Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Analysis of "Catch & Release" by William D. Waltz

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Catch & Release" by William D. Waltz
More Information about the Poet: William D. Waltz

Addressing the subject from a distance.  I think this is what I think of when I read an epistle.  Letters are meant to communicate but there's no sense of urgency.  Yes, there might be a sense of urgency within the context, but the epistle itself awaits for a response, so, at least for a while, everything is one-sided.

     Dear Reluctant Sportsman,
     maybe you'll release one
     into the watery teeth of the wilds
     a tiny capillary
     of our great circulatory system

The address to the "reluctant sportsman" is further defined by how the sportsman is reluctant, "you'll release one."  "One" is an ambiguous term in the poem which can be assumed to be a fish or something else.  In either case, the usage of "one" opens up the poem to a higher metaphor of the "tiny capillary / of our great circulatory system."  There's a sense of the grandiose here with the first stanza -- some personal to something more.

     Dear Familiar Face
     in the Passenger Seat,
     I saw you undressing
     that comely cornfield.
     I agree.  Maybe
     we're more alike than
     our combustible engines
     suggest, and if we are,
     you hope that next truckstop
     has a wedge of rhubarb
     pie to die for, too.

So why am I quoting entire stanzas?  Every stanza seems episodic with no connection; however, it is the voice that continues to grow and observer.  For example in this stanza note how the capitulations occur with the subject "Familar Face" and "Passenger Seat" and further down how surreal the actions that the speaker observes, "undressing / that comely cornfield."  yes, I feel these lines are supposed to be comedic, but also note how this surreal opens up the persona speaker "I agree" and how the speaker expands the poem in order for the thought to come through of being alike and "you hope the next truckstop / has a wedge of rhubarb" innocuous enough, "pie to die for, too."  The shift of the cliche which brings the play of the technique into question but doesn't damper it.

     Dear Cell Phone Radiation,
     we arrive almost invisibly
     on the threshold of distant
     relatives like a secret cold front,
     but our departure demands
     much horn honking and
     happy hands waving
     all he way
     to the end
     of the on-ramp.
     Our relief,
     an algorithm
     of how lonely
     company makes us.

The beginning has a sense of deep metaphor and seriousness with it based on the lines, "We arrive almost invisibly / on the threshold of distant / relatives"  which has a bit of the grandiose and the divine instilled, but this sentiment is compared to the (cynical) humor of, our departure demands / much horn honking and / happy hands waving"  I'm not sure how deeply the cynicism cuts into the seriousness, I feel that is what the poem is struggling with -- wanting to be either or but not committing (the last stanza secures this though).  At the end of this stanza there's a allusion to "an algorithm" -- the set rules that is the overarching style of the poem -- the epistle which is distance to the loneliness.

     Dear Rainbow Trout,
     you're a pretty fish
     and I wish we lived
     near the shivering brook
     and the sunken tree.
     Then maybe
     we'd finally learn
     how to leave
     without regret.

Here the reference to the Rainbow trout does go along with the title of catch and release, but the question is who is being caught and what is release.  What's being caught is the overthought of wanting one thing or the other.  Yes, there's that life in the shivering brook and the sunken tree, something physically calm.  But the disconnect happens with the admission of "how to leave / without regret"

The release has more meaning to it because it's not the speaker who is released or staying -- there's a fear of committing to one or the other based on emotion "regret."

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