Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jo-ha-kyu

The New Yorker, October 20, 2008

from Dana Goodyear's profile of Gary Snyder:

Snyder's most complex and difficult work is "Mountains and Rivers Without End," a poem cycle that absorbe him from 1956 until 1996, and whose title is taken from a category of Chinese landscape paintings. . . . The poem--which was published in 1997 and moves through terrain as varied as the Northwestern highway 99, New York City, and Kathmandu, invoking Buddhas, telling old folk stories, explaining geo-history, tracing rivers, meeting talking animals--is structured, to some extent, like a Noh play. "It follows jo-ha-kyu," Snyder said. "Jo means 'serene introduction.' Ha means 'extended and detailed narrative information.' Kyu means 'an ending which is surprisingly sudden.' . . . The Japanese say, 'Listen to the birdsong, it has a jo, a ha, and a kyu.' To them it's completely natural."

***

from Joan Acocella's "Second Look" at Christopher Wheeldon and his company Morphoses"

When, in today's ballet, you see man express his feelings for his lady by hurling her into the air, catching her upside down, and wrapping her around his neck like a pashmina, you are seeing the legacy of the Bolshoi. When, on the other hand, you see a woman in a leotard merely hold the man's hand as she flashes her legs out in eighty-two fabulous, clean ballet steps, and then, in a change of heart, fall into his arms and do something hair-raisingly sexy, like a front-facing split, you are seeing a child of "Agon." [choreographed by George Balanchine in 1957]

2 comments:

Patricia Markert said...

I love the way Acocella writes about dance. It almost makes you feel as if you have seen what she is describing even if you haven't.

Jee Leong Koh said...

She is an ekphrastic writer.