Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mountains and Rivers, Part II

Instructions and Study Questions for October 3 class on Mountains and Rivers Without End

1. Finish Reading MRWE.
2. Read the concluding chapter of Dr. Hunt's book, and read the introductory chapters, if you haven't already.
3. You have all been assigned to one of the three remaining sections of MRWE, which means you are expected to:
A. Read that entire section extra carefully, seeking out "trails," exploring connections among the poems, and seeking a sense of structure and rationale for the section, as well as how it fits within the overall book.
B. Read the corresponding section in Dr. Hunt's book, using the contexts he researched to inform and enhance your exploration described in part A.
C. Divide amongst the group the 10 poems in each section and formulate an interpretation of the poems assigned to you, both as an individual piece, and discussing its place in the section and in the overall book. What other poems in MRWE share themes, motifs, and/or structure with your poem?
4. On the day of the class, all of the 30 remaining poems should be "covered" by someone who will lead discussion of the poem, reading an excerpt you consider significant from the poem, and reporting on your findings. At the end of each section, the people assigned to it will weigh in on the structure and rationale for the section, and how the section fits within the overall book.

Avoid preparing elaborate presentations that require setup or elaborate technology, since we will have an aggressive amount of material to cover.


Castelar García said...

To my group:To contact me write to me at to see how we will distribute the material or you can call me at 787-955-0698

Castelar García said...

Poem :Earrings Dangling and Miles of Desert on page 125 in mountains and Rivers book; hunt book on page 225 onward
Prose= the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing. A literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech

Alliterative verse = a verse that has the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (as wild and woolly, threatening throngs) -- called also head rhyme, initial rhyme

The poem is not presented directly as a lyrical poem. It has prose paragraphs intermingled with passages of carefully constructed verse. In the first stanza the poet has in the first paragraph a five line stanza of alliterative verse and short dynamic images to bring the reader face to face with living plant itself in page 125 where it says “Multi-stemmed, forking/twiglets just sidewise, a scatter of silky tiny leaves”. After that the poem’s next 15 lines return to prose.

This poem emphasizes on the Greek Moon goddess who is a virgin huntress named Artermis. In this poem Gary Snyder creates a connection between the plant Sagebrush (Artemisia) and The Goddess Artermis who which is the poet’s feminine embodiment of “the Wild”. In the book written by Anthony Hunt it is stated on page 225 that “ This sagebrush goddess represents a wisdom that has been largely lost, both of outer nature and of that untamed animal region of human nature, and of the necessary relation between them”. Here, Snyder associates her with sound by drawing attention to her ears. Her beauty much like thew botanical sagebrush is found worldwide and it is seen in terms of her “blue-gray-green” sagebrush earrings seen dangling from her earthly earlobes and given on page 126. Throughout the poem we learn that for a long time this plant is essential because it has many uses which include food and shelter for animals, to make clothing, provide firewood, and incense, and to form the basis of a healing tea or a women’s tonic. By talking about a healing plant Snyder again reintroduces the notion of botanical curatives which he talked about in the poem of part 1 entitled “The Blue Sky”. First the poet mentions how this plant is in the Western part of the U.S, then Snyder emphasizes on how the plant and therefore the Goddess as a entity that links both Europe and Asia as the sagebrush is in the regions with such names as Artemisia in Japan, mogwort and moxa in China and wormwood in Europe. To encounter Artermis is not safe that is why one is reminded that she“loves to hunt/in the shadows of mountains and in the wind”. Like the worldwide artemisia, the goddess in her many guises can be found everywhere. There is a prevalent danger the allure of her dangling sagebrush earrings convey both the adventure and risk of listening to her song. If one sees her the consequences can be disastrous just like in Greek mythology when Actaeon saw Artemis. However, Artemis is the epitomy of the muse that Snyder seeks to find his inspiration as it is believed that men become creative when they touch the woman in themselves. It is only natural for Snyder to worship that which brings him his inspiration.

