An Epic Poetry Workshop, presented by Frederick Glaysher, at the Austin International Poetry Festival, AIPF, September 29, 2012.
“Frederick Glaysher presents a workshop designed to revive the genre of epic poetry. He researched this genre and developed two worksheets with collections of quotations and reflections on epic poetry which helped him develop his own thinking and practice. From the perspective of having now finished the 8th draft of his own epic poem, he finds much more in them and looks forward to talking with people about the genre. Having taught college courses in the past in non-Western literature, the great Asian epics are very important to him, too, and he will explore some aspects of Chinese and Indian epic as well. The workshop combines reading, discussion, thought-provoking questions, and writing practice.” — From the 20th Anniversary Celebration Program for AIPF.
Notes Over My Writing Desk, from top left down to right:
“The heart of so great a mystery cannot ever be reached by following one road only.” – Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402), a Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters, quoted by Augustine from exchange with St. Ambrose. Quoted by Arnold Toynbee in his Gifford Lecture.
“The passionate love of the artist for his subject is the soul of art. Without love no work of art is possible.” –Tolstoy, Letter, September 1889.
Virgil– write it out in prose. “No day without its line.” [Apocryphal? It shouldn’t be…]
“For the artist, however, a worldview is a tool and instrument, like a hammer in the hands of a stonemason.” –Mandelstam, from “The Morning of Acmeism,” quoted by Saul Bellow in Summations (The Bennington Chapbooks in Literature, 1987).
“Get the work out.” –Robert Hayden, to me once in conversation.
From top right, down:
“Long choosing, and beginning late.” — John Milton, Paradise Lost, BOOK IX
“Make the works.” — Walt Whitman, on a type of name plate reportedly on his desk
“I think we’re in danger of seeing a new dark age come over the mental life of the country. It is a very serious matter.” — Saul Bellow, The Dean’s December (1982).
“And the honour of virtue consists in contending, not in winning.” — Montaigne
“Certain it is, however, that this great power of blackness in him derives its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity and Original Sin, from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is always and wholly free. For, in certain moods, no man can weigh this world, without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.
“The supreme test of a book is that we should find some unusual intelligence working behind the words.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.
Bottom, right, from a dream, August 30, 2008:
“This is the structure, this is the theme”: Sacrifice thyself for the good of others. Serve them. Lead them to the Light. Accept and bear thy load of suffering and pain for their sake, for the sake of God, the Absolute Reality. Oneness of God. Oneness of the Prophets. Oneness of humanity. “Radiant acquiescence.”
“Dante guides the Persona to Chartres Cathedral. Through the labyrinth, the Queen of Heaven. Europe, a hallowed tale, in colored glass. Erasmus returns to London, with the Persona, to outside Westminster Abbey. Browning’s poem “Christmas Eve” opens the door. Tennyson, a cordial reception and then a dressing down. The Federation of the World. Blake and Milton stroll over from St. Margaret’s Church. Milton guides the Persona to what Blake called, so rightly, “Englands green & pleasant land.” A simple parish church, surrounding graves, a church perhaps Thomas Hardy had restored, in need again of his services. A prayer. And the Lady of the Lake. Excalibur. Arthur returns. An inscription on the shining blade. Wainamoinen, along with Sigurd, Beowulf, and the Valkyries, lift the Persona from the Isle of green to a grove of green, turning toward early fall, as through a swirling tunnel of time, to a birch bench. Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy, along the path, discusses his beliefs, mourns his mistakes, grieves for Russia’s collapse into the crevasse. Two young poets swept away into the gulag emerge to carry the Persona from Russia, with Hadji Murad, heading south.”
“A house in Konya, Turkey, ancient Iconium, where St. Paul preached the Gospel. Around and around. Ethereal music and chanting. Another world. Rumi longing for the Beloved, the scent of her tresses, through fields of flowers to a riverbank of reeds. Attar and a soaring flock of birds fly the Persona, from the plain of Konya, that Valley of Search, to another plane, through Seven Valleys of the Soul, down into India and the plain of Agra. Leaving the Persona in Emperor Akbar’s city of Fatehpur Sikri, before the Ibadat Khana, the House of Worship, on the Pachisi Courtyard. Akbar’s court poet Faizi receives the Persona, along with many poet mystics and Sufis of India. Persuaded by Tagore, given the trials of the time, Rahman Baba, an Afghan Pashtun, comes down from his mountain village to confer with the Poet of the Moon. Evoking the majesty of human history, Lord Alfred Tennyson extols Akbar’s dream. The many oceans mingle. The dancing girls on the Pachisi Courtyard.”
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 →