Monday, January 25, 2010

who's eating who?

Mark Strand

Eating Poetry
Mark Strand


Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

Mark Strand was born on Canada's Prince Edward Island on April 11, 1934. He received a B.A. degree from Antioch College in Ohio in 1957 and attended Yale University, where he was awarded the Cook prize and the Bergin prize. After receiving his B.F.A. degree in 1959, Strand spent a year studying at the University of Florence on a Fulbright fellowship. In 1962 he received his M.A. degree from the University of Iowa.

He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Man and Camel(Knopf, 2006); Blizzard of One (1998), which won the Pulitzer Prize;Dark Harbor (1993); The Continuous Life (1990); Selected Poems(1980); The Story of Our Lives (1973); and Reasons for Moving (1968).

He has also published two books of prose, several volumes of translation (of works by Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, among others), several monographs on contemporary artists, and three books for children. He has edited a number of volumes, including 100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century (W. W. Norton, 2005), The Golden Ecco Anthology (1994), The Best American Poetry 1991, and Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers(with Charles Simic, 1976).

His honors include the Bollingen Prize, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the 1974 Edgar Allen Poe Prize from The Academy of American Poets, and a Rockefeller Foundation award, as well as fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

He has served as Poet Laureate of the United States and is a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. He currently teaches English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York.

Paul Strand

b. 1890 New York City, d. 1976 Orgival, France

Paul Strand began photographing in New York in the 1910s. During the early 1920s he received recognition for both his painting and his photography. He visited New Mexico in 1926 and, beginning in 1930, returned for three consecutive summers, making portraits of artist friends and acquaintances. It was there, amidst a community of visual artists and writers, that Strand began to develop his belief in the humanistic value of portraiture.

Strand subsequently traveled to Mexico, where he photographed the landscape, architecture, folk art, and people and in 1934 produced a film about fishermen for the Mexican government. Thirteen years earlier he had collaborated with Charles Sheeler on a film, Manhatta, a study of the urban high-rise environment. Having returned to New York late in 1934, Strand devoted his energies to theater and filmmaking cooperatives.

In 1943 Strand resumed his still photography, focusing on the people and surroundings of New England. In the early 1950s he moved to Europe, spending six weeks in the northern Italian agrarian community of Luzzara and later traveling to the Outer Hebrides, islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. He traveled and photographed in North and West Africa in the 1960s.

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