Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quote of the week

"I wanted my Imagism and my slither too."

The quote of the week is from Rae Armantrout and can be found in her essay "Cheshire Poetics". Wondering this week about the value of poetry in the face of so much conflict and fragmentation. Also thinking that part of the resistance to language poetry must be this slight of hand. One wants something firm to tred upon, one wants to avoid the pitfalls and potholes of language. As if one could! Armantrout says "the poetry I value, can reproduce our conflicts and fractures and yet be held together in the ghost embrace of assonance and consonance, in the echoed and echoing body of language." Here, here. Shouldn't one trust what one knows more than what one sees?

I end with the title poem from Veil, reprinted in the American Poetry Review.
The doll told me
to exist.

It said, "Hypnotize yourself."

It said time would be


Now the optimist

sees an oak

and a girl whiz by
on a bicycle

with a sense of pleasurable

She budgets herself
with leafy


I too
am a segmentalist.


But I've dropped
more than an armful

of groceries or books

into a train station.

An acquaintance says
she colors her hair

so people will help her
when this happens.

To refute her argument
I must wake up

and remember my hair's
already dyed.


As a mentalist
I must suffer


then repeat myself
in a blind trial.

I must write
punchlines only I
can hear

and only after
I've passed on

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