In this installment, Elizabyth Hiscox reads “To a Skylark” by William Wordsworth. Hiscox lives and writes in Tempe, Arizona, where she teaches creative writing and English at Arizona State University. An Assistant Poetry Editor for the online journal 42opus, she was recently Poet-in-Residence at St. Chad’s College of Durham University, England.
William Wordsworth, “To a Skylark”
Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still!
Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!
In this installment, V. Penelope Pelizzon reads from William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Pelizzon‘s first poetry collection, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000) won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s 2001 Norma Farber First Book Award. Other honors include a Discovery/The Nation Award, The Kenneth Rexroth Translation Award (for Umberto Saba’s poems from Italian), the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry.
William Blake, from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects
with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and
adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers,
mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their
enlarged & numerous senses could percieve.
And particularly they studied the genius of each
city & country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took ad-
vantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to
realize or abstract the mental deities from their
objects; thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronouncd that the Gods
had orderd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside
in the human breast.
In this installment, Gabriel Fried reads from “The Prelude” by William Wordsworth. Fried is Poetry Editor at Persea Books, and the author of Making the New Lamb Take (Sarabande Books, 2007), which won the 2006 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry.
William Wordsworth from “The Prelude” [Book I, Lines 474-501]
Not seldom from the uproar I retired
Into a silent bay, or sportively
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
To cut across the image of a star
That gleam’d upon the ice: and oftentimes
When we had given our bodies to the wind,
And all the shadowy banks, on either side,
Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still
The rapid line of motion; then at once
Have I, reclining back upon my heels,
Stopp’d short, yet still the solitary Cliffs
Wheeled by me, even as if the earth had roll’d
With visible motion her diurnal round;
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watch’d
Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep.
Ye Presences of Nature, in the sky
And on the earth! Ye Visions of the hills!
And Souls of lonely places! can I think
A vulgar hope was yours when Ye employ’d
Such ministry, when Ye through many a year
Haunting me thus among my boyish sports,
On caves and trees, upon the woods and hills,
Impress’d upon all forms the characters
Of danger or desire, and thus did make
The surface of the universal earth
With triumph, and delight, and hope, and fear,
Work like a sea?
In this installment, Seth Michelson reads “A Little BOY Lost” by William Blake. Michelson lives in Los Angeles, California. He holds degrees in poetry from Johns Hopkins University and Sarah Lawrence College, and he is currently pursuing a PhD in comparative literature from USC, where he studies the poetry of Latin America (particularly Argentina and Uruguay) in relation to that of the US and UK. He also runs the Fringe Poets Reading Series, and his first collection of poetry, Maestro of Brutal Splendor, is available from Jeanne Duval Editions.
William Blake, “A Little BOY Lost”
Nought loves another as itself
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to thought
A greater than itself to know:
And Father, how can I love you,
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.
The Priest sat by and heard the child.
In trembling zeal he siez’d his hair:
He led him by his little coat;
And all admir’d the Priestly care.
And standing on the altar high.
Lo what a fiend is here! said he:
One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy Mystery.
The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They strip’d him to his little shirt.
And bound him in an iron chain.
And burn’d him in a holy place.
Where many had been burn’d before:
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such things done on Albions shore.
In this installment, Reginald Harris reads “Work without Hope” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Harris is the author of 10 Tongues (Three Conditions Press, 2002), and complier of Carry The Word: A Bibliography of Black LGBTQ Books (Vintage Entity Press, 2007). A finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year, he has received Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council. His work has recently appeared in the Voices Rising: Celebrating 20 Years of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Writing and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South anthologies, and other publications. He is Help Desk and Training Manager for the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Work without Hope”
ALL Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrighten’d, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.