Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dale Favier (re)reads Thaliad

I'm always interested when poet Dale Favier a.k.a. Mole posts on books because he is meditative and his thoughts shoot off in interesting, often curious directions. He has begun what appears to be a series of posts on Thaliad--as he did, earlier, on A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage. (The easiest way to read all his Orphanage comments at once may be to go to Amazon, where they are gathered in one fat bundle in customer reviews. I am grateful to him for posting them on his blog and Amazon.) Here's a clip from the first Thaliad post:
I hope readers will not be put off by a modern poem being called an epic. “Epic” has come to mean “gargantuan” or “undisciplined”: it's used of great sprawling things, and, particularly in modern poetry, of monstrously fleshy lyric poems stuffed with obscure allusions, and no narrative skeleton to hold them up: things like Pound's Cantos get called “epics.” It leaves us no name for the Thaliad, which really is an epic: a rapidly running, easy-to-follow narrative poem. Those who don't like poetry can ignore the fact that the right margin is ragged, and read it as a quick short utopian/dystopian novel.

In any case, my response to finishing this poem was – as I know it has been for others – to turn immediately to the front, and begin to read it again. Epic is always an attempt to find origins, isn't it?
For more about Thaliad, you may visit the Phoenicia Publishing page about the book, read a sample at Scribd, visit my Thaliad page, or read customer reviews at Amazon.com or Amazon.uk (the reviews differ on the two sites, and I'm pleased to already have six when so many poetry books never have any at all.) Note: The best way to obtain a hardcover is to go to the Phoenicia page. Also, if you want a peep at some of the gorgeous vignettes made for the book by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, you may peep at some of them here, or else see some of the process here.

3 comments:

  1. I came late to poetry -- and I'm still startled to hear myself referred to as a poet! -- so I completely understand being afraid of poetry: I used to avoid it, and skip it if somebody unaccountably dumped it (v. Tolkien) into works I otherwise liked. But even in my youth I loved the real epics, Homer and Virgil and Milton. I just ignored the fact that they were in verse. Thaliad is perfectly approachable that way!

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  2. That's good to hear--now to get all those poetry-fearers rounded up to read!

    It's hard to think of you being afraid of poetry...

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  3. I just got into poetry. This is interesting stuff. Thanks for all the good links in this article! This will help me explore more.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.