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Month: March 2012

New Poetry by Neil Ellman

New Poetry by Neil Ellman

Academy

(after the painting by Cy Twombly)

 

Scrawls on the hide
of a whale
almost words
more than scrawls
almost more than words
a kind of history
of victories & defeats
         rough encounters
         in dangerous seas
         mad love               
crawling syllables
ampersands
asterisks
slashes
         coherent by half
         call out
         wounded
         its migration done
it crawls to land
to teach its young.

 

 Invasion of the Night

(after the painting by Roberto Matta)

 
Time, times, and a half
the wicked judged
you and I
our bodies
chased and caught
invaded by the night
and crushed
upon a darkling sky
as stars burn out
flames from a lick
chaos in a jar
an absence of civility
and light
in our final hour.

 

 

— by Neil Ellman

 

Copyright ©2012 by Neil Ellman. All Rights Reserved.

 

Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  His poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern and contemporary art, … Click to continue . . .

Past lives: The Archive of DNA

Past lives: The Archive of DNA

Samsara. Date and Artist unknown
Samsara. Date and Artist unknown

 

All religious scripture speaks on many levels, in a multitude of ways. Some who read scripture believe them to be literally true, while others see them as poetic, symbolic, allegorical. They see metaphors where others see history. And all writers of scripture no doubt realized this vast sea of difference. They all realized that their work would be interpretated differently, given the context, the culture, the times, the levels of literacy and education. The best of them wrote in such a way that multiple interpretations could live harmoniously and effectively, side by side, for centuries.

Buddhist scripture was, of course, no different.

The concept of “rebirth”, for instance, lends itself to a great many interpretations. For me, as a Western novice, as one who views Jewish, Christian and Moslem scripture as literature, not history or fact, the Buddhist concept of “rebirth” carries the weight of metaphor, not physics. I see it as an aid … Click to continue . . .

Mismatch the Unsaid

Mismatch the Unsaid

Edvard Munch's The Scream. 1893
Edvard Munch’s The Scream. 1893

There is no real relationship between a word and what it represents — outside our minds, outside our desire to forge that relationship. Outside the web of communication between one mind and the next, beyond the catalog of accepted naming conventions, there is no natural connection, correspondence or exact match. It is, in a word, arbitrary, empty, functional. The word “dog,” for instance, tells us (rather, demonstrates) nothing, really, about the actually existing animal, and the actually existing animal exists with or without our language, with or without our rather lame attempt to name it and describe it.

 

Many great writers felt the crush of this, this realization that they were condemned to forever fall short in what they did, what they loved to do. What they lived for. Samuel Beckett, par exemple, ran away from his native tongue, English, and wrote instead in French, and then moved further and further toward … Click to continue . . .

New Poetry on Tap

New Poetry on Tap

We are pleased to publish new work by Felino Soriano and Jessica McFadden. Felino is a returning champion and Jessica is a unique find.

 

__________

 Reading the poems above, watching the phenomenal movie, Tree of Life, and moving further along the path of Zen, I thought about images versus language. I thought about the way that words can never capture what we see, feel, smell, touch or hear. They can never be more than an approximation, a translation, yet we think in language alone — not in images, not in other dimensions. We think in words. And as long as we think in words alone, we can never truly cross over. We can never truly release ourselves into the void to become one with it, to force a union between form and emptiness, emptiness and form.

Not that we must do this. Art is open. Art does not do necessity. Art does not narrow. But … Click to continue . . .