VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Humanities POSTED ON: 6/26/2010
A poem for Ponsot is an obj ect of sight and of sound, of thoughts and of feelings, a created field of interacting language and themes, composed of various voices and tones of voice. Ponsot requires that we pay the closest attention to every level of language in a poem: syllables, words, lines, sentences, spacing on the page, punctuation, meter, rhyme, syntax.
books Lawrence Joseph Between Silence & Sound Easy Marie Ponsot Alfred A. Knopf, $26, 82 pp. T he poet Marie Ponsot has always written at the top of her talent, which is at the top of the art. From the outset, she has imagined the making of a poem in its fullest sense. A poem for Ponsot is an object of sight and of sound, of thoughts and of feelings, a created field of interacting language and themes, composed of various voices and tones of voice. Ponsot requires that we pay the closest attention to every level of language in a poem: syllables, words, lines, sentences, spacing on the page, punctua- tion, meter, rhyme, syntax. The payoffs— depths of meaning that endlessly surprise, instruct, and delight—are stunning. Born in New York City in 1921, the poet graduated from St. Joseph’s College for Women in Brooklyn and Columbia University, where she received a master’s degree in seventeenth-century English lit- erature. After World War II, she lived for three years in Paris, where she married the New and Selected Poems (2002). When includes every one of us, living as we do French painter Claude Ponsot. Returning Admit Impediment appeared, much was between being silent and speaking, be- to New York, she worked as a translator made of the fact that Ponsot hadn’t pub- tween realities both good and bad. But, and freelance writer of radio and televi- lished a second book until she was almost of course, “we” also includes the poet, sion scripts, while raising seven children sixty, but Ponsot has never stopped writ- who, now in her eighties, has spent well on her own. She taught until she was sev- ing poems. It was just that during the late over fifty years “making light” of darkness enty-two at Queens College, where she is 1950s and through the ’60s and ’70s, per- (whatever its source) by making poems. Commonweal . December 18, 2009 now professor emerita of English. sonal circumstances demanded that she The theme is picked up again in “This Easy is Ponsot’s sixth book of poems take herself out of a literary world in which Bridge, Like Poetry, Is Vertigo.” William (several of its poems originally appeared poets, almost exclusively affiliated with ac- Blake is quoted in an epigram: “In a time in these pages). Ponsot’s first book, True ademic institutions and creative-writing of death bring forth number, weight & Minds, was published in 1957 by Law- programs, wrote and published books of measure.” A cloud is described, driven by rence Ferlinghetti in the City Lights Pock- poems every two or three years. wind “between earth and space. Cloud et Poets Series, which, a year earlier, had By the second poem in Easy, “If I Live, / shields earth from sun-scorch. Cloud / published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Stones Hear,” Ponsot has brought us to bursts to cure earth’s thirst.” The cloud, Poems. Ponsot’s second book, Admit Imped- her new book’s vision. “Between silence “airy, wet, photogenic,” is “a bridge or iment, was published more than two de- and sound / we are balancing darkness, go-between,” which (like poetry) “does scott hightower cades later in 1981 by Knopf. That book / making light of it,” she writes, releas- as it is done by.” Or, as Ponsot writes in was followed by The Green Dark (1988), ing through her language (within three “Skeptic,” changing her metaphor from The Bird Catcher (1998), and Springing: lines!) several meanings. “We,” of course, a cloud to the sea: 21 Commonweal’s Language thinks us. Myth or mouth
Pages to are hidden for
"Between Silence & Sound"Please download to view full document