Thursday, April 18, 2013

Analysis of "Tattoo Theory" by Ada Limón

Original poem reprinted online here:   "Tattoo Theory" by Ada Limón
Originally read: January 22, 2013
More information about the Poet: Ada Limón





The beginning of this poem starts off as a narrative, but then there's an insert of humor in this line, "for some reason, in Spanish.  So it [the map] reads Montes Apalaches."   Then I wondered why I thought this is humorous.  Of course, the shift in language from one to another is interesting (Ezra Pound, Cantos), but doesn't  mean it's humorous

It's the switch in expectations.  On one hand, I as expecting a map in English, but I got one in Spanish -- how should I react.  I think this idea is the crux of the poem.

The shapes of Nebraska looking like animal -- humorous, but a switch.  The poem switches from the focus on language to visuals kind of confusing the humor -- or is it merging it, I'm not too sure.

"Nebraska! Nebraska Forever! Yeah" starts a sped up sequence (confusing or adding to the humor) where I wrote: "The speed of these lines:  there's a sense of bravado and pride, of tonal shift"

So the bravado and humor go hand in hand.  Yet, current me feels the tone shift occur at the rhetorical questions especially this line "What if I stop remembering"  this is where things get hazy.  What is there to remember?  The place that is a loved disfigurement?  The humor of mixing images and words and language?  What exactly.

"What if here's where I want to keep it"  There's the volta -- that even though the poem shifts in language and humor the speaker wants to keep it up; however, this is impossible to do, but "here's my unstoppable ink."  Not unstoppable ink -- what terms?  The speakers will to keep things the same or the the speakers fear that even comedy has to be serious someday.

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