Today Poetry Club discusses…everything and nothing. Friends gathering for a check-in during the pandemic, wandering from topic to topic. Amory shares a book review of “Before the Ever After” by Jacqueline Woodson about NFL players that suffered concussions. We also share the story of our scars, and the success of another local podcast and celebrate Lynn’s first commission check from Village Books. Most importantly we explore W.S. Merwin’s poem “Elegy For A Walnut Tree”.
“Appointed United States Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress in 2010, William Stanley Merwin had a career that spanned seven decades. A poet, translator, gardener and environmental activist, Merwin has become one of the most widely read and honored poets in America. He died at home at the age of 91, in the house he built, among the thousands of palms he planted, on Friday, March 15, 2019.”
Poetry Club discusses two poems by American poet W.S. Merwin (b.1927-d.2019), “Thank You” and “For the Anniversary of My Death”. Linda starts us off with his biography, then Amory guides us through two of his poems. Merwin had a simple life as a Zen Buddhist, pacifist, environmentalist, and writer. Can we ever know what the author truly intends? Safe to say, we walk away from the two poems in awe of his world-class abilities, and personal life.
Next week we’ll discuss “In Time” and “Elegy For A Walnut Tree”
We have a guest this week! Author, poet, musician, Western Washington University Spanish professor, and host of the monthly Village Books Open Mic Sean Dwyer joins the club today.
Under the microscope are two poems; W.S. Merwin’s Spanish/English translation of Pablo Neruda’s (b.1904-d.1973) “Poema 20” vs. Sean’s translation. Open up the document (attached) and follow along as Sean takes us line by line, explaining the difference between native and dictionary translation, the importance of cultural understanding, the effort to keep the original rhyming scheme, and more.
We packed the presentation and Q/A into one show
Start – 43:00 minutes is a line by line exploration
43:00 – 48:00 Sean reads his translation in Spanish
48:00 – 1:20:00 Group Questions and Answer
1:20:00 – We close with Pablo himself reading the original “Poem 20”
-Thank you Sean for joining us today. It was a delight!