Thursday, July 20, 2006

A New--To Me--Poet

Last night was a wonderful reading smorgasbord--a little poetry, a little Proust, and a little diary of Virginia Woolf. Delicious! The book of poetry I am reading is The Aggressive Ways of the Casual Stranger by Rosmarie Waldrop. John discovered her recently and insisted that she was amazing and that I would really like her. Aggressive Ways is the only book of hers my library had so that's the one I am reading. John made a good recommendation. Waldrop doesn't use punctuation which makes me want to read the poems fast and imparts a sort of breathlessness. Her line breaks, however, fall in unusual places (at least to me who has never gotten the whole meter thing in poetry), thoughts stop and start in the middle of lines so I can't read quickly. Without punctuation or other obvious visual clues, I am forced to slow down and pay attention. When reading these poems I feel as though I am in a hurry but being held back. It is a strange but not unpleasant feeling. Waldrop's imagery is beautiful. This also slows me down because I stop and re-read the phrases over a few times before moving on to the rest of the poem. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:

We try to make ourselves at home in our lives horses in their stable rubbing cheeks against security ("Deflecting Forces") --- Already at four the moon city grey seeps through windows the sky so low I can't stir my soup ("Winter") --- gestures hang in the air exhausted prematurely my fear of being a kite among winds your fear I've eaten tigers in my dreams but we don't tell about these things ("Morning Has No House")
I am disappointed my library has only the one book, not all of them are in print anymore even though it looks like she is still writing. Used bookstores are a blessing for situations like this one. Waldrop will be added to my hunt list.