Poets & Pies Series, Hannan Cafe, November 30, 2015
Poetry Reading, Epic Poetry Reading, Frederick Glaysher.
Reading from Into the Ruins: Poems and The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem.
November 30, 2015. 21 minutes. Funded by Poets & Writers, Inc. Hosted by M. L. Liebler.
Poets & Pies Series: Special Holiday Edition. Hannan Cafe.
Off campus at Wayne State University, 4750 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Michigan 48201.
“It’s very contemporary, in some ways, and very much old school… This is really some cool stuff, I have to say, and I’m not just saying that, just to say it. It really is, and when you hear some of his epic poetry and poetry, hopefully you’ll agree and want to grab a copy of The Parliament of Poets. If you’ve done any study of classic epic poetry, this fits the bill. And don’t let that turn you away. It’s really good stuff.”
—M. L. Liebler, Poet and Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center, Stanford University, July 1, 2011.
III The Thinker
Staring into the portal I see humankind
stretched out on the rack of this century,
gassed in the trenches of Europe,
vivisected in the meat shops of Germany,
forced to kowtow in China and India,
in Africa and the archipelagoes,
by the British, the French, the Japanese,
by all those intent on empire,
intent on the worship of themselves.
Staring into the portal I see ourselves
revealed in the terror of what we are,
of what we cannot face, cannot bear,
try always to ignore,
while the cost grows greater and greater,
while like Ugolino we grope over the dead,
the victims of our rapacity,
our devouring lust.
“O Master, the sense is hard.”
Bronze, of course… The Thinker pondering Hell below… perhaps the greatest art work of the 20th Century. Guernica next comes to mind…
Rodin, The Gates of Hell, Cantor Art Center
One of only two or three full exhibitions, worldwide, of Rodin’s The Gates of Hell. …awe-inspiring for me. I first saw it in a special exhibition in Detroit in the early 1980s. I wrote a series of poems about it, in my book Into the Ruins, if interested, “Rodin’s Gates of Hell”: https://fglaysher.com/into_the_ruins.html
Rodin, The Thinker, MET
…A creative mounting of Rodin’s The Thinker, five or six feet off the floor, from The Gates of Hell. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 11, 2012.
I finished the second full draft of The Parliament of Poets a few days ago. It’s now a readable manuscript, entirely cast in verse.
For decades I really didn’t know how to begin, though I made notes and thought about the book endlessly. I had written The Bower of Nil as a book-length narrative poem thinking it would be a bridge to writing an epic. In my mind, the three sections were based on the Greek choric dance, which I didn’t actually make clear until the ebook edition in 2010. Nevertheless, the enormous amount of reading of philosophy that I had done for The Bower of Nil helped me to understand how to handle and structure a theme around a cultural story in dramatic, literary terms. That in itself was a considerable leap forward from the lyric poetry of Into the Ruins, at times a story told or suggested in lyric sequence. The universal epic scale proved far more difficult, even arduous. It was extremely difficult and challenging to absorb and synthesize the decades of reading, my whole life, truth be told, and beyond my own personal life, into a literary, epic form that might hope to speak to our global age.
It was Virgil who finally made me realize how to begin. He had written out the Aeneid first in prose and then worked it into verse. I thought of that for years. That opened the door for me. And then the time was right.
I know I can’t possibly be objective about the book. I’ve been completely wrapped up in it. It will be for others to judge if it flies as a universal epic. For me, after decades, since the early 1980s, I feel I’ve at last crossed a threshold and can look back, as it were, from earth to the moon, back at the earth from the moon, the physical manuscript on my desk proving I have made the voyage.
I have three more drafts planned which I hope to finish by the end of this year, each one working on smaller levels of detail, tying up the loose ends. And then perhaps a few more drafts for further polishing, like a cabochon stone.
ANN ARBOR—On September 22, 29, and October 6, the theatre company, Apollo’s Troupe, will stage the theater adaptation of the poem, The Parliament of Poets, written by Michigan poet Frederick Glaysher and published in 2012 by Earthrise Press. Continue reading →