Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Analysis of "Autumn Almanac" by Ron Padgett

Original poem reprinted online here: "Autumn Almanac" by Ron Padgett
Originally read: April 21, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Ron Padgett



Meaning.  The end.  Well not really.  I found out about Ron Padgett from doing this blog, and I've done analysis of two of his poems, "Love Cook" and "Lost and Found".  I think what interests me about these poems is that he plays with so many techniques: tone, audience, line breaks, expectation, philosophy that there's humor on the surface, but if you want to there's "meaning."

But this poem addresses the concept of "meaning" in a poem, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  The poem opens up with this sentence, "Today there's supposed to be a break / in the weather."  Yes, there's the easy line break of "break / in" that could serve as a double meaning further into the poem, and it does.  However, the core of this poem addresses how a reader (unfortunately, like me) perhaps over analyzes a poem's techniques.

Let's continue with this analysis though on how the speaker addresses over analyzing.  The speaker buffers his rhetoric with a simile, "like weather in diaries" and the conversational tone like "If these were from the journal, of say," stop right here.  The lines are mostly talking about how weather is used conversationally and it's just a nicety -- let's keep going with the line and, "/ Herman Melville,"  Here we go, the sense of the ars poetica comes in -- the shift is onto Melville, but the tone is just the same, "you'd say, 'Hmmm, / six days in a row.  Herman sound grim.'"  Note how the speaker separates the writer Melville versus the personal diary writer Melville.  And even though the speaker does this, there's a blend and serious observation of Melville's words and not necessarily pedestrians writing, "it always sounds/ more important than it was."

Now we get to the meat of the poem:

     And in a poem that starts "A break
     in the weather" you sense significance
     because it's in a poem, where words
     have more significance, ho ho.

These four lines insult me, but I'm not insulted, more of like that slap in the face that open your eyes to things -- yeah that one.  So the speaker re-contextualizes the discussion above to poetry, and plays the same line break trick of "'A break / in the weather'" and of course it's significant be the speaker repeats the words.  Let me repeat that though.

The speaker repeats the words, not the meaning.  In the repetition, the meaning changes.  The speaker is addressing how people read too intently on "significance."  The shift of significance should be on the words in a poem, but note how the speaker doesn't state other mediums like prose and such, in poems words count and shift and shouldn't mean the same thing each time.

"ho ho"  but I still think this refers to Santa.  Or a hearty laugh.  Or a condescending laugh.  Or a laugh of someone walking away giving a koanic experience.  Meh.

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