show will be available as a stream or podcast through next Sunday, 13 July.

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