GERMAN EPITAPH (digital art poetry Book 7)
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What is an Epigram? A dwarfish, whole. Its body brevity, and wit its soul. What Coleridge and the Academy say about the epigram might also be characterized as an authorial attitude, combined with a poetic self-discipline of not wasting words. Is it an epigram?
English certainly has no shortage. Michael Wolfe is a poet, novelist, essayist, film producer, and classically trained independent scholar. His selection begins with very early epitaphs, found on gravestones and artifacts as far back as BCE, and then proceeds through the Greek Anthology, where etched epitaph segues into poetic epigram around the late fourth century BCE. My name is Dionysius of Tarsus. I was sixty when I died. I never married. I wish my father had never married either. Were these lines approved by the deceased before his death, or did someone compose them later?
A person who knew him? A professional epigrammatist in the pay of a disgruntled neighbor? Spoken in the first-person, the lines sum up a state of mind that readers in any age may recognize. In my mind, a cautious understatement. That sentiment, coming near the climax of the Oedipus trilogy has been translated, adapted, and mulled down through the ages by a panoply of brooding philosophers and poets.
They fuck you up your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can. Dionysius apparently had the worst of that bargain — he lived 60 years, a ripe old age for the time.
We weep for Oedipus, we laugh with Dionysius. Or perhaps put more simply: visions of eternal life tend to suck the dark energy from an art form born at the graveside. The first-century CE Roman poet Martial, whose 1,some forays into the metier still represent the holy grail of epigram, uses the gravestone inscription conceit from time to time.
Then, may your household endure, safe and untroubled. Let this stone be the only sorrow on your land. Germanicus here refers to a soubriquet assumed by the Emperor Domitian after defeating a minor German tribe. The emperor then renamed the month of September Germanicus to honor himself and join the deified icons of a century previous, Julius Caesar and Augustus, on the calendar. The idea of an afterlife in heaven among the gods preceded Christianity in Imperial Rome. But it was an honor posthumously conferred by the Senate on worthy emperors, more metaphor than belief.
Domitian was notably impatient for divinity and insisted on being addressed as Dominus et Deus Lord and God. His megalomania, paranoia, whimsical executions, and property seizures inspired both fear and hatred among the Roman elite. His gratuitous cruelty finally led to his murder by his household staff, with the reputed complicity of his wife.
The Senate declined to apotheosize him. In condition, this was an amazing gravestone. I like to see the meaningfullness of this and thought out response from death.
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Poet's Press Catalog
Jim Kates, poet, translator, and publisher of Zephyr Press, reads his translations of the Russian poet Tatiana Scherbina. Aharon Shabtai, one of Israel's major poets, on the phone from Tel Aviv, discusses J'Accuse, his book of poems recently published in English translation by New Directions. Egyptian poets Mohammed Metwalli and Maged Zaher return to talk about the interactions between their own poems, classical Arabic, and the American cultural landscape.
Afghan-American filmmaker and writer Lida Abdullah reads from her work and discusses her forthcoming trip to Kabul to make a film that is not documentary.
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Judith Roche, poet and literary director of Bumbershoot Arts Festival, reads a poem deeply grounded in her experience of the New College in San Francisco during one of American poetry's richest moments. Ariel Goldberger - Argentine-born theater director, Evergreen Professor, and puppeteer - discusses his ideas concerning the theatrical image, the poetics of space and Artaud's Theater of Cruelty. Katrine Marie Guldager, on the phone from Copenhagen, reads from her book of prose poems Crash, and speaks about writing in Denmark.
Kat Addis studies renaissance epic poems in New York and makes video and performance art. She was patented in Pakistan. Was released onto shelves in the U. Her roboto-poetics have been widely anthologized and translated into Armenian, Portuguese, Galician, Russian, Dutch and Polish. Rachael Allen is the poetry editor at Granta , co-editor at poetry press clinic and of online journal Tender. Her first collection will be published by Faber in Nuar Alsadir is a poet, writer, and psychoanalyst.
Her work has appeared widely in journals and reviews. She codirects laviemanifeste. He teaches at Lake Forest College.