Happy Memorial Day. I hope everyone is out doing something that involves barbecuing and hopefully the use of a Wham-O, Inc. “Slip n’ Slide” or perhaps the ever menacing death-from-above fun of Jarts, both of which hold a great nostalgic appeal for me. I’m working up notes for my interview with Donald Hall, which will take place on stage before a “live” audience at the West Chester poetry conference immediately upon my return from London. I hope to have some video clips from the interview for use on the CPR or E-Verse. On a related note, I really believe that youTube remains a realm of great potential for poets and their poems. My Australian E-Verse co-host Paul Fleming excerpted readings of several old chestnuts from our regular E-Verse videocast (or “vlog,” as he tells me to say) and posted them on youTube as stand alone videos. The most successful of these to date are W.B. Yeats’s “Byzantium” (16,000 views) and Percy Byshe Shelley’s “Ozymandius” (10,000 views). Allen Ginsberg’s “Victim of Telephone” (1,000 views) and Wilfred Owen’s “The Last War” (1,225 views) trail behind.
One of the most successful uses of youTube for poetry is “SpokenVerse,” by an actor
with the delightful name of Tom O'Bedlam. He keeps it simple. He displays the text of the poem along with his recording of said poem. The text scrolls down to keep pace with the spoken poem. This is quite effective, and his readings are superb. I cannot recommend him highly enough. I will lard a few of these videos into the next few posts. The first is one of my favorites from his growing collection, "Foxtrot from a Play" by W.H. Auden. I urge you visit Mr. O'Bedlam's (if that is his real name . . . .) page and subscribe to his series.
While on the topic of Auden . . . Those who have endured any of my E-Verse videocasts will be familiar with Auden’s skeptical but avuncular mug on the table before us in a small wooden frame. He is the presiding genius, or familiar, if you will, of the program. I’ll post a few wonderful bits of wisdom from his poetry and prose each day this week. To start, here are a few of Wystan's thoughts on friends and love:
- Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
- Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
- If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
- Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.
- In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.
- We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.
Posted by Ernest Hilbert