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Sleeping with Germans...

Post 1

Mrs Zen

One collaborator reporting for duty, Sah!

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 2

Pinniped


We can't do it here!
smiley - yikes
They'll peek through the curtains!

...oh, all right.
But later. I'm hearing the Sigh of the Weddell from the next room, and Terrible Things Ensue when it's ignored...

I'll post some ideas here (OK, when I've had any - pathetic, innit?)


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 3

Mrs Zen

Okie dokie. I have to go and do stuff now anyway.

I think what I am aware of now is that you and I are children of the golden age. Already we are the first generation whose life expenctancies are longer than those of our children for purely life-style reasons.

We have experienced and even contributed the greatest changes in our working lives. When I started working Golfball typewriters which remembered the last 20 letters they had typed were amazing technology. Now - not only computers, not only PCs, but the Internet.

However I cannot remember the last time I heard a skylark, and the roadside weeds are all escaped rape. No more cornflowers and campion.

And the worst of it is that we know our fate, but beleive we can do nothing, so we do do nothing.

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 4

Pinniped


For a horrible moment back there I was getting henpecked in RL and hootoo simultaneously.

You back now? (Stupid Questions Ltd)
This the proposed subject? (wholly-owned subsidiary of SQL)

Not much point suggesting the Last Days of Dylan Thomas, NY, November 1953 then?


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 5

Pinniped


The skylark comment surprised me, so I did some checking. This reveals the general reason for the different experiences :

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/wildlife/wdkf04.htm
(Skylarks declined nationally by 24% between 1994 and 2002, but the Yorkshire census showed an 8% decline in the period)

Up here, they're nothing like as common as they once were, but they're still around.

I don't think I'm quite on your wavelength, Ben. Try it again, yeah?


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 6

Mrs Zen

That wasn't hen-pecking sweetie! smiley - smooch

Ok, I am game for that, but I'll have to do some research...

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 7

Pinniped


Oops. Simulpost.
Let's talk, now we're both here.


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 8

Mrs Zen

Simulpost. If you don't fancy apres nous le deluge, then the Dylan Thomas would be a challenge for me.

As I said, I am up for it.

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 9

Mrs Zen

This is getting silly! smiley - silly


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 10

Pinniped


Yeah, silly.

The Thomas suggestion would have to be something YOU want to do.
Do you admire him as a poet?
Would you risk a nod towards the style?
It would be a very black piece, the dying sparks in the soot.

Now you've got me worried. I didn't think for a minute you'd bite, to be honest.


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 11

Mrs Zen

Well I think that there is little that would grab us equally, reading Thomas would do me no harm, reading a biography of Thomas would no me no harm, so - hey - why not? That is what libraries are for after all.

If you think of the pieces where there have been synchronicity - money as illusion and the futility of the anti war demos - our approaches have been very different because our fundamental attitudes about life are very different. Or appear so.

I am consciously letting minor things spark me poetically at the moment, rather than waiting for coups de foudre (or whatever the French is for bolts of lightning) and Thomas is as good a starting point as any and better than most. As I said, I would enjoy reading his poetry, anyway. It's been over 25 years. I think that taking a fairly narrow subject like this is a good idea, because it is concrete and our differences in approach would supplement our differences of voice.

My suggestion is that for the first drafts there are no rules. Anything we want, poetry or prose. The only thing that I ask is that you give me a month. I can't get down to my local library for a week, which cuts it down to three weeks for me. That gives me a couple of weeks of reading and one of writing.

Then we post or email what we have, and see what we've got.

What do you think?

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 12

Pinniped


OK, let's do it.
Is it Thomas generally, or is it specifically the last month of his life (ie his 4th trip to the US, during which he died)?


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 13

Mrs Zen

Not sure. I would have to catch up on Thomas generally in order to focus what was actually dying, there in New York. How about we focus on the last month, but include anything else that sparks as optional extras.

btw - I have to go to bed soon, but I think we are almost there.

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 14

Pinniped


You go to bed right now, dear.
smiley - puff
It's agreed. I'm off and running. We can touch base as we get somewhere. So to speak.
Pin (too old for all this)


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 15

Mrs Zen

Got the biog. Getting poems tomorrow.

Interesting thing already - only 90 poems, with only one or two written in some years.

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 16

Pinniped


Does the writing reveal the man?
His torment or his redemption?
I'm not yet decided. Very different slants are possible.


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 17

Mrs Zen

Well, so far he has been born but not yet christened, so it is a bit difficult for me to tell!

smiley - laugh

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 18

Pinniped

Dear Ben...
OK, I'm starting to get some bits and pieces together.
Something I need to know, though. You didn't like Gunson for its self-indulgence. But any parody of Thomas is going to read self-indulgently, isn't it?
I'm not suggesting this as the only thing, but I'm working at his last days peopled with the characters of Under Milk Wood. It hasn't come together yet, but I'm enjoying trying. The nearest to success yet is Captain Cat among the Drowned in the White Horse bar. I haven't yet quite worked out who Liz Reitell is. Polly? Myfanwy?
Any merit to this general idea, do you think?
I'm also interested by some symmetries. Thomas/Burton is an obvious one. Thomas/Adams has some resonances too, and I'm intrigued by the potential cruelty of that one. I'm tempted to taunt the anorak-devotion, by contrasting a truly meteoric genius.
I'm assuming that you're going to concentrate on the poetry. Have your views on "Do not go gently" changed at all? To my surprise, I see what you were getting at back there much better now. He was a bit of a mummy's boyo, wasn't he? Mixing all that up with the unfinished Elegy leaves me confused, though. Exactly whose death was he thinking about?
Last thing, I find myself despising Caitlin. No objections to some mysogenistic vitriol, is there?
Let me know whether or not you want me to set up a scrapbook, and to start posting bits to it.
Pin (this is real good stuff; everyone should do it)


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 19

Mrs Zen

You go for whatever you want to go for, my dear. I have no idea what I am going to produce. I doubt I could parody Thomas, (maybe the prose, but not the verse), but I am finding reading the biography interesting. He isn't any older than 15 at the moment, though Ferris, (I think it is who wrote it), does jump ahead every now and again. There is a telling comment that Thomas was more interested in being a poet than in conveying his meaning through poetry.

That goes close to a whole set of questions I am asking myself - what is poetry for, how should the work of understanding it be distributed between the poet and the reader, is poetry about meaning or about words, where does the emotion lie, and so on.

Anyway - I need to get back to work (there was a one hour gap and a 30 minute meeting between the beginning and the end of this post!|)

B


Sleeping with Germans...

Post 20

Mrs Zen

I am getting increasingly nervous about this project, Pin, but I am still up for it. I have only got to the age of 17 in the biog, and I am finding most of his poetry obscure. The ones I knew from before were Fern Hill, and Do not go gentle, and the rest leaves me wondering what the f**k he is talking about - and feeling indadequate is one of the reasons I dislike reading poetry.

I will persevere. In fact I think I'll start on some of his prose right now.

B


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