Thursday, April 15, 2010

poetry, daily: 11

The series. What is it, how does it function? By series I mean both poems in parts and series of separate poems that function together. The series can be a way for a poet struggling to relate things to box them into separate areas but leave them on the same page. More capably used, it can, as in Seamus Heaney's poem "Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication", make us think about two disparate elements in terms of their relation (which in this case is not formal or tonal or imagistic), while the poet clearly composes two objects--and places them together, changing and complicating what they would have been alone. The series means we can't go back to the single poem. It desires the complex relation that moving parts have, because it is composed of parts that relate internally (both vertically and not), relate to the whole, and relate to what is outside (as with any poem).

Poems in a series are train cars, rooms in a house, little worlds with their own rules. And have to merit these. There's no flab on a freight train; everything working, everything carrying its weight.

Michel Foucault, in The History of Sexuality I: Composite bodies greater than their parts' sum (136).



Writing exercise: Write a poem in parts or a series of poems.

See you tomorrow.


All work here © 2010 and onward to me, Eireann Lorsung. Please do not reproduce my words in any form in print or online. If you wish to excerpt parts from the month of poetry featured here, please contact me: ohbara at gmail dot com.

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