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    Nikos Tselepides New Member

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    LETTER TO CAROLYN KIZER FROM CHINA


    Damn it, Carolyn-I went ahead and did it, touched
    a girl in a bar here, breaking an oath to my wife. I turned
    your "I am as monogamous as the Northern Star" to "I am
    as polygamous as this Chinese bar", though I stopped short
    and did not take the girl to bed, neither did she take me.
    I don't know where you are and if you are well. I was
    in China, and what an eye-opener this place was. Men
    and women so polite it hurt. Beijing has more skyscrapers
    than New York, bikes everywhere, and the elevators stink
    of Chinese food 5 hours after the lunchers have come back
    from lunch. In airports you can charge the batteries of your
    cell phone in plugs on the marble floors and I am sure
    one day soon they will be able to plug into God and Paradise
    or Hell at the expense of the state. Which way and who the plug-in
    leads to is the mystery of the Chinese fan-will it unfold
    to the right or to the left? Check before you buy. The city
    is polluted but has thousands of cleaners sweeping everything
    4 times a day. Can't smoke in most places, but you can steam
    in overheated modern apartments and offices. Old towns
    feature big train stations and train whistles all night and
    thousands of travellers at the gates. New towns by the sea
    look like the French Riviera and have tall women with silk skin and
    men who smile to everyone. Love is free-even the bar prostitute
    will sleep with a guy free of charge is she likes him. Mongolian
    girls consider themselves prettier than the Chinese and say it.
    I saw no cats and dogs and when I asked if dogs are eaten
    they said No, they have special parks. They know little about
    their ancient poetry and have never heard of the "Emperor
    eating dog and the dish being deep", as Pound translated.
    Ladies are well-kept by rich husbands, and both have lovers.
    Restaurants are full for lunch and dinner every day,
    and people spit on the ground as a matter of course
    and on their plate at times. Light tea is drunk all the time.
    I found a student girl who helped me survive and had the gait
    of an antelope, the eyes of a cat, the ass of an angel, and God's
    determination in her bones: none of my hunter's tricks worked
    and she left unloved---a case where both lose, and no-one wins.
    That was in Zheng Zhou, when train engines sounded all night
    and souls left every second minute for mysterious destinations
    while I poured out my own sparks and soot from my literary
    engine that will head for the scrap heap soon.The moon gave way to
    the sun with difficulty, and I missed all dawns. Christmas Day I froze,
    far from home and alone. Spoke by spoke I tried to turn the wheel of
    time faster, knowing I would miss this place when I came home. Home
    now, I chafe and itch like a sailor in his mess sling, who longs to sail
    again with only a pen and notebook as gear. This journey was a
    dream, surging all over me now like an exotic patch of images I need
    to lord over. Read this as a chequered and infinite land, Carolyn. Best
    Regards. I remain in full view of the Northern Star, as always.

    -------------
    From "Letters to Poet Friends"
    Nikos Tselepides
    Feb.23rd, 2005
    Athens, Greece


    Carolyn Kizer:

    Carolyn Kizer was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1925. She is the author of eight books of poetry: Cool Calm & Collected (Copper Canyon Press, 2000); Harping On: Poems 1985-1995 (1996); The Nearness of You: Poems for Men (1986); Yin (1984), which won the Pulitzer Prize; Mermaids in the Basement: Poems for Women (1984); Midnight Was My Cry: New and Selected Poems (1971); Knock Upon Silence (1965); and The Ungrateful Garden (1961). She has also written Picking and Choosing: Prose on Prose (1995), Proses: Essays on Poets and Poetry (1994), and Carrying Over: Translations from Chinese, Urdu, Macedonian, Hebrew and French-African (1986), and edited 100 Great Poems by Women (1995) and The Essential Clare (1992). In 1959, she founded Poetry Northwest and served as its editor until 1965. From 1966 to 1970, she served as the first Director of the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Frost Medal, the John Masefield Memorial Award, and the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award. She is a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets and lives in Sonoma, California, and Paris.

    Jeez Banned

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    Nikos ,

    After reading this
    interesting write,

    'm left with a bit
    of confusion??

    While it's filled
    with great infos...

    'm not really sure
    how to answer
    this.

    Thanks for the
    read.:sos:


    Posted By Jeez | Apr 25, 2007
    #2

    Nikos Tselepides New Member

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    Jeez,

    Thanks for the comment. It is just a piece in the tradition of the so-called "Letter Poems" that Richard Hugo started and made famous.

    One needn't comment--it is enough to read it, like a simple letter to a friend and enjoy it for what it is. I undestand the confusion as probably nothing like this has ever been posted here before. But the letter poem is a well-established form by now and Hugo even made it to the cover of TIME magazine before he died.

    Thanks again.
    :cheers:

    Jeez Banned

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    Ok... Thanks
    for your reply.


    Posted By Jeez | Apr 26, 2007
    #4
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    MsJacquiiC Poetica Magnifique

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    LOL - NIKOS - what can I say about this masterpiece? A lot - but I'll keep it semi short :p - You've shown some absolute fabulous humor with this poem - And the references to Ezra LOL - I knew from the first couple of lines (Actually the 1st 2 words) that I would enjoy this poem - And happy to say that you didn't disappoint.

    There are some quite exquisite passages in this poem - I will quote the following:

    The rhythm of this semi-abstract (LOL) is quite nice. A tongue-in-cheek type humor throughout.

    I also like this passage very much:

    That was just WILD NIKOS lol - I'm quite fond of this work actually.
    Very nice sharing - Thanx ;)

    Jacquii.


    Posted By MsJacquiiC | Apr 27, 2007
    #5

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