Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dec. 9, 2013 “Soldier Boy”

[NOTE: sometimes I really hate the new gmail format, which occasionally causes me to prematurely send an e-mail when I’m trying to do keyboard editing functions. Forgive the unfinished mailing of 5 minutes ago.]

Readers,

Not much is known about toady’s featured poet. It is assumed she was born somewhere in Indiana in 1997 or 8. She currently lives somewhere on Indianapolis’s east side. Casey Beidelman is a published poet and the niece of long-time MV member Patrick Beidelman. She may also have a long-time MV member as her current writing instructor.
Her apprehension about family reunions is summed up in her name’s anagram, “Maybe I’d see clan.”
This poem first appeared in the pages of a high school literary magazine. I like the combination of free verse and formal rigor here: no rhyme, no particular meter, but the repetition of short-lined tercets. There’s also a lot of back-and-forth words and imagery; for me that goes hand in hand with both the speaker’s approach to the subject matter (pro or con?) and also thoughts about deployment, return, redeployment; “this endless rhythm.” Does the rhythm stop when the soldier turns “homeward once again?” -ed.
SOLDIER BOY
 
 
Torn away too young

Yet, not violently removed
Naïveté leading
 
Starting excited
Reality steps ahead
Adventure turns sour
 
Choices regretted
Looking back in harsher times
Reluctantly forward
 
Disciplined in fear
Face to face with “adventure”
Resigned to new fate
 
Forward to the front
Determination forming
Resolve found in strife
 
Whizzing pain passing
No longer past or future
Only in present
 
Moving drearily
Battle burdens carried now
No identity
 
A faceless soldier
A past decision causing
This endless rhythm
 
Finally the end
Joy upon awakening
Into the real world
 
Homeward once again
Forever marked by choices
March on Soldier Boy
 
-2013
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Dec 2, 2013 “The Member for the Strand”

Readers,

Hey it’s always fun to have the actual author of a selected piece contribute. Thanks, Luke, for your generosity.
There is another prize-winner lurking among us. Lisabeth Buchelt of the University of Nebraska at Omaha won the Roger McHugh award for best scholarly article of 2012, from the editors of New Hibernia Review. Any wonder her name is an anagram for “Hail, the best club!”? This award is given to the article on Irish lit and culture that is most likely to be consulted/cited by future scholars, which really is an awesome compliment on the research and argument. Lisabeth’s article is titled “‘Delicate Fantasy’ and ‘Vulgar Reality’: Undermining Romance and Complicating Identity in Bram Stoker’s The Snake’s Pass.” Embarrassingly enough it’s not the only award she won during the past calendar year, as the Alumni Association at UNO honored her as one of a select few “outstanding teachers” of the 2012-13 academic year. Lisabeth is also relentlessly funny, which is probably one reason her students love her. Though my academic work in literature did not carry me into a teaching career, I’m proud to say I even shared the same campus with people like Lisabeth!
 
In commemoration of the prize we’ll look at one of the very few published Bram Stoker (1847-1912) poems. This is obviously a comic piece, and it would need some historical context to make sense for us (I’m looking for volunteers… anyone know how to Google?). His use of end-rhyme, particularly the way he creates perfect rhyme using 2 words to match a single word (dish up-bishop, e.g.) is kind of hilarious. This poem was first published in a periodical called Judy: Or the London Serio-Comic Journal. I swear I am not making that up. Have a good week! -ed. 
 
 
 
THE MEMBER FOR THE STRAND
 

Ye actors, play a tune upon the trumpet,

 Batter forcibly the parchment of a drum;

Get a table and incontinently thump it;

 For the moment of your victory has come.

The reward of merit reaches the deserving;

 There is joy in ev’ry corner of the land

That the doyen of the mummers, Henry Irving,

 Is about to sit as Member for the Strand.

Ev’ry fashion of improvement he will dish up;

 All varieties of hobbies he will run;

He will move that Edward Terry shall be bishop,

 And retiring Mary Anderson a nun;

He will tell the House that all the world a stage is,

 Its inhabitants a histrionic band;

And he’ll move for raising histrionic wages,

 If you’ll vote for him as Member for the Strand.

He will talk about the “mission of the drama,”

 And expound it with an unction, you may bet!

He will posture, self-important as the Llama,

 Who is worshipped in the uplands of Thibet.

With the truculent McDougall he will grapple;

 He will drive him to some very distant land;

Or confine him in his own dissenting chapel,

 When he sits, at last, as Member for the Strand.

-1890