Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tomas Tranströmer and Big R Reality

Tomas Tranströmer is the only Swedish poet I know much about (from the Robin Fulton translations), so here’s a poem from him in reaction to a report I just got from a friend who is in a creative writing program where someone recently said, “A house can only do in a poem what a house can do in real life.”

Oh my. Such assumptions about houses and about real life . . . . Such assumptions about art and the workshop . . .

So anyway, rather than go on a tirade about what “real life” might mean, and what “houses” might mean, I thought to turn to Tranströmer, to let him do the talking:

Summer Plain

We have seen so much.
Reality has used us up so much,
but here is a summer at last:

a large airfield—the flight controller is bringing down
load after load of frozen
people from space.

The grass and the flowers—here we land.
The grass has a green manager.
I report myself.


At 9/16/2009 10:09 AM, Blogger erieblue said...

Has somebody killed the metaphor?

At 9/16/2009 11:14 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

The metaphor has great powers of recouperation.

At 9/16/2009 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure if this makes me feel better, or worse, about flying to Charlotte tomorrow. Both? Oh, loved your new poems in CAFFEINE DESTINY (aren't they the best?).

At 9/16/2009 6:40 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

It depends. Report back after tomorrow!

And, well, it all depends on what you mean by "them." (!) CAFFEINE DESTINY! What a great name, you know? I wish I'd thought of that first. And what a good arc of work.

At 9/16/2009 9:59 PM, Blogger David Dodd Lee said...

Poem for the Administration is really really something . . . (at Caffeine Destiny) The Franz Wright poem there is a very early poem, from one of his first books . . .

At 9/17/2009 5:02 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Thank you for that. I'm very uncomfortable with that poem. I almost buried it in a drawer.

I was curious about that Franz Wright poem. I don't know his work well, and I was thinking he'd kind of switched things up.


At 10/04/2009 6:46 AM, Blogger "Chef Pants" said...

There is a poem by Transtromer titled: "The Blue House". Check it, it's amazing. A house is not always a house in one's memory's perception--perhaps then, in a poem it can be so much more?


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