Sunday, February 3, 2013

Poetry Monday: Charles Alexander (Near or Random Acts)

Though ModPo is now long finished for me (a new one is happening in September and I recommend it wholeheartedly), I'm still listening regularly to Poem Talk at Penn Sound, moderated by the wonderful Al Filreis.  The latest episode looks at Charles Alexanders' Near or Random Acts, a book that has a strong post 9/11 theme, using tight constraints around the the focal point of Alexander's young daughter Nora. The extended poem has a personal structure - 5 words per line, 7 lines per section (Nora being 7 and Alexander being 35 - 7x5).  The writing of the poem was interrupted by 9/11 and when Alexander came back to it, he put in an additional constraint to one of the sections which is covered well in the Poem Talk episode  (58) - the acrostic use of the word "tower" to make up each of the letters of each line.  Here's section 58 in its entirety:

the other world even rises
to outwit walls