so i emerged from my starch-and-wine thanksgiving coma long enough to read some poetry, just like the pilgrims would have wanted!
this is a book of poems from my beloved “canadians that are hard to get ’round here” series. i’ve only read fiction from her, not poetry, and at first i was unimpressed. the first poem reminded me of all the self-importance of that limp-dick shelley with his “poets are the unacknowledged legislatures of the world” crap. it’s the kind of poem you would read to a remedial writing class to inspire them—to make them see the validity and the power of poetry. in other words: dreck.
just so you understand i am not being needlessly harsh:
To write a poem is to try to make something that’s hidden come out into broad daylight. Somewhat like an underground spring that must be seized in the silence of the earth. The poet is a kind of sorcerer, without a divining rod, or any magic wand, who is content with being attentive (to the extreme point of attention) to the farthest meanderings of a brisk spring.
etc etc etc. my cheese-roasted cauliflower revisits me a little bit.
i wasn’t impressed until i got to the poem “the end of the world.” ah—much better. of course, the left-hand, french page is more mellifluous (and my french improves dramatically according to how much wine i have consumed.) for you frogs: je suis le cri et la blessure, je suis la femme a ton flanc qu’on outrage et qu’on viole. better, oui? the best parts of this book remind me of eliot at his most destructive, or hart crane when he is filled with brutal romance.
pour les autres:
I am the cry and the wound. I am the woman at your side who’s outraged and ravished.
The apocalypse chains you to its chariot, horror ties your hands, love, love, who gouged your eyes?
My heart of violent peace, I had given it to you, more naked than my body,
My caresses flow, death and tears are my jewelry,
Under such a black fire, my soul dries up like salt, and your thirst perches on it, lovely wild bird.
to find out how it all ends, buy the book!
after the initial overly-“poetic” works, it really picks up, and some of the later ones, although they are very short, are pretty and delicate. i don’t remember who wrote this poem, and am too sleepy/winey to google right now (this is what mfso is for) but there is this poem called december:
i will sleep
in my little cup
that i have always liked, and some of the short poems captured that mood and simple perfection. dunno—naptime!
(okay—it’s ron padgett. see how i can rally??)