Final Comments on Anselm Hollo

I finally finished Anselm Hollo’s Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence , and I’ll have to admit that I was a little disappointed as his style of poetry really isn’t quite my cup of tea, though as I’ve also pointed out there are a number of poems I quite liked.

My favorite poems are the simplest ones, ones like

Sunset Caboose

"freight train, freight train
going so fast"
old lights depart

brain's, heart's
gregarious troubles
take them out

one by one
to the great compost

but look at the bee
on its way
to what is brought out of light

that rely on clear, relatively simple lines to convey their message. Of course, as usual, personal preferences often dictate whether a poem does or does not resonate with a reader. The fact that I’ve been focusing on “light” in my photographs might actually prejudice me towards this poem, and the “compost” metaphor, as used in Whitman’s “This Compost,” is a metaphor that particularly appeals to me.

Certainly the baggage we carry has becomes more and more obvious as I’ve aged and found much of it meaningless. Emerson’s “Things are in the saddle and ride mankind” comes to mind.

As I’ve said previously, I generally admire Hollo’s sense of humor, a trait in short supply in most of my favorite poets. I think I loved this poem

Big Furry Buddha in Back Yard

it's a made-up name
his real name is Bailey
all names are made-up

full moon &
our bats are back
bat is flutterer fluttermouse

verbal tea leaves interim moments

loony toon galaxy at bottom of page cup

world symphony much the same
they've just added more instruments
place used to be run by two big bunches of liars
now there is only one big bunch

who cares full moon &
our bats are back
bat is flutterer fluttermouse

from the moment I read the title. The first line of the poem merely added to the humor. The non-sensical link to that and the image of the bats, merely added to the overall tone of the poem. Why let the fact that our world is run by “only one big bunch” of liars ruin your day. Revel in the full moon and the bats who celebrate the night.

Didn’t the buddha already tell you that the world is full of sorrow?

6 thoughts on “Final Comments on Anselm Hollo

  1. Loren, I think I have read Hollo the translator before – a Finnish poet maybe, but not his own poetry. I will snoop around the university library and see if I can find this book.

    And, I’m all for humor.

    Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
    That at the whisper of Love’s name,
    Or Beauty’s, presto! up you raise
    Your angry head and stand at gaze?

    Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
    The ravelin and effect a breach–
    Indifferent what you storm or why,
    So be that in the breach you die!

    Love may be blind, but Love at least
    Knows what is man and what mere beast;
    Or Beauty wayward, but requires
    More delicacy from her squires.

    Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
    Could be your staunchness at the post,
    When were you made a man of parts
    To think fine and profess the arts?

    Will many-gifted Beauty come
    Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
    Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
    Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!

  2. I particularly like the line that refers to all names being made up. Also thought his bat name would be great to anyone who speaks Danish which uses “Flyermus”
    for bat. Not sure of spelling but it’s the great combination of flying and mouse.

  3. In German it’s fledermaus, as in Strauss’ operetta, Die Fledermaus, which is also light, humerous, and delightful

  4. Loren,
    Just rediscovered your blog in my list of favorites – and am so glad I did! Your photographs are amazing and I enjoy the poetry and your other comments too. I just linked you on my blog so others can enjoy it as well.

  5. That first poem, Sunset Caboose, is a beautiful elegy for Elizabeth Cotton, the left-handed guitarist, singer and composer of the quoted opening line. Saw her perform that song in concert in Seattle at a club on 1st Avenue in Pioneer Square about 25 years ago, shortly after her 90th birthday. The stage was set up directly in front of a large plate glass window with authentic 1st Avenue bums rolling around on the sidewalk as her backdrop, a true celebration of Reaganomics.

What do you think?