Where is this Fontegaia, the poem, a-goin'?

Who cares? Not Poetryland. Their loss.

It's not work, for me. It's play, though it takes some effort.

I'm trying to blend some things, some figures & ideas. I'm drawing toward a design & thematic crux of this long poem. (There is a numerical & sort of structural design, but I won't go into that.)

What's it all about? Well, I'm trying to establish some affinities - very tentative, very gradual, very indirect.

1) there's the link between, on the one hand, Siena, as a sort of aesthetic model of the "free city", with its art and natural surroundings (the hidden river Diana) - and, on the other hand, some of the spiritual roots which have a presence as part of that history : the cult of the Virgin as Patron of Siena; the background presence of St. Francis and the Franciscan ethos (poverty, brotherhood, love of nature), and the mystical-historical thinking of Joachim of Fiore & St. Bonaventure. The notion of the millennial "city coming down from heaven", the New World. The little model city which the Emperor offers to the Virgin, in the Byzantine mosaics.

2) & there's the affinity between those things & the ecstatic-visionary spirit of Walt Whitman - very "San Franciscan" - filtered partially through Hart Crane (the Bridge, the River, the hobos, the "key").

3) & there's the "river"/fountain motif... the mingling of Amazon-Nile-Mississippi-Jordan... the interest in the Ethiopian version of the "ark of the covenant".

4) & there's the mingling of several painters & their images - Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Martin Ramirez, Jasper Johns, et al. & their connections with Crane, with all these other themes, with Joachim's drawings - his (& Dante's) spiritual "geometry".

5) & there are personal & autobiographical impulses & references.

So slowly, partially, obscurely, indirectly, I'm concocting a sort of American elixir... drawing connections with old things & old poets, toward ideas and commitments which are still important for poetry & history & social life today.

(p.s. & who's this "Frisbee"? Well, Frisbee is the name my mother gave to an adventurous little Tom-Thumb character about whom she told stories, back in the 1950s - such as the one about Frisbee sailing his paper boat down the spring rainwater brooks in the dirt road called Arthur Street, where we lived. A few years later, "Frisbee" reappeared in my family history, as the name of the whirling disk produced by the Whammo company - the copyright for which my father, a lawyer, had something to do. I remember flying Frisbee prototypes around the yard with my brothers. I suppose I've already written about this, here.)

No comments: