Friday, May 12, 2006

 

A hit of consciousness

I love encountering a poet whose work I hadn't known previously and who knocks my socks off. That happened recently when I read Re-entry by Michael White (University of North Texas Press, 2006). The title poem is about reentering the world after being in rehab - the shock of the world, really. And all the poems give us that wake-up call, that reminder to be open, to be conscious. This couplet has been knocking around in my head the last several weeks. It's from the poem "Everything Adrift":

the world, which calls him, calls him, woos him, till
the heart forgets why it was clenched in the first place.

I know no better description of the self-protective impulse that too often governs our lives than the clenched heart.

I usually have trouble with long poems, but the long ones in Re-entry I think are the strongest and not at all hard to get through; especially "My Bicentennial Year," "Cineplex," and the final poem, "Santa Croce." They give space to the vastness of the perceived world, and to our experience of the world: rich in detail, marvelous in their sympathy for human feeling. You can read "My Bicentennial Year" here.

Comments:
the poem by the cat was good.long, i didnt think i had the stamina to finish it, then i was under an uderpass in a town i'd never been to. happy mother's day.
 
Exactly - it takes us places; that's what I love about the poems: we really live in the physical and emotional spaces the poems give to us.
Thanks, Dwayne!
SB
 
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