Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Personify, personify!

I am dangerously devoted to Rilke, and his obsession with inanimate objects is blaringly apparent in my own poems. So you can imagine my disillusionment when I realized that personification defeats the purpose I once thought it had.
I was trapped in the back seat on my way to Pennsylvania when I decided to amuse myself by personifying bent trees, something about how they were scooping things from the ground--then it hit me: the trees are not scooping anything. Trees are trees and they don't even know that they are trees. Maybe a few of you have already grasped this shocking concept, but this was news to me. Did this mean that all Rilke's studies on "Things" were just fancies, ridiculous projections of his own humanity on inanimate matter? Well. . . yeah.
Maybe this is why some people don't like poetry, labeling it far-out nonsense with no actual content, no "reality." Because that's actually what I'd been aiming for with personification, trying to find the reality behind non-human things. But now that I realize my mistake, I'm surprisingly still comfortable with personifying. So what if it bypasses the "Thing" altogether by relating it unreasonably to the human world; what was I trying to learn from a mute birch, anyway? By making such an association, by making a baby tortoise a "Ulyssean atom" (D.H. Lawrence) or the inside of a rock a hidden kingdom (Wislawa Szymborska - "Conversation with a Stone"), we learn more about ourselves and the questions we're confronted with. I can get over the fact that matter doesn't mean anything, in and of itself; in that case, it won't mind if I give it meaning to further explore my comfortably human world.


Temporary Home

This blogsite is our temporary home while our website undergoes an extreme makeover of epic proportions (shifted septums, pacemakers, calf implants, dialysis, a fancy wig, contacts -- the works).

This was our old home, and while it is a bit dated, it's a good source of info regarding recent issues and the history of Prism Review.

Updates will follow regarding our new home. ETA summer 2009.