Friday, May 30, 2014

Analysis of "Equation for Cresting" by Christopher Bolin

Original poem reprinted online here: "Equation for Cresting" by Christopher Bolin
Originally read: October 20, 2013
More information about the Poet: Christopher Bolin

The reusing images and language in a poem is a tricky thing.  There's the limit where the images and language, repeated, are interesting until a certain point.  Why?  I think this is the question that this poem raises.

"This is the world's reenactment of today, / and of this moment,"  Past me focused on "globalized scene"  well, I think not really.  This beginning of the poem to me now is more of the set-up of the language and images -- prepare for more of the same in different ways:

          and of continuing on-with its satellite imaging of scattering birds
     obscuring our faces--
     and this is the world's reenactment of its percentages:
     of the constant shifting of satellites
     and the constant scattering of birds and the likelihood

Key images: satellite imaging, scattering birds.  Key language: constant, reenactment.  The funny thing about this stanza is that the mention of constant shifting and scattering occurs on paper, but it can't be seen.  This poem is going on the language level where calculation (equation) is more the primary core -- the ability and inability to reenact "percentages"-- parts of, pieces of.

Then the poem goes "personal", "that we will be seen; and this si the reenactment of someone choosing your face"  the line is enjambed so the full impact is buffered with the knowledge that there is more to the line. But note how "intimate" the choosing seems because the poem has been so general until this point.  This is further developed, a bit cliche with, "to remember--and of your growing flushed or turning, slightly, / toward a window / with a red shade;"

Close to the point of intrusive.  But isn't that the point of "satellite imaging" and finding the right percentage?  The poem isn't about being personal, it's about intruding on the macro and micro level, "and of the birds' shapes appearing through its fabric--which is / the reenactment."  Same situation, different people.

Then this poem hits the somewhat political with, "of our traverse / of the capital / with the flags of thin material gaining symbols in the wind."

Although the last line still feel out of place for me, I can see why it's included -- to solidify more of a political meaning rather than the poem being an exercise of the micro and macro.  Also if the poem did end directly addressing the reenactment, each image would be "gaining symbols" rather than the "equation."

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