Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems (Joy Katz & Kevin Prufer, Eds.)
Okay, so I took it out from the library, but now I'm thinking of buying this book which pairs neglected poems w commentary by some of our nation's most esteemed poets, and Alan Michael Parker does a stand-up job articulating what's going on in Vasko Popa's "The Craftsmen of the Little Box," a poem I can't stop thinking about, reveling in, wishing I'd written, etc:
The Craftsmen of the Little Box
Don't open the little box
Heaven's hat will fall out of her
Don't close her for any reason
She'll bite the trouser leg of eternity
Don't drop her on the earth
The sun's eggs will break inside her
Don't throw her in the air
Earth's bones will break inside her
Don't hold her in your hands
The dough of the stars will go sour inside her
What are you doing for God's sake
Don't let her get out of your sight
I love how this poem begins with a contradiction: don't open / don't close for any reason. Every word is startling, enjoyable, & makes me wish I could be 1/10 as imaginative. If it were my poem I wouldn't repeat "will break inside her" in the third and fourth stanzas, but because he did, I'm compelled to think through that choice over and over again--it seems a daring move (b/c it calls attention to how poets deliberately don't repeat themselves in these situations, and instead strive to be continually original and startling w new verbs, images, etc.).
Meanwhile, I've been writing poems that can fit on the left side of a postcard. One a day (or more, as I need to get ahead--reason why to follow). At first I thought I wouldn't be up to the challenge, but I'm finding that if I lower my standards a little, focus on a place, a conversation, one small thing (like the way the clouds look), and make a poem of it--or, if not a poem, a conglomeration of words that might be a poem someday, it's kinda easy and, well, fun. And I love that I get to legitimately send my poem a day--thanks to Lana Hechtman Ayers and her wonderful poetry postcard project--out into the world on an actual postcard. And I don't even have to "think" about who I'm sending it to; the names/addresses have been provided.
Why I need to get ahead in my postcard poem writing: I will be spending next week as a Scholar in Residence on an undisclosed island.