Archives - November 2010

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Nov. 30

Walt Whitman


The Good Gray Poet



        It was often said of Walt Whitman that his beard attracted butterflies.  I can only imagine this must have been true.   Can't you just picture him, walking down the busy streets, multi-colored, diaphonous wings flitting about his head?

        Whitman revolutionized poetry, giving it a uniquely American voice.  His poetic form is called "parallelismus membrorum," which is, according to the poet Galway Kinnell, "the use of repetitions of thought, patterns, syntax, word order, rhythmic structure, words, phrases, clauses, or whatever in consecutive lines." 

        At the age of twenty-five, he made a brief sojourn to New Orleans where he was exposed to slavery and the auction block for the first time.  His employer fired him upon learning of his negative views of slavery, an unfortunate staple of the South that still makes me cringe to this day.  His poem "I ...

Nov. 18

Blood Meridian


And the Beat Goes on



        I finished reading Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian.  I found myself stopping to go back and re-read passages.  His imagery is powerful and haunting and cataclysmic.  It's when I read writing like this that I most lament my own writing skills.  This is from Chapter IV:


        They rode on and the sun in the east flushed pale streaks of light and then a deeper run of color like blood seeping up in sudden reaches flaring planewise and where the earth drained up into the sky at the edge of creation the top of the sun rose out of nothing like the head of a great red phallus until it cleared the unseen rim and sat squat pulsing and malevolent behind them.  The shadows of the smallest stones lay like pencil lines across the sand and the shapes of the ...

Nov. 15

Blood Meridian


McCarthy's Masterpiece




        For some reason that I can't exactly explain, I have avoided reading any of Cormac McCarthy's novels.  Until now.  I started reading Blood Meridian last night and had a hard time putting it down to go to sleep.  It is a gripping narrative full of apocalyptic imagery and grotesque characters and clever word play. 

        I was interested to see that the epigrammatic summary structure of his chapters was lifted by the author of The Book Thief, another favorite of mine. (Well, all writers are thieves when you get right down to it.  We write what we know, and we know what we read.)

        This is Chapter V:


Adrift on the Bolson de Mapimi -- Sproule -- Tree of dead babies --

Scenes from a massacre -- Spoilotes -- The murdered in the church --

    Nights among the dead -- Wolves -- The ...

Nov. 12

Edna St. Vincent Millay


Just Because ...



        This post is just because.  Just because I love hyacinths.  Just because I love short poetry.  Just because I love Edna St. Vincent Millay.




I am in love with him to whom a hyacinth is dearer

Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field-mice are abroad he cannot


He hears their narrow teeth at the bulbs of his hyacinths.

But the gnawing at my heart he does not hear.

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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