And Your Face, in the Mirror?

This is a poem structure of Louise Gluck’s, I copied the italics and answered the questions my way, and in this new draft, I am contrasting my old perspective when I wrote this with my perspective now. It has changed drastically-since the first draft of this poem two years ago. You can read the first, old draft here, from when I was in that dark space. Now for the new one:

 

“Are you healed or do you only think you’re healed?”

I told myself it is

terrible and beautiful

to survive.

Believing it might make me so,

with whatever limitations I

guided myself by.

 

 

“But can you love anyone yet?”

I slipped across mirrors,

always mirrors.

I was only yet learning

my reflection, a face

I didn’t know.

 

 

“But will you touch anyone?”

 

I told myself

if I have nothing,

that’s what comes back.

I touched my body

in the mirror,

examined its rounds

and edges, the skin

an …other. Read More

A Literary Kick (books, links, poets and authors)

I’ve been on a crazy literary kick and I thought I’d share my findings, including some INCREDIBLE books (and links, author blogs, literary websites and magazines/journals).

For starters, I want these books (many of which were found at Ampersand Books and Brain Pickings):

Letters of Note –Shaun Usher (and his awesome Letters of Note blog)

A Writer’s Diary–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

As Consciousness is Harnassed to Flesh: journals and notebooks (Susan Sontag)

MeaningofHumanExistenceMech.inddThe Meaning of Human Existence (BOUGHT IT!) by Edward O. Wilson

–and here’s a review by the Washington Post

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (Anne Lamott) —BOUGHT IT!

Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson

Dataclysm: Who We Are (when we think no one is looking) by Christian Rudder —BOUGHT IT!

The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt

Changing My Mind: Occassional essays by Zadie Smith

(poetry) Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck —OWN IT9780374152017_custom-c010e93aece861fd1783b68ce6c0eabdc7044d67-s99-c85

****The Muse of Abandonment: Origin, Identity, Mastery in Five American Poets by Lee Upton (…bought it)

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit —BOUGHT IT!

Henry Miller on Writing

Sex, or the Unbearable by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman

978-0-8223-5594-6_pr

and oooooh

22022747I want this one: Blacken Me Blacken Me, Growled   by Cassandra Troyan  (which I saw over at PANK)

(poetry/Ampersand): For the Woman Alone (at Ampersand Books) by Ashley Inguanta  71h2yIQfwdL

(fiction/Ampersand) We Take Me Apart –Molly Gaudry (and I believe there is a sequel coming out)

Now, other cool literary/poetic places I like–and most of them have podcasts, links, reviews, music, and more:

How a Poem Happens (one of my favorite places)

Identity Theory–has everything

Jacket2

MadHat Lit

Tin House Workshop Podcasts (with a special podcast there by Ann Hood on 10 steps to an essay)

Bookslut –books, interviews, posts, good stuff

dumbfoundry

Largehearted Boy–music, books, lots of great shit (and downloads)

Luna Park

Laila Lalami Read More

Ode to Louise Gluck

 

I’m writing an ode to my favorite poet, Louise Gluck.  To join in the fun, come and celebrate the three year anniversary at d-verse poets pub!

I’m writing this poem based on my favorite poem by Gluck–“Mutable Earth.”  I carry that one with me in my wallet.  Rosanna Warren has described Gluck’s writing, for one

diem design photography
diem design photography

as–“her–power is to distance the lyric ‘I’ as subject and object of attention” and to “impose a discipline of detachment upon urgently subjective material”  William Logan from the New York Times described her work as “the logical outcome of a certain strain of confessional verse–starved adjectives, thinned to a nervous set of verbs, intense almost past bearing, her poems have been dark, damaged and difficult to avert your gaze from.” (taken from The Poetry Foundation)

In her poem, “Mutable Earth,” there are a series of questions asked of the narrator and she answers in brief, punching stanzas.  I am going to answer the same questions; why not?

 

“Are you healed or do you only think you’re healed?”

I tell myself it is

terrible and beautiful

to survive

the mind.

It’s costing me everything.

 

“But can you love anyone yet?”

My first four years

had love;

I remember the

feeling well.

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“But will you touch anyone?”

I tell myself

if I have nothing,

that’s what comes back.

 

I touch my face

in the mirror

and I feel nothing.

 

“And your face too?

Your face in the mirror?”

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Lupen Grainne

It feels like I am

gloved; I see

a shape of silent centers.

It always felt invisible.

 

“Were you safe then?”

Hands that can’t feel

reach for danger.

 

I wouldn’t keep secrets

of my own–my thoughts

were never safe, even

from me. Read More

From “Mutable Earth” Louise Gluck

f”…So you couldn’t protect yourself?

The absolute
erodes; the boundary, the wall
around the self erodes.
If I was waiting I had been
invaded by time.

But do you think you’re free?

I think I recognize the patterns of my nature.

Bud do you think you’re free?

I had nothing
and I was still changed.
Like a costume, my numbness
was taken away.  Then
hunger was added.”

–Louise Gluck, from Vita Nova

“…the unsaid (in a poem)…exerts great power” Louise Gluck on Poetry

–from Modern American Poetry; Louise Gluck (my favorite)

 

Glück On “the Unsaid” in Poetry


from “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence”

[In this meditative essay, Glück defends in more detail the aesthetics of paradox and simple language that she had earlier sketched in “Education of the Poet.” In this more developed presentation, that aesthetics is rooted in a sense of a work of art as provocatively unfinished. The artists Glück discusses – the poets include Rilke, Berryman, Oppen and Eliot – are, as she demonstrates, practitioners of “not saying,” of leaving out so as to suggest.]

What I share with [poets in my generation] is ambition; what I dispute is its definition. I do not think that more information always makes a richer poem. I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence. The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen for example, to the power of ruins, to works of art either damaged or incomplete. Such works inevitably allude to larger contexts; they haunt because they are not whole, though wholeness is implied: another time, a world in which they were whole, or were to have been whole, is implied. There is no moment in which their first home is felt to be the museum. … It seems to me that what is wanted, in art, is to harness the power of the unfinished. All earthly experience is partial. Not simply because it is subjective, but because that which we do not know, of the universe, of mortality, is so much more vast than that which we do know. What is unfinished or has been destroyed participates in these mysteries. The problem is to make a whole that does not forfeit this power.

From Louise Glück, “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence,” Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry (New York: Ecco, 1994) 74-75. Copyright 1994 by Louise Glück.


Poetry of Louise Gluck

The Poetry of Louise Gluck

One of my favorite poets in the world is Louise Gluck.  I like how she can’t quite be tagged.  The Poetry Foundation says her work can’t really be found “confessional” or “intellectual”; she’s a VOICE, strong and honest and beautiful.  Here are some of my favorites.

  First Memory

Long ago, I was wounded.  I lived

to revenge myself

against my father, not

for what he was–

for what I was: from the beginning of time,

in childhood, I thought

that pain meant

I was not loved.

It meant I loved.

The Red Poppy

The great thing

is not having

a mind.  Feelings:

oh, I have those; they

govern me.  I have

a lord in heaven

called the sun, and open

for him, showing him

the fire of my own heart, fire

like his presence.

What could such glory be

if not a heart?  Oh my brothers and sisters,

were you like me once, long ago,

before you were human?  Did you

permit yourselves

to open once, who would never

open again?  Because in truth

I am speaking now

the way you do, I speak

because I am shattered. Read More