Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bucolics - Maurice Manning

Just came across the poetry of Maurice Manning:

you're a workhorse Boss like me
you work the pump I work
the bucket fair enough
we're tough as leather Boss
tough as nails we go
together don't we the way
nip goes with tuck we grin
we bear it Boss O does
that ever cross your mind

"XXVIII" from Bucolics

that bare branch that branch made black
by the rain the silver raindrop
hanging from the black branch
Boss I like that black branch
I like that shiny raindrop Boss
tell me if I’m wrong but it makes
me think you’re looking right
at me now isn’t that a lark for me
to think you look that way
upside down like a tree frog
Boss I’m not surprised at all
I wouldn’t doubt it for
a minute you’re always up
to something I’ll say one thing
you’re all right all right you are
even when you’re hanging Boss

(The number on this one wasn't listed).

Publishers Weekly wrote: "In his third collection, Yale Younger Poets prize-winner Manning goes for a new twist on the traditional genre of pastoral poetry: he praises nature, but also engages in a postmodern conversation with a version of a higher power, which he calls 'Boss.' In 78 rolling, untitled, unpunctuated poems, which mostly keep to an iambic beat, Manning's curious, grateful and mischievous speaker spars with his unanswering deity, alternately singing praise ('...Boss a horse beside/ a tree it makes me happy'), reeling in doubt ('...if I/ could find the little ladder Boss/ that's leaning straight against the sky/ how many rungs would I have to climb'), teasing ('...you just/ can't get above your raising Boss') and railing against the silence that answer his outcries ('...Boss you hold/ me down you hold me back/ you push against me O/ I hope you're happy now'). The poems do get repetitive — Manning establishes his strategies at the outset and then uses them again and again — but the insistent rhythm is born of real enthusiasm."

[PS: you'll note that in spite of my proposal to include the Top Ten HitTail words/phrases in my next ten posts, there's no mention of Mike Crowl - that's because I'm already 'mentioned' in the title of the blog. Duh!]
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