Sunday, March 30, 2014

Analysis of "Once" by Michelle Gil-Montero

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Once" by Michelle Gil-Montero
Originally read: September 7, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Michelle Gil-Montero

Literal.  The first stanza is literal, "Once again begins / with once."  But this is not a poem about showing things as they are -- the poem is too short for that sort of statement; rather, the poem plays with the idea of "once," not the meaning, but usage which is also used one more time in this poem.

Meanwhile, note how "once" continues to operate, "Then crunches underfoot / The always" not the sonic attribute attached to the once, and then, "Unseasonable yellow / Leaves / And restlessness"  here's the trick look at "Leaves" more of the pun than the image.  Here the "way" once is used in the poem -- to de-synchronize images and meaning here through images and colors that lead to nowhere, but note this -- these images and techniques are used only once.

     And once again
     Like charts accruing moons
     At different degrees
     Of satiation

Note here that the instance of the simile here has more attention to as a focus, but it's another way of describing "once" through a simile that gives more of a times reference which is followed through with the lines, "It is a time of many / Half -thoughts / Quick-edged as cut-outs" and here is a play of rhetoric in which the simile affirms  a sense of repetition and how they end up going nowhere or "half-thoughts" or in this case half-techniques.

The last three lines are the more relatable lines since this is the only place in the poem that refers to the speaker:

     Once my window is a book
     Of esoteric recipes
     For sleep

Past me noted the lack of punctuation here as well.  And here is also another note about how the last "line" is a metaphor.  The recipes is an interesting word to place here because there is the separation of technical ingredients to make this poem.  I'm probably one to not understand a poem like this, so the esoteric can refer to me as a reader, or the speaker and the relationship to the recipes.

In whatever case, the idea of once is explored here on multiple levels.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Analysis of "Words" by Edward Thomas

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Words" by Edward Thomas
Originally read: September 6, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Edward Thomas

The muse of writing. Well, it's one of the  concepts that has been addressed in the construction of creative writing.  Some writer's have to be inspired by something in order to write; however, in doing so, the question is -- who is responsible for the act, the muse or the conduit?

     Out of us all
     That makes rhymes
     Will you choose
     Sometimes -

For the first four lines, I felt that the call to the muse is humorous due to the rhyme scheme being so sing-songy, and also the end of the stanza with a sign of desperation: "Choose me, / You English words?"  However, the desperation is quantified by the question.  It's not in the act of choosing rather what words mean and provide.

The next part is pretty long but starts out with "I know you:" and even though "you" is ambiguous, there's a high percent chance that the "you" refers the muse or words since the flow of the poem (the previous stanza) centers around the concept.

In any case, the coincidental aspect here is that by describing "you" the speaker conjures a long list of descriptors like, "You are light as dreams," or "As the burnet rose / in the heat of Midsummer"  -- these are more of the nature image lines which turns to something with more gravity with, "Of dead and unborn: Strange and sweet/ equally"  to the more personal, "And familiar, / To the eye, / As the dearest faces" to the reverence, "As the earth which you prove / That we love"  So that whole second stanza weaves in how words can affect the speaker -- note not the reader necessarily although I believe that the connection is there.

Why do I note that, it's because the the focus in the next stanza is how words affect the speaker. Where as the previous stanza focused on "I know you" the definition of words, the muse:

     Make me content
     With some sweetness
     from Wales
     Whose nightingales
     Have no wings

Here further wants the effect of words to branch out to Wales by using a metaphor and other places like "From Wiltshire and Kent / And Herefordshire / And villages there."

But then the poem goes back to the personal, the fun with "Let me sometimes dance / with you,"  which escalates to something more personal:

     In ecstasy,
     Fixed and free
     In a rhyme,
     As poets do.

The comparative metaphor still refers to speaker, poet, and language, but this shows more of the speakers mindset towards language and his distance from places.  Here, the speaker applies sexual connotations to the language, and here there's a sort of proclamation that poets are in this sort of ecstasy as well.

I guess.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Analysis of "Anything Can Happen" by Seamus Heaney

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Anything Can Happen" by Seamus Heaney
Originally read: September 5, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Seamus Heaney

The poem starts off innocuous enough with the opening line "Anything can happen."  The tone comes in as very colloquial, especially with the next line, "You know how Jupiter / Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head / Before he hurls lightning?"  And then the conversation turns to allusion.  Nothing against Roman deities, but this is now the tone of someone trying to talk to the reader on another level -- high metaphor -- but for what purpose?

"Well, just now / He galloped his thunder cart and his horses / Across a clear blue sky."  From here the speaker's observations become more prevalent and it's less of a colloquial conversational tone, and more of a "please believe me" kind of begging the reader tone.

And so the description continues, "It shook the earth / And the clogged underearth, the River Styx."  Note that even though this is in the past tense, the poem seems like these events just happened with the previous lines of "just now."  "The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself."  Now we are moving across the Atlantic.

Across the Atlantic, the lines turn more towards a familiar allusion that past me didn't pick up before, "Anything can happen, the tallest towers / Be overturned, those in high places daunted, / Those overlooked regarded."  Argument wise, the "tallest towers" could refer to 9/11 and the fall of the twin towers.  And what this poem does is allude to the tragedy and allude to a mythos that directs the concerns to the idea that "anything can happen" rather than make a spectacle of the the "tallest towers" event.  This could be an allusion to that.  Regardless though the poem continues and switches allusions.

"Stooped-beak Fortune / Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one, / Setting it down bleeding on the next."  So this line refers to the towers, but note the ambiguous pronoun that refers to "one" so the focus is on "Fortune" and the verbs in this part -- a Prometheus allusion.  How does this allusion serve the poem?  I'm not too sure.  The mythos is there, but this could infer a reasoning -- continuous pain to better improve humanity,  Maybe.

"Ground gives." This goes back to the second stanza as Zeus passes by and clogged the underearth, "The heaven's weight / Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle lid."  A burden, at least, is lifted from someone, when the gods in heaven don't seem to care about what happens on earth.

"Capstones shift, nothing resettles right / Telluric ash and fire spores boil away." A happy end.  No.  Here there are burdens lifted from the mythos, but what happens on earth is a constant change, "anything can happen."  And the speaker is trying to relate that to mythical terms that further distances the reader in trying to relate on a personal level, but brings in the reader to try to understand how everything fits...well poorly.

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

     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?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Analysis of "The Pattern" by Robert Creeley

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Pattern" by Robert Creeley
Originally read: September 3, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Robert Creeley

A shift in language changes language.  Simple enough, right?  I come away from this poem with more questions than actual analysis.  This poem plays with the idea behind the meaning behind the change on a linguistic level.  "As soon as / I speak, I / speaks" Even thought the only things that shifts is the singular to plural, does the essential meaning shift?

Then with the next sentence, the focus is on "it" -- the ambiguous pronoun where

     wants to
     be free but
     impassive lies

     in the direction
     of its

and here, I believe that the "it" refers to the actual term "it."  It is free of gender, age, want, desire and is a generic noun to reference anything.  However, the speaker turns the meaning of it back around with the word "impassive."  The language is stationary regardless of meaning.  However, through meaning the reader brings his or her interpretation of the ambiguous pronoun so when a statement like this appears, "Let / x equal x, x / also equals x"  what changes -- the language a bit, but not the meaning.  X will always equal x.

