May 13, 2009 / Creative Writing
I watched Rebel Without a Cause on TV late one college night when I learned …
August 21, 2008
Anton Bruckner plays Hamlet to
Beethoven’s Yorick, Vienna, 1888.
A devout Catholic, he built to praise his God
huge hulking cathedral-symphonies where
even the willing listener finally gets lost,
mind wandering among the gray arcades and vaults,
arches within arches, endlessly on end. Bruckner
has his great moments oh but his dreadful half hours!
For twenty years and more, the critics said
his symphonies were “wild,” “absurd,”
“unplayable,” and helpfully rewrote them
for him. So after a successful performance
of his Fourth Symphony, he strode beaming
to the podium, tipped the conductor a thaler,
said Have a beer on me old boy!
When they were about to move Beethoven’s
exhumed remains from Währinger Cemetery
to more hallowed quarters in the Zentralfriedhof,
he rushed into the examination chamber,
brushed aside the bewildered doctors
studying the corpse, and took
the stinking skull in both his hands.
Searched those blank eye sockets
for the man whose final, 80-minute
symphony had pointed him the way down
the long and lonely nave he worshiped in.
Lee Passarella acts as senior literary editor for Atlanta Review magazine and as editor-in-chief for the new literary journal FutureCycle Poetry. His work has appeared in Chelsea, Cream City Review, Louisville Review, The Formalist, Antietam Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Literary Review, Edge City Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Snake Nation Review, Umbrella, Slant, Cortland Review, and many other periodicals and ezines. Passarella's recent publications include ShatterColors and Shit Creek Review and he has poetry forthcoming in Poemeleon and Terrain.org. Swallowed up in Victory, Passarella's long narrative poem based on the American Civil War, was published by White Mane Books in 2002. It has been praised by poet Andrew Hudgins as a work that is "compelling and engrossing as a novel." A poetry chapbook entitled Sight-Reading Schumann was published by Pudding House Publications in summer of 2007.