Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Analysis of "Travel Plaza" by Heather Christle

Original poem reprinted online here: "Travel Plaza" by Heather Christle
More information about the Poet: Heather Christle


Rhetoric, personal, white space.  It's how I see this poem.  And even though these seem to be different techniques and outlooks composed in a poem, they fold into each other quite well.

Well, that's what the poem states:

     The day not redolent
     of anything in particular
     but more generally
     it folds into itself
     a little bag that hides
     a large bag inside

So the rhetoric here is based on a visual metaphor of a little bag holding a folded up larger bag.  But before that, there is the play with ideas (particular versus general) and the image of smell defined within those parameters of particular and general.  So the folding technique based on rhetoric is there and the speaker has to be specific behind the meaning of this, "The day promises only / to give us this more"

Although not a direction, "give us this more" is this sense of folding -- the mixture of both the particular and general not having any meaning, think of compartmentalizing without the emotional attachment.  "What I am doing / right now I will do / in perpetuity."  I do think the key term here is perpetuity.  Not the definition, but rather the usage.  Perpetuity seems like a term mostly used in legal cases.  So this particular word sets the speaker and the rhetoric together within the confines of a boundary -- like folding to create a certain amount of space.

"a nation I cannot leave / with no such thing as a passport . the wrongness of my papers"  The construction of these three lines are awkward.  I don't think the transition between the perpetuity and content mesh totally together, but perhaps this is the point as the last line, "same letters       different order" don't entirely mesh together either based on the white space.  Here the separation is important to show a further contrast things folding in together: day, bag, self, letters to what is lost to a "different order."  Being stuck in a "Travel Plaza" with no where to go based on a logical sequence.


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