But how far can that concept be pushed? "I / speak to / hear myself / speak?"  This is not interpretation as to say purpose, but this line definitely straddles the line of interpretation and purpose.

And the last two sentences focuses on the purpose/interpretation line:

     [...] I
     had not thought
     that some-
     thing had such

     undone.  It
     was an idea
     of mine.

So from the basic "the pattern" of the actual as actual, the speaker then thinks about how the patter operates.  Remember, having it undone doesn't mean the pattern is broken -- rather examined down to the core.

What is more core than the actual is just more actual?  How about when the poem reuses the word "it" that now the "it" has purpose behind it through the construction of the poem.  "It" as a key deconstructive tool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Analysis of "Water Table" by Eliza Griswold

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Water Table" by Eliza Griswold
Originally read: September 3, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Eliza Griswold

When I looked at the title of this poem again earlier today, the first thought was, "water boarding?"  Does this poem go in that direction?  No, well probably no.  The first stanza can imply that sort of image thought:

     My earliest wish was not to exist,
     to burst in the backyard
     without violence,
     no blood, no fleshy bits,

This part could reference the speaker's mindset of violence.  However, the concepts are generalized to the point of being not as personal.  Plus the rhymes of "wish," "exist," and "bits," come in such a rapid succession that the lines feels humorous to me.  Are the lines comical?  In a sense based on structure.  Content wise the focus is on the speaker, the one focusing on the time frame of the "earliest wish," continues with, "mute button pressed / alone behind the rectory / where no one would see me."

The key here is the definition through negation, "no,"  "hidden," and "mute" being more of a silencing device (a loose association with water-boarding if someone wants to reach that far).

However, the poem focuses on the intention of being hidden, "This wasn't a plea to be found / or mourned for, but to be unborn / into the atmosphere."  Hyperbole.  This reads as an adult interpreting a younger action to place significance.  I get this mostly from the phrase "This wasn't a plea."  The interpretation within the poem causes a distancing device that reflects rather than experiences.

Then the rest of the poem details out the formation of rain, "To hang / in the humid air, as ponds vent upward / from the overheated earth," okay so, basically, the images separate the past wish to the past metaphor, "rise until they freeze / and crystallize, then drop / into the aquifer"

The key with the last line is "they" and how to define the word.  Does they equal wish, or self, or the hidden motive of the self, or suicide, etc.  But since "they" is based in the context of conjuring within environmental metaphors, the focus is mostly on the end product of becoming another form and decending.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Analysis of "The Man with My Name" by Reginald Harris

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Man with My Name" by Reginald Harris
Originally read: September 2, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Reginald Harris

The majority of the lines start with a verb which differentiates the speaker from the alter ego.  While the alter ego (the man with my name) acts, here the speaker is thinking.  The poem works as a list as well, so the further the list goes on the more defined and, perhaps, separated the speaker is to the alter ego.

But in the first stanza, there's some basic mundane description, "Lives in another town.  / Was born without / a pebble  in his shoe."  Note the distance placed in the beginning and that the specific detail of the pebble adds to the sense of imagination used to conjure the alter ego.  "Went straight home from / school.  Did not get into / fights. Never Ran."  Occasionally, a line starts with an adverb which further emphasizes the verbs.  The verbs, like I wrote, further defines and moves the alter ego.

"Obeys speed limits, traffic lights, / DO NOT ENTER signs." Okay, every time I see the word "sign," in a poem, I automatically think of symbols, and one is clearly marked of "DO NOT ENTER."  But it's not played up here in the poem; rather, the story of the alter ego continues with, "Has never / been pulled over by the police / Married, fathered three."  And the technique of breaking away foreshadows how the poem will be furthered structure.  There's snippets of some definition of the speaker that has to be inferred, but is never fully explored.  Instead the reader knows that the alter ego, "Moved to / the suburbs.  Has every smooth / jazz albulm ever made."  Innocuous details.

Which continue with the next stanza, "Keeps his hair cut short. Promptly / answers mail Returns / every phone call the same day."  Not only is the description consistent at this point, but also the the alter ego.  Then, "Has never seen the Southern Cross, / or cried beneath the midnight sun. / Remembers names.  His mother's face."  Past me wrote, "defined through negative" and that's not the case. Rather the ideas are inferred that the speaker is defined through the negatives.  This could be just  basic description about the alter ego not concerning the speaker which staves off the sentiment of the lines.

Also, again, note the breakaway, "Plays baseball, basketball, golf-- / for business reasons." which is more descriptions which get a tinge darker and sexual as the lines continue:
     Loves talk radio.  Laughs
     at faggot jokes.  Undresses
     women in the office with his eyes.
     Is an early rise.  Still can't dance.

How the speaker weaves a sexual description with normal ones.  This shows that the speaker's focus on description is breaking down from normalcy and into the idiosyncratic.  But first the buffer, "Stays in touch with college, / high school friends."  And then the idiosyncratic:

     [...] Doesn't mind
     he is the only black they know
     Works out.  Eats his vegetables,
     cleans his plate.  Never chased
     a penguin, startled a muskrat,
     or kissed a man
     Always listened, never
     questioned.  Never touched
     a corpse to say good-bye
     Is loved by all.

All the way to end to show how quickly the speaker switches between banal description to the idiosyncratic that baits the reader into reading the other details as description of the speaker.

"The only black they know," "never chased a penguin, startled a muskrat or kissed a man," "Never touched a corpse of a loved one" are descriptions based in the negative or isolated.  All this does, technically, is explore what the alter ego hasn't explored.

And while the description could be about the speaker, it isn't.  There's nothing proclaiming that they are.  What's more fascinating is that the speaker implies something which is never followed through, as though the speaker keeps a distance with the alter ego, but keeps a further distance from the self.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Analysis of "cold water" by Robert Lee Brewer

Original poem reprinted online here:  "cold water" by Robert Lee Brewer
Originally read: September 1, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Robert Lee Brewer

Descending tercets.  I think that's the form of the poem.  What does that mean?  Well, the form indicates a further separation with each line: whether personal or content.

"we spill ourselves / all over ourselves / our excess light / our forgiving natures."  Here's the thing with the first stanza.  It's not necessarily finding the meaning behind "spill ourselves" but rather what is spilled, "excess light," and "forgiving natures."  Note that the anaphora of "our" not only brings the reader in, but also addresses concrete (light) and metaphor (forgiving natures) as something "we" are spilling -- a shared decadence.

"once we wandered the creek together / forecasted our futures / bright and tightly spun"  past me noted that the lines hearkens to the "Romantics" based on the language, but note the instance of "bright and tightly spun" which could reference the "light" in the first stanza and how  it "foretasted our futures" -- that's spilling.

"of course we unraveled and marveled / at our unraveling / trying to put a name to it" See, this is the other thing about this poem.  Yes, there's a separation but the tone in the first line of stanza three indicates a sense of understanding: not remorse in the separation but a sense of marvel.  Also note the repetition of "unravel" opens up the poem content and train of though, but not necessarily meaning which is then addressed in the last line of stanza three, "trying to put a name to it"  name's aren't necessary when we know we are unraveling.

