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October 27, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-27

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Saying something without saying it

Czeslaw Milosz is a poet who writes of simple
things - the seasons, desire, the earth, women,
desire and fruit. His poetry gestures towards an
elusive idea or meaningful sensation that cannot
be expressed in words, but felt only in the silence
that follows poetry.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of
the twentieth century, Milosz is the author of
seven books of poetry, two novels, seven volumes
of essays, two autobiographies, as well as works
of literary history and Polish poetry anthologies.
A strong presence in the Polish poetry movement,
Milosz was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature
in 1980.
Milosz is a poet of the moment. His poems
stand clean on the page as captured moments, as
though images and movement - and the conno-
tative emotions and ideas they bring forth - fell
like a photo onto the page.
In one of his most simple and beautiful poems,
"Encounter," found in his 1974 book of poems
"Bells in Winter," a moment's event spurs a
question whose answer is silently present: "We
were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at
dawn. / A red wing rose in darkness. / And
suddenly a hare ran across the road. / One of us
pointed to it with his hand. / That was long ago.
Today neither of them is alive, /Not the hare, nor
the man who made the gesture. /O my love, where
are they, where are they going / The flash of a
hand, streak of movement, rustle ofpebbles. /1Iask
not out of sorrow, but in wonder." He describes a
moment in time that reflects all time, the sensation
of a moment's passing, and the elusive nature of
the passing of time itself. Milosz alludes in such
poems to what T.S. Eliot called "a lifetime burn-
ing in every moment."
Like American poets James Wright and Rich-

ard Brautigan who often titled their poems with
dates and locations, Milosz' poetry speaks with
the immediacy of the instantaneous present, trans-
lating images into sensation and sensation into
meaning -- a meaning that lies not in the words
but between them and amongst them, a mysteri-
ous product of images and the connotative power
of language.
Milosz' philosophy and attitude are neither
erudite nor academic. They are instead rooted in
the everyday sensations of time, death, loss, de-
sire and anxiety, as well as the images and events
of daily life. In "Unattainable Earth," the reader
Widely regarded as one of the
greatest poets of the
twentieth century, Mllosz Is
the author of seven books of
poetry, two novels, seven
volumes of essays, two
autobiographies, as well as
works of literary history and
Polish poetry anthologies.
finds a sense of peace, tranquillity, acceptance
and a reflective wisdom. The book begins with a
series of five poems entitled "The Garden of
Earthly Delights." In this series, the poet estab-
lishes a human connection to the earth via spiritual
and personal conceptions of eternity and immor-
tality, reminiscent of the earthy and sensual odes
of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
"And through my five senses I received a share
in the earth / Of those who led me, our sisters and
lovers ... Their hands touched my hands and they
marched, gracious, as if in the early morning at the

outset of the world," Milosz writes in "Summer."
In "Earth Again," he proposes a sense of eternity
and a stopping of time, bringing provocative im-
ages and sensations onto the page: "They are
incomprehensible, the things of this earth. / The
lure of waters. The lure of fruits. / Lure of two
breasts and long hair of a maiden ... And
ungraspable multitudes swarm, come together/In
the crinkle of tree bark, in the telescope's eye, /
For an endless wedding / For the kindling of eyes,
for a sweet dance / In the elements of the air, sea,
earth and subterranean caves." There is an indel-
ible sense of the oneness of experience, the con-
nections between one life and all life, and of the
endless present of passing time so that "... for a
shortmoment there isno death/And time doesnot
unreel like a skein of yarn / Thrown into an abyss."
The title "Unattainable Earth" is indicative of
a sort of blanket theme that flows through much of
Milosz' poetry - that we, as human beings,
experience loss, grief, joy, sorrow and a myriad of
sensations, but that the magnitude, simplicity and
significance of the human experience is often
"ungraspable." "The poem," wrote Wallace
Stevens, "refreshes life so that we share, / For a
moment, the first idea... It satisfies / Belief in an
immaculate beginning / And sends us, winged by
an unconscious will, / To an immaculate end."
Milosz' poetry achieves this, giving us a sen-
sation of something large and broad beyond our-
selves, though distinctly of ourselves . We grasp,
therefore, by not grasping - we understand,
strangely, in our confusion. He gestures in his
words towards an idea of ourselves and our world
that cannot be expressed with words. Using lan-
guage to transcend language, he reassures us with
the kiss of the eternal.
Czeslaw Milosz will be reading from his work 8
p.m. Friday at Rackham Amphitheater.


