Skip to main content

From "Lines in Space"

me and my homunculus

some launching bird packs up its paper wings / sounds
of the wrapping ripped from giving
over in the corner these herbs have no frozen moniker and
thusly we see them not but boy can we smell ‘em
y’know like kinda the invisible acts performed behind the scenes of the charitable fun run (once more round the plantation vicar? for which no credit that is due is given
my mind is functioning well
and I am happy with it thanks
its gift, in case anyone asks, is flight whose receipt, still valid, is some how mis-
laid no here it is! super!

The Power of Love remains
the most popular
name for a pop
song it is any wonder
you take me higher / relight my fire / my only desire / ancestral quire
I think therefore you are a lone magpie in wch case
we all salute you along with those who are about to
rock river wide expanse fragrant canyon paper scissors
nature the restricted nature the tedious
behind the scenes does not pertain to a staged totality such as the Yellowstone caldera
raise a red curtain
unbidden, like a dead arm, it drops
behind the drainpipe with the fake sound of real rats in the attic in The Excorcist who is not satan but are we legion—good—it says here that we are legion wch explains a lot and yet we feel that we are one like they do in a really powerful ballad
does not speak to me rather he speaks through me
wch I dnt lke p.t.o.
let me run this by you
the dull brush stub
of deadened stalk
on sunbuckled plains
black bird against snowwhite background of its own weird plumage
do you feel anything yet? neither do I

and then
at the last moment a
funny little man flies into the room ex-
cited ex-static ex-machina
babbling & hooting
“basically I just got of the phone with them and they are willing to make you an offer”
now you feel it don’t you? yeah it’s a very strange sensation
quindi, bring me my vellum brain slave
we are about to embark on a fantastical journey
patterned by the ardour in the chilly throats of gulls


Popular posts from this blog

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
(Manchester: Carcanet, 1977)
First Published (New York: Viking, 1975)

Close Readings and annotations of every poem in the collection March-April 1997 in preparation for In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde (Bucknell UP, 2001)


· Shoptaw notes that this return to poetry is dominated by images of waiting, that narrative (especially fairy-tale) returns, as do the musically based titles, there are no prose poems and no fixed forms such as sonnets of pantoums, most are free verse paragraphs, also bring forward a new American speech, more direct and inclusive.

“As One Put Drunk into a Packet-Boat”, 1-2

· Shoptaw notes this was the original title for the collection, marking a self-consciously Romantic return to poetry, recording the thoughts of “I” from afternoon to night, just outside a childhood country home. Has a pastoral crisis narrative in that a summer storm gathers but passes leaving the poet relieved i…

Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

For a long time I have felt that poetics has not taken into consideration a great deal written about issues pertaining to difference and repetition to be found in contemporary philosophy. As poetry's whole energy and dynamic is based on a fundamental relation to differential versus repeated units of sense (sense both in terms of meaning and the sensible), any work on difference and repetition would be welcome. That some of the greatest thinkers of the age, notably Deleuze and Derrida, have made both issues core to their whole philosophical systems is so remarkable that poetics is impoverished if it does not fully acknowledge this.

Not that I am one to talk. Although I am aware of the centrality of Deleuze's work to postmodern poetry, I have as yet not been able to really address this but in Poetry Machines I began that work at least. In preparation for the few hundred words I wrote there, here are the 10,000 words I annotated in preparation.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and …

John Ashbery, Some Trees

John Ashbery, Some Trees
(New York: Corinth Books, 1970)
Originally published (New York: 1956)

Close Readings and annotations of every poem in the collection March-April 1997 in preparation for In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde (Bucknell UP, 2001) currently in the process of complete update (2013)

"Two Scenes," 9

This is a poem about duality so in this sense the title actually refers to what the poem is ‘about’. John Shoptaw notes, for example, the phonic mirroring of the poem which he sees as an element later phased out as is the “linear introversion” to be found here. Thus we have the following phonic recurrences: “we see us as we”; “Destiny...destiny”; “News...noise”; “”; “-y” and rhymes of section 2; and “...old man/...paint cans”.

This simple but subtle semiotic device is then developed structurally as well, as the title hints. So ‘scene’ 2 reflects back internally onto ‘scene’ 1. “Machinery” recalls the train as does the canal; g…