"when we failed we created a myth / passed it to our children / who reached out eager to see".  Yes, the line, physically, creates descendants, but note that the language is much more harsh and exact, "fail," "myth," "children," "eager".  The exactness brings an emotional draw because, we, as readers who were drug along in this poem, can understand the connotations of each word.

And with each word understood, the emotional impact culminates with, "as they departed to who knows what / we ached for the creek and tour futures / running across the wet stones"  I haven't noted the lack of punctuation and the reliance of the reader and the line breaks to follow the poem.  Here is where the poem saves a sense of sentimentality.  The children depart and the reaction, "who knows what / we ached"  Syntactically, the line doesn't go towards the children departing or the creek.  Rather, due to the lack of punctuation, the emotional reaction could be a separate one, or both, or singular.  By blurring what to emote, the poem instead redefines "ache" rather than puts meaning behind it.

Then the image of the "future" (perhaps light) over "wet stones" is developed, "smooth and round but when we found / the water again we bent at the bank / all of us afraid to enter."  The ending has a sense of the quizzical if the focus is the emotion "afraid" -- it's a strong emotional point, but, to me, the action refers back to the beginning of the poem in which "we spill" and we will either gain something by reentering the water or we will stop spilling -- dependent on perspective.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Analysis of "I used to think everything was part of a larger conversation" by Weston Cutter

Original poem reprinted online here:  "I used to think everything was part of a larger conversation" by Weston Cutter
Originally read: August 28, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Weston Cutter

The line alignment and the content of the poem creates metaphors, general and personal, about disconnect.  But the poem is not only about disconnect and what's disconnected, the poem comes off also as an experiment to list as many disconnects as possible while, somewhat, staying on topic.

"but maybe there's only the boats / susurrating to the buoys + shore"  The first images go with the idea of boats and shore (as connected with the plus sign) and the distance is where the speaker can tell, "you're either from a where I now, a place / which kisses some lake too much / to call anything other than great,"  note the hard allusion to "great" as in "Great Lakes" which I'm not 100% positive that the allusion goes to, but my mind goes there versus, "or you're / hollow and hankering to be filled / in" Note here the personal is a continuing idea in both either/or ideals; however, with this there's the expectation of the other to "be filled" or to "be called."  And in a sense connect.

Then the ideas shifts (as the ideas of connectivity with: 

          how thing the myth of connectivity re 
     mains despite facebookery + www. 
 yr even now telling yrself
     u won't waste such hours browsing.

Here's the funny things about these lines.  Sure, they could reference the language of the internet: short, condense, grammatically incorrect, but still understood, but look at techniques like, "yr" and "yrself" as though to hinder the idea of you just like the language of Robert Creeley and the Black Mountain School poets.  Why?  I don't know this as well, but I do note the decay of language structure could also be an homage to language structure -- much oh how this poem operates of both noticing the disconnect, but bringing something new to it.

The lines, though, continue on with the idea of being filled, "We all want to be filled in, all / hope we're the choicest blank form / yet devised."  Once again the allusion to technique, but also the self.

The second last use of the "+" sign occurs at this line, "Let's find fire + stand honest before it: at the Chinese diner where yes / terday"  the lines break off to start a narrative in which the speaker, "waited by the door / a box mark Lost and Founded" which plays with the language.  The disconnect here is a bit more subtle or very obvious.  I haven't decided yet.  Here the line break has a sense a play, but the key to me is "founded."  Obvious in a sense that there's a change here, but note the play between the past and the current based on expectation.  Lost and Found is both present.  Lost and Founded is both past.

Which is a phrase that continues on with, "lost and/or founded:"  and the colon indicating definition, "I used  / to think I knew what drinks to order / all my friends"  now we're going into the personal of the speaker, "what stories to tell to tug / them from the murk we all occasionally sink into, lately all I know is salt,"  here's the poem edges on sentimentality but when the speaker refers to the self understanding salt, not only does the speaker go inward, the content does as well.

"how sweat / can find a reservoir in any elbow, how tears / end wherever they've spent their viscosity."  Founded lines -- knowing where things go.

"let's build satisfied tongues with whatever's been / left here + let's say what we can."  The last "+" sign is used here and it seems almost desperate.  Here I would want to say is the "lost" couplet because there's less certainty here and more wanting something to happen.

It's not necessary to connect, it's more of the idea of acknowledging we're trying to conect.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Analysis of "Zvi Mendel" by Orlando Ricardo Menes

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Zvi Mendel" by Orlando Ricardo Menes
Originally read: August 28, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Orlando Ricardo Menes

So the very top of the page, past me wrote down, "I don't know this language" in reference to the Hebrew being used.  This statement covers multiple questions I had about the language: what does it mean?  How does the language integrate with the poem?  What does the language bring to the poem.

Then rereading the poem over again, language is the least of my focus now.  I think when I looked up a couple words, I figured that the language is more of a defining characteristics in this character driven poem.  It's not about the message, but the humanization of Zvi Mendel, who I don't know the reference to.

The first three lines, "Ersatz cantor, self-taught kabbalist, / retired tobacconist to Havana's Ashkenazim, / Zvi Mendel smokes one last corona,"  note that the affirmatives that describe his past have something to do with spiritualism, probably of Jewish faith, and the current action is based upon Zvi smoking which will become a reoccurring image throughout the poem.

Then from the person comes the setting, "Pigtails of maduro / festoon a sunny window,"  and "stop the cedar humidor / a wind-up gramaphone wobbles Für Elise."  The current is tranquil and domestic.  It's as though Zvi is in a calm setting.  From here, the poem suggests a turn to nostalgia.

"It's 1952, & though he's lived thirty years / on Calle Monte, his dead wife a pale goy, / a convert from cow town in Cienfuegos," thoughts about the wife, "one son who married the maid, a cute / & salty girl," his son then his son's wife.

Then the poem goes a bit humorous with, "but--oy vey--black as coal tar, / another who turned communist & calls / the synagogue a pen of goats,"  Yes the subject matter is a bit serious, but also a bit extreme.  Also, here, the speaker talks from the perspective of Zvi reminiscing of his life.  And then there's mention of how "Old Zvi" would act "won't / go completely native, mangling Spanish, / singing Torah on the tram," and 'eats only food canned in the U.S.--kashrut beets, sauerkraut, corned beef--"  and note that in depth personal of Zvi the reader experience -- likes, dislikes, memories, past, as though we, as readers have to know the background of this character in depth.

"But tobacco's the exception, Zvi argues, / if first grade, no mosiac, worms, or rust, / the drying done in barns clean of hogs."  None of the phrases come together to become coherent.  However, these feel like the thoughts of Zvi just trying to come up with more to say about Zvi -- not necessarily stream of consciousness; rather,  word association based on what "Zvi argues."

Then the didactic lines, "Whether one inhales doesn't matter / because smoke, weightless, indigestible, / cannot be a defamation to YWHW."  The lines talk more about the character than the philosophy.  Here, Zvi (not necessarily the speaker) is trying to justify smoking even if it is against Yalweh.  Weightless, indigestible smoke comes across as nothing in presence, meaningful in memory to Zvi.

