"The Poor Poet" by Carl Spitzweg‘The Garrett Loft’ by Leo Yankevich The Society March 23, 2018 Beauty, Poetry 12 Comments In garret lofts poor artists have quite often painted women bathing, combing hair inside a nearby mirror… __________________________Your eyes soften, and, pale as blossoms or flesh from a pear, your skin glints in the light. Snow falls outside amid the greyness and the winter cold, yet this one moment it is warm inside. Crouched in the slipper tub, you sit and hold your sprawling hair in your right hand, and comb it with your left. You smile, sing to yourself, and in the glass see pennies on the shelf, a garret-loft too bare to be your home. And I see what those starving artists see and try to catch it for eternity. Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016). More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 12 Responses J. Simon Harris March 23, 2018 This poem captures such a tender and intimate moment, and it is beautifully written. It would read well even as prose, yet Mr. Yankevich has somehow managed to fit it into this sonnet. I love the break in the middle of line 3, and the pair of rhymes that are broken up by the stanza division (one could write an essay on those two features alone). I’ve read many so-called sonnets lately that don’t resemble a sonnet at all. This, on the other hand, is a very interesting variation on the sonnet form, yet indisputably remains a sonnet (complete with a Shakespearean couplet at the end). Anyway, this is great work. I read this one over and over. Reply Joe Tessitore March 23, 2018 This is so very beautiful! It transports you in time and leaves you feeling the warmth of the room and seeing what those starving artists see. Once again Leo, Bravo!!! Standing Ovation!!! Reply Sally Cook March 23, 2018 Dear Leo, In this poem you have caught the push and pull of so many things in their relationship to each other. The frigid winter to the interi9or; (probably not very warm — the moment, filled with expansive warmth; the woman and the painter’s eyes — she focus on her hair and he on her skin -– truly, the interwoven relationships of outside to inside, subject and painter, and made of the whole of it a work of art in the totally different language of the scribe, recording a moment out of time, deserving of both preservation and recognition. Bravo, Leo, for having the desire, skills and sensitivity to record this. Sally Reply James A. Tweedie March 23, 2018 Amen to all the above, and for all the reasons expressed. Reply Joseph S. Salemi March 23, 2018 Note also that Leo Yankevich puts his volta at the end of line 7 (counting as a single line his stepped break in the third line). By so doing he places the volta in the midst of the second ABAB quatrain. This allows the narrative flow of the poem to not be held in check by the sonnet form itself. Many English sonnets follow the three-quatrain-final-couplet structure closely, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it can become mechanical and rigid. Here Yankevich commands the form–the form doesn’t command him. Once again Leo Yankevich proves himself to be one of the most accomplished formalist poets writing today. Reply Joe Tessitore March 24, 2018 Insightful and informative criticism – thank you for pointing it out. Reply C.B. Anderson March 24, 2018 If this were an ekphrastic poem, I would love to see the original painting, if only to regard the sensuality portrayed in the poem itself. As it stands, the poem is a convoluted reflection on Art simpliciter and the relationship between the artist’s subject and the viewer/reader. In this case, Yankevich is the very artist, and it’s hard to imagine a painter who could render the scene more accurately. Reply David Hollywood March 24, 2018 Beautiful poetry, with reflective sensitivity. Thank you. Reply Sally Cook March 24, 2018 The most difficult thing in any art is to present a complicated, multi-layered idea with simplicity/ Count Leo has accomplished this feat with grace, Reply David Watt March 24, 2018 This sonnet brings to life a tender scene and bathes us in sensory detail, as if we are actually present. Very well written! Reply Leo Yankevich March 25, 2018 Forgive me for being remiss in thanking you all for your kind and generous comments. Reply James Sale March 29, 2018 This is a fabulous poem, so technically accomplished and fluent, very beautiful. Two small points that I would like to add to the narrative about it. One, the use of the feminine rhymes, often/soften; feminine rhymes are difficult to use in these kind of poems because they easily lend themselves to comic effect. But here they glide effortlessly with the beguiling sense of the poem. And second, that beguiling sense is almost Christmassy with the snow and cold outside, but this luxurious being inside, and beauty of observation – the artist’s observation of her – piling up sensuously. But what does she observe? ‘pennies on the shelf’ and a place too bare to be her home; a most deliberate, almost brutal calculation in the mystery of this creative act. So much implied by so few words – great poetry. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.