These two days are dedicated to Charles Olson’s Maximus. Shakespeare in the Mountains is all about the power of reading aloud and this weekend I gave my time to reading the Maximus poems aloud in their entirety.
Xosé Vázquez Pintor- The Longing Won't Win Out
I am revisiting a poem by Xosé Vázquez Pintor. I want you to hear it in the original and in translation, now that I have connected my blog to the podcast service at Podomatic. First I will read the translation. I want you to pay attention to the line endings because they are important. Vázquez Pintor has a jazzy style. He topples the stresses towards the end of the line and then allows them to cascade into the next. This is not formal scansion but it is curiously effective.
This is the same speech in English
This is the English version of the speech.
In this post I am looking at Fuenteovejuna a play by Lope de Vega, the Spanish Golden Age playwright who is best known outside of Spain. There are a number of urban legends concerning him. One says that he compiled over one thousand plays. The people of Madrid love this story: it somehow makes Lope more of a genius than his contemporary Shakespeare. However, I am using a digital Colección integral, or Complete Works, which has left out 994 of the other plays: there are six published here; a fine enough sample to get to know the writer.
In this series of posts I am looking at ways to read with expression and understanding of the text. Shakespeare in the Mountains is a project that gathers people who are interested in reading aloud to eat, walk and read in the north of Spain. In my last post, I looked at Robin Goodfellow and made a link with Edward Thomas. In this post, I am going to examine two poems by Thomas that extend the theme of Englishness that is explored in the course Shakespeare- Myth. Thomas was a reader, walker and reviewer before he committed himself to the poetry that he is now remembered for. The poems are tight, condensed gems that give us powerful images, simply expressed.
In my last post, I read the poem Lob by Edward Thomas. “Thou lob of spirits” is how the sprite addresses Robin Goodfellow in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Edward Thomas suggests to us that Shakespeare tapped into English tradition when he created Robin Goodfellow. Think of that other famous Robin, Robin Hood. He also dwells in the woods with his band of Merry Men and is a famous trickster. Modern film versions like to make him dirty and “realistic” with the peasants he protects living lives of unmitigated misery in filthy hovels whilst the evil Sheriff of Nottingham hides in a draughty castle sending his bullies out to collect the taxes. Kevin Costner is the all-American Robin hero, righting wrongs and standing up for the little guy against the English sheriff. Errol Flynn was a different Robin, wasn’t he? He dressed in bright colours and slapped his thigh a lot in good humour. Think of these two ways of seeing: the dirty realistic, and the colourful fantastic. Which of the two is more real?
In the course Shakespeare: Myth, we look at the mythological worlds of Shakespeare’s plays. In this talk I want to read one poem, by Edward Thomas, without any commentary. I shall talk about the poem in a later posting. Before you listen to the poem, however, think of Robin Hood, then make a jump to Robin Goodfellow. Now trip over to an image of a hobgoblin. You are ready to the enter the world of Lob. It gives me a good opportunity to speak in my native West Country accent!