And so at the end when Zvi is referencing his older self (older self) that he sees the divine in smoke which isn't a defamation, "Old Zvi in awe as the sparks of dust / arc into a tremulous rainbow, shekinah."  Now here's the trick with the affirimitve here.  Old.  Does that mean older in past or older as person.  Here, it feels like both.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Analysis of "Circuit someone, somewhere" by Jane Lewty

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Circuit someone, somewhere" by Jane Lewty
Originally read: August 27, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Jane Lewty

The key to this poem is how the repetition: alliteration or word, works within the poem.  With the first stanza the alliteration stands out, "Circuit someone, somewhere / circuit--crack--chip / someone says listen"  Note that the importance in the c and the s alliteration and how there's a mix of discordance and flow.  Flow in the concept, the content mimics the sound of circuitry; meanwhile, the discordance is forced by the syntax in which separates the individual parts.

The first stanza sets up the focus for me.  Look at how the words are reused., "Nuance and pace plays, how I miss you, what a tune, it makes me say we-- / We the pale arrivals, pale sedentary."  The first repetition of we seems like more a transition for further definition; meanwhile, "pale," grammatically serves as an adjective which colors the nouns, but of what?  "Pale" in these terms serve to equate the same level on both "arrivals" and "sedentary" -- not necessarily meaning the same thing, but rather being seen the same way.

Then there's the "last" where the visual, "see our last--" is indicated, and then the definition, "our last roofs, mountings, awnings go down, tele--poles"  and past me noted "visual horizontal representation" and so here is a moment of ars poetica in which the speaker points out how the repeating words are meant to intersect each other based upon meaning or sound or layout.

"In water we go round / and we go round." This could be taken as a kind of humorous line; however, note how the meaning changes based on focus.  The focus in the beginning of the line is "in water" and the repetition reinforces the importance in "we go round."

The repetition of "all" is more of an encompassing device in which the speaker tries to create a distance view (note not objective) in which the speaker describes the town in a physical sense, "its hard quarry / its calcite weathers, redbrick and radial" (note "calcite" here is subtle way to refer back to pale) to a personal sense, "In our town, our river runs / it runs always / as if over stones."  Note here that the play here is not the personal attachment, but rather what the simile to bring up.  What does rivers usually run over?  Stones when I think about it,  But here the simile serves as a backdrop to the entire poem.  What is expected is intersects.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Analysis of "The Face That Launch'd a Thousand Ships" by Christopher Marlowe

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Face That Launch'd a Thousand Ships" by Christopher Marlowe
Originally read: August 26, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Christopher Marlowe

The poem is not secretive about the allusion, Helen.  Not from the title, but also the mention of her name constantly within the title.  So why have an appositive in the title rather than the name?  This is where the speaker admits that he's looking at the concept rather than the actual person.  The actual person is the ruse, he power behind beauty is all that matters, "Was this face that launch'd a thousand ships, / And burnt the topless towers of Illium?"

The speaker continues with the talk of beauty, but how it would affect the speaker, "Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss / Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!"  Kind of succubus, but note the over-the-top nature the action is which is parallel to the idea of a face launching a thousand ships.

"Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips / And all is dross that is not Helena"  Over exaggeration of the  real to the over exaggeration of the self, "I will be Paris, and for love of thee, / Instead of Tory, shall Wittenberg be sack'd"  and here is the reference to a place "Wittenberg" which is also a place in Germany where Dr. Faustus takes place.  So, theoretically, the speaker is the voice of Faust.  However, I feel that the speaker and Faust could be interchangeable here because the focus is character development than the Faust allusion.

"And I will combat with weak Menelaus, / And wear thy colours on my plumed crest,"  The key here is "will" for the beauty of Helen.  "Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel, / And then return to Helen for a kiss" note that the key here is that Helen would give the speaker a kiss for his actions.  There is no personality or thought behind "Helen," rather her physical self.

Then the last seven lines refocuses on  Helen's beauty to a greater degree, "Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter" Past me wrote, "foresaking Gods in order to build up Helen. More lovely than the monarch of the sky / In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms"  This line refers to Arethusa, but I don't know in what form: the stream, the struggler, or one afraid.  In this sense, how one interprets the allusion is the turn in the basis of subterfuge.

However, the end line, "And none but thou shalt be my paramour!" doesn't change that the speaker is in a state of infatuation based on the personal and not of the reality.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Analysis of "The Cherry Trees" by Edward Thomas

Original poem reprinted online here:  "The Cherry Trees" by Edward Thomas
Originally read: August 25, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Edward Thomas

So this article analyzing this poem from the blog Move Him Into the Sun analyzes this poem not only on the technique level, but also in relation to World War One and England giving a historical context to the poem.

As always the big question is if this poem can stand on it's own without historic context and coax the reader to look deeper.  To me, yes and no.

I think the overpowering technique here is implication through images.  "The cherry trees bend over and are shedding." The poem starts out with pure description, yet this is set up that the speaker will refer to and imply with a deeper meaning.

"On the old road where all that passed are dead."  Yes, the line is a bit of a turn and a bit harsh; however, since the strongest technique is images the meaning behind them further develops due to rumination.

"Their petals, strewn the grass as for a wedding," the simile indicates the shift from a pure image perspective to something more implicit.  The poem then hinges on the word "wedding" in which can be a reference to an actual wedding; however, the rhyme scheme as is (ABAB) and the flow, I believe the wedding is the communion of two ideas -- the beauty of nature and the dead looked upon in beauty.

Does that mean this poem is a riff on the whole "company man" ideal.  No.  The poem doesn't go that far with to imply such.  The end line, "This early may morn when there is none to wed" puns on the word "morn" to bring out a quality of lamentation, but the key is "none to wed."

The difference between the actual and the scene.  The visual may be something that can be combined, but the emotional context is "not to wed."  Also this could refer to everyone being dead or missing so, literally, no one is around to be married.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Analysis of "Vaudeville" by Barbara Crooker

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Vaudeville" by Barbara Crooker
Originally read: August 24, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Barbara Crooker

The poem is image-centric.  Furthermore, the poem is also placed at a particular time of year as well to condense the image which, of course, turns into a metaphor which is somewhat given away by the title.  So here's the nature turning vaudeville imagery:

     Late October, and the sky is that clear blue scrim
     we only see when the leaves go presto change, garnet
     and gold, and asters and chrysanthemums, the last
     flowers, take their bow on center stage.

Yes, a bit cheesy, but notice how the speaker introduces the change to vaudeville through as an object, and then further more the line "take their bow on center stage," which refer to "aster and chrysanthemums."  It is the action that are vaudeville and the speaker is forcing the image upon image.

Yet another example, "The birds / are packing it up, preparing their exit, and the rest / of the garden collapses in ruin:"  Note how the forcing of image upon image had more of a playful tone to it.  Yes, Vaudeville and a little cheeky, but still playful, and then here the tone shifts to something darker, "garden collapses in ruin" in a a single turn.  It seems a little too much.  But the poem is vaudeville with dramatic turns and images and, to the point, here the vaudeville feels normal, but the tone feels forced, "fallen branches, / crumpled programs, dried leaves."

