Sunday, March 02, 2008

Richard Wilbur

A poetical celebration of Richard Wilbur’s birth, life and poetry. If you missed our last event, don't miss another one! Join us if you love poetry or are interested in learning more about this fine art. Join in discussion with people whose hearts and minds are more open than closed. If you learn from us or we learn from you a thing or two about our featured poet or poetry well then we're having an exceptionally memorable occasion. Note: Richard Wilbur will not be at the Barnes & Noble for this event.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble Bookseller
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw , MI 48603
phone 989.790.9214

Who should come
Join us if you love poetry or are curious as to what poetry is all about. Join us if you'd like to talk to people whose hearts and minds are more open than closed. Join us if you can agree or disagree with someone's opinion respectfully. Bring a book if you can. It’s OK if it’s from your library.

Find out what poems sound like out loud. Listen in on the group and then find a place where you can jump in and read something yourself. Read poetry out loud and have great fun with the whole family as we talk about life, poetry and the pursuit of happiness. If you have specialized knowledge regarding our poet, do not hesitate to regale us with your story. Don't expect to leave our event with a definitive understanding of the poet or the poems but please do seek to experience and communicate the joys of poetry with others. Join in our informal discussion of poems we know and love and poems we are only just discovering. Better readers make better writers. Visit with our group where everyone's poetry is valued if not appreciated. If you have a smile to share be sure to bring it; otherwise be prepared to leave with one on your face and in your heart. If you're too far away to join us, create your own Birthdays of Poets Reader’s Workshop. Speak up now and forever share your peace.

How to find us
We are in the Poetry section, near the window. The staff at Barnes & Noble will put up a sign that says 'This space reserved for The River Junction Poets at 7 p.m.' We'll be getting a few folding chairs to add around the table there.

Richard Wilbur was born on March 1, 1921 in New York City. He studied at Amherst College before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He later attended Harvard University.
Excerpted from accessed 3/2/08.
In the postwar years, when poets born between 1920 and 1935 often underwent dramatic changes in their writing styles, Wilbur remained someone who mastered a style early and continued to work within it. It is a style in a direct line of descent from Wallace Stevens: unabashedly rich in its diction, urbane in its metrical sophistication, and remarkably light-hearted and playful. His first and second books, The Beautiful Changes (1947) and Ceremony (1950), were influential volumes, and Wilbur was widely regarded in the 1950s as a poet no less important than Robert Lowell.
Excerpted from accessed 3/2/08.

A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra
by Richard Wilbur
for Dore and Adja

Under the bronze crown
Too big for the head of the stone cherub whose feet
A serpent has begun to eat,
Sweet water brims a cockle and braids down

Past spattered mosses, breaks
On the tipped edge of a second shell, and fills
The massive third below. It spills
In threads then from the scalloped rim, and makes

A scrim or summery tent
For a faun-m�nage and their familiar goose.
Happy in all that ragged, loose
Collapse of water, its effortless descent

And flatteries of spray,
The stocky god upholds the shell with ease,
Watching, about his shaggy knees,
The goatish innocence of his babes at play;

His fauness all the while
Leans forward, slightly, into a clambering mesh
Of water-lights, her sparkling flesh
In a saecular ecstasy, her blinded smile

Bent on the sand floor
Of the trefoil pool, where ripple-shadows come
And go in swift reticulum,
More addling to the eye than wine, and more

Interminable to thought
Than pleasure’s calculus. Yet since this all
Is pleasure, flash, and waterfall,
Must it not be too simple? Are we not

More intricately expressed
In the plain fountains that Maderna set
Before St. Peter’s—the main jet
Struggling aloft until it seems at rest

In the act of rising, until
The very wish of water is reversed,
That heaviness borne up to burst
In a clear, high, cavorting head, to fill

With blaze, and then in gauze
Delays, in a gnatlike shimmering, in a fine
Illumined version of itself, decline,
And patter on the stones its own applause?

If that is what men are
Or should be, if those water-saints display
The pattern of our aret�,
What of these showered fauns in their bizarre,

Spangled, and plunging house?
They are at rest in fulness of desire
For what is given, they do not tire
Of the smart of the sun, the pleasant water-douse

And riddled pool below,
Reproving our disgust and our ennui
With humble insatiety.
Francis, perhaps, who lay in sister snow

Before the wealthy gate
Freezing and praising, might have seen in this
No trifle, but a shade of bliss—
That land of tolerable flowers, that state

As near and far as grass
Where eyes become the sunlight, and the hand
Is worthy of water: the dreamt land
Toward which all hungers leap, all pleasures pass.

from accessed 3/2/08.

Parting Thoughts
Are you not aware? You are a cultural event, and so is everyone else. Celebrate your humanity at Saginaw’s Birthdays of Poets Reader’s Workshop. If you have a smile to share be sure to bring it. If you don't, be sure to join us so you'll have one afterward! Thank you and may God continue to bless us mightily one and all. Be sure to thank a veteran for his/her service. Remember: only you can improve the audience for poetry. Please read, discuss and share responsibly. And vote.

All best and see you Wednesday,
Andy Christ

-- "It is our goal to appreciate and improve our talents, to share our own work and to communicate the joys of poetry with others. Everyone's poetry is valued." River Junction Poets Mission Statement

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