Archive for the ‘Peter Dale Scott’ Tag

Coming (back) to Jakarta

This week, files concerning US involvement in the massacres following the anti-communist coup in Indonesia led by General Mohammed Suharto in 1965 were declassified. Their reception illuminates both that dark time and continuing efforts of the US establishment to mitigate that involvement.

A by turns harrowing and clear-eyed poetic probing of this time is Peter Dale Scott‘s Coming_To_Jakarta_300_444Coming to Jakarta, the first volume in his monumental Seculum trilogy ( which includes Listening to the Candle and Minding the Darkness). If poetry can be “news that stays news”, then maybe a rereading of that first volume, if not the trilogy, is in order.

Happily, Freeman Ng has recorded Scott reading the entirety of Coming to Jakarta, supplemented by Ng’s interviewing Scott after each part concerning that part’s genesis and details.

My appreciation of Scott’s Seculum can be read here.

 

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Multiversic takes on 9/11

Despite its being the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Sunday, I had decided to, here, pass over the event in silence. Then, The Griffin Trust website posted Fanny Howe’s “9/11”.

I was struck—as I often am—by the commentary accompanying the poem:

Is it virtually impossible to write about certain events that are too immense, too devastating, too charged on so many levels? To go into the specifics, one risks being maudlin, self-absorbed, short-sighted, too emotional. To try to broaden the discussion and perhaps recklessly try to scale something to the universal, one risks being too political, polarizing or simply missing the mark.

Howe’s poem, of course, avoids being too “self-absorbed” and “too political”—by “suggesting the heart of the event’s impact, is how it affects who and what we love.” I wonder what the commentator thinks of Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy or Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony or Holocaust.

By way of contrast and to broaden and concretize the discussion, let me offer these two poetic texts that both fail to escape the commentator’s extremes: “The Tao of 9/11”  by Peter Dale Scott (that both goes “into specifics” and is “too political”) and one of my own, excerpted from a longer work, that, too, is “too specific,” composed, as it was, in real time.

Writing a poetry including history is no easy matter, and the question how far the “heart of the matter” escapes history’s particulars and the machinations of power no less demanding.

 

On Translation: an Interview with Peter Dale Scott in the latest Paideuma

IMG_2743Just received my contributor’s copies of Paideuma 42 containing, among many things, an interview with Peter Dale Scott concerning his many translations—of Milosz, Vergil, Aldhelm, Bede, Alcuin, Petrarch, Dante, Baudelaire, Hoelderlin, Stefan George, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Li Bai, Wang Wei, Du Fu, and Su Dongpo!—conducted by James Edward Reid. I suggested we pursue the topic, supplied a number of the questions, and contributed editorially to the final version. Much thanks to Peter Dale Scott for indulging our investigation into this dimension of his poetical work, and to James Edward Reid for doing the heavy lifting!

Peter Dale Scott: Three poems

The Journal for Poetics Research has just put up three new poems from Peter Dale Scott.

10897776_10152958516978794_8032701146716979759_nThe poet shares these with these words:

As a rule I don’t bother these days about publishing my poetry in periodicals, even e-journals.But these three poems are important to me: the third, about Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, tries to capture in verse what I think was, and could again be, a more successful strategy of political protest than those we have seen recently in America.

Read them, here.

The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House

Peter Dale Scott is a poet of singular accomplishment, engaging the political poetically in, among other works, his magisterial Seculum trilogy. He is, as well, a tireless scholar and perspicacious political and social thinker of the American Left, who as good as coined the terms “deep state” and “deep politics” for the Western mind. Now, in advance of a forthcoming book on politics and poetics, appears his latest investigative analysis of the Kennedy assassination Dallas ’63:  The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House. Click on the cover for more information!

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Freeman Ng interviews Peter Dale Scott on his latest work The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy

Peter Dale Scott, poet and political thinker and researcher has just published his latest work The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. DemocracyHere, Freeman Ng explores Scott’s latest work with the author.