And then the switch again with, "The house light / turns everything golden, and even though we know / what's coming, the next act,"  note here that the shift from the "dead" to the "light" is actually a natural progression; however, the speaker talks to the audience now -- breaking the fourth wall with, "we start to believe / we can stay here forever in the amber spotlight" which the speaker forces motivation onto, not only the scene, but also the reader.

Now, at this point, the question is why?  (That night's black velvet curtain will never fall" has more is more of a dramatic finish allusion to death, but this has been built up already).  Why?  It's in the flurry, and not the other techniques.

The emotions, images, movement are a forced compilation to hide fear.  And even though the tone shifts quite often -- there isn't a sense of fear, but the actions and thoughts are someone afraid.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Analysis of "Talking in Bed" by Philip Larkin

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Talking in Bed" by Philip Larkin
Originally read: August 23, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Philip Larkin

The poem opens up with a conceit, "Talking in bed ought to be easiest.".  Past me noted that the word "ought" is the key word here.  The conceit here is to understand what the problem is with "talking in bed" and also figuring out the subtext of such difficulties, "Lying together there goes back so far, / An emblem of two people being honest."  And here there is a sense of snark in the lines especially the question of earnestness of "tow people being honest."

"Yet more and more times passes silently / Outside, the wind's incomplete unrest / Builds and disperses clouds about the sky."  I think the key with this stanza is the train of thought.  Instead of explaining the difficulties, the poem actually shows it.  As the time passes, the change happens with a shift of focus to the "Outside."  The scene of "incomplete unrest" and "disperse" can pertain to a relationship.  But the relationship is an unknown factor currently.

"And dark towns heap up on the horizon.  / None of this cares for us.  Nothing shows why / At this unique distance from isolation."  Note how the phrase, "None of this cares for us" can be taken as the core of the poem.  By actually putting the emotional impact in the lines there is a cut away from the image metaphor to the direct saying.  The saying comes off as a bit of desperation in this sense.  Nothing cares for us, and nothing shows why, "It becomes still more difficult to find / Words at once true and kind."

And note with the last stanza, all the last lines rhyme versus the stanzas above in which the rhyme is in the first and second line.  And even the the rhyme adds a sort of sing song effect -- the play shows different aspects, "Words at once true and kind, / Or not untrue and unkind."  Basically, syntactically, state the same thing.  Double negative trying to find a positive or double positive trying to figure out what's negative.

The complexity is with the simple construction like the marriage scenario.  What's on the line?  Who know, but it still is on the line.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Analysis of Bill Knott's Poetry -- His Influence on Me

Bill Knott would probably be mad at me for writing a blog about him.  I also believe that he would revel in the fact that someone is writing about him and leave in the comments section something like this, "You are a dumbass nobody writing about another dumbass nobody who is an exile in the po-biz.  Write when you are somebody."

Being somebody will probably never happen, so please excuse me for the following piece.

As an undergraduate I asked my mentor, Alan Soldofsky, who I write like.  I studied haiku and the short form for years and I felt at that time I pushed as far as I could.  Bill Knott is who he said, and, from his memory, Alan quoted these two poems to me:


If you are still alive when you read this,
close your eyes.  I am
under their lids, growing black.

Going to sleep, I cross my hands on my chest
They will place my hands like this.
It will look as though I am flying into myself.

These poems resonate because the images are so succinct, but also the construction as well.  In "Goodbye" note how there's an if/then clause forming, but there is no "then" -- rather an affirmation that something will happen rather than probably  "I am / under their lids, growing black."  Conversely, "Death" is not about structure, but the expanse of the image.  Note how personal and close the crossing of the hands in the first line, then the expansion to the body, and then to the surreal which, to me, seems normal and not gimmicky.

These techniques are very hard to do in a short poem -- there's only so many words to play with and with amount of variables that can't be controlled.  The short form is the ultimate trust in the reader.  Either the reader will find something in these 20 some odd words, or will move on (which is easy to do).

For me reading these poems for the first time, I wanted more.  I the majority of his books from the library, The Naomi Poems: Corpse and Beans, Stigmata Errate Etcetera, The Unsubscriber.  There were some really awful poems, but there were poems that just blew me away because the poems are so smart in the approach.

I wanted to learn from him, and, at the time, I learned he was teaching at Emerson.  I wanted to apply, but I spent all my money applying to other schools.  I was accepted to San Jose State, but I was going to apply to Emerson the next year when I had more money. But he retired that next year.

What's the difference between determined versus stalker?  Both yearn.  The determined fall in love with the person, but a stalker stalker falls in love with the idea.  And when I read the Naomi Poems it felt like I was reading the poems of a stalker.

To X

Somewhere in history
Somewhere in untold ages
Somewhere in the sands of time
Somewhere in the vast seas of eternity
There is one person
Only one
Who could understand me and love me
And you're it
So get with it

However, not all stalkers are not without self-recognition and humor.  Here the humor comes across in this poem because of expectation.  The speaker appears to be in the position of defeat, but still in power.  The speaker is pointing out the specific and has knowledge on who can "understand me and love me"  but then relinquishes the power back on to the "you" -- "get with it."

I'll admit that I was more of a stalker in regards to Bill Knott.  I found out that he had a blog, so I followed it.  I found out he had a Facebook, so I friended him.  He would constantly delete and then put up again his blogs and Facebook, but I still wanted to learn from him, and I learned about him which is irrelevant in some ways.

I e-mailed him a couple times: one for free books and art he was offering for Christmas which I was grateful for.

One for a question about his collaboration with Star Black in which he wrote "no collaboration on the stigmata book:  the poems and the collages have nothing to do with each other; the publisher did the matchup, not me"

And I sent an e-mail recently to him about his frontpage essay about him:  This is what he wrote back to me.


I started to read it but quickly gave up in disgust and disappointment . . .

I don't care what anybody writes about my poems as long as they write about   the poems themselves period.

But he ignores the poems and uses his space to write about extraneous matters— the poems are what's
important (or not important as the critic deliberates), not a bunch of gossip about where the poems were
or weren't published . . , who did or didn't publish them is beside the point . . .

Are the poems good or are they bad?  That's the only thing relevant for a reviewer/critic to address.  I hate
personality and anecdotes, the People Magazine approach to critical writing . . .


He changed his mind though.  I saw his comments about the article and it looked like he was grateful.  Such as the case.

He might mean no one to nobody, which is a lie.  His death reverberates on the front of Poetry Foundation -- such an extraneous matter.

So here are his poems, his work, his art -- these are the most important things about being a poet and artist.  Being a artist is not about prestige, money, or marketing, it's in the goddamn name -- being an artist is about art:
Bill Knott reading his poems
Bill Knott on Youtube

Ultimately, just like his work, he left his work up to his readers to decide its fate -- regardless of publication or background.  If time decides he's not a great poet, that's time's fault.  I will regard his poems as the best I've ever read and I will always go back to his poems.  Maybe that's what he would've wanted.


When my shadow falls off of me
I yell "So long!"
But when I fall off my shadow
It cries "Long so!"

