Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rae Armantrout

Good timing. Rae Armantrout's book Versed (2009, Wesleyan University Press, USA) arrived today. It's always nice to have a hardback, feels more like a proper book, pity they cost so much more.

Read the first ten or so, they are good, but perhaps not as brilliant as I'd been hoping, some seem a little heavy-handed in the political sense, in that way that Michael Palmer is not. I'm sure some people would completely disagree with me on that, but I prefer politcs that are subtle, mysteriously alluded to. Like the poem Outer that begins 'Dolls as celebrities (Barbie); / celebrities as dolls...' too obvious for me. But the less political ones are great like Help:
A space
can't bear to be un-


I mark it:

"I" "I" "I"
I think the short lines in some places work against the power of her words, I feel I would get more of an impact (a more natural impact I think) from longer lines, complete phrases/thoughts. Short lines always seem very contrived, kind of like the poet is making the decisions not the words I guess. There are delights in that too however like the 'un-//interrupted' part above. I also liked versed, particularly the wonderfully flat last section that is so full of musically terse repition:
Mother yells, "Good job!"
when he drops the stick,

"Good job!"
when he walks in her direction
Funny too, apparently that is one thing she is known for is wit.

Wrote something about the Monet exhibition I went to last week. Sounds boring I know, but I think it turned out OK. The exercise I wrote yesterday for today's class ended up being about an early sexual experience and I think that left over feeling may have invaded the Monet poem.

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