Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On a Break

I've been in a state of almost-suspended animation vis a vis poetry for a while, on hiatus from the group, not writing a lot or even reading a lot of poetry. I've been writing a piece on depression for a psychotherapy forum and another on infidelity for a chapter in a book. It was challenging, thinking about what infidelity actually is and how/whether it's possible for people to heal from betrayals.

I'd been feeling too much like a consumer, even a purveyor, of poetry, losing the essential thing (that which perhaps cannot be said without a poem) in the process. Backing off clears the palate a little. I miss writing more than reading and have begun a few small things, but the limited reading I've done has been enough. For example, Mary Rueffle, from "Parallelogram":

All those I love
and all those who love me
are unequally sad,
which is the only sadness,
besides a little fence
with lambs on the other side
who disappear into fractions.
Pity the rain.
Pity the silence.
Pity the slow passage
from the soul to the esophagus.

(How's that for a meditation on infidelity?) I would never write a poem like that, but reading it is almost as good as writing it. You have to be "writing" along with it to get into the poem.

On another note, did anyone read William Logan's piece in the Times Book Review on the new Oxford anthology of American poetryy? Did anyone besides me think, Get that man some Pepto-Bismol? Please.


Robert said...

I love those lambs disappearing into fractions. I think it's the sentimentality of lambs set against the mathematical abstraction of fractions that gets me.

Diane K. Martin said...

Yes, Mary Ruefle's poems are examples of how grateful the reader is when the poet truly does "make it new." And yet this is not entirely disjunctive--the lambs and fractions both share the landscape of childhood and the diction.

Robert said...

That's a great point about fractions as well as lambs being childhood things!