Mariss Jansons animatedly conducted the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
Tnhilharmon c
captivates audience
with great intensity
"Wow," a person next to me sighed after the final piece, Rachmaninoff's
"Symphonic Dances." The St. Petersburg Philharmonic gave a performance of
technical precision liberated by passionate expression. The program opened
with Berlioz's "Roman Carnival Overture," a joyful dance conveyed by the
swirling crescendos and decrescendos of the strings and flute melodic line.
Emotional excitement was maintained throughout the careful, delicate bowing
of the strings as well as the gallant brass fanfare.
It was the second piece, Prokofiev's
4 t Piano Concerto No. 3, which indi-
t. Petersburg cated how much the Philharmonic likes
to play. The clarinet solo in the intro-
Philharmonic duction expressed such mysticism that
Orchestra it took on its own importance within
the movement.
1A11 Auditorium Sometimes the orchestra forgot its
October 25, 1993 duty as accompanist. In a few mo-
ments within movements one and two,
the orchestral sound overpowered the pianist. This slight balance problem was
ckly remedied in the third movement, perhaps reflecting an adjustment to
acoustics of Hill Auditorium.
Pianist Dmitri Alexeev made the piano keys sing with the execution of both
contrasting themes. Most moving was the last part of the andantino, a very
solemn and ethereal melody characterized by delicate chord progressions and
ruhs in the upper octaves. Alexeev's interpretation was so captivating that one
was unruffled by the flubbed accompanying note of the French horn.
The final selection, Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances" concluded a
truly outstanding concert. Mariss Jansons' animated conducting, with its huge
sweeps and minuscule circles, engendered intensity in the orchestra's expres-
sion ofan extreme dynamic range. Janson's movements visually conveyed the
ntalizing and mysterious dance portrayed by the strings and flutes interposed
with glissandos of the harp. Wow.
rrrnnnrm rnrnrmmrnrnrrnrnninrnnrnu
"Log on to the World at
Today's Library."
* -- Ann Arbor News
I 0
'93 I
* I.
I *games *prizes *candy *computer demosI
Hill Area
Tuesday, October 26
® s-7p.m.
® Markley - Markley Library

Bjork - the lead singer of
Iceland's pride and joy (besides Abba,
that is), the Sugarcubes - has re-
leased her first domestic solo album,
and surprise! It's as quirky, beautiful
and iconoclastic as the Arctic diva
This album is like the Sugarcubes'
work only in that Bjork has retained
her wondrous, octave-hopping voice

and her refreshingly different out-
look. In fact, her creative, surprising
personality is the focal point of the
album, tying such disparate styles as
jazz, techno and classical together in
a seamless, expressionistic body of
work. The first single, "Human Be-
havior," is a cool mix of jazz, sarcasm
and fairy-tale wonder at the behavior
of the strangest animal on the planet
- the human being. "Venus as a
Boy" is lyrical and unabashedly ro-
mantic; "There's More to Life Than
This" was recorded in the bathroom

of a trendy nightspot; "Like Someone
in Love" is very close to being a
classic torch song, but Bjork's amaz-
ing vocals keep the track sounding
fresh. "Aeroplane" mixes classic jazz
with a conga beat, and "Come to Me"
is Bjork's take on sexy dream-pop.
While this album may be too avant
for many people's taste and her voice
just too strange for some to get into, it
is this slightly bizarre edge to Bjork's
talent that makes her album so worth-
while to listen to.
- Heather Phares

Def Leppard
Retro Active
Only a year and a half since the
release of"Adrenalize," DefLeppard
break their own record and actually
release anewalbum. Considering their
notorious four-year absences between
records, the appearance of "Retro
Active" is certainly astounding. But
then again, this isn't all new material.
See RECORDS, Page 8

I / I flWV Swi1

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