Friday, May 3, 2013

Analysis of "My Knife" by Dennis Hinrichsen

Original poem reprinted online here: "My Knife" by Dennis Hinrichsen
Originally read: February 2, 2013
More information about the Poet: Dennis Hinrichsen






"I like the slash punctuation here:
1) represents a break between thoughts
2) only punctuation in the poem
3) line break, physical representation of a slash"


So I remember writing down my notes for the poem and not knowing all the aspects of King Lear. Then I thought to myself, how perfect an opportunity.  I'll mark down when I'll have to look up King Lear to understand the references or something piqued my interest.  Up until that point, I'd go off everything I remembered from class(es).


However, the focus of the poem for me until that point was how the knife, named Lear, operates.  Small impotent blade that's has a lust to stay relevant.  Probably why the knife is named Lear was because of the actions that the knife does, "slice away at storms [Lear arguing with the storms]"


Within first ten lines there's the description of the storm with description like, "little winds that keep coming / out of the grass" which is qualified by the simile, "nothingness like faith being sucked out of the earth."  With a descriptor this long the focus is on the allusion of the knife rather than the action of the knife.  Or that the speaker is forcing the story as an attribute to the knife.


The introduction of "I" appears in the middle of the poem where the speaker (Lear maybe),  I write this down for this alliteration, "spirit scarves of grief,"  -- "this is bad -- took me out of the poem."  Looking back, I wonder why.  The alliteration is not entirely left field because because of the "seeds of silver" in an earlier line.


The "spirit scarves of grief" line feels a little purply though, like the jazz hands of Poetry is encompassed with the lines.  It's just a little thing.


Moving on, past me was fine with the Cordelia references because King Lear was far gone at the storm and wanted to see Cordelia. The Cordelia reference seems like a desire that's tied into the knife.


This line made me go back to the impotence theme, "it wants the blood biting back" and then the last lines:

the knife taped to my last good hand
like a jailhouse shiv
which is not the word but its skin
which is not the world but its glove and dress

Past me wrote, "I'm totally lost here .   I don't see how it [the lines] fits as an allusion with the context of the poem.  I can make something up.  I think."

Let me see.  The poem plays with the idea of allusion but doesn't fulfill like the impotence of the knife.  The last lines, which doesn't fit as an allusion plays with the idea of impotence.  The "skin" and the "glove and dress" covers up the body from the core that the knife cannot penetrate, but tries.

Maybe...I'm still confused about this poem.

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