Friday, May 27, 2005


Anon, a poetry journal based in Scotland, considers all submissions without knowing who the authors are. They ask poets to leave their name and contact info off of the poetry, and they do no want any cover letters, cv's/resumes, or list of publication credits. The authors are credited if they are accepted for publication. I think it's a great idea.

I have been reading Anon Three, and I found some wonderful work. In particular. I like the following poem by Rose Kelleher (p. 42):


This is a hologram of me
that fades and flickers as it stirs
the soup. Unseen machinery
projects my flesh: an engine whirs
behind the wall, and generates
repeating waves of sound and heat.
A pulsing pattern stimulates
a skin, devoid of blood or meat.

The hologram is sputtering
with static, and the color's dim,
but it continues buttering
his bread, and that's enough for him;
while you are unimpressed, who own
the best of me: the pulp, the bone.

Rose Kelleher

Although I am not a huge fan of rhyming poetry, Kelleher handles the rhyme in this poem so expertly that I didn't even notice it until perhaps the third reading. I believe it benefits the poem; it is not rhyming for rhyming's sake. It is a well-crafted form, mixed with effective enjambment, that creates a striking exploration into the speaker's sense of identity.

I see in this poem a woman engaged in a an activity that she has done a thousand times for her family--cooking soup at the stove. She has begun to feel invisible, as if a projected image could be doing this task and no one would notice. Perhaps her own sense of awareness is diminished by the months or years of repetition.

Her husband does not notice this; he is just happy to get his soup and buttered bread, as he is accustomed to. As long as his routine stays fixed, and he gets what he needs, he's fine. The others, however--those who "own / the best of [her]: the pulp, the bone" are "unimpressed." I imagine these are her children, who are aware of the "hologram," who know that this is not their mother, but only projection. They are waiting for the real thing to return.

This reading may be a bit literal. It is what came to mind with a few readings; I have no doubt that more will hit me as I think about the poem. What do you see? Do you relate to this speaker? Do you sometimes feel like a mere hologram, and find that no one even notices?


Anonymous Poet said...

Maybe this is the journal for me? Thanks again for stopping into my site. Do you think Howard Roark or Dominique Francon would like my poem "Skyscraper"?

Gilbert Koh said...

I liked this poem. It provides an interesting perspective.

My reading of this poem is that the "you" in the poem, about the character(s) who own the poet's "pulp" and "bone", actually refers to YOU, that is, the reader.

The poet's husband no longer sees the poet. She might as well be a hologram. He thinks of her as the person who fixes his meals etc but does not care about and cannot perceive what the poet thinks, feels etc.

On the other hand, through this poem, the reader is able to know the poet's inner thoughts and emotions, at a level which the poet's husband himself cannot. The poet has laid herself bare, to the reader.

That is why the poet says that the reader owns her "pulp" and "bone".

The reader is supposed to be unimpressed by the hologram, because having seen into the poet's thoughts and emotions, the poet knows that there is, or can be, much more to this human being, than just an entity trapped in the ordinary routine of mundane household chores.

Gilbert Koh said...

But I think your "children" interpretation is possible & plausible too.