Now Snyder has sung to Artermis in other poems from part 3 like when she reveals her Paleolithic heritage in “Under the Hills Near the Morava River” where she is a Goddess of wild animals, decked out in her foxtooth crown or in “The Bear mother” where Artermis is in her animal body which represents the nurturing maternal presence. She is also linked to the lunar imagery as in the poem of part 3 “New Moon Tongue” shows Artermis in her virginal aspect which in that poem is associated with the new moon.

Vocabulary + terms of the poem:
1) Sagebrush - any of several North American hoary composite subshrubs (genus Artemisia); especially : one (A. tridentata) having a bitter juice and an odor resembling sage and often covering vast tracts of alkaline plains in the western United States

2) Artermis - a Greek moon goddess often portrayed as a virgin huntress.

3) Scooting- to move swiftly

4) Voles- any of various small rodents (Microtus and related genera) that typically have a stout body, rather blunt nose, and short ears, inhabit both moist meadows and dry uplands and do much damage to crops, and are closely related to muskrats and lemmings
5) pygmy - something very small of its kind
6) sage- characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment. wise
7) grouse - any of various chiefly ground-dwelling birds (family Tetraonidae) that are usually of reddish-brown or other protective color and have feathered legs and that include many important game birds

8) pronghorn - a swift horned ruminant mammal (Antilocapra americana) chiefly of grasslands and deserts of western North America that resembles an antelope

9) rumen- the large first compartment of the stomach of a ruminant mammal in which cellulose is broken down by the action of symbiotic microorganisms

belch – to expel gas, to erupt with gas
10) shawls = a square or oblong usually fabric garment or wrapper used especially as a covering for the head or shoulders

11) Hopi = a member of an American Indian people of northeastern Arizona
12) Paiute - a member of an American Indian people originally of Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California
13) Wormwood - a European plant (Artemisia absinthium) that has silvery silky-haired leaves and drooping yellow flower heads and yields a bitter dark green oil used in absinthe. Something bitter or grievous

14) mugwort = any of several artemisias; especially : a Eurasian perennial herb (Artemisia vulgaris) that is naturalized in North America and has aromatic leaves used in folk medicine and to flavor beverages

15) Moxa = a soft woolly mass prepared from the ground young leaves of a Eurasian artemisia (especially Artemisia vulgaris) that is used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine typically in the form of sticks or cones which are ignited and placed on or close to the skin or used to heat acupuncture needles

AHPR said...

If you haven't seen it already, here's a small, early, poem by Gary Snyder from THE BACK COUNTRY (New Directions 1968) that you might find interesting.


so I saw you naked --
well GO and get your goddam'd
virginity back

me, me,
I've got to feed my hounds.

Castelar García said...

Poem part 4 THE DANCE on page 237 onward

This poem opens with an epigraph to Otto Rössler which suggests that when energy works against itself it produces something productive and when nature works against itself it produces a self-entanglement or something of beauty. Snyder begins the poem with Izanami (who in Japanese Shinto-mythology is a primordial goddess and personification of the Earth and darkness) when she is demonstrating her procreative energies in a way emphasizing the feminine perspective. The story goes that Izanami is the wife and sister of Izanagi who stirs the waters below him with a diamond tipped spear until the land begins to form. By descending to this firmer ground the couple mates which makes Izanami produce the forms of the world and in page 133 this act is seen as “Izanami/gave birth to rocks, tress, rivers, mountains, grass”. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when she gives birth to fire as Snyder writes in page 133 “so burned she died”.

