Saturday, March 9, 2013

Analysis of "A Prisoner of Things" by Alan Michael Parker

Original poem reprinted online here: "A Prisoner of Things" by Alan Michael Parker
Originally read: December 27, 2012
More information about the Poet: Alan Michael Parker

The one thing I didn't write down in my notes was "anthropomorphism." It's where things are given human attributes.  So the "things" here are given dialogue. The interesting thing about the poem is how the anthropomorphized  items have a "goal" and the speaker seems to be laying about.

For example, the opening lines, "If only this novel were trashier: / if only the hour were true"  I think to believe the colon is used as a syntactical deductive (I don't know what colons are used for off the top of my head except the obvious) where there's a logical consequence.  If the novel was trashier then the hour would be true.  There's this waiting (maybe procrastination period).

So the speaker projects goals onto things.  And with every goal there's some sort of imprint -- a reminder of something "The goal here is to burn, / says the sun / or lose your place, says the wind." "the goal here is to sit here, / says the chair."  "the goal here is to embrace / nothing, says the air."

Conversely, everything that is not a goal is more or less a question or something koanic, "Where were you? / asks the hero on every page," (I wrote down for this "I like the brashness of the[se] line[s].  It's creative and asks me as the reader to come back), "If you knew what you wanted / how would you be surprised, / says the sunset." (koanic line).

So the poem vacillates between "question" and "answer" until the poem culminates to the end "Choose me, says the wave." The funny thing about a wave it that it comes and goes -- so even choosing it has this sort of doubt connotation.

Or this poem could be a funny statement about things.  This is probably the correct way of reading this.

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