ou an

—2011—

R’r 11.2

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4 thoughts on “ou an

  1. First, thanks to Scott for posting this series.
    I would be very interested to hear from folks about their response to this poem. Seems like it might be a good one to discuss a bit. How does it work for you? Or not work?

  2. I do like this poem even though I feel I really don’t understand it well enough to comment about it 🙂
    Waiting for the others . . .
    Or maybe Peter, you could tell us how it touched you?

  3. –language solidifying as object.
    –the bubbles from a scuba diver in the vastness of the sea–air/water–the thin membrane separating/connecting them.
    –a salutation to the togetherness/alone-ness of being
    — the illusion of self

    This poem echoes for me, like the refrain of a folk song.

  4. Here is the way I have seen this poem:

    the “you” of the poem is “identified” as an “and”. It is presented as one possible identification, in the manner of saying such things as “as a father” or “as a poet”– those are things I am “as”– they are qualities– they do not define me. They are identities I go along with, at some times more strongly than at others.

    I like to think about myself as an “and”. What does this mean? Does it mean I am a quality between two other qualities which links them and partakes of both? Seems more inclusive than being a “but”, for example.

    As an “and” I seem to appear again and again and again. This is a rather mystical point of view: I am not a solid unchanging thing but a stream of appearances.

    Then I think yes that how waves work, a wave is an “and” again and again. Is a wave “on” the sea? Truer to say a wave is “in” the sea? Or perhaps both “on” and “in”. Or perhaps “of”. When it comes to the sea, all prepositions have to happen at once, but I’ll say they’re all present in “in”. Not sure.

    So that’s how this poem gets me thinking, but the rhythm does a lot here– it does a lot of my thinking for me, the kind of thinking I can’t think. Yes I feel the motion of the sea, I feel myself appear again and again as a wave.

    I like that a short poem like this can get me thinking and feeling both. I’ve been thinking about a lot of the poems Scott is posting in the series– as it happens they are showing up around the same time as the new Red Moon Anthology, so I can’t help but compare a bit. What I find about a lot of poems that have been selected in the RMA is that they are very easily grasped. They are like doorknobs that fit very comfortably in your hand, but when you twist them, nothing happens– they don’t offer entrance into anything more.

    The other end of the spectrum is poems which are inscrutable. There are some poems that R’r publishes which I find rather impenetrable. A door made of wood opens, but it opens to another door, this one made of steel, and another made of rabbit fur. I kind of crash into each one.

    The point is, Gilbert’s poem here, and many of the others Scott is showcasing, are neither easily grasped not inscrutable. Is Gilbert’s poem difficult? If it is, it is difficult in a way worth wrestling with. It is not inscrutable, any more than the sea is, or I am.

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