Monday, January 16, 2006


In Summer The Song Sings Itself

Yet in December the rivers grow quiet—
the trees lonely.

No one would notice the blue if not for emptiness.
Silence, a voice without letters.

If we took lessons from the lark we’d leave.
In our mouths we’d place the last feather, hold it in our teeth.

Memory has no room for winter, the whole season forgets.
Even you, my darling, do not remember.

If my name found the feather, if in your mouth
was a nest, we'd begin.

Question: in my manuscript I have the title in italics, b/c it is from William Carlos Williams, do I need to note it at the bottom of the page or can I just note it in my acknowledgements?


Artichoke Heart said...

This is wonderful.

early hours of sky said...

Okay Lee but ya didn't answer the question lol...

David said...

hmm...tricky one. Two issues here:

1) What to do with the title, since it is itself a quote:

Seems to me the italics work in this situation, although you could also use quotation marks, an equally unorthodox move.

2) How to give WCW credit:

A) You could certainly use a note at the bottom of the page, but don't add a footnote to the title- vibe killer.
B) David Gewanter (and others) always have a "NOTES" section at the end of the manuscript, which cite and give cretdit to references made in the poems.

I personally prefer the note. Despite the fact that this quote is so recognizable, it will explain why the title may appear differently for those who would benefit from such explication, and give WCW credit on the page.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

You should note it, probably at the bottom of the page-- not directly under the title. I agree with david hg's comment about not adding the note at the beginning of the poem.

Adding credit notes at the beginning can work, but I think here the delicate nature of the poem would be disturbed. There's no reason why you can't have a Notes section/page at the end of the ms and include the credit there.

As for the poem, nice. "Memory has no room for winter" makes my head hurt in a Stevens' way. In fact, the two final stanzas are stunning.

Radish King said...

Just steal it.

Lyle Daggett said...

I also agree that the attribution shouldn't be at the top of the poem.

In the book manuscript, my choice would be to include it as a note on a "Notes" page at the end of the book. (Unless it's the only quote in the whole manuscript that needs attribution -- then maybe put it as a footnote on the same page).

If you don't want to do either of the above, then noting it in the acknowledgements should be fine too.

Really lovely poem, by the way.

Turquoise said...

My sentiments exactly. Just steal it. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, by the by.

Artichoke Heart said...

My vote would be for notes or acknowledgment and avoid cluttering up the page if possible. Itals or quotes let the reader know the title is a borrowed line, and if they don't recognize it, they can check the notes or acknowledgments, right?

early hours of sky said...

Thanks everyone...

This is one poem in the manuscript which does this and I have another one that has a line from Paul Celan, that I don't put in italics b/c the line is broken up by the title and the first line in the poem. I do claim everything in the acknowledgement page but I just wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly.

Thanks again.

Charles said...

Another option is to take it out of italics and put as an epigraph

— after a line by William Carlos Williams

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Williams doesn't own the word. Steal, unless you want to reference Williams.

David said...

You may have inadvertently started a rather interesting debate T.E...

...this isn't about who owns the words Pirooz, nor is it about stealing as opposed to legally borrowing Rebecca & Tiffany. It's about honor. Does T.E. need to note from a legal, intellectual property perspective? No, probably not. But in my view, should we as writers acknowledge when we use and respond to the words of others', even if we then appropriate them and make them our own? Absolutely, at least in my view.

So steal all you want. Just tell who you steal from so others will want to loot that store as well.

early hours of sky said...

Well as much as I believe in honor there are legalities. You just can’t go around taking someone’s work even if they are dead. I know I have to credit them—just trying to figure out where.

There have been several cases with poets who did not give credit and they lost their book. These things happen.

Radish King said...

They lost their book!
Perhaps it's in the car, under the passenger seat. That's where I lose most of my books. Or in my bed. If it's about honor then lets have a duel and just have done with it.

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

after WCW or
after William Carlos Williams

in 10 point type, italics, under the title & indented

In this case, I think you should use the "after. . ." before the poem as the response gathers in connotations. No need for footnotes or anything else. You are altering the text as well as commenting on it -- all fair usage. Ordinarily, I'd be with Rebecca: Steal it! Who owns a Blues riff? 'Sides, it gives the PhD's something to do. I have similar titles and actual reworkings in my new book, especially in the PLAY book. Extensive quotes (more than 3 lines) you have to pay for and contact the author/ heirs. I like the specific response to this line, the contrast of the speaker.

Good poem! btw I love the last line.

steve mueske said...

Just put it in a notes section at the end of the book (of course, I'm only saying this because that's what I did). I only use an epigraph when it borrows a vibe or somehow owes a debt to the poet in a way that direct usage does not.

early hours of sky said...

Thank you for the kind words about the poem, you can find it in:
The Invisible Book of Teresa Ballard

And Lorna that knowledge about the three line thing is going to serve me well. Thank you very much, T

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