Subversive Poetry Reading at the Local Library

Mother and DaughterSo it wasn’t a great turnout. I believe there was a fish fry/ revival that pulled a lot of our regular members away…or not. However some folks showed up and we talked poetry. We read Elizabeth Bishop’s In the Waiting Room and then Addonizio’s Salmon. Had a nice discussion about that sweet moment where we are the fish, we are the ceiling, we are Teddy pouring the milk and the milk being poured. Why are some poets successful in getting us to make that leap, to see ourselves in other people or other objects even, and others…not? We read the Red Dress poem and I think that was a favorite. Talked a little Literary Theory and then we all went home. I kicked about reading more Elizabeth Bishop for the rest of the day and dreamed about talking fish that night. Another day in Cheyenne.

Published in: on March 20, 2007 at 4:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Kim Addonizio, Elizabeth Bishop and Fugazi

Why talk about Salmon, In the Waiting Room and exclude Fugazi’s excellent paean to straight-edge angst, The Waiting Room?

Published in: on March 3, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today is the Day

We meet.  We discuss poetry.  We kibbutz.  I take pictures.  I post them so our far flung readers can see what a hip group of square-staters look like.  Black turtleneck sweaters and rectangular glasses are no longer de rigueur  for these events, although a beret is still considered wise.  Lets people know you’re serious.

I don’t want to give too much away because I want to write lots after the discussion but I am, as ever, in awe of good writing and how it leads us to discover new meaning in texts we’ve read a million times and every poem that is added to our conscience (well, not every poem; every good poem,) seems to deepen our understanding of even the most mundane daily activities, and fleeting emotions grow concrete and real when named so perfectly.  I am thinking of Elizabeth Bishop’s In the Waiting Room which is about waiting for an aunt to have her teeth fixed at the Dentist’s office.  If you write to tell me that no, it is about death, Zen existentialism and rebirth I will agree but will also insist that it is very much also about waiting in a dentist’s office for your aunt to have her teeth fixed.

We will be reading the Bishop poem with the Addonizio poem, Salmon.  In this way we can establish our high minded literary credentials before we go crashing headlong into all of the explicit sex, drinking and carousing of her other poems.  If you write to tell me that sex, drinking and carousing are base and have no business in poetry I will remind you that they are metaphors for death, Zen existentialism and rebirth.

Oh! Don’t I sound serious?  “I will remind you”?  Well, being defensive on behalf of poetry is probably the least of my sins and since we know that no less a figure than Stephen Dedalus  gets the snot beat out of him for defending that decedent atheist, Lord Byron, in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, we are in good company.

Hope to see lots of you this afternoon.  Hope to read lots of your brilliant comments later. Click below for a link to In the Waiting Room.

In the Waiting Room 

Published in: on March 3, 2007 at 5:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Salmon

Salmon  
by Kim Addonizio
 
In this shallow creek

they flop and writhe forward as the dead 

float back toward them. Oh, I know

what I should say: fierce burning in the body 

as her eggs burst free, milky cloud 

of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand

on the bridge with my camera, 

frame the white froth of rapids where one 

arcs up for an instant in its final grace.

But I have to go down among 

the rocks the glacier left 

and squat at the edge of the water

where a stinking pile of them lies, 

where one crow balances and sinks 

its beak into a gelid eye.

I have to study the small holes 

gouged into their skin, their useless gills, 

their gowns of black flies. I can't

make them sing. I want to, 

but all they do is open 

their mouths a little wider

so the water pours in 

until I feel like I'm drowning. 

On the bridge the tour bus waits

and someone waves, and calls down 

It's time, and the current keeps lifting 

dirt from the bottom to cover the eggs.
Published in: on March 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Saturday

I tried to pick up a copy of Tell Me at the Library and…they were all gone.  I think Troy said they had 12? in stock so our Saturday discussion at the library will not be me reading to the wall.  While I can not hope to compete with say, the Union Pacific train watchers, I do hope to compete with the Humanities book discussion series…we can do better than that.  In my dream, we form two rival gangs, Humanities Book Group on one side of the street, Literary Connection on the other.  We eschew their 80’s ripped jean, dangling bandana effect for a more classic Ponyboy cum Brando appearance, all silent elegance and deadly cool till you catch the  gleam of our blades under the dim glow of the one streetlight that’s not been smashed out…No.  We won’t, positively won’t rumble with rival book discussion groups.  We may whisper though that we have a lovely turnout at ours.  I’ll put more Kim poems up and if you can’t make it on Saturday, post comments regardless.

                        

Published in: on March 1, 2007 at 1:34 pm  Comments (1)