Monday, February 10, 2014


"Feel lonely” (5)? This is the first question Hugo asked me. My answer. . . I feel lonely. Or I don`t feel lonely.

“Jim Wright was one of the few students who was writing well in Roethke`s classes” (32). Coral and I are studying James Wright right now and I was pleasantly pleased to see him referred to in Hugo`s book.

“. . . . . fucking around” (33). I like the non-censorship.

“. . . . . a good poem sounds meant enough to be believed” (34). I get that feeling from some pieces more than others. Sometimes it is just the way someone tells a story. Hugo tells stories and yes they are meant to be believed.

“Madness is crippling anywhere but in art . . . . . “ (35). I am a mad man with the arts and it is a wonderful way to be crippling.

“ . . . .  we know almost nothing about creativity, where it comes from, what causes it” (35). Yes, this is true. Just like no one knows . . .

“. . . the feelings of worthlessness may become indistinguishable from the impulse to write” (68). I guess I have went through that phase of needing to feel necessary and using some sort of art form whether it be music or poetry, but I guess I do it know because I like to.  

“. . . is an outsider who wants desperately to be in” (69). This is a reminder of that stranger writing about a place that he has never been too. This is reflective in the lives of people like Hugo and Wright, and probably thousands of from there now here poets of their time.

“Snopes: . . . James Wright. . .” (69). The Hemingway`s character comparison seemed odd but I think I understand the writing style of the outsider / insider in Hugo`s analogy.

“. . .without fingering their fathers” (69). This line stepped out of the book for me because I could never imaging fingering fathers. That is such a betrayal.

“. . .self-hatred and creative impotency” (69). I have felt that I am not so much good enough days myself. Because I know I suck I guess I don`t have anything to be ashamed of.

“Feelings of worthlessness can give birth to the toughest and most welcome critic within” (70). I battle the writers worse critic every day. I know exactly what Hugo is talking about here. I guess I am like him in a way that my work is never good enough and the thing that keeps my head up sometimes it someone enjoying the piece.

“When you have done your best, it doesn`t matter how good it is. That is for others to say” (71). Exactly and that is another reason we should just go crazy with the words and see what it looks like later, maybe.

“An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance” (71). If you are willing to express yourself you are also in a freedom of self-entrapments. So, let it go free.

“All art is failure” (72). Well, I could disagree with that a bit because I won’t know how the art turns out until the artist is finally ready to reveal the truth behind the creation. Until then it is safe to say that art is fun and fun is not a failure.

“. . .the New Criticism. . .” (72). Words are counted, checked in for their color, taste and texture. Analysed over criticized and steering in and out of several meanings of each and every possibility. Whether it be the meaning or not. New Critics can take a piece for its weight in the universe.

“. . . writing was a slow, accumulative way of accepting one`s life as valid” (72). I guess it is true. It took me a long time to actually want to write. I guess I thought I could be the president or something and right the next more perfect union song for the masses to listen to. Maybe then my life would have function/purpose for future generations to learn from.

“I fell in love with a sad land, and I wanted it sad one more time” (76). I felt bad that he wanted to see the destruction but at the same time that safe place wouldn`t have had the same feeling as it did when the place as a wreck.

“On bad days, the Italians were our enemies” (77). That is like having FRIENIMIES.

“. . . Blabbermouth Hugo” (78). This was just remembered because not only is he spilling the beans in the story he is telling a lot about himself and others in this book and that could be considered by some critics as blabbermouthish. I don`t know though, he seems to be calling himself out on that too.

“A sissy in life, I would be tough in the poem” (79). Hugo reminds me of Ferdinand the Bull. He is this war guy that just wants to lie in the grass. This also exhibits his honest feelings about himself and again revealing that worst critic feller on the shoulder.

“The countryside was green with grain and the weather pleasantly warm” (81). I love the wording here. Just say the line a few times. It is like music.

“. . .finger-pistol-packing . . .” (81). This was catchy to me.

“to go anywhere on our own . . . . we hitchhiked” (82). I won’t forget his stories of about getting to and from the base hitchhiking and how I felt his frustration when no one would stop.

“Each flight seemed tougher as my imagination worked overtime. . .” (83). It is not easy for most war time guys to talk about it. Hugo is not one of those guys that makes it look easy, but shows you how hard it is to do. Just read it.

