Author Topic: Placement  (Read 3644 times)

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Offline Kay

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Placement
« on: May 09, 2012, 03:12 PM »
A pinch of light returns
when I need it the most.
I start again. Romaine, purple,
opened to olive oil.  A stew
filled with basil and sun.
I set the table with plates
as though they are stones.
For the centerpiece, cherry blossoms,
a vase of curls. Small things can be cut
and tossed into a bowl, the blood
oranges remind me of mother's womb.
No one arrives.
I carve bangle skins from apples,
grab the salt shaker.
On the terrace, the matryoshka doll
from childhood remains broken.
Her wounds are like bread
split and laid out after rising.


Offline illiterati

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Re: Placement
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 03:34 PM »
i probably won't have time to give detailed feedback until tomorrow,

but this is...

stellar.

i'm really entranced by some of the things you do with the poem's language.



you should look up rae armantout -

she's talked about as an experimental poet, but my sense is that she also achieves a pretty consistent lyricism and investment in verse as a stage for the personal:


Eyes
BY RAE ARMANTROUT

After John Milton



Our light is never spent.
Is spent.

Thus have we scooped out
maceration reservoirs.

We will blaze forth 
what remains
as pixels.

Great angels 
fly at our behest
between towers,

along axons and dendrites,

so that things stand
as they stand

in the recruited present.


Source: Poetry (June 2009).

Offline cafeRg

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Re: Placement
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 03:57 PM »

Kay

Superb!

One thing I notice about your
poetry is its almost always

                                        feminine

Of course, your a woman but
I would not need to know that
to read your poetry in that way.

I hope that's a good thing for
you because it is to me.

Disclaimer: cafeRg could be wrong.

Offline Kay

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Re: Placement
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 06:00 PM »
Matt,

Thanks for coming in. Thanks for the encouragement.
I'm glad this one resonated with  you. I posted it in experimental
because for me, it is. That is, I'm trying to reach out a little more
in some areas and I'm probalby the only one who would know what those
are, I guess.  The poet you recommended sounds familiar to me
and I will check her out definitely. Never any hurry to post a thought.
Thanks again.

Rg,

I don't think anyone has ever said that about my wriitng
and I have to say, I really really like that it comes across
as feminine. I have tried varied voices through the years
trying to find the one. I think I keep coming back
to this type of voice and because it feels most natural
it's probalby the one I should nurture. I don't have
to force the voice, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

Thank you
so much for the feedback and the positive comment!

witt

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Re: Placement
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 05:06 AM »



Most excellent.

This should be a winner!



Offline Kay

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Re: Placement
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 06:46 AM »
Witt, that's very kind of you . Thank you.  :apple

Offline illiterati

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Re: Placement
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 09:21 AM »
yes, i was thinking of this blurb that describes armantrout's "commitment to the interior and domestic" when i mentioned her in relation to you. of course, in some circles "domestic" can be taken as an insult, so i avoided that word.


from poetry foundation.org


Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in your mind at one time, but those elements may be hissing and spitting at one another,” notes Armantrout.

According to critic Stephen Burt, “William Carlos Williams and Emily Dickinson together taught Armantrout how to dismantle and reassemble the forms of stanzaic lyric—how to turn it inside out and backwards, how to embody large questions and apprehensions in the conjunctions of individual words, how to generate productive clashes from arrangements of small groups of phrases. From these techniques, Armantrout has become one of the most recognizable, and one of the best, poets of her generation.”

The author of several collections of widely anthologized poetry, Armantrout has also published a short memoir, True (1998). Her Collected Prose was published in 2007. A California native, Armantrout earned her BA at UC Berkeley—where she studied with Denise Levertov—and she received her MA at San Francisco State. She is a professor and director of the New Writing Series at UCSD.

“I think my poetry involves an equal counterweight of assertion and doubt,” Armantrout has written. “It’s a Cheshire poetics, one that points two ways then vanishes in the blur of what is seen and what is seeing, what can be known and what it is to know. That double-bind.”

Offline Kay

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Re: Placement
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 10:16 AM »
Matt, this is very interesting. I haven't had a chance yet to look up her work since yesterday, but I will. And please don't worry about the word

domestic

in relation to my poetry. Really. You can say anything you want about my poetry, honesty is always appreciated. The only time I'm truly insulted
is when someone goes from the poetry to the poet (me) b/c after all, if I want to critique myself, I would go to a therapist.  *dance*

thanks again, Matt for checking out this poem.


yes, i was thinking of this blurb that describes armantrout's "commitment to the interior and domestic" when i mentioned her in relation to you. of course, in some circles "domestic" can be taken as an insult, so i avoided that word.


from poetry foundation.org


Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in your mind at one time, but those elements may be hissing and spitting at one another,” notes Armantrout.

According to critic Stephen Burt, “William Carlos Williams and Emily Dickinson together taught Armantrout how to dismantle and reassemble the forms of stanzaic lyric—how to turn it inside out and backwards, how to embody large questions and apprehensions in the conjunctions of individual words, how to generate productive clashes from arrangements of small groups of phrases. From these techniques, Armantrout has become one of the most recognizable, and one of the best, poets of her generation.”

The author of several collections of widely anthologized poetry, Armantrout has also published a short memoir, True (1998). Her Collected Prose was published in 2007. A California native, Armantrout earned her BA at UC Berkeley—where she studied with Denise Levertov—and she received her MA at San Francisco State. She is a professor and director of the New Writing Series at UCSD.

“I think my poetry involves an equal counterweight of assertion and doubt,” Armantrout has written. “It’s a Cheshire poetics, one that points two ways then vanishes in the blur of what is seen and what is seeing, what can be known and what it is to know. That double-bind.”