After this has happened the poet picks up the story with the lonely Izanagi much like the Greek Orpheus going to the underworld (Yomi) which in the poem is described as “the land of darkness” in an attempt to bring Izanami back. However, after promising not to look at her, he then breaks his vow and is treated to a vision of a rotting corpse which is described in the line “a mass of pollution”. Izanagi is horrified by her decay and death while Izanami is so mortified that she pursues him, vowing to enact retribution at him. In the end Izanagi survives by rolling a rock in front of the entrance to the Underworld sealing Izanami in Yomi forever. Later on, Izanagi commences to purify himself in the line of page 133 “Ah wash her clean stream”. As he washes off the pollution, new divinities are formed. Amaterasu (the sun goddess, ruler of the Plain of Heaven) is born from a teardrop of his left eye and her brother, Susanowo (the storm god). Again focusing on the feminine Snyder sums her birth and the symbolic birth of all ensuing generations in the lines on page 133: “skinny little girl with big ears/we have passed through/ passed through, flesh out of flesh”. Susanowo jealous of his sister’s position, contaminates her shinning palace with “mud and shit and a half skinned pony” on page 133. This causes Amaterasu to become separated from the world “so she entered a cave-shut it up with a rock-made the world dark”. The world, without the illumination of the sun, became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place. Then came Ame-no-uzume (the goddess of dawn and revelry) or as she is depicted in the poem “Outrageous Heavenly Woman”. The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began a dance on it, tearing off her clothing in front of the other deities. They considered this so comical that they laughed heartily at the sight.Amaterasu heard them, and peered out to see what all the fuss was about. When she opened the cave, she saw her glorious reflection in a mirror Uzume had placed on a tree, and slowly emerged from her hiding spot. At that moment, the god Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-mikoto dashed forth and closed the cave behind her, refusing to budge so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shirukume rope across the entrance. The sun goddess was then asked by the deities, Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto and Ame-no-Futodama-no-mikoto to rejoin the divine. She agreed, and light was restored to the earth.
The dance, especially pantomimic dance in which the dancer is trasmutted is an act of creation that is intended to bring transformation. It summons in the dancer a new and higher personality, but it also serves a cosmogonic function in that it arouses dormant energies which may shape the world. Such dancing was already seen in part part 1 of the poem “Bubbs Creek Haircut” where a “Daughtger of the mountains, stooped/ moon breast Parvati” is said toi entrance Shiva with her slippery dance. Parvati, said to be a flowing girl is equated with the “Valley Spirit/ Anahita” and the river goddess Sarasvati. The “water cuts back quartzflake sand” as it flows fropm peaks to valleys; the sexual “dark and female gate of all the world” invites movement from the monastic masculine Shiva as he is charmed by her movements “to leap into fire”

Vocabulary and key terms:
1) Izanami = In Japanese Shinto-mythology, a primordial goddess and personification of the Earth and darkness. Izanami ("the female who invites") is the wife and sister of Izanagi. Together they created Onogoro, the first island of the Japanese archipelago. She died gaving birth to the fire god Kagutsuchi and since then she rules over the underworld.
Her husband went there to take her back with him, but she refused. By sealing the entrance to the underworld she tried to imprison him, but Izanagi managed to escape. Furious, Izanami vowed to kill one thousand of Izanagi's subjects a day, and Izanagi vowed to create fifteen hundred new ones a day.

Izanagi = In Japanese Shinto-mythology, the primordial sky, the god of all that is light and heavenly. Izanagi ("the male who invites") and his wife and sister Izanami ("the female who invites") were given the task of creating the world. Standing on Ama-no-ukihashi (the floating bridge of the heavens), they plunged a jewel crested spear into the ocean. When they pulled it free, the water that dripped from the spear coagulated and formed the first island of the Japanese archipelago. Here the first gods and humans were born. When his wife died giving birth, Izanagi went to the underworld to retrieve her, but she refused to come back with him and they parted forever. When Iganami returned from the underworld, he started the first cleaning rites. He washed his left eye and thus created the sun goddess Amaterasu. When he washed his right eye, the moon goddess Tsuki-yomi came forth. From his nose he created Susanowa, the god of the seas and the storms.