It seems obvious
That one of us
Is either falling wrong
Or calling wrong

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Analysis of "Man" by Michael Bazzett

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Man" by Michael Bazzett
Originally read: August 22, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Michael Bazzett

It's not until you get to the middle when the tone solidifies itself.  Yet in the first half of the poem, there is a focus on the character of "Man" as the title bleeds into the poem.

What does the bleed indicate? The focus of the first line is the verb "burrow."  So the character is burrowing (in the literal, and probably the metaphorical sense), "Burrows into his cave / lined with warm earth / dug from the pine hillside."  Weirdly enough, I started counting syllables at this moment.

The lines are set up kind of haiku-esque with the attention to nature and such.  And then I discovered that the lines are either five or six syllables long.  I don't know what this means, but it could be a reference to Tang Dynasty poem structures of only fix syllable lines.  Probably not, but that's what I thought of when reading the first three lines.

"Roots spiral from above / like coarse hair, fragrant / and beaded with sap."  Past me wrote "creation -- mixture of nature and man."  The mixture of images come together here as a form of description of the place and the man.

"He digs until he strikes / shattered bedrock buried /like a wisdom tooth."  The similes continue with the comparison of both man and nature.  But also note the focus in burrows and digs -- there's a search for something in both man and nature.

"How long he carves / signs into the granite / and paints signs /onto the granite."  The actions are pretty rudimentary but the technique of using granite twice indicates more of a focus on place, perhaps?  There's something off.

Which is then discussed with, "we do no know."  And here is when the tone solidifies.  The introduction of the speaker as an observer trying to define a scene rather than a character going through a scene.  And note that with this change towards the speaker, the construction changes as well.  No short sentences.  And no five to six syllable lines (six to seven). The rest of the poem is one long sentence which focuses on the speed of the action:

     draws up straight as thread
     and the air around him grows
     still and he turns to see
     the mouth of the cave
     has firmly closed and he
     has become a tongue.

The refocus of language, and the character recognition is all implied by the author.  Note that there is no reaction based in the character.  The "become a tongue" line is, well, a bit tongue in cheek.  In the sense that the speaker gives the man a purpose, and the man "realizes" he has a purpose.

I think with this poem the "we don't know" line changes the interpretation of he poem.  Good or bad?  I don't judge the worth only the impact.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Analysis of "Farm Scene" by Ernest G Moll

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Farm Scene" by Ernest G Moll
Originally read: August 21, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Ernest G Moll

Five quatrains with an abba rhyme scheme.  So the poem has the form of an arc with the two intro, a mid, and two end.  But the poem itself isn't a narrative, rather a meditation comparing the life of the speaker and the life of a bull.  The idea of the domestic in nature.

So the first stanza is exposition, "They come each morning to the gate / are miles and wander off to feed;"  Note the usage of the semi-colon here in which connects these lines with, "six cows, a calf and in the lead / a brindled bull, old, fat sedate."  Not that pleasant on the description of the bull, but he's mentioned on every stanza of the poem.

The second stanza is setting the cycle, "And every evening they are back / loaf along the quarter-mile"  Note here that the verbs are especially important to add on to the scene of lackadaisical. "of dusty lane in single file, / the old bull trailing up the track."  This instance of the bull shows him falling behind and/or watching out what can be behind him.

The third stanza is the turn in which the speaker introduces himself, and, in doing so, interprets the past two scenes," I would not load with thought that brings / meanings deep-conjured in the mind"  Lies, but okay sure the poem will show how you find this meaningful, "this quiet scene but here I find / the rhythm of eternal things"  Meaning 1) rhythm of eternal things.

"And envy him who takes his pail / jingling to met them at the gate;" Meaning 2) Envy for those who receive such this rhythm, "sun-up, sun-down, that constant date / which neither he more they will fail."  Still on meaning two, note that the lack of failure is introduced here as though this particular scene is continuing for the speaker.

"I envy him whose life allows / him the cool blessedness;" Meaning 3) Envying the scene as "cool blessedness"  yet again note the semi-colon where the connection is the farmer, the speaker, and the bull, "to stand / and simply watch the coming and / later the going of the cows."  To overlook file, order, rank, simplicity.  No meaning that's deep-conjured. Sure.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Analysis of "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost
Originally read: August 21, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Robert Frost

The main thing to think of when entering this poem is that the construction is based on setting an argument, and then realizing that this isn't a good argument.  Parody.  Note that this poem isn't a good argument, and, in doing so, critiques the argument.

"Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice"  probably the main focus of attack -- yes, the key phrase is world ending in fire or ice.  But note the usage of "Some" not focusing on who, rather the argument itself.  

"From what I've tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire."  Also note that there's the implication of connection.  Desire -- end with fire (also rhyme scheme).  The lines, to me, conjure a humorous effect through the simplicity and the rhyme.

     But if it had to perish twice, 
     I think I know enough hate 
     To say that for destruction ice
     is also great
     And would suffice.

Note the usage of "it" here which could refer to the world, but also desire, and fire.  The ambiguous pronoun sets up this interpretation, but the content and tone doesn't take the subject matter seriously.  

Also note the rhyme scheme of "twice" "ice" and "suffice" in which lightens the tone.  

I think what makes me laugh is the line, "is also great" which litotes the apocalyptic situation with casual language.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Analysis of "Drift" by Gregory Lawless

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Drift" by Gregory Lawless
Originally read: August 20, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Gregory Lawless

The distance in the poem is played with here.  Part of the "fun" is not only seeing how distant the speaker is with the subject "my father" but also how removed the actual father is as an entity, but more so a archaeological find.

     In the desert
     they found fossils
     of my father
     as a young man

The first five lines show a surreal perspective of the father as a young man.  "Fossils" is the stand out noun in the piece; however, don't underestimate "they" in the piece.  Who are "they" and what is their intentions.

     his Converse sneakers
     dripping with tar, stacks
     of old beer cans
     an all of his hair.

The list of items found aren't pleasant images, but they are implied images.  The tar on the sneakers could be from tobacco, or it could be from too much decay over time.  Beer cans are more of an indicator that the father drinks; however,all of his hair has a comedic quality to me because it could reference the idea of aging and what "they" discover is a past version. Or, on a more visceral, less metaphorical, level, "they" found the identifiable remains that the speaker notes.

From here there's a certain level of disrespect from the "they" side where they took a picture, "the whole dig team / packed into his wrecked / yellow Mustang."  And at this point, I feel the poem opens itself up to a broader interpretation based on playing on the idea of reverence of an artifact by outsiders, and, more subtly, insiders -- a lack of respect for the individual as a human, but as an artifact

     Now his body
     is held together
     with a necktie
     and a mortgage

This is a "modern" fossil.  The past is decorated but not as much respected.  The current is not so much decorated, but survives "intact."  "his offspring / have scattered / to climates / he cannot survive."  Survive being the key word here in these sections because the question of survival comes into play not only for the father, but for the siblings.

