Inside info on poems

Comment on “Galleriet” a poem by Tomas

Breaking the Spell: Subversion in the Poetry of Tomas

In a poem entitled “Gal-
leriet” (The Gallery)
Tomas Tranströmer re-
cords how, staying overnight at a motel, he is
haunted by faces appearing on the wall. They have a
dreamlike quality and impose themselves on him, de-
manding attention and compassion.

Jag låg över på ett motell vid E3.
I mitt rum där fanns en lukt som jag känt förut
bland de asiatiska samlingarna på ett museum
masker tibetanska japanska mot en ljus vägg.
som tränger fram genom glömskans vita vägg
( D, 146)

I stayed overnight at a motel by the E3.
In my room a smell I’d felt before
in the oriental halls of a museum:
masks Tibetan Japanese on a pale wall.
But it’s not masks now, it’s faces
forcing through the white wall of oblivion ( TSP, 140)

As in so many other poems, the poet has been
following the flow of traffic, a figure he often uses to
suggest socialization. When the flow is arrested, the
realization erupts into consciousness that socialization
imposes a role and makes life into a set of ritualized
performances which allow only for a minimum of
stylized movement.

I karriären rör vi oss stelt steg för steg
som i ett no-spel
med masker, skrikande sång: Jag, det är Jag!
Den som slogs ut
representeras av en hoprullad filt.
( D, 148)

We move through our career stiffly, step by step,
it’s like a No play
white masks, high-pitched song: It’s me, it’s me!
The one who’s failed
is represented by a rolled-up blanket. ( TSP, 142)

An inauthentic self masks the lack of true identity.
This fabricated self is the individual’s prime commod-
ity in a society governed by the laws of the market. It
must be vociferously displayed and aggressively de-
fended in the struggle for survival, not so much
biological survival as social, since the good life is
identified with a successful career and a failure in this
respect cannot be compensated; it is beyond redemp-
tion: “The one who’s failed / is represented by a
rolled-up blanket.” To improve one’s social status
amounts to a “moral” obligation. It is as if, deprived
of a spiritual dimension, we still strive to rise above
ourselves and have replaced Plato’s ladder with social

Ours is a world in which, quite literally, time is
money. People who work in the industrial and com-
mercial machinery become caught up in the profit-
making and time-saving frenzy and come to regard
others as well as themselves in terms borrowed from
economics. The self is no longer endowed with intrin-
sic value and becomes purely instrumental. It is
treated like any other commodity. It has been re-
duced to what it can produce, accomplish, and
achieve and is subject to the usual advertising pro-
cess: the mask makes itself known with a “high-
pitched song: It’s me, it’s me!”

Neither is it easy to keep the social world at bay; it
has a way of invading even our leisure. The habit of
time saving will not let itself be confined to the hours
between nine and five, Tranströmer writes in an
earlier poem: ” Fritidens måne kretsar kring planeten
Arbete / med dess massa och tyngd. — Det är så de
vill ha det”
( SD, 81); “The moon of leisure circles the
planet Work / with its mass and weight. — It’s as they
wish to have it” ( TSP, 72). The social role cannot be
thrown off. The mask adheres to the bearer’s face; the
professional persona invades all areas of life, narrow-
ing our vision.

En man kånner på vårlden med yrket som en handske.

Han vilar en stund mitt på dagen och har lagt ifrån sig
handskarna på hyllan.

Dår våxer de plötsligt, breder ut sig
och mörklägger hela huset inifrån.
( SD, 86)

A man feels the world with his work like a glove.

He rests for a while at midday having laid aside the
gloves on the shelf.

There they suddenly grow, spread
and black out the whole house from inside. ( TSP, 78)

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare facts are few and far between. While we know a lot about the playwright’s works, Shakespeare facts concerning the Bard’s personal life are less forthcoming.

Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the 26th, 1564. By tradition and guesswork, William is assumed to have been born three days earlier on April the 23rd, a date now commonly used to celebrate the famous Bard’s birthday.

The Bard coined the phrase, “the beast with two backs” meaning intercourse in his play Othello.

Shakespeare invented the word “assassination”.

William married a woman nearly twice his age. Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when William married her at age 18. They married at Temple Grafton, a village approximately five miles (8 km) from Stratford. Anne Hathaway was said to be from Shottery.

The Bard’s will gave most of his property to Susanna, his first child and not to his wife Anne Hathaway. Instead his loyal wife infamously received his “second-best bed”.

The Bard’s second best bed wasn’t so bad, it was his marriage bed; his best bed was for guests

Shakespeare and wife had eight children, including daughter Susanna, twins Hamnet, Judith, and Edmund. Susanna received most of the Bard’s fortune when he died in 1616, age 52. Hamnet died at age 11, Judith at 77. Susanna dies in 1649, age 66.

There were two Shakespeare families living in Stratford when William was born; the other family did not become famous.

Shakespeare, one of literature’s greatest figures, never attended university.

Of the 154 sonnets or poems, the playwright penned, his first 26 were said to be directed to an aristocratic young man who did not want to marry. Sonnets 127 – 152 talk about a dark woman, the Bard seems to have had mixed feelings for.

Most academics agree that William wrote his first play, Henry VI, Part One around 1589 to 1590 when he would have been roughly 25 years old.

The Bard is believed to have started writing the first of his 154 sonnets in 1593 at age 29. His first sonnet was Venus and Adonis published in the same year.

William lived through the Black Death. This epidemic that killed over 33,000 in London alone in 1603 when Will was 39, later returned in 1608.

The Bard lost a play. The play Cardenio that has been credited to the Bard and which was performed in his life, has been completely lost to time. Today we have no written record of it’s story whatsoever.

Source: Absolute Shakespeare

Person from Porlock

he Person from Porlock was an unwelcome visitor to Samuel Taylor Coleridge during his composition of the poem Kubla Khan. Coleridge claimed to have perceived the entire course of the poem in a dream (possibly an opium-induced haze), but was interrupted by this visitor from Porlock (a village in the South West of England, near Exmoor) while in the process of writing it. Kubla Khan, only 54 lines long, was never completed. Thus “Person from Porlock”, “Man from Porlock”, or just “Porlock” are literary allusions to unwanted intruders.

Coleridge was living at Nether Stowey (between Bridgwater and Minehead). It is unclear whether the interruption took place at Culbone Parsonage or at Ash Farm.

Source: Wikipedia

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