Offline illiterati

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Re: Placement
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 10:18 AM »
forgive the messiness of this response - pressed for time.

please ask for clarification if there are specific points that might be helpful.


so. on to the poem.

i feel like there are competing impulses in the poem. on the one hand, the poem wants to move beyond metaphor and into a surreal realm where sunlight is an ingredient in the soup.

on the other, it wants to cling to metaphor as a poetic device, rather than a facet of a strange reality: “I set the table with plates as if they were stones” - i wanted to see it cut loose fully into the realm of the surreal.

*

in the list, "purple" isn't a description of Romaine, but a member of the list that stands parallel to the other concrete items. so we have this movement of turning abstract things into concrete ingredients (sunlight, purple, etc.) - this is by far one of the most interesting strategies of the poem

*

a stew filled with basil and sun (something needs to happen here with “sun” – I most enjoyed reading this line as being about an actual “sun” in the soup: what about “filled with basil and a molten star (or sun)”?

*

“no one arrives” perfect. could we seal the deal by linking it to the narrator doing some action that continues to… serve guests?

No one arrives.
I take their coats and…

*

a series of metaphors that almost, but don’t quite, let themselves be connected as “real,” metaphors with some particular “image” value –

bangle skins

a vase of curls (I love the way in which this can be read as “a vase filled with curls” or… a vase constructed of curls.)

*

I set the table with stones

“as though they were stones” this line, for me, is emblematic of the poem’s… gravity, the way it sometimes recoils from its own surrealism

*

“small things can be cut / and tossed into a bowl”

the depersonalized violence of that line is beautiful (I mean, of course, in terms of how it contributes to the poem)

*

blood oranges the shape of mother’s womb (again - why not make the leap all the way into the surreal? the blood oranges aren't a metaphor for mother's womb, but, dream-like, they ARE mother's womb)

*

the surreal disconnection of the narrator’s emotions from the surrounding environment and actions fits quite well the dream-like or traumatized metaphors of the poem: there’s been some “cut” that the narrator hasn’t been able to experience yet.

might want to emphasize the traumatic repetition compulsion quality of the “cutting” and preparing food, etc.

*

Romaine, purple,
opened to olive oil.  A stew
filled with basil
[]and [a molten] sun[.]

I set the table with plates
as though they are
stones.
For the centerpiece, cherry blossoms
in a vase of curls. Small things can be cut
and tossed into a bowl, the blood
oranges remind me of mother's womb. [probably too crude, but I thought “womb” was far too impersonal. “Blood oranges arranged like mother’s / count”

No one arrives. i take
their coats, carve
bangle skins from apples.
grab the salt shaker. ?
[]
On the terrace, the matryoshka doll
from childhood remains broken.
Her wounds are like bread
split and laid out after rising.

[I start again]

even though the image of the matryoshka doll as a figure for psychological interiority is old, you make it new, here. it works because you turn it against itself with the same surreal image tactics that work in the rest of the poem: the matryoshka doll doesn’t “split open” into a successive series of self-contained interiors – no, the “wound” is something that cuts through all those layers, melds them together “like bread / split and laid out after rising.”

to my mind, this is the central image of the poem, or the image that most fittingly summarizes the rest


(also - you have the elements of a list poem here:

1.   Romaine, purple, opened to olive oil

2.   A stew filled with basil and sun

3.   the table, set with stones

4.   cherry blossoms in a vase of curls

5.   small things cut and tossed in a bowl

6.   blood oranges shaped like wombs


Offline Kay

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Re: Placement
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 11:06 AM »
It'll probably take me some time to process
how you saw this poem. But there's certainly
nothing to forgive!  You've given
the most detailed response. Thank you. .

I do like list poems as I have come to identify them as poems,
but for me personally, I don't care to do a poem without action.
I think it's a personal preference. I think the lists are great
bones to a poem, and again, this is my own personal thought.

I always find it so interesting and challenging
even as a writer to find out what a reader sees
in a poem. Mine, or anyones. You saw things
I didn't. For me, that's where the passion of writing
pays off.

I wrote this as a poem of a woman who is alone,
who goes through the motions of filling in the dinner
hour, expecting people to arrive, but no one does
because there is no one. There never is anyone.
But there is always a place to find comfort and since
food is such an intricate part of life in which
we often find comfort in, she goes off to her space,
sees the doll. The doll is broken, but is always
there.
The plates and the stones: 
People set tables  often in anger,
throwing down the plates, but this woman is
setting them down out of a heaviness, an oppressiveness
of living without hope. 

I'll go over your other points but I think they
are understandable fully. The poem centers on
metaphors that aren't extended, and I didn't plan
them, really. The poem isn't about me personally.
If each poem I wrote was, I'd be one tired lady!
I only mention that because most people write
about themselves. I rarely do. I usually write
about character studies, other people I have known,
or like Bernie, I'll take an old '40's movie
and run with it.

the vase of curls. I am  hoping someone picks
up on a doll having curls. It's vague.

thanks again, Matt and always feel free to
come back for seconds. After all, it's a food poem!

Offline jdstaley

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Re: Placement
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 09:09 AM »
great piece, seems a little detached at the blood oranges
reminding of mother's womb to me; but very engaging otherwise!!!
All Ways.

Offline illiterati

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Re: Placement
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 12:32 PM »

i second (again) the need for something with a bit more punch at that line.

Offline Kay

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Re: Placement
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2012, 11:23 PM »
Thankbyou both  I removed the word mother.   Finished this one and for chapbook submission so will ser

Offline seraph

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Re: Placement
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 07:13 PM »
Kay,

I found your images to be fraught with sadness and tinged with perhaps a bit of hope.

An extremely poignant poem.

Anne