Monday, March 26, 2012

Puzzlement is often a feature of my reaction to new work that is both powerful & mysterious: I want to know why I’m having such a strong response to the poem. A perfect example is Corina Copp’s breath-taking little chapbook from Ugly Duckling, Be Met / Pro Magenta, one of those 2-in-1 dealy-bobs, only not just with twin front covers and the texts running upside down up to one another, but in fact double-bound together, so that each work, a relatively short (by my standards) poem, has its own spine & binding. Terrific as the book design is – and it deserves some award for best chapbook – the poetry inside is even better, definitely hitting the gong on the “take the top of your head off” scale. Here’s a sample from Pro Magenta:

Antagonist, never let
Go, never be the house-
Hold perfect soil and
Ideal climate, be a love
That does not know
How to know human
Genre crashed on
The purblind sea, how-
Ever austerely sun-
Sick, I made
Hare and eggs
Enraptured, trundled
One of my reveries even
Amidst a violet party
Decision to help
Force a whale
Under the point
Of the green pencil
It will like pulsing
I don’t, well would
Do but how to
Achieve purblind
Handcrafting raw
Product at the hop

This first stanza is almost “clear speech,” but it’s not. It uses “purblind” twice & now has caused me to type the word exactly three times in my entire life. The balance between extravagant, ornate language – “Enraptured, trundled” – and one-syllable words weighs to the latter, enough so that the two two-syllable terms in

to help
Force a whale
Under the point
of the green pencil

carry rhythmic force. The line is not fixed either by word count or syllabics, but the vision of intuitive presence – the being of the writer herself – is unmistakable.

But I don’t quite know how the language angles & juts, and the poem leaves me with a great sense of longing: if I could just get that, whatever that is, something of enormous emotional, spiritual, cognitive import would suddenly be revealed. At least that’s how it feels me to. So I find myself reading these two poems again & again, flipping the book & starting over.