2) Amaterasu = The Japanese Shinto sun goddess, ruler of the Plain of Heaven, whose name means 'shining heaven' or 'she who shines in the heavens'. She is the central figure in the Shinto pantheon and the Japanese Imperial family claims descent from her. She is the eldest daughter of Izanagi. She was so bright and radiant that her parents sent her up the Celestial Ladder to heaven, where she has ruled ever since.
When her brother, the storm-god Susanowo, ravaged the earth she retreated to a cave because he was so noisy. She closed the cave with a large boulder. Her disappearance deprived the world of light and life. Demons ruled the earth. The other gods used everything in their power to lure her out, but to no avail. Finally it was Uzume who succeeded. The laughter of the gods when they watched her comical and obscene dances aroused Amaterasu's curiosity. When she emerged from her cave a streak of light escaped (a streak nowadays people call dawn). The goddess then saw her own brilliant reflection in a mirror which Uzume had hung in a nearby tree. When she drew closer for a better look, the gods grabbed her and pulled her out of the cave. She returned to the sky, and brought light back into the world.
Later, she created rice fields, called inada, where she cultivated rice. She also invented the art of weaving with the loom and taught the people how to cultivate wheat and silkworms.
Amaterasu's main sanctuary is Ise-Jingue situated on Ise, on the island of Honshu. This temple is pulled down every twenty years and then rebuild in its original form. In the inner sanctum she is represented by a mirror (her body). She is also called Omikami ("illustrious goddess") and Tensho Daijan (in Sino-Japanese pronunciation). She was called the 'illustrious ancestress of the Emperor' prior to 1945. At that time, the Japanese Emperor disclaimed any form of divine ancestry and polytheistic ancestor worship was no longer permitted.

Uzume = Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto is the goddess of dawn and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan. She famously relates to the tale of the missing sun deity, Amaterasu.Amaterasu's brother, the storm god Susano'o, had vandalised her sacred buildings and killed one of her maidens because she refused to trust him. In turn, the goddess became terrified of his wrath and retreated into a cave, Ame-no-Iwato. The world, without the illumination of the sun, became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place.
The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began a dance on it, tearing off her clothing in front of the other deities. They considered this so comical that they laughed heartily at the sight.
Amaterasu heard them, and peered out to see what all the fuss was about. When she opened the cave, she saw her glorious reflection in a mirror Uzume had placed on a tree, and slowly emerged from her hiding spot.
At that moment, the god Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-mikoto dashed forth and closed the cave behind her, refusing to budge so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shirukume rope across the entrance. The sun goddess was then asked by the deities, Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto and Ame-no-Futodama-no-mikoto to rejoin the divine. She agreed, and light was restored to the earth.
Uzume is still worshipped today as a Shinto kami, deities indigenous to Japan. She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume, The Great Persuader, and The Heavenly Alarming Female. She is depicted in kyogen farce as Okame, a woman who revels in her sensuality.

3) Sash = a band worn about the waist or over one shoulder and used as a dress accessory or the emblem of an honorary or military order
4) Topsoil’s = surface soil usually including the organic layer in which plants have most of their roots and which the farmer turns over in plowing
5)meander = to follow a winding or intricate course, to wander aimlessly or casually without urgent destination:Ramble; to Wander
6) moss = any of a class (Musci) of bryophytic plants characterized by a gametophyte having a small leafy often tufted stem bearing sex organs at its tip; also : a clump or sward of these plants; any of various plants resembling moss in appearance or habit of growth. a mossy covering
7) numinous = Supernatural,Mysterious; filled with a sense of the presence of divinity: holy ; appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense: Spiritual
8) wristlets =a band encircling the wrist; a close-fitting knitted band attached to the top of a glove or the end of a sleeve

9) gravelly = having a rough or grating sound or of, containing, or covered with loose fragments of rock.

Castelar García said...

Professor could you make a list of the books that we will be using each week for the following classes.

Week 11 -such reading