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A lovely couple of lines from Vera Pavlova and four poems:

Only she who has breast-fed
knows how beautiful the ear is.

Am I lovely? Of course!
Those who are asleep in the earth
To converse with the greats
He marked the page with a match

Lines from my favorite roguishly windblown hair’ed poet Donald Hall (from Advent):

When I know that the grave is empty,
Absence eviscerates me,
And I dwell in a cavernous, constant
horror vaccui.

Timothy Murphy (who rhymed “whored” with “Lord” in one poem) writes:

Lord, the broken spirit,
the sorrows in my heart
are much, much to inherit
and hard, hard to impart.

The dense but exhilarating Fanny Howe poem “A Hymn” begins with Fyodor:

When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn.

-Fyodor Dostoevsky

Also my favorite quote from Carmine Starnino’s essay Lazy Bastardism:

Lazy bastardism kowtows to the convenience of see-Jane-run simple-mindedness because, by gosh, that’s what most people want from their poetry. Lazy bastardism is the only way to explain the existence of phrases like “the roaring juggernaut of time” or “the once gurgling fountain of creativity” (both plucked from Billy Collins’s The Trouble with Poetry). Lazy bastardism will never come clean and tell you that poetry is an acquired taste, that the pleasure of reading it is assembled over years from smaller, slow-to-learn skills. Lazy bastardism will never insist that you should read a lot of poems, old and new, and try to keep them in your head to help train and trust your ear. And lazy bastardism will certainly never stress that you need to love poetry’s artificial and formal aspects.

The guidelines:

  • Any movie viewed in the year 2009 that I haven’t seen before qualifies for the list.
  • I balance artistic merit with a swinging good time.
  • In order of importance I rank artistic brilliance, “re-view-ability”, and only then “a swinging good time”.
  • I do twelve top movies (B-listing 12 more). Consider it cinema calendrics.

The selections for 2009:

1. Thin Red Line : Terrence Malick : 1998

Terrence Malick is lyrical with the camera, a cinematic Psalmist. The Thin Red Line is a war movie like no other, reflective, poetic, tragic. Jumps immediately into my top fifteen favorite films of all time.

http://www.weltblick.ch/gallery/albums/movie-charts/the_thin_red_line.jpg

2. Happy Go Lucky : Mike Leigh : 2008

An infectious film. Sally Hawkins plays a character who is so oddball and all over that she can only be loved or hated for it. I loved her for it.

Happy Go Lucky1.jpg

3. Rachel Getting Married : Jonathan Demme : 2008

I don’t know how Anne Hathaway ended up in this film, but never have I seen such a contrast between self-indulgent misery and corporate celebration.  A perfect compliment to Margot at the Wedding.

http://lilokpelikula.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/rachel-getting-married.jpg?w=481&h=322

4. The Wrestler : Darren Aronofsky : 2008

Darren Aronofsky’s “The Passion of Christ” cynically remixed as the Ram of God who wrestles with the sins of the world.  Despite its subject matter it’s a pull-no-punches film.

http://www.timeoutsydney.com.au/film/reviews/large-the-wrestler.jpg

5. Apocalypse Now : Francis Ford Coppola : 1979

A war classic that is gripping up until its soft conclusion, ending in whimper rather than bang.

http://pigscantfly.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/apocalypse-now_01.jpg?w=511&h=288

6. The Hurt Locker : Kathryn Bigelow : 2008

A movie that is full of bang,  Jarhead without the cinematic gloss.

http://godisnotelsewhere.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/the-hurt-locker-pic.jpg?w=490&h=327

7. Lat Den Ritte Komma In (aka Let the Right One In) : Tomas Alfredson : 2008

An atypical vampire film that I’ve described as “John Carpenter passed through Gus Van Sant”. I discuss the true horror of it here.

http://auteurs.s3.amazonaws.com/notebook/Tribeca/let_the_right_one_in.jpg

8. Days of Heaven : Terrence Malick : 1978

Terrence Malick is a master of visuals. If there were a “Top 100 Scenes List” he’d own a quarter of it.

http://ofilia.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/days-of-heavenpdvd_01401.jpg?w=518&h=292

9. Goodbye Solo : Ramin Bahrani : 2008

A dark film, but one of the richest I’ve ever seen. The final ten minutes are breathtaking.

goodbye solo.jpg

10. Up : Pete Docter : 2009

While not a perfect film Pixar continues to raise the bar.

http://picturehouses.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/pixar-up-balloons.jpg?w=490&h=275

11. Sommarnattens Leende (aka Smiles of a Summer Night) : Ingmar Bergman : 1955

My classic film appreciation continues to grow, Ingmar Bergman’s entertaining romantic farce is still immanently watchable.

http://nighthawknews.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/smiles-screen6.jpg?w=504&h=378

12. Transsiberian : Brad Anderson : 2008

This quiet but haunting film escalates beautifully.

http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/images/Transsiberian-01.jpg

Click here for the best of the rest:

Read the rest of this entry »

via Metacritic

  1. Pan’s Labrynth
  2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
  3. Ratatouille
  4. Spirited Away
  5. The Hurt Locker
  6. The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King
  7. Sideways
  8. Wall-E
  9. Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  10. Yi Yi*

[* 35 Shots of Rum was 10th, but it has the fewest reviews of the top fifteen films]

The best poems from Poetry Magazine by month in descending order (July and August is a double issue):

11.English Sonnet by Chelsea Rathburn Feb.

(runner-up: Vanity Flare by Wendy Videlock)

10. Teeth by Kevin McFadden July/Aug.

(runner-up: “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?” by Hailey Leithauser)

9. Island #2 by Yang Lian tr. by Arthur Sze Apr.

(runner-up: Stanzas by Sergei Gandlevskii)

8. Uptick by John Ashbery Mar.

(runner-up: Lines for Winter by Dave Lucas)

7. Idiot Psalm #2 by Scott Cairns Jan.

(runner-up: La Petite Vie by Allen Edwin Butt)

6. Tulips by A.E. Stallings June

(runner-up: A Marriage in the Dolomites by D. Nurkse)

5. New Endymion by W.S. Di Piero Oct.

(runner-up: Atmosphere by A.V. Christie)

4. Lascaux by Joseph Spece Nov.

(runner-up: Plumblossom by Eric Ekstrand)

3. Deaf Republic: 1 by Ilya Kaminsky May

(runner-up: Deaf Republic: 9 by Ilya Kaminsky)

2. Jean-Paul Belmondo by Valzhyna Mort Dec.

(runner-up: Non Redimus by Jill Alexander Essbaum)

1. O by Atsuro Riley Sept.

(runner-up: Insomnia & So On by Malachi Black)

Best Cover : July/August

Best Line : “in a world made brief with flowers”

-Dean Young, To Those of You Alive in the Future

Last Year’s Best

Follow me on the Twittah

  • As I sat on the toilet I was attacked by a wasp. It was scary, but killing him really sped things up. 2 hours ago
  • Not to brag, but one time I lost very respectably to a chess grandmaster and didn't make fun of how nerdy he was for many seconds. 2 days ago
  • When will Science tell me that white bread is healthy than that gross grainy stuff? I really want to look down on you people. 2 days ago
  • Ugh. I hate how sexist Harassment is. For the sake of equality I demand that the word when applied to men becomes Hisassment. 3 days ago
  • MY WIFE READS MY TWEETS FOR BIOGRAPHICAL MISTAKES AND IT FEELS LIKE SHE'S FLIRTING IS SHE FLIRTING I THINK SHE'S FLIRTING OH MY HEART IS BEA 4 days ago

The Novel I’m Now Reading

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