Monday, July 15, 2013

Analysis of "Eve's Design" by Moira Linehan

Original poem reprinted online here: "Eve's Design" by Moira Linehan
Originally read: March 25, 2013
More information about the Poet: Moira Linehan






This poem is a pretty interesting narrative.  The opening starts out with the background, "Then there's the Yemeni legend of Eve [...]" which shows the location of thought.  Also, the opening line decentralizes a heavy religious context by focusing on the "legend" aspect rather than a purely reinterpretation stance or the speaker "attempts" to take her opinion or bias out of the poem and is instead writing "a tale?"

But why rewrite a tale into a poem? I have some ideas, but ultimately, poetry is defined through audience discretion. 

From the beginning the narrative continues with Eve knitting a pattern on the snake's back, who is unfinished in the creation phase (well, this summary is not that great, since it's word for word on the page).  I guess the poetic element comes with these lines

"[...[the first woman
thinking to add design, a sheath
of interlocking diamonds and stripes
along that sensuous S"

So with this line, the focus is on "the first woman" rather than "Eve."  Both mean the same thing, but note that since the words "first woman" are pretty loaded towards seeing the action by a woman versus seeing the action done by the character of a woman.  And the actions are accentuated with the "S" alliteration.  Past me circled the words on this page.  What does the alliteration add to the poem?  Well, the alliteration could strengthen the correlation between the snake (mid-creation) versus the first woman (creator). 

The next line also reinforces the whole connection with, "her time to learn / what's infinitely possible / with a few stitches."  Past me wrote, "'infinitely possible'" under her own power to create - art-design take a godlike position" which is confirmed with "plan to mirror the divine."    So the "first woman" has added importance with each line; however, the importance is internal -- knowledge, "inner layer that can't be shed / no matter what it rubs up against."

For the last lines, past me wrote, "obstacles in the way.  rub--design doesn't wear off but is skin -- [design] integrates with the self."

I also want to note that this poem is only one sentence.  And also, that since the poem is prefaced as a "Yemeni Legend" the assumption that this part of the tale is done.  Or rather, the focus of the tale ends here regardless of what happens next.

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