“. . . I was in a town I`d never seen. . .” (83). This is something I will not forget about this semester. It has been a reoccurring theme in the study of Roethke, Hugo, Wright, and other Snopes out there.

This next one is the paragraph of the book, the ends of all ends and the point well taken by this reader. By fare my favorite part of the book.

“After I`d walked for well over an hour, I sat down to rest by a field of grass. I was tired, dreamy, the way we get without enough sleep, and I watched the wind move in waves of light across the grass. The field slanted and the wind moved uphill across it, wave after wave. The music and motion hypnotized me. The longer the grasses moved, the more passive I became. Had I walked this road when I was a Child? Something seemed familiar. I didn`t care about getting back to the base now. I didn`t care about the war. I was not a part of it anymore” (83).

That is how I hope it will be. Nice and peaceful. Man Hugo needed that peace and quiet and clears out of his mind everything even for that exhausting moment. I won’t forget his story any time soon.

“I would sit here forever and watch the grass bend in the wind and the war would end without me. . .” (84). Again this line here is awesome too. It sounds so Leaves of Grass by Whitman.  

“ . . .like you want every friend you ever had to be there with you” (86). Sometimes I feel that way to. Times are just so good at the bar you wish more glasses were there to be raised. But he had the wife and the old dude there with him, right. Seriously I get that wish they were here feeling sometimes. I like how he worded it here.

“. . .very much like that field of grass I still had to find” (86). Echo of Whitman. I feel that way at least.

“. . . I imagined one might contact VD just looking at the photo” (89). I won’t forget that writing has nothing to hide only the writer can bring details and think of a joke about something exposed about some G.I.s and a few hookers.

“Simmons. . .” (91). Fuck that guy. Some kid didn`t get to have his or her willing father. Simmons was a dick and Hugo let us know all about it.

“Not good enough” (93). Hugo always seems to be that bad guy to his pieces. I guess If he thinks they are failures . . . then he is probably right.

“I was sometimes mistaken for a homosexual” (93). Shocking part.

“I caught myself wondering if he had been homosexual” (93). Shocking someone else’s part.

“. . .certainty we would be killed” (94). I felt the fear for Hugo and his buddies, getting killed, surviving, and going home. It must have been horrible.

“. . .in a world of men he remained, like me, a boy. . .” (94). So know he is telling me that the homo-erotic thoughts were just child-like innocents. Not that it matters but is he gay or straight? It is just unclear exactly what he is saying.

“Battle of the Bulge began” (94). Death, death, and more death.

“. . .he blew his stomach open with a .45 . . .” (95). Sad ass story here about a suicide over a dear John letter right while the doctors fixed him up. Horrible.

“I didn`t know how good the poem would be but it would be honest. . .” (96). I don`t know if I like Hugo`s poems so much, but I like his writing and honest feelings that are felt through it.

“. . .I sat down on the stairs and had a good cry too” (98). Yes, if I think about it too much I might be sitting on those steps with ghosts, crying too. But that good old grass sounds so much better to go lie in.

“. . .hope that humanity will always survive civilization” (109). The Admiral and his wife here are a cap stone to this piece. I think that we need to hear these kinds of things. I think that they should have built the guy a fucking house somewhere. They could have shown us how compaction really can work and Hugo would have written a poem about how cool civilization is when it comes to humanities, but know. With Hugo and this world in general . . . the truth will come out of the art-work.

“I like students because they are not far removed from being children, and that bond between us” (109). Man, I feel like a kid too. I don`t ever want to grow up.

“And teaching gives me a personal satisfaction no other job ever did” (109). That is another thing, I have so much fun. . . . at least trying. . . . to help . . . . anyone . . . everyday. . . because it again is fun. Sometimes I am not very good at helping though as sure as some failure will be at my doorstep, I`m sure.

“. . .like The Admiral and his wife we are all going into the dark. Some of us hope that before we do we have been honest enough to scream back at the fates. Or if we never did it ourselves, that someone, derelict or poet, did it for us once in some euphonic way our inadequate capacity for love did not deny our hearing” (109). Again, the story of the ho-bo-zz at Boeing is just to show us that richness is in the eye of the innocent . . . for they can see the truth.   

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