Sunday, August 09, 2009

70's Poetry Margaret Atwood

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Margaret Atwood
Power Politics (1971)

Image from the back of the book, Anansi 1971

One of the most well-known of the early Atwoods, this is easy to remember and captures the best of her wit, her acerbic eye. I was probably about ten years old when I inherited the book from my brother-in-law after he quit university. The marginalia was fascinating and my first example of how one might read a poem.

The following was a pre-adolescent favorite...but it's from the 60s.

THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPH OF ME

It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
eventually
you will be able to see me.)

Yup, that book, in 1967, was $1.95. Amazing.

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