• edwardianjackal

Hemingway: Poetry

Updated: Jul 26

Me:

"The myth stands as it will

yet the ideal is what is sought

Firmness, determination - ideals of the young man in a different time

Character, wit, strength - framed in the comfort of dark wood accents, (cigar or) cigarette smoke and a tumbler of scotch -

the appeal assuredly drives.


The reality stands with the myth - hand in hand but only as a thin veneer.

But, in that sliver something substantial

For a moment only, we grumble

God damn it and fuck it

- it stands greater than both"

- July 2021


...

Reading through a snippet of Hemingway's poetry tonight, mulling over a drink I cannot have, or a cigarette I've been craving for weeks - I enjoy that, although starts with looseness, it finds itself again in the last couplet.


Hemingway was not flowery - at least not to me. He is not a Henry James or a Thomas Mann. He is like the nails of a Shakespearean Opus - boil that shit down until only the "truth" (as he calls it) remains.


So it's no surprise the poems I read through tonight were to the point...somewhat an efficiency of words, but getting a point across. They aim at a truth.

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Hemingway encapsulated, I'm sure erroneously, the memories of my father. He admired Hemingway very much - but also tried to dispel that notion. But it was obvious when I remember as far back as I could - seeing my dad voraciously read dime store crap, spy novels, ham-fisted crime dramas. But he had Hemingway on the shelf, which he rarely did. (This and Walt Whitman were always prominently displayed.)


I took many a visit to the used book store with my father and I learned wheat from chaff. This carries with me today. What's gold can be measured as such - writing lasts tests of time, affection and review. Here we are with Hemingway.

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This song called to me, being contemporous with Hemingway in decline. It's titular and thematic bent speaks from a 1925 novel Sorrow in Sunlight.

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Reviewing the age of Hemingway and post-World War II, Cold War era - I discovered a reference to an underground hit of 1936 with Stuff Smith's "If You're a Viper". This song, and again, look at the year, directly called out marijuana use in the Negro jazz community of the time. It's a quaint look of growing sub-culture of the late 30s.


(There's no correlation with Hemingway and pot, but I often wonder if the drugs sub-culture pulled on many an artist at the time.)

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