Sunday, July 19, 2009

Issa's Sunday Service, #12


Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Tomorrow is the birthday of that "Italian poet from the 13th century," Petrarch, a poet so driven by his idealized love for a woman named Laura that he revitalized the sonnet form. Of course, he was born and lived in the 14th century (1304 - 1374), but I am voting that Dylan read the dates and mistakenly came up with 13th century, a common enough error, or wrote from memory and got it wrong. Lots of Dylan folks think the poet he is referring to is Dante, but I'm sticking by my guns. In an interview in 1978 (scroll down for the interview excerpt), Dylan further muddled the matter when asked who the poet was when the discussion turned to the song, Tangled Up In Blue:

Craig : Its got those nice lines at the end, about ' there was music
in the cafes at night and revolution in the air' and ' some are
mathematicians, some are carpenters wives, I don't know how it
all got started, I don't know what they do with their lives'.

Dylan : I like that song. Yeah that poet from the 13th century....

Craig : Who was that ?

Dylan : Plutarch. Is that his name ?

Well, that's a hoot and a half, anyway you cut it. There have been so many variations of Tangled Up In Blue, along with so many variations of the particular lines in question (Dylan has evidently inserted Charles Baudelaire, the Bible, and the 15th century in various performances), the point is moot. In any case, it is Petrarch's birthday, so Petrarch it is, wrong or right.


This week's poem from the Sunday "count up" (and for those paying close attention, you'll notice the countdown and count up have just overlapped, something that roughly might happen once every two and a half years) is from Lilliput Review #22. I've chosen a different poem from the 3 recently featured in the countdown, hope you enjoy it.

What is there
Single hawk stationary above the highway
------------flapping against the wind.
One dot black on the immense snow sky

-------------a tiny immortal
-------------the old peasant on the chinese scroll.

You can hear the geese but you can't see them.

Christien Gholson

departing geese
whatever are you
gabbing about?

translated by David Lanoue


The LitRock website with past selections is here.


Ed Baker said...

then as now
everybody needs
their "Laura"

to write/songs (psalms-poems

who DO we write for?
... and hope "she" opens

not important that Zimmerman "got it" absolutely..

the effect/result... "she" opened to "him"

I am gonna revisit Plutarch's Sonnets

it's on the list...

Full Moon
in this light
entirely revealed

thanks for the post...

and for letting i a bit of fresh aire and light!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Indeed, Ed ... and the sonnets are sensational - here's an older English version in its entirety ...

The first half of the book is a biography, so you need to slide down for the poems ... also, a great example of a crappy google scan.

Ed Baker said...


Petrarch NOT Plutarch

Plutarch has The Lives

Petrarch The Sonnets

I get just as mixed up
as Dylan

(is that "Bob" or "Thomas")

Ed Baker said...

The Petrarchan who first "grabbed me".... Thomas "They Flee from me.." Wyatt!

and OH them conceits!

I "picked up on "it"

via The Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume 1

never did take the second course that used Volume 2..

spent many a day maybe 4 in the Libray of Congress reading and noting a stack of books about of Ths Wyatt, the Elder

write the/a books card catalogue number down andf an hour later they would bring out a stack of rare books..

and you didn't need to wear gloves or gingerly handle the book

the old book sure smelled neat..

so you could REALLY

get your nose in

full moon
her nose in my book
"with naked foot stalking in my chamber"

I think that Wyatt got into much trouble "messing around" with Anne Boleyn who I think lost her head over Wyatt and her other "lovers"


time really for me to "track back" to Petrarch

Sir Walter ain't no slouch, either

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Yes, the Plutarch for Petrarch is what prompted that hoot and a half ...

And thanks for the Thomas Wyatt reminder, Ed ...

Tim Buck said...

Thanks for this, especially the cool connection to Dylan.

In case you're interested, here's a nice evocation by Franz Liszt -- his Petrarch Sonnet No. 123:


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hey, Tim, thanks for the kind words and link - enjoyed the performance very much - I didn't know about the Liszt pieces, so I've put a recording on reserve at the library to hear a larger sampling.