3.04.2010

More Books I can't review, reviewed

Martha Greenwald
OTHER PROHIBITED ITEMS

This is a work mostly in form, but with a sort of "plain speech" moomy town suburban setting. As one might imagine, I have some problems with most poems in form, especially since most new writers in form, in order to be colloquial, I include all the worst verbal / thought patterns of free versifiers. These include lame following of epigraph with poem. These epigraphs are faux serious: southwest.com, amtrack, and a Jackson & Perkins catalog. But the poems are, well, exactly what you can't have in the carryon luggage, a poem about the enviable color of roses, as marketed, a poem imagined as waiting an hour on a train siding. I think the best poem is "Quarterly Meeting: Late Arrival in a Southern City," because I feel that the form gives a good feeling of the orderly disorder of the experience of travelling for business, the travel pro, the smells of the rental car, yet as soon as "dream" kicks in, the poem goes awry. Maybe it is the problematic of dreams in poems. Here, dreams (including the American Dream) are puched in a section with a Bachelard quote from POETICS OF SPACE. But I disagree with the quote (childhood home the embodiment of idea of home, but also of dreams) -- which comes first, the home or the dreams? The home. In other words, the childhood home is the embodiment of home and the dream OF HOME. Not of all dreams. IMO. Anyway, just trying to give an overall impression of how the epigraphs are not particularly well chosen.

Reminds me of an Amy Gerstler poem I heard her read called "Dog Life" -- she had seen a copy of a magazine called Dog Life, back during the brief explosion of micro-market magazine publishing. And of course, the poem was a vision of what life is for dogs.

This, I think, even more than phrasing, is the flaw of the poetry. Not that working Mom can't be done, or she isn't doing it and occasionally succeeding, but that form doesn't give quotidian content a purpose; that content -- especially "the quotidian" has to be UNDERSTOOD, not just presented.

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