MINIMALISM

January 6th, 2014

Okay, so I’m on a roll here.  People are “liking” the poems.  So, being as I’m a poet, that encourages me to post more poetry!  Funny how that works.  Maybe people will like the poetry they see here enough to buy the book.  Anyway… I’m not normally a fan of poems about poetry, but occasionally I perpetrate one, because what are you going to write poems about if not the things that are important to you?  This one reports on a reading I attended twenty years ago.  I can’t say I’m a normally a big fan of Louise Gluck’s work, either, but that’s mainly a question of personal taste.  Her artistry is undeniable.  I arrived very late, having gotten the time wrong.  Perhaps if I’d arrived earlier, I would have been bored, whereas arriving close to the end the few minutes I experienced retained all their impact.  I’ll never forget the high-pitched sing-song in which she read, or the apparently almost physically painful effort it seemed to cost her, which put a premium on every word.  If that is what writing is like for her, as well as reading, she must lead a life of exquisite torture.  I hope not.  I am not sure what impulse made me give this poem its long, loud, heavy-on-the-prosaic-details title – the exact opposite of Gluck’s poetry – but it seems to work.  Sometimes a title is like a frame.

LAST FIFTEEN MINUTES OF LOUISE GLUCK’S POETRY READING AT McCARTHY ARTS CENTER, ST. MICHAEL’S COLLEGE, COLCHESTER, VERMONT, DECEMBER 2, 1993

 

truthfulness pared

to the hard minimum,

mum almost

but for what must escape

lips – the line

a birch branch carves,

white as a whisper

 

finishes

asking for questions

(second thought) short ones;

when none come

painful thanks, lips wrenched

crooked as apple tree boughs

 

This entry was posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014 at 11:08 pm and is filed under Poems, Poetry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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