Friday, December 09, 2005

Rhubarb Variation #1

Simon DeDeo's Rhubarb is Susan is back. His tastes are not identical with mine, but I normally find the poems he picks for review interesting, and his reviews always give me something to think about.

Beyond the aesthetic uses I put poems to, my reading normally involves two more or less imaginary operations. I tend to revise poems I read and to anthologize them. Both make me a kind of armchair editor. And I propose to make this activity public [post the results of this activity] every now and then, using Simon's selections as a point of departure.

Here, then, is what I did with Karol Wojtyla's (aka Pope John Paul II) "Girl Disappointed in Love":

It is time we measure pain
as we measure the meat
of bodies to discover our limits.

You are the center of things,
you said. If you would
only get it: the center is here,

and it, too, finds love. Why
don't you see the human heart
for what it is? What it's for.


Simon said...

Hello Thomas! Hope all is well. I do an analogous thing, or, rather, when I encounter a poem I *don't* like, I tend to start crossing things out. But when I encounter something I think passes a certain threshold of competence, I tend to "let be" -- try not to alter or decompose a poem. I suppose it's part of a desire to encounter something completely outside myself?

Thomas Basbøll said...

Both the editing and the anthologizing, for me, amount to emphasising the aspects of a poem I like. At least that day.

But I suppose there is a certain threshold where the majority of the "editorial" decisions involve putting it somewhere among other really good poems.

Good to have you back in the blogosphere.