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Poetry and Blackberry Picking with Seamus Heaney and Robert Hass

Over on her blog, turbidus has posted a (poem of the day) Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney, including a great video of Heaney reading it:

I would just like to counter / respond with my own favorite poem about blackberry picking, by Robert Hass from his breakout second book, Praise:

Picking Blackberries with a Friend Who Has Been Reading Jacques Lacan

August is dust here. Drought
stuns the road,
but juice gathers in the berries.
We pick them in the hot
slow-motion of midmorning.
Charlie is exclaiming:

for him it is twenty years ago
and raspberries and Vermont.
We have stopped talking

about L’Histoire de la vérité,
about subject and object
and the mediation of desire.

Our ears are stoppered
in the bee-hum. And Charlie,
laughing wonderfully,

beard stained purple
by the word juice,
goes to get a bigger pot.

A poet and blogger made a really interesting observation on this poem a few years ago that I just ran across:

I also like the way Hass employs the word “stuns” in “Picking Blackberries…” to give a quick nod toward Sylvia Plath’s “Blackberrying.” Plath wrote of the flies buzzing round her English blackberries: “The honey feast of the the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.” The acknowledgment of the debt is a classy little move, typical of the work of Robert Hass. (via sonnets at 4 a.m.: A Poem by Robert Hass.)

Though of course I’ve read Sylvia Plath, I have absolutely no recollection of this poem, but now I want to rush out and read it.  (I can’t read a poem for the first time online; there’s something about computer screens that seems to inhibit that initial connection for me.)

For more poetry by Robert Hass, and some background on him, check out Robert Hass : The Poetry Foundation:

Robert Hass is one of contemporary poetry’s most celebrated and widely-read voices. In addition to his success as a poet, Hass is also recognized as a leading critic and translator, notably of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and Japanese haiku masters Basho, Buson and Issa. Critics celebrate Hass’s own poetry for its clarity of expression, its conciseness, and its imagery, often drawn from everyday life.

Praise, by Robert Hass – Powells.com
Praise, by Robert Hass – Amazon.com

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Upcoming Bay Area Films of Interest

  • San Francisco Silent Film Festival May 28, 2015 – June 2, 2015
  • Castro: Days of Heaven/Out of the Blue June 3, 2015
  • Dazed and Confused at Balboa June 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Balboa
  • Breaking Away at Balboa June 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Balboa
  • Henri Langlois Tribute at PFA June 11, 2015 at 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm PFA Thursday, June 11, 2015 7:30 p.m. Henri Langlois Centennial Tribute: Opening Program Introduced by Tom Luddy. Judith Rosenberg on pian o. A collection of shorts on the legendary Langlois, as well as the 1918 I talian short La Tosca, a lost film found by Langlois in the BAM/PFA Collec tion. Titles include Langlois (1970), Chit Chat…
  • Dimitri Kirsanoff & Nadia Sibirskaïa Collaborations at PFA June 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm PFA Friday, June 12, 2015 7:00 p.m. Dimitri Kirsanoff & Nadia Si birskaïa Collaborations Dmitri Kirsanoff (France, 1924/1928). Imported Pr ints! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Two rare works from the great silent-era d irector Dimitri Kirsanoff: the evocative portrait of two young sisters, Mé nilmontant, and Autumn Mists, a short about a melancholy soul. (54 mins) n…
  • Max Ophuls, "From Mayerling to Sarajevo" (1940) at PFA June 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm – 9:45 pm The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant Avenue #2250, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States Friday, June 12, 2015 8:15 p.m. From Mayerling to Sarajevo Max Ophuls (France, 1940). New 35mm Print! Ophuls presents the love affair between Archduke Franz-Ferdinand and Czech Countess Sophie Chotek in his o wn elegant, fluid style. “Amongst the finest works of Max Ophuls” (Robin W ood). (90 mins) http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/filmseries/theater_near_y ou2015
  • Lubitsch "Forbidden Paradise" at PFA June 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm PFA Saturday, June 13, 2015 6:30 p.m. Forbidden Paradise Ernst Lubitsch (US, 1924). Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Lubitsch t eams with his favorite muse, the great actress Pola Negri, for this comed y inspired by the amorous intrigue surrounding Catherine the Great of Russi a. Adolphe Menjou costars. (78 mins) http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/filmse ries/langlois2015
The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, film buff and occasional reviewer, and former private detective. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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