Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Analysis of "Audubon Ate His Birds" by Kristin Robertson

Original poem reprinted online here: "Audubon Ate His Birds" by Kristin Robertson
Originally read: January 30, 2013
More information about the Poet: Kristin Robertson

The first sentence, or rather the first six and a half lines in this couplet form, is pretty humorous because of the hyperbolic acts compared to how Audubon is imagined (an animal lover who drew pictures); however, upon further inspection what the speaker writes of is true, well technique wise anyway.

The speaker inserts the sense of humor through the first simile "feathers splayed like pick a card, / any card"  and  "he roasted and swallowed / the loves of his life."   What this sets up is a kind of authority behind the speaker.  The speaker doesn't hide his/her bias of a feeling of disbelief when stating the truth -- however, the speaker, no matter how hyperbolic it seems, is writing the "truth."

Then the shift in the narrative -- or rather the comparison to Audubon where the speaker brings up a serial killer (?) that started off at Golden Gallon.  I looked up the information but couldn't find it.  However, based on the presumptions of the poem, I'm pretty sure that the speaker could've brought up any serial killer event and it would've fit.

Why?  The poem, which is in couplets, focuses on the subject (Audubon or serial killer) relationship with the subject.  Yes, there might be "love" involved, but in order to reach that high, Audubon and/or the serial killer did a lot of twisted things to get there.  So, weirdly, the poem focuses on construction, perhaps a twisted ars poetica.

For example, in these lines,:

he tied her wrists together with his sweatshirt string
     when she skipped ahead and tried to run,

or the next one he locked in his basement, singing to her
     Percy Sledge, singing hold on to your

precious love.

The methods are shown and the product (or what the subject wants to attain) is love in both cases.  From this point on, the comparison turns to how children smother fireflies.  Past me wrote, "The simile here i well rendered and fits with the motif."  So past me is a bit general -- and looking at the poem in this perspective now -- it doesn't really fit -- also it's four lines that takes away from the poem.

The last eight lines focusing on the wife of Audubon is interesting.  Now that Audubon is related to a serial
killer in the name of love (in the context to the poem).  Of course, there's a lack of love between the first wife and Audubon (the mention of the "first" wife does sync that in)

However it's this line, "she imagined him / captured forever inside that barn."  Essentially, she's taken on the person of Audubon and wants her husband to be "captured forever" (like Audubon's paintings, like a serial killers desire) -- in a negative maybe realistic way.  The men (in context to the poem) need to capture the things they love.  A woman (in context to the poem) needs the men to understand that being captured is like being "any rabid bat, any frenzied sparrow."

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