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Robert Bly in 1976, interpreting Rūmī’s poem “Feeling and Thinking”

This is an excerpt of the short film “From the Museroom: A Sampler of Minnesota Poets,” shot during a Poetry Collective benefit at the Firehouse in Minneapolis, Minn.

“Feeling and Thinking” by Rumi

Someone struck Zayd a hard blow from behind. He was about to retaliate, when his assailant cried, “Let me ask you a question: first answer it, then strike me. I struck the nape of your neck, and there was the sound of a slap. Now I ask you in a friendly way — ‘Was the sound caused by my hand or by your neck, O pride of the noble?’”

Zayd said, “The pain I am suffering leaves me no time to reflect on this problem. Ponder it yourself: he who feels the pain cannot think of things like this.”

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11 Comment(s)

  1. Too many years ago than I care to count, I hired Robert Bly, Ranee Ramaswamy, an Indian singer and a tabla player to do a concert of classician Indian poetry/music. I’d heard them do this show at the poetry festival in Marshall, MN and it was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen. At the time, I was working for A Grand Marais Arts Organization, putting together a season of performances. This program was not on the menu for any of these people, but I loved it so much I needed to get it to Grand Marais. There were a lot of letters sent back and forth.

    Right at about this time, political things shifted in the organization I was working for, and I found myself out of a job. This would be the last performance they would produce, and they took it out of my hands. But I wouldn’t miss is for the world.

    After the performance, I went up and introduced myself to Robert and he knew instantly who I was. My husband had been very close with Bill Duffy who was the co-editor of that very important magazine he and Robert put together. So he was In too. We invited him out for drinks and all headed downtown together.

    After a while, the tabla player came over to our table and asked Robert if he knew us, he said “Oh Yea! I’m Uncle Bobby to these two!” We all got very tipsy together and had a blast arguing about Iron John.

    The Arts Org had put all the artists up in A Series of Cabins toward Lutsen, so we told him we’d get him a ride back so we could all keep at the wine. It got late, we drove him back to the place and he recited a couple of poems he’d been working on. When we got to the cabins, we got up to tell him bye, and he landed a great big wet kiss on my kisser.

    It was a fine. fine. night.

    Since that time, my mother has been in the same room as him a couple of times. She always goes to talk to him and he always remembers me, saying “Tell them Uncle Bobby says hello!”

    emilymoesewco | Aug 1, 2012 | New Comment
  2. http://www.robertbly.com/r_e_billduffy.html

    Bill Duffy was the English teacher in Grand Marais for a very long time. He was my husband’s English teacher and mentor, and got his classroom when he started to teach. In the bottom of one of the lockers was Uncle Bobby’s copy of Chaucer from college. We can all feel quite pleased to know that Uncle Bobby wrote as equally stupid notes in the margins as the rest of us. He also taught my husband to get into trouble with superintendents.

    emilymoesewco | Aug 1, 2012 | New Comment
  3. That is, Bill Duffy taught my husband quite well how to get into trouble with superintendents.

    emilymoesewco | Aug 1, 2012 | New Comment
  4. Here is Phebe Hanson from the same event.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  5. And Michael Dennis Browne:

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  6. And Margaret Hasse:

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Another from Michael Dennis Browne:

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  8. James Moore:

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  9. And here’s Bly interpreting another poem — “May Moon” by Rolf Jacobsen.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  10. And finally, Robert Bly reading one of his own poems, “The Dead Seal at McClure’s Beach.”

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment
  11. But anyway, these clips are just here to build up to the Louis Jenkins clips.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 19, 2012 | New Comment

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