Monday, May 09, 2005

Birmingham Poetry Review

I spent part of my weekend checking out a few poetry journals, trying to keep up-to-date with what's out there. This is a great time for poetry; there is truly something for everyone.

Although I love studying the works of well-known poets, I want to pay some attention to the gorgeous and striking work that is being created right now, which deserves to be read but will never get the kind of PR allotted to "The DaVinci Code." At the Birmingham Poetry Review site, I found this poem by Fernand Roqueplan, and just had to share.



Everything Repeated Many Times

Met a man on a downtown Biloxi bus,
his affliction some doctor must
have phrases or explanations for:
everything repeated many times.
He described his house, called his house
yellow yellow yellow just like that:
thought maybe his mind worked in threes,
then he said his favorite color—red

red red red. I wasn't sorry for him
or irritated, thought how nice
having a head jabbed full of words
stripped of eloquence,
sophistry and oration tripped up:
afflicted with everything
repeated many times,
how difficult it would be to lie.

Told me his name name name—
John. I asked him again, and he said,
"My name name name is John."
Leashed to description
we call and contain; trammeled by ego
we badger and bestow.
"This is my stop stop
stop stop stop," John said, "the casino
with the red red red neon swordfish."
Someone laughed, and John stepped down.
When my turn came I whispered it a block
early to see how it sounded: stop stop
stop stop stop.

--Fernand Roqueplan



It's fascinating to read a poem where the speaker is encouraged to question the function of language in such an energetic way. The speaker feels that normally we are "leashed to description" and "trammeled by ego;" he finds honesty and even accuracy in the way John speaks. If something is red, and you want to emphasize that with language, how do you do that? Red, red, red. Why waste words on something so simply done?

Please take a few minutes to check out the Birmingham Poetry Review. There are three poems from the current issue you can read, all of which are wonderful.

4 comments:

Danny said...

Dear Amy,

You are very good at spotting poignant and compelling poems.

I like like like this one with good sense of humor but subtly cynical about how ordinary people relate to physically or mentally challeged individuals...

Deek Deekster said...

for a while, i sat at the feet of Motoori Norinaga.

i felt inexplicably sad there, although his feet were beautiful.

later, i sat at the feet of Marcel Duchamp. i felt a mild shock there, as if all my previous experience of emotion had been called into question.

finally i sat at the feet of Fela Kuti. that felt a lot more funky.

Gilbert Koh said...

I liked this one, the repetition in the poem worked very well for me. Like, stop stop stop stop stop.

H.E. MANTEL said...

AMY - "MONO NO AWARE,' INDEED! SEARCHED FOR A MANNER IN WHICH TO SEND TO YOU, ALAS, THIS... HAVE OTHERS RESONANT OF THIS POST CONSISTENT WITH "KINDRED SPIRT" (THE AFOREMENTIONED, MUSIC, SINGING, POETRY, YOGA, "HAIKU"...) PPROFESSIONAL & CONCERTED; THIS POST, SANS ESSENTIAL "ITALICS & UNDERSCORE-ACCOUTREMENT;" NONETHELESS... PLEASED FOR YOU TO READ/COMMUNICATE, I AM

Hberrygrove@aol.com &/or

MySpace(H.E.)

POETRY IN BALTIMORE
BRYANT H. McGILL COMMUNITY
MY WRITERS CIRCLE
BEGINNINGS
EDIT RED

POETICSPIT
WORLDARTISTNETWORKMAGAZINE

>> ALL "HaroHalola" <<

IN RHYME - H.e.m.





- MAKE-OVER -

She got herself an
ankle tattoo, one with a
scalloped ribbon. And

PURR-manent makeup
-highly-erremovable!,
a hair weave, then an

Italian Cut, and
finally, don'cha know... Aye!
The Ring!... No! The Left

Nipple... Finally!,
don'cha know, gave a look, there
made Open her Heart!

H.e.m.
2.23.MMv.
(Revised- 2.23.MMv
4.18.MMvii.)


-- POBRECITA --

At "Intake/Eval," the
battered young, single-
Mother of 6,

queried on her understanding
of the importance of
"Phyto-nutrients," replied candidly,

"Sure, yes, I don't like
doing it, but sometimes we have to have dog food!"

H.e.m.
10.3.MMvi.


- QUIETUS -

Just like that
with the snap-of... the finger
& Mind We are gone -
murdered, like $$ by a
Foxwood Bandit!

And too your virt voice flown,
gone to s m a s h
b'neath the wheels & squeals of
the dread-Airport run-aways & departures...
(does any One ever True-ly remain, or arrive!?)

'cept to toss-back, through a sardonic, toothsome-smile
thru the opened-fools' Door
the Key, which opened same,
like a fetid particle picked from b'tween your teeth!
But a ratty Mercedes is still a Mecedes,
And a ratty Mercedes is still ratty.

Yes, Umerly, Toyt!
As unsurely as racin' a-cross train tracks,
Just like That!

H.e.m.
5.11.MMvii.