Oct 15, 2010

The Dodge: Kwame Dawes, Derek Walcott, and Mrs. Scarcelli's "Dueling Banjos"

Photos: at the poetry festival in Newark, there were pumpkins, musicians, youth, greenery and energy. New York's gray complexity was in the background, but never far away.

I mentioned recently that I think Frost’s line, “how leads on to way,” is more complex and profound than it appears.

At The Dodge Poetry Festival, one of several poets new to me was Kwame Dawes. He’s now a prof at the University of South Carolina, by way of Ghana and Jamaica. At one point he referred to Nobel poet Derek Walcott, who, by way of the Lesser Antilles, ended up at Trinidad and Boston University (with a stop in Stockholm, I assume, as well as hundreds of readings and various teaching gigs). I’ve never connected as well as I probably should have to Derek Walcott, but thanks to the internet, I found a little poem of his that I just might like a lot—at least its central idea, about the two selves (at a minimum) we all have and the need for them to be good to each other.

Googling around still further this morning, I somehow got from Dawes and Walcott to Kristina Austin Scarcelli, who has an indirect connection to the banjo and who moved from Ohio to Michigan, like someone else you know, although her route was just a little different from mine. I offer her as a lighter touch on "how way leads on to way."

YouTube - Altar: Poem by Kwame Dawes

Love After Love by Derek Walcott

YouTube - Kristina Austin Scarcelli - "Dueling Banjos"



Anonymous said...

I quite like Love After Love. It reminds me of this tune; have I sent it your way before? Maybe.


Banjo52 said...

Thanks, AH. I do see a connection. And no, I've never heard this before--kinda like it.

If you want nightmares, click on everything else on youtube titled "Dear John." I dare you.

Brenda's Arizona said...

It is a poem to like a lot! How easy it is to see one's self as a stranger.
I sure like your Autumn photos, too. Oh, this all meshes so well!

Banjo52 said...

Thanks, Brenda. Sometimes I try to be a mesher.

As for the photos, the drive back through Pennsylvania was stunning. We'll see that before too long.

Barbaro said...

Glad to hear there was an international presence--Korean and Palestinian poets were highlights when last I went. The Jamaican poet could read the phone book in that singsong accent and I'd be hooked.

"Love after love" is in an anthogy I teach. Lovely poem, but anyone who thinks fixing the economy, ending conflict in the middle east, starting cold fusion, etc. is hard should try getting 15-year old boys to see the beauty in a poem about middle-aged nostalgia.

Banjo52 said...

Barbaro, I agree about the Dawes voice. What I didn't find online was his really passionate oratory; he himself labeled one poem a rant, and it sounded like a symphony.

Dawes and a couple of others re-raised the issue, for me, of the written ?versus? the spoken word (vs. the sung word?). That whole poetry-music-performance grouping is fraught with complexities, and I feel as I'm the only one who sees it that way. Goes hand in hand with The New Criticism, and I'll probably post about it someday.

I feel your pain about the guys and poems like Walcott's. I suppose I was one of them. Facades, masks, boundaries--now THERE is another topic for sure . . .

Banjo52 said...

Martin Espada, by the way, is another poet who's a major performer, though he was more subdued in NJ than he was in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Barbaro made me laugh. I see his point. When you're fifteen, that is never, ever going to happen to you. And it doesn't. When you're fifteen.

Jean Spitzer said...

Good progression. Fits together, along with AH's Lennon, very well.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

The imagery accompanying Kwame Dawe's poem is as powerful as his words. An alter of succulents, garish rose bushes, a rotting dog in the dry gully.

Lovers' Lane