Monday, April 20, 2015

Lynn Levin's Sonnet Class - Linda Barrett's Playground Swing Sonnet

Say hello to the women in Lynn Levin's Sonnet Class at the Huntingdon Valley Library.

Last row - Eileen O'Toole - Judy Miller - Linda Barrett, who actually wrote a sonnet
First row - Paula Spritzberg - Janis Dawson - Lynn Levin - Ruth Deming

This is the second of three classes.

Such wonderful sonnets we read including Aquainted with the Night by Robert Frost. You can hear it on this YouTube video. 
Image result for gwendolyn brooks

I'd never been aware of the black poet Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000). Her remarkable poem The Progress told of the treatment African-Americans received after fighting in World War II.

The Progress

And still we wear our uniforms, follow
The cracked cry of the bugles, comb and brush
Our pride and prejudice, doctor the sallow
Initial ardor, wish to keep it fresh.
Still we applaud the president's voice and face.
Still we remark on patriotism, sing
Salute the flag, thrill heavily, rejoice
For death of men, who, too, saluted, sang.
But inward grows a soberness, an awe
A fear, a deepening hollow through the cold.
For even if we come out standing up
How shall we smile, congratulate: and how
Settle in chairs? Listen, listen. The step
Of iron feet again. And again wild.

The above word "but" is called a "volta" - a different point of view.

Listen to Gwendolyn Brooks reading her most famous poem "We Cool" on YouTube here.

Image result for dick allen poet

Was not familiar with Dick Allen, born in 1939. His poem Lost Love is very moving. It was originally published in the 1987 New Yorker.

He's got his own website. Read it here.

We also read a sonnet by John Berryman (1914-1972) whose first lines read

I've found out why, that day, the suicide
From the Empire State falling on someone's car
Troubled you so: and why we quarreled. War
Illness, an accident.

Image result for john berryman     Berryman looks like he's in deep despair. He jumped to his death from a bridge.

On a lighter note, Linda Barrett just emailed me her sonnet.

PlayGround Swing Sonnet
@2015 Linda Barrett

Swing with me into the skies
Take flight with your legs and arms
Reach back and forth, flying high
Into bright heaven’s blue charms
Push back and forth light as a feather
Grasp harder at the swing’s rusty chains
Shriek aloud from a seat of leather
While denying Physic’s logical claims
Design your own flying machine
Made from chains, arms and feet
Cast off from the grass so green
Your playground joy made complete
Within the park, fly hard on your swing,
Relishing the joy without wings!

Brava, Linda Barrett who deserves that fine title Poetess.

Well, I will arise and go now, as William Butler Yeats wrote from Innisfree, a lake in Northern Island. The Times has an article about this idyllic place. 

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