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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

poetry poetri petri

"I repeated: come with me, as if I were dying,
and no one saw in my mouth the moon that was bleeding,
no one saw the blood that was rising into the silence."
-Neruda, Sonnet VII
LO-O-O-O-OVE. Can you believe how gorgeous that is? I know it's probably an unforgivable bastardization of the sonnet form to excerpt it like that, blah blah blah you don't have to say what you did I already know I found out from him CRY ME A RIVER, but I can only appreciate one or two lines of poetry at a time. I think poetry is most beautiful when excerpted and tacked up, like a butterfly on corkboard, broken and lovely. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: I don't like long poems. They disinterest me from the start. I hate the way they look on the page, all spindly and narrow, and I hate the sort of ambiguous arrogance about their form. You will read me, for I am poetry, or something like that. Decipher me. I am a challenge. The long poems I do like are full of beautiful little pieces that can be taken apart and stolen and rearranged, and that's why I like them. (Gosh, chalk that up to the Twitterization of America.) But as for the rest of you? Write a freaking novel. Be interesting. Shut up.
Whenever I find a few lines that I absolutely love (we're talking hi-mom-nothing's-new-really-oh-except-i-have-an-appointment-to-get-some-Neruda-tattooed-on-my-forehead-tomorrow love), there's always something in the rest of the poem to distract/detract from that love. For instance, the next line in Sonnet VII is "Oh love, let us forget the star with thorns!" (Granted, it's an English version of the poem, so you have to read it with a bit of healthy skepticism.) I don't like the sound of that line (in English). I just don't. Something about the exclamation point coupled with the semi-musty "let us forget" turns me off. Sorry, Pablo! I just want to read my favorite lines without any "Oh love!"s getting in the way. WAAA!
This is an extremely self-centered way to look at poetry, but I'm not sure it's any more self-centered than most poetry itself.

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You are truly great.