Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Analysis of "Just Another Paradigm Shift" by Paul Grant

Original poem reprinted online here: "Just Another Paradigm Shift" by Paul Grant
Originally read: October 13, 2013
More information about the Poet: Paul Grant

Reverse.  Is this another paradigm shift?  Past me stated "like ending credits -- but still within a paradigm"  and I think this is the point of the poem.  What can be viewed with the ending up front.

Well, the end is breft, "Just a shadow.  Hardly that. But audible"  The end lacks adubility, "Coming out of the woods, whispering / Happily ever after,"  And every shift in this poem comes from the misalignment of lines -- note that they are not stanza breaks.  The misalignment continues the backwards narrative.

                     Even in that light --
     stars with the skeletons of animals
     and old friends --

Here is the play between structure and statement.  The statement goes against the "dark" the unseen.  Here, the visceral image of skeletons of animals and old friends are buffered by "stars" -- meaning they aren't actual, just a symbol.  But the play is with the white space.  The white space not only continues the narrative based on senses, but produces and reinforce questions.  Why the transition to lack of senses to something visceral yet buffered?  There are answers that are apparent (text) and not so much (white space).

The visual is then addressed through surrealism with the continuation of the stanza.  First the normal and general, "to the eye behind the one always / left open on the east side of the house, downhill"  note this is a grounded statement versus:

     Where the coffee trees
     and hemp and the graves of old dogs lie,
     buried themselves  in leaves and left
     to the sputtering wind of memory.

This feels like what the white space does in the poem -- adds something that couldn't be interpreted from the text.  Where would a reader get "coffee trees and hemp and the graves of old dogs" in this poem.  The white space allows the surrealism, allows the play, and the two lines about memory, I guess, a little cliche, but it's okay since the stanza stops right there.

And note the feeble attempt to connect both stanzas with the obvious ampersand.  but also note that part of the connected stanzas are stated in parentheticals -- more to hide:

     & if that's not enough (he says
     to himself in the voice of a black-and-white
     actor whose name is a moth that keeps
     avoiding the tip of his flaming tongue)

What's hidden, the voice.  Note also that this is not necessarily the speaker's voice, but the voice of an outside interpretation that is set to be obviously hidden -- like breaking the fourth wall.  And note that this point would be the rising action.  The stanza break is a climax unstated.

The poem then goes into the actions that lead to a climax -- two parties tying to get one to the other side, "to bring, you home, well, there / it is again," same paradigm. "already exhausted / by your efforts to make it / comfortable" these lines try to insert reasoning or in this case background to the situation.

Then the end goes to the beginning:

                                already headed
     back down into the woods, whispering
     Once Upon A Time...

Yes, the poem goes cyclical.  The whispering in the beginning (end) is the same in the end (beginning), but this isn't much of a surprise since the title and the structure of the poem led to this point.  The key word here is "Impatient."  Why?  What does impatient refer to?  The "you"? Could be but it's not addressed in the sentence.

What is the white space hiding -- the subject.  So the subject who is impatient -- the character? The speaker? The reader? continues the cyclical end / beginning, not because of how the story goes, rather that the subject interprets these actions to be linear.  We've seen it before, let's see it again.

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