“The Tao of 9/11”

“The Tao of 9/11”

I’ve noticed a few folks posting 9/11 poems, which prompts me to post this one by Peter Dale Scott, that dares to come to grips with the dark roots of the matter.

Peter Dale Scott reads the whole of Coming to Jakarta

Peter Dale Scott reads the whole of Coming to Jakarta

Freeman Ng has done a great service by filming Peter Dale Scott read through and comment on the first volume of Seculum, Coming to Jakarta (1988):  here’s the latest instalment.

Scott reads from Tilting Point

Peter Dale Scott reads from his latest poetry collection Tilting Point and discusses the poems with Freeman Ng. A selection from the volume can be read here.

Peter Dale Scott’s Tilting Point: “tilting at the mills of state / with a lance of paper”

Peter Dale Scott’s first full volume of poetry since Mosaic Orpheus (2009) collects ten new poems that speak from the vantage point of a lifetime and his singular interrogation of the American Empire. The first eight, short poems reflect on the eros of old age, the “drive’s decline”, a shift to “love not as acquisition but as gift”, an eros poignantly in love with living more than with any one beloved, that lifts

…once again

 

for an instant

into this abiding

awareness

of all there is

Fifty-seven of the volume’s seventy-pages are taken up by two longer works Loving America and Changing North America, the former probing the schizophrenic love-hate relationship Scott has developed over decades’ engagement with his adopted country (“the cradle of the worst and the best” as Leonard Cohen sings), the latter searching for resolutions to the country’s increasingly pathological contradictions.

The profound pertinence of Scott’s message is tuned to a style tempered to communicate it. Tellingly, at least four of the book’s poems, including many of the long poems’ sections, first appeared on “the spreading / leafwork of the Internet,” an index of Scott’s urgent desire to get the word out. His classical manner verges on the prosaic, even the pedestrian at times, guided throughout by a democratic ideal to address the widest possible audience, such as in the startling “To the Tea-Party Patriots: A Berkeley Professor says Hello!”. Often, that audience is an expressed dedicatee or interlocutor, poets or friends, including Daniel Ellsberg, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Czeslaw Milosz, and Walt Whitman, among many others.

More ruminative readers, however, will not mistake the clear surface of Scott’s language for a shallowness of thought or knowledge. Already, for example, in the volume’s first piece “Homing:  A Winter Poem,” Scott’s simplicity belies a profound complexity of reference, the tracing of which is the richly rewarding work his writing invites:  the significance of the dedication to Tomas Tranströmer, the epigraph from Genesis, the allusions to ‘Jubal’ and ‘Urthona’ and the poet speaker’s “dead parents,” among others, coupled with the intratextual references—the “tilt of the earth” nodding to the collection’s title and the “glimpse of odyssey” that winks at the poem dedicated to Milosz “Not for long”—all point to a profound  and unending network of meaningfulness, a characteristic virtue of literary art.

For all its accomplished polish Scott’s poetry is no mere aesthetic production. His manner is chosen to address matters of the utmost consequence, the character and fate of America, a topic that has inspired him to produce more than eight volumes of painstaking investigative scholarship into the machinations and abuses of power and a monumental long poem Seculum (in three volumes, Coming to Jakarta (1988), Listening to the Candle (1992), and Minding the Darkness (2000)). It is in the book’s two long poems that Scott most firmly grasps this theme that runs throughout his life’s work, work that rises to his friend Milosz’s question “What is poetry which does not save / Nations or peoples?// A connivance with official lies…” Scott’s answer to Milosz’s demand is, in part,

… to write any poem

encompassing this nation

one must have an awareness

of gratuitous murder

committed by released felons

in uniform for sport

without forgetting the grace

of a doe drinking from a forest stream

Scott’s theme, like Whitman’s before him, has vista. The periplum of this territory his work traces and this latest book continues invites and demands our attentive study.

Tilting Point, Peter Dale Scott, San Luis Obispo:  Word Palace Press, 2012