Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Third Blogoversary! + Poem: Jay Wright

It's hard to believe that 3 years have passed since I first started this blog. It's in a few key ways since I started it. Originally I blogged almost daily, focused a lot more on literature and less on politics (though my criticisms of the W administration were there early on), and I tried to open the theater to as many of my interests as I could think of. One of the major ones, as any periodic readers of this blog know, is poetry.

The poetry is still here, as are the quotes, the quasi-reviews of films and occasionally books and TV shows, squibs on visual art, Diasporic issues, translations, and many of the other elements from early on, along with YouTube clips, a lot more politics, interviews, chatter about gardening, and my photos, which are always easier to post than prose. The orthographic errors remain (my ability to read computer screens diminishes with each passing day), and I apologize, but I do have less time than ever to revise these entries, which take longer than they did in the past (is my brain shrinking as well?), so my apologies in advance and after the fact (of your reading).

Before I lost my counter (remember when the blog went white as Blogger was transitioning it over to the new system?), I was approaching 100,000 page views, and that blip set me back to about 79,000, but the blog is up to 128,000+ viewers and to all of you and the many bloggers who've posted in the comments and whom I check out regularly, I say:

THANK YOU FOR DROPPING IN! (Yes, that's enthusiastic shouting.)


My very first post focused on poetry, and more specifically, on none other than Jay Wright, who is, as anyone who knows me well, one of my favorite poets and avatars (is that a kosher idea these days?). Among his poetry's many virtues, I love its high lyricism, its carefully thought-out formal structure, its grounding in crosscultural and Diasporic spiritual systems, its thematic and linguistic complexity and range, and its subtle and not infrequent returns, at the least expected times, to the vernacular, to the blues, to the voices heard across the field or fence or through the kitchen's screen door. Its soul: it's soul.

Fitting then that I quote a snippet from one of his two newest books (he has published four in the last year, and not one of them is less than stellar), Polynomials and Pollen: Parables, Proverbs, and Praise for Lois (Dalkey Archive Press, 2008). This is from a sequence called "IMÙLÈ," a Yoruba word meaning "covenant and covenant meal," an important ceremonial and socio-religious element in traditional Yoruba and other societies. The meal is shared by humans and divinities. (Ogungbile, 2001; Awolalu and Dopamu, 1979). I'll be quoting from his other new book, "The Presentable Art of Reading Absence (Dalkey Archive Press, 2008, in a later act. But here's an excerpt from the eponymously alliterative collection:

From "IMÙLÈ"

would worry
the most intrepid soul.
Seven A.M. Teacups
and the plasticity of sleeplessness.
This down,
if you set,
a morning bemused
by the raw presence
that greets you in Dundee,
such confusion
of conversations
concerning caraway and cunning
a dory that cannot dock
in this dream, and
a memory of liquids
and fricatives
given the pleasure place ensures.
All is a hallowed bushing,
undamaged, turbulent tongues.

Copyright © Jay Wright, from Polynomials and Pollen: Parables, Proverbs, and Praise for Lois, Dalkey Archive, 2008, p. 41.


  1. Happy blogaversary, John! You have always been an enlightening and informative addition to the community.

  2. Happy Anniversary! So glad to be part of your regular readership!

  3. Bernie, Joseph, Andrés, and Audiologo, thanks for your readership and your own blogs. Blirthay, or cumpleblogaños, indeed!