Friday, April 21, 2017

Sins of Omission #NPM17

This morning began peacefully and beautiful, filled with the misty, drifting ground fog that makes everything haunted and romantic at the same time. Duck after duck, in singles and pairs, more than I'm used to seeing around here, flew low, just over the treetops, barely above the foggy mist. I was in a rare, mellow mood until I opened the web page on 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month and saw what was missing!

misty morning, sunrise
misty morning, sunrise
Photo by J. Harrington

What the Hell?! Academy of American Poets!? For suggestion 21 on how to celebrate National Poetry Month, you offer "Watch a poetry movie." So far, so good. Then you provide a list that includes "Films About Poetry" and "Films That Reference Poetry." Fine! But, you have absolutely no mention of the films about or with America's latest Nobel Laureate in Literature (poetry), BOB DYLAN? (Yes, I am shouting. I'll try to calm down.)

Try including these poetry movies next year, or, even better, edit them into this year's list:

There are other options, but the ones listed seem to be an inexcusable omission since Dylan's award was "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". Even the Academy's biographic notes on Dylan acknowledge that he is also the author of Tarantula, "a collection of prose poetry." How the egregious omission of Dylan's movie poetry, or would that be poetry movies, could have occurred is beyond me. Perhaps it's evidence of ... what? what could account for it.

Record



Late night July, Minnesota,
John asleep on the glassed-in porch,
Bob Dylan quiet on a cassette


you made from an album
I got rid of soon after
you died.  Years later,


I regret giving up
your two boxes of vinyl,
which I loved.  Surely


they were too awkward,
too easily broken
for people who loved music


the way we did.  But tonight
I’m in the mood for ghosts,
for sounds we hated: pop,


scratch, hiss, the occasional
skip.  The curtains balloon;
I’ve got a beer; I’m struck


by guilt, watching you
from a place ten years away,
kneeling and cleaning each


with a velvet brush before 
and after, tucking them in
their sleeves.  Understand,


I was still moving then.
The boxes were heavy.
If I had known



I would stop here
with a husband to help me
carry, and room—too late,


the college kids pick over
your black bones on Mass. Ave.,
we’ll meet again some day


on the avenue but still,
I want to hear it,
the needle hitting the end


of a side and playing silence
until the arm gives up,
pulls away.


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