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February 27, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-27

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, February 2-7,1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday. February 27 1970 - -- I --

I

-poetry and prose -

Bly: From

Neru da

to,

neurology

By MARY RADTKE
Writer - in - residence, Robert
Bly, attracts interesting audi-
ences - people who look like
poets, people who look like
they're high on poetry, freaks
and People in the process of be-
coming freaks, straight people
in search of culture or poetry or
maybe both.
They come in consistantly
large numbers and with no ap-
parent preferences. They fill
and overfill such strange esthe-
tic centers as the Natural
Science Aud., Canterbury House,
and the UGLI Multipurpose
Room; and I have the feeling
that people who come , once,
come back.
Although any number of rea-
sons-from cultural devotion to
political activism-might have
been the initial lure, Bly himself
is certainly responsible for the
sustaining interest. He has a
knack for drawing people up
close to him, onto his knee so
to speak, and telling them fas-
cinating stories-exciting, awe-
some, funny satirical stories that
always end too soon.
In his last two perfornm-
ances he covered such di-
verse topics as the, political
poetry of Pablo Neruda and is
own, s o m e w h a t unorthodox
neurological mythology, or per-
haps it is a mythological neu-
~rology .
The Neruda reading on Tues-
day was remarkable for two
reasons. In the first place, Bly
appeared, purposefully ornate,
in a. red velvet gold-braided
vest, wide-sleeved white shirt
and turquoise scarf, and an-
nounced, "In honor of Pablo I
have worn my bullfighter's cos-
tume."
In the second place, he began
by declaring that Neruda is "the
greatest living poet," and pro-
ceeded to read Neruda's poetry
with an excitement-fervor al-
most-that he does not display
toward his own work.
Neruda, Bly explains, has been
little known until quite recently
in the United States (despite
his tremendous influence on
South American poetry) because
he writes political poetry. "John
Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and
the Academy of American Poets
don't dig Communists," he says.
Bly claims that political poetry
In America is of a particularly
low calibre because it generally
,,,:,"aims no higher than metrical
shouting and name calling.
"When we write love poems we
use images, but when we write
'The Union'l
x.
to premier,
j The Union, by playwright-in-
residence Ransom Jeffrey, will
be premiered this evenig in a
workshop production by t h e
PTP. The show will go on at 8
p.m. in University High School
Aud.
.. The, show will be free to the
public on a first-come, first-serv-
ed-basis this evening, Saturday
at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
In The Union, Jeffrey has de-
veloped a gripping dramatiza-
on of the generational prob-

ologists who have recently dis-
covered a tripartite structure
to the human brain ("All forms
of trinity are very eerie"), Bly
describes an imagistic system
of orienting man in the world
similan in function to Yeats'
occultism.
The the core brain, the rep-
tile brain, has been assigned the
function of survival of the in-
dividual. To the mammal brain,
wrapped around the reptile
brain, go the capacity for sex-
uality, community, and ferocity.
More ARTS on page 8
The neocortex, or new brain, ly-
ing above the other two, has
many times their neural capa-
city but is only minutely tapped
by human beings. The new brain
likes to fly, literally.
Now, energy is apportioned
between the brains so that what
one is using the others aren't.
The new brain, which feeds on
spiritual ideas and meditation,
finds energy somewhat harder to
come by, and has been losing
influence rapidly since the time
of Christ, who was a spreader of
new brain ideas; and the reptile
brain with its "increasing sense
that the rest of the world can go
to hell" has become more or
less dominant. Certainly its most
perfect projection into the out-
er world - the tank - is fre-
quently seen.
At any rate, the older gener-
ation is reptile brain and t h e
younger generation is making a
deliberate effort to move into
the mammal brain; its music
and dress are definitely mam-
mal. However, even the young-

