Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Weather

Lisa Robertson's book, The Weather, is one of the best books of poetry I have read in the past few years. I don't like the subsequent The Men. I think it relies too heavily on loud gimmickry. Gimmicks kill poetry.

There was a poet who was able to change the meaning of a word through repetition. He usually got it done in only three tries. His name was William Shakespeare. Words do funny things when Shakespeare repeats them. Some poets think today that you can hypnotize readers by repeating a word a million times. But no matter how many times you repeat a word, if you haven't done your work by the third or fourth time, your magic has failed. The men might be en jambed, but they don't dance.

Andrew Zawacki, did an impersonation of Lisa Robertson at her worst. He could have impersonated her at her best and everyone would have leaped with glee, but instead he read a poem called Georgia, which was a very long poem repeating the word, guess what! GEORGIA. It was as boring as The Men. It's like, we see what you're doing, we get the gimmick, now please stop. You are hurting me by insulting the audience's intelligence.

Andrew Zawacki's reading was particularly heartbreaking because I think a great deal of what I've read of his work is very strong and interesting and even downright brilliant sometimes. Why would he read that Georgia poem? Probably the same reason Robertson keeps blowing the dust off The Men at readings. The Men are still en jambed. People say things like, "hypnotic!" and "entrancing!" and "rhythmic," which all together means "snore," but they all sound very good, and it probably feels good when people say things like that about your poetry.
The weather is so beautiful right now. I love it. I feel sorry for all my friends in other parts of this world where they are chattering their teeth like hamsters at water bottles. It seems cold everywhere except here.
Last night we took the ferry across the bay for fun. The cities on both sides of the bay are stunning from the water at night. The ocean was crisp and the air tasted fresh.
I started looking for happy music so that the spring will seem much more upon us. I am excited about spring, and I remember when spring and summer music really brought a sunny day together.

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