Monday, October 22, 2012


Looking through some papers this morning I found one of the the "haiku" handouts I distributed to my annual Forms class at Emerson College,

and in it I rediscovered this beautiful little poem by Margherita Guidacci, with an English translation by a  translator whose name to my regret I didn't include and can't remember . . . maybe it's by Ruth Feldman, who translated at least 3 books by Guidacci—

in any case, here's her poem in the original Italian, followed by the trans., which is followed by my "version":


É crollata la diga del sole, crollato
l'ultimo rosso, l'ultimo rose, l'ultimo grigio.  Sul mondo
ora le grandi acque oscure dilagano in pace.
E no entriamo nell'arca fino alla prossima aurora.



The dam of the sun has given way, gone too
is the last red, the last rose, the last grey.  Now
across the world the great dark waters overflow in peace.
And we take refuge in the Ark until the next dawn.


My variant version:

Now the sunset's dam breaks—
waters of darkness drown the world.
What Ark will bear us safe to dawn?


And may I please recommend this wonderful book:

A Book of Sibyls, by Margherita Guidacci, translated by Ruth Feldman,

published in 1989—

you can find some inexpensive copies at:


The first poet on this planet was probably a sibyl, a woman shaman who spoke from earth-evoked and bodily wisdom, and Guidacci's book of sibyls presents the voices of many of those most ancient and renowned: Cumean, Delphic, Phrygian, etc.  Cthonic-timeless its perspectives view us.


postscript 11/02/12:

another translation, by Catherine O'Brien, from "In the Eastern Sky / Selected Poems of Margherita Guidacci". . . published by the Irish press Dedalus in 1993:


The dam of the sun has collapsed, gone too
the last red, the last pink, the last grey.  Across the world
now the great dark waters overflow unhindered.
And we go into the ark to wait for the coming dawn.



Saturday, October 20, 2012


What a horrible nightmare last night: I dreamt I was writing prosepoems!  

Or rather in the run-on montage drift-shift of dreams I was sort of writing prosepoems and simultaneously viewing them on pages in magazines with my name plastered above them, printed out in the same magazines (I somehow knew) which had rejected my real poems, my verse poems, they were publishing these damn prosepoems purporting my authorship,

and in the dream I was consumed with feelings of ugh this is horrible, I hate prosepoems, why am I writing/publishing these disgusting things, and yet simultaneously I was feeling somewhat gratified and pleased by the sight of my name in these illustrious journals which had always shunned my work,

but the ultimate emotion I felt was bitterness as these never-to-be-written prosepoems appeared there in prestigious print to mock me  . . . 

I've had worse nightmares of course, dreams filled with fear and insecurity, but this one last night remains in my mind today as a particularly distasteful and miserable visitation . . .

I've written a few prosepoems in the past, though as I insist in the preface to the tiny chapbook of prosepoems I self-published under the title of "The I Hate to Write Prosepoems Book," every one of the twelve or so prosepoems I did write in my life seems to me to be a failed real poem, meaning a poem I was unable to turn into verse. 



There should be an app that lets you take a "prose poem" and instantly lineate it,

break it up into lines,

(syllabic or generic blank verse lines, for example),

so that it could then be read to ascertain whether there is indeed any poetry in it—

otherwise, how can you tell?