-Daily-Jay Cassidy

political poems we just yell, 'You
bastards.' "
Neruda, however, is precisely
the opposite, a poet of images.
He got involved in politics be-
cause of the South American
habit of putting poets into con-
sular positions. As consul to
Spain during the civil war,
Neruda declared Chile' on the
side of the Republic and w ahs
promptly recalled. At home
again he ran for the Senate as
a Communist and later chal-
lenged the American-supported
president, earning the pursuit of
the entire Chilean police force.
But all the while, he was also
writing poetry in incredible
quantities. And in every book,
the precision and originality of
his images glows from within
the poems.
These images can by lyrical,
speaking of a woman who
"makes the sun leap in the bot-
tom of the earth" or of a friend
who "brought me your letter
written invisibly in his clothes,
in his eyes." Or they can be sur-
realistic-lovers "who give each
other as passwords long and
sticky kisses."
'One description of a couple
in a movie theatre, in which the
man places on the woman's

thigh "warm, damp hands that
smell of cigarettes," displays the
anticlimatic comedy of a master
realist. Another poem, about
the United Fruit Company radi-
ates political'intensity-it "at-
tracted the dictatorship of tne
flies, f 1i e s well-trained in
tyranny."
The images carry a burden of
mood. Death "comes and knocks
using a ring with no stone in it;
with no finger in it. . . It
seems to me death is the color
of damp violets. . . . What is
this darkness inside the mouth?"
fast."
Bly says that Neruda's voice
sounds like an old woman wail-
ing outside the church-full of
life and energy, full of grief and
mourning."' I could not credit
Bly's reading with "grief and
mourning" - these qualities do
not come readily to an Ameri-
can voice - but the sensitivity
and warmth of his interpreta-
'- - I

tions of Neruda's poems are
probably the next best thing.
Moving into different spheres
on Thursday afternoon, E Bly
embarked on a discussion of
"The New Brain Research" that
contributes considerably more to
poetic mythology than it does
to science. The lecture was a
chance to relax and enjoy Bly's
deep vein of anti-establishment
humor, without the intense al-
most physical concentration the
poetry readings seem to induce.
Building on the work of neur-

er generation cannot attain new
brain dominance because they
don't read enough - insuffici-
ent spiritual energy.
Applying all this to poetry at
last, Bly points to a few n e w
poets who are using their new
brains. (And some old poets
who also use their new brains.)
Ginsberg and Gary Snyder,
Yeats and Blake are good
examples, but even better is the
Spanish poet Lorca, who seeems
to be able to flip between brains
and combine the imagery of all
three.
All of this is an interesting, al-
though I'm not sure how ser-
ious, parable of poetry and so-
ciety. Unfortunately, the imag-
ery is contagious - one keeps
wondering, what kind of brain
do I have?
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
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Michigan. News phone: 764-0552. Second
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WHITE
"singing songs that cap-
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people. He captures and
keeps his audience."
-Michigan Daily
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WORKSHOP
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SUN.-3 P.M.
CHILDREN'S CONCERT
with BOB WHITE
8 and under-Sc
over-50c
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Feb. 26, 27-Thurs., Fri.
CARNIVAL IN FLANDERS
dir. JACQUES FEYDER (1934
"Feyder's humorous, yet politically commit-
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7 & 9:05 ARCHITECTURE
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Entertaining Tonight: MARGERY HIMEL
If you would like to perform, call Maureen Kelley, 761-0754

WHY NOT STOP IN?

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a community health
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"if you walk in the woods
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The Best of the
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Brakhage, Complete
DOG STAR MAN
Sharits, WORD MOVIE
Week of the
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SAT., FEB. 28 1970
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More on Sat., March 14
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TICKETS AT THE DOOR AT SHOWTIME

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Next: iz 71 Starting
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Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) Double Feature
SATURDAY and SUNDAY MATINEES ONLY
"'THE IPCRESS FILE' IS A TAUT, TINGLING FILM"
-WcALL'*S
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RELEASE TECHNISCOPE

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THURSDAY and SUNDAY: 7:30 and 9:15-$1.50
SATURDAY: 8:00,9:45 and 11:30--$1.75
NO FRIDAY PERFORMANCES

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Phakavali Dancers,
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IN RACKHAM AUDITORIUM
TICKETS@ $5.00 and $4.00 ($2.50 sold out)
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY, BURTON TOWER, ANN ARBOR
Office Hours: Mon. through Fri., 9 to 4:30; Sat., 9 to 12 (Tel. 665-3717)
(Also at Auditorium box office 11/2 hours before performance time)

By order of the Washtenaw County
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NOW SHOWINGA

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OPENS TONITE AT 8:00 P.M.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
PROFESSIONAL THEATRE PROGRAM
FELLOWSHIP COMPANY
presents
A New Play-in-Progress

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