Monday, April 02, 2007

1st of all, prose is not an opposition to poetry. I'm not sure how to define either term, frankly. you got any guesses? poetry? it is perhaps involved in music/sound, rollicks with image, contours the imagination, and resists. prose? it is lattice work, structuring effort. poetry is the condensation from, to and around words. much depends on the syntactical surprise, the sense of language shifting its stance before our eyes. think of how Dickinson wrenches hymn and doggerel into difficult blossoms. and into the 20th century, the desire/need to get into the space between words: the disjunctive. but our brains aren't just leaping machines, they also follow trails. I see prose as logical line. and yet, in my own prose, I dismay it with a curious sense of resolution. the inferred story one sees in my work is incomplete, not fully voiced, not limited. you could say this is my tactic but it isn't planned. it is how the writing occurs. one poem I read seems illustrative:

Le Voyage au Cafe

All openings proclaimed the new coffee. Simple story: new coffee had beat to the fragrance. Not a palm oil confusion could be found in the basic bliss. A crux coaxed the ball rolling. New dumps were seen in tracing growth thru effort and the catalogue. Old coffee was taken down, brewing on the side of trade. We won't trade any more, proclaimed the days of faster all of you. New coffee like a chain in space, a turnpike called west, a lovely expectation tilling field. New coffee sends shock, jets land on fog timber, the president wills for lasting: all this adheres to humps of future list our names. A drink of new coffee, collective bargaining agreement, a press toward natural, all the basics raveling in a guide of tourneys on the sly. Friends in this time reach over the fence, changing as change, kneeling quickly to result. With diffidence, fog happens to the trace, sonic in bud and back while reclaiming the destitute trump. Mirror hovers over patience like a docket filled with tools. Gesturing rings of sample toes as foot beams need a looming. Friends clump new coffee for the fettle whilst of choose. Chatter bug rambling farm reaps meme taste klatsch for all. Federation meantime matches nebulous parity toward the door. New coffee then plumply lights the hay as we gussy up the flow.

* * * * *

note how it begins declaratively, but shifts into Coolidge Beat. this is prose dangling helplessly. it is squeezed together, hurried and even to me strange. I write these comments from a respectful distance of amazement. I observe the writing thru me. as I read yesterday, I felt my words kinda shooting over people's heads. certainly not in the sense of being too intellectually grand, but that my strategy is unexpected. and my muttered explicatory comments were only hesitant guesses at the time, m0re confusing than helpful. all 3 of the other poets who read yesterday gave small compriseable chunks to the listeners. Alan's short bursting lines, Christina's distinct, pounding (and hilarious) gatherings, and the flickering recognitions of John (I think my earlier comments on his reading disserve him some). my prosy pieces are rather relentless in how they run out ahead. their density owes to some kind of physics I haven't worked out the vocabulary of yet. also, I don't believe it is easily seen how seriously I take Fu Manchu, Tarzan and space aliens. if you've read this far, I just want to say that this is no apologia or defense, it's a working out.
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