To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rae Armantrout: Four New Poems


Brittle ovals,

pinkish gray
and thin,

in shoals, 

treading currents.


let us in. 

            PARTING SHOTS 


Long, confident sentences
of the early visitors,

so unlike ours,
so much like one another, 

on the sculpted “grandeur” 

of the walls,
and then, with one light touch, 

on the bracing sense
of insignificance 

that they impart.


Behind the only wall in sight,
the defamiliarized wall, 

a sniper
tells a camera crew 

his work is “invigorating”
because it’s “personal.”

                    EXIT ROW 

You will buy your life
as a series 

of “experiences” 

to which you
will belong. 

Have a good flight. 


Do you believe
in reproduction? 

Do you think this
upland of clouds, 

white buttes cut
by shadow canyons, 

shapely and boundless

as the body
you were promised, 

will reappear
after you’re gone? 


Boarding all zones at this time


Now the poem
is saying
what it is forced to say
by its history, its form
thus pleasing the reader
who knows he can trust it
without being obliged
to regard
any statements it may make
as accurate
or “true.”
The poem is ridding itself
and us
of the burden
of abstraction –
a valuable service.
a question arises
as to how
to dispose of the poem
once this divestment
is complete.

[note. The poems above follow the recent publication by Wesleyan University Press of Armantrout’s Money Shot & carry forward the extreme grace & intelligence of her previous writings.  An earlier collection, Versed (2009), received both a Pulitzer Prize & a National Book Critics Circle Award, while her connection to the most innovative side of American & world poetry remains as strong as ever.  Previous postings on Poems & Poetics can be found here & here. (J.R.)]

1 comment:

annaaainafairytalee. said...

Hey, I love your blog, you should check out mine. I'm just getting started and I would greatly appreciate the help in spreading the word, I'll be spreading the word on yours too.
I also have another blog that is slightly older and I post, now mostly original poetry or how my day was, or scenes/chapters from play's/books of my original work. I would appreciate your feedback on whether you my poetry/writing is any good.

Book Review Blog:

Personal/ Poetry Blog:

Fond Regards,