The end is where the speaker becomes more prominent, not by introducing the self, but by implication.  the father with "his rough voice, / that prehistoric grumble," implies a certain level of distance in which the siblings, "carrying some of us / this way, some / of us that."  Note the ambiguous of the direction.  And also note that this is the most ambiguous part that of who is separated (how many, to where) shows that the siblings don't matter, it is a) how the father was b) how the father is c) how the father is incapable of surviving and saving.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Analysis of "Icarian" by Amy McCann

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Icarian" by Amy McCann
Originally read: August 20, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Amy McCann

I think this poem is pretty gutsy in using the allusion to Icarus, especially considering there's been so many poems, stories, and writing based on Icarus.  Now the question, usually, is how this poet puts spin on the image of a boy, man-made wings burning, drowning.

Well, in this poem, not by much, the first lines, "Gulls puncture the blue between / kites, translucent, cross-boned" addresses the scene and for the rest of the three couplets, the scene is continued to be explored visually with "cellophane animals leashed" and "Some unusual flyers: octopus, brontosaur".  Here the focus on the uplifting visual and the "man taking Polaroids" deals with the idea of focus of image without a mention of "Icarus."

However, there is a prominence of th I speaker.  The next couple of stanzas deals with the experience of the experience of the "I" :

     I sooth my palm
     over sand, trying to erase
     any evidence of our being

Here there could be a case that the"I" is Icarus with the mention of not being "terrestrial" or bound by land.  But I feel by focusing more on the speaker and focusing on the background -- the allusion serves as a backdrop point.  The metaphor of Icarus has been explored, so how about  post-Icarian thought.

"Matted feathers / barb the surface, nib my palm." In a post-Icarian thought, the metaphor here becomes stronger -- it's not the past memory, but current. The key here is "matted" in which the feathers have been through some wear.  The references in "O cosseter, O caravel" refers to the scene in which the speaker addresses from a distance.  A kind of futile attempt to connect.

But note the two sentences that start with "I"

1) "I am fast / bound for far shores, already failing / to find the desired."

2) As always, I'll spend tonight chastely / kissing our limitation/ bunked beside you,"

Note how the I speaker wants.  Want is the catalyst and the end result of the Icarian tale.  And note how the focus has a sexual context to itself that falling, and failing are pretty much the same in the first mention.  And with the second the intimate connection is continues with, "my affection / folding into itself, into something / engineered to be unlikely / yet airborne."

The key here is "engineered" in which the term indicates a more self-referential mode in which the term refers to the poem and the "love" this speaker has for itself.  So when we get to the end of the poem with, "Everything given, / one way or another, a working wing."  There's a little sly importance with "working."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Analysis of "Brute Dictation" by Jules Gibbs

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Brute Dictation" by Jules Gibbs
Originally read: August 19, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Jules Gibbs

The interesting thing with this poem, in the beginning, is that the entire first sentence of the poem centers around a concept, "To outsmart the world you've got to / outsmart the metaphor,".  This sort of directness in statement is indirect in meaning.

"dismantle / the songs of childhood, say goodbye / to the only life you ever really had--"  This sense of goodbye is unspecific, but has a somewhat nostalgic, and somewhat cliche resonance behind them?  Why?  The sayings are probably referring to growing up -- easy, right?  But which is referring to growing up as something the world sees or something to be turned into a metaphor?  Is it the saying or the act?

"the moment before the brute / dictation, before the grass drills / that could kill a men,"  Note the number of prepositional phrases here ti describe the moment, and the reference to the title indicates that the phrases either clarify or creates metaphors out of the moment, for example, "when the egg cracked, and you existed both yoked / and split."  Sure the metaphor becomes the forefront, but how does the line outsmart the metaphor?  Or rather outsmart the world?

The second sentence sort of indicates what needs to change, "Write this down:" here, the way to outsmart a metaphor is to write the actual, "I love you / now leave me alone;" in which the semi-colon connects the direct saying with direct image, "and in between / a bunch of us touched and were touched."  Direct action.  By who? Who knows.

"pried open, / and opened more,"  here the lines go back to the metaphor in the sense, but in doing so, "metaphor" has a addendum because the world is somewhat defined -- world as direct, metaphor as an opposite of direct -- to outsmart them both is to know how both goes.

"found / the world in the crude"  I think the key here is "crude" in which the lens becomes apparent, and with "the Amen in the wound" which is not separated by  comma, perhaps, there's a connection between seeing something as crude and also believing something as crude (in the metaphor for a wound).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Analysis of "Part of Eve's Discussion" by Marie Howe

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Part of Eve's Discussion" by Marie Howe
Originally read: August 18, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Marie Howe

The poem works on the slippery nature of definitions.  The number of "it" and "you" spread around the poem try to blur the each noun and define more of the confusion.  What's Eve's Discussion?  Clarification through obscuring.

"It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand, / and flies"  It holds the most power in these lines, but note the intent focuses on the feeling and experience -- the intent from the bird "deciding not to eat from your hand and flies" shows more about the "you" than the bird.  There's the interpretation of actions according to the you based on "decide."  The following descriptions are more on the image side, "just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still / and stop because a storm is coming."  But again, look at the word "seem" which indicates more of interpretation from the "you"

Then the negation happens as though set the you on a concrete path, "but there is not storm, as when / a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel drop, your car could spin,"  Note the shift from the past to the present and all of it defined through negation.  The simile comparing the lack of a storm to a lack of control of the the car.  There should be a sense of panic, but rather there's a consistent though of losing control which is actually consistent.

"just before it slowly begins to spin like / the moment just before you forgot what it was your were about to say,"  Another strong simile in which goes direct to the "forgot" part.  The birds, storms, wheel, and cars mean nothing to the "you" at this point, rather what is forgotten, "it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only / all the time."

Oddly, I feel the last line is the most specific in address the ambitiousness, the act of forgetting based on which is forever.  But what about meaning?  That goes away as well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Analysis of "The Mortgaging of Self Is Done" by Aimée Sands

Original poem reprinted online here: "The Mortgaging of Self Is Done" by Aimée Sands
Originally read: August 17, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Aimée Sands

Automatically, the poem sets up a metaphor of the self as a mortgage through negation.  But also the poem sets up any discussion about a house as a parallel metaphor for the self.  This is why I find the couplets particularly effective to highlight the similarities and the separation.

"And the floors dreaming in wide, / drowned light.  The drifting and bobbling,"  Note the heavy emphasis on verbs here.  Here the action is more personified: dream, drift, bobbling -- but also note how the verbs are set in stasis through the personification.  What's moving.  Nothing, it's action inaction.

"nodding you off in another direction, / broken sideways, sideways / broken"  The inverse lines reinforces the dream-like surreal syntax, but furthermore in the context to the poem, the repetition of broken doesn't change, but adds,  with broken sideways shows how action is done, sideways broken shows the location, the after effect of the breaking.

"Farther. Father.  And the staff / of good intentions that sprouts leaves,"  Note that the play on repetition is with Farther. Father.  Visual homonyms in which both could have meaning, but it's the "good intentions" that they represent that is developed, "feathers, the formal calm that surprises, / gauze outflung and laid."  Once again more the actions hide the core of "formal calm" -- as the poem is structured as such, a formal calm -- as everything seems to go away, the structure keeps the thoughts in tact, until the last four lines:

     The miner that comes with a light, knees,
     questions, gunpowder.  The stifling,

     the unbinding.  Moral, normal, matted,
     matched.  The pelt of suffering.

Note the shift in character towards the miner brings, "light, knees, questions, gunpowder."  And through these items and the minder there is "the stifling, the unbinding."

The play continues as though unable to pinpoint the actions anymore, and unable to pinpoint meaning, "Moral, normal, mattted, matched" and that is "the pelt of suffering."  Not the inability the pinpoint, but to compromise and hedge bets, to mortgage, the self into meaning something.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Analysis of "an endnote and love song:" by Erin Moure

Original poem reprinted online here: "an endnote and love song:" by Erin Moure
Originally read: August 16, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Erin Moure

Part of the fun of the poem is trying to figure out what's going on.  So for the longest time I didn't look at the note attached to this poem until today.  I find myself way off in interpretation versus than intention of the poet.  But that's the way it goes.

When I first read the title, I thought this would be more of an experiment based on songs which was an end note.  So for the numerical list, I thought they were more like drafts of tracks.  Like for example, the title of the album would be "Sauna 89" and the artists would be "В. Шекспір".  I don't know who that person is, but that doesn't matter -- it's looking upon a foreign work trying to state things in English.

For example, "1. And you were to leave me for my faults" is a typical love poem type of introduction which leads to, "2. I'd not defend my lameness, walking halt" and so on and so forth -- in which the poem plays with a chronological order of events, I want to forget you or "7. I will not speak of you" in which the title tracks create a narrative. 

The narrative being, I love you, but I want to forget you, "12. I will not speak (too much profane)." This line emphasizing the point of forgetting.  So when the last line appears without a number, this is the endnote, "I will not ( trout ) name you."  Past me noted, "humor? trying to find a word.  Maybe similar to name, but like it."  So there's the push and pull here.

So the structure depersonalizes the experience of the poem due to the lines appearing synthetic, but comes back to the personal through the humor of the end note.


I'm pretty wrong with this interpretation, or maybe there's some things I have to consider now based on some knowledge.

This poem is actually a cut up of William Shakespeare's, "Sonnet 89"  and, yes, there's some lines that don't mesh with the poem, but the core of the poem feels like a response to this form. 

And here's what the poet states about the creation of her poem:

About this poem:

"The poem was an imitation of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 89 for Sharmila Cohen's and Paul Legault's wonderful The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare, though I did not submit this version. This sonnet now ends Kapusta (or Cabbage), a sequel to The Unmemntioable. The lyric address woven like a thread of water across The Unmemntioable ("dearest trout") appears here in a ghostly way. To repeat so many times and ways that 'I will not speak your name' is to engrave it deeply in time. It doesn't matter what or whose name it is. It names someone. The name, unuttered, is caressed in the mouth regardless, and is curiously spoken."

—Erín Moure -

And Erin Moure brings up this big point about the piece, "To repeat so many times and ways that 'I will not speak your name' is to engrave it deeply in time. It doesn't matter what or whose name it is. It names someone. The name, unuttered, is caressed in the mouth regardless, and is curiously spoken."  The forgetting of a name, regardless if never uttered, is remembered on the page.  The emotion is still there.

Now how does affect my reading of the poem.  It's a lot more to take in that I can't account for.  But the name thing sticks and comes across the page even without the notes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Analysis of "Four Poems" by Yosa Buson

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Four Poems" by Yosa Buson 
Originally read: August 15, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Yosa Buson

Buson is considered on of the three master of Haiku with Basho, and Issa; however, I think Buson hasn't received as much attention as either.  Don't get me wrong they all have huge influence in poetry, but what separates each from each other.

In my intro to poetry class years (too many) ago, the professor just stated that Issa had a sense of humor, Basho focused on the journey, and Buson focused on the art aspect.

With these four poems, that is not the case for Buson.  If anything, Buson shows more of a journey of the self through nature with these four haiku.

     To be the first one there
     he wades the shallows secretly
     under the summer moon

Here's more of an observation in which the implicitness is within waiting.  Disregard the "he," the action holds a secret.

     Evening breeze caresses
     scrawny legs
     on the summer mat

Continuing with the summer theme, there isn't an explicit connection between both poems; however, note how nature impacts the character -- in the first poem, nature and the "he" are in agreement of sorts -- hiding in nature that accepts the hidden.

Here the the soothing breeze on scrawny legs.  Nature doesn't appear to be a theat here for summer.

     The morning dew --
     a hair of mine has fallen
     it has not yet known frost

Note the loss coordinating with the season of "frost"  and also note that the "frost" mentioned here isn't talking about the actual feeling, but the expectation of that feeling.  Also note the humor here -- the comparison exaggerates the hair falling to a season, an implied season.

     One step outside the gate
     and I too am a traveler
     in the autumn evening

I also think this poem has humor with it since this feels like a riff on traveler stories.  One leaving, there's usually a great sort of adventure.  But even walking out the door defines a person as a traveler.  The autumn evening adds to an artificial expanse.  Yes it's of a beautiful evening, but to where, one step out.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Analysis of "Tas in March" by Edwin Brock

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Tas in March" by Edwin Brock
Originally read: August 15, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Edwin Brock

So the first stanza states what the poem will talk about.  However, note that the first stanza is a sestet versus the rest of the poem written in tercets.  What the first sestet does is set up the conflict -- the introduction of the speaker and the introduction of the actual "subject."

"White on dark water, so stark / I leave my binoculars behind / and watch with bare red eyes." Here the speaker is introduced, but the focus here is on his vision.  Without the binoculars, there isn't necessarily a focus onto a specific thing, but there's an expansive outlier to this image, "two swans, taut with sexuality, / stretching their necks / alternately side by side."  The interpretation is already there at the beginning -- sexuality and note how close and intimate the image is together.  But since the interpretation is already stated by the speaker, what is there to read?  How the interpretation twists.

"They are early: colour is /still to come to bone-dry rushes / and trees bank black strangling"  pay attention to the description in each line.  "Early" describes the time frame in which there's a sense of something pre-mature, then "bone-dry" describes colour, but note that the feeling is more tactile like the strangling in the next line.

"their green. It is a hard wedding : / sharp brambles and ivy-covered / stumps hunch and hug" and at this point, the obvious connotations of a relationship is purposefully embedded into the scene.  And with each reference, the question is why.  Why a hard wedding? Why do stumps hug?  Note again the speaker in which has gone away from the poem and is interpreting the scenes.  He isn't character, he is the reader.

"sleet pokes the surface from / a blank neutrality, to come back / spitting with all its mouths" note how hard the anthropomorphism plays into here.  The sleet is the one to break away: from the love and sexuality, from the metaphor, from sense -- spitting.

"Roused, the spread wings / beat their own storm towards / the north, wind against wind."  Past me noted a "migration away"-- however note the migration away together.  The scene may change, but the swans are able to leave together.  And who is left behind?  The one who interprets alone.

"Somewhere in all this a small / heat is held, like the hope / of a cold man drowning."  Past me wrote "'hope'" is central: saved or left to die -- focus is resolution"  But note the usage of a simile here to compare the man awaiting "a small heat [is] held" Contact. warmth.  Something to wait for, or die for?  Kind of extreme.  The poem isn't about the scene rather the mindset of the speaker which doesn't change -- a constant sporadic -- as what he observes passes by.