Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Vastly replenished"

1. A fine article in the LARB on dining out with Marianne Moore; here is Moore as theater critic:
But a production of Phèdre by the Comédie-Française with Marie Bell had impressed her when she hadn’t expected to be impressed. “I was so enthused after seeing Marie Bell’s Phèdre that I bought myself a bag of hot chestnuts and came home vastly replenished!”
A few bracingly negative views of younger poets (I agree with both of these):
“Randall Jarrell makes patchwork quilts of mediocre poetic ideas. His poems are good, realistic, honest — but not outstanding,” for instance, or “Richard Wilbur’s poems don’t stay in my mind, which must be an indication of their worth — to me, at least. He’s very accomplished, though. I like his translations of Molière.” When making “pronouncements” she had a way of tilting her head back a bit and lifting her right hand in the air, fingers curved, almost as if she were preparing to play the piano. 
2. Geoffrey Hill has been knighted; this particular honor seems esp. appropriate in his case. I have quoted his poems in the past, but feel obliged to record an appearance of snouts therein (Mercian Hymns XI):
Swathed bodies in the long ditch; one eye upstaring. It is safe to presume, here, the king’s anger. He reigned forty years. Seasons touched and retouched the soil.

Heathland, new-made watermeadow. Charlock, marsh-marigold. Crepitant oak forest where the boar furrowed black mould, his snout intimate with worms and leaves.

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