Thursday, March 27, 2014

Analysis of "The Way" by Rae Armantrout

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Way" by Rae Armantrout
Originally read: September 4, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Rae Armantrout


Past me wrote, "connected" a lot on the page and pointed in various stanzas to show which sentiment connects to another.  How about this.  Each sentence plays with memory and how the speaker remembers things; furthermore, the line breaks creates a fracture of what is remembered and what is expected.

"Card in pew pocket / announces, / "I am here." I feel this sentence plays with the idea of existence.  And in a funny way, the card itself announces it's existence, rather than what the card represents (religion, god, projected self -- take your pick)

"I made only one statement / because of a bad winter."  Past me did a diagram focused on the phrase "one statement" does that mean there are more than one for different seasons.  The sentence is constructed in this way where the reason seems more important that the statement which dilutes gravity in the word "the way."

"Grease is the word; grease / is the way / I am feeling."  The reference to the play and movie "Grease" feels like a riff on the phrase "the way" and taking the seriousness out of it.  But the line breaks where the phrase "I am feeling" is isolated could be construed as an emotional cue to Grease. But then again, the humorous allusion doesn't allow the connection to be too concrete.

"Real life emergencies or / flubbing behind the scenes."  Here is a weird either/or proposition where the beginning phrase has more gravity than the latter phrase.  Usually, the second half would be something the speaker goes off on and the first half would serve as a summation or end-thought of what proceeded it.  But, weirdly, the humor with "flubbing behind the scenes" foreshadows the next sentence:

     As a child,
     I was abandoned

     in a story
     made of trees.

The line and stanza break cuts the "danger" with the stanza, "As a child, / I was abandoned" -- also the line cuts the sentimentality, but this doesn't feel like the line downplays the idea of "abandoned" just the sentiment.  And in the stanza, "in a story / made of trees." which is innocuous, opens the poem up as the last sentence follows through with this idea.

     Here's the small
     gasp

     of this clearing
     come "upon" "again"

Past me wrote, "upon -- discovery ' first time'" and "again -- repetition, rediscovery"  and that's just basically the meanings of the words.  The word that catches me off guard is "gasp" which is a sonic device when I'm in a mental state.  But the gasp is "small" and plays with the visual with "of this clearing" like in a forest.

It's the words and their definitions that's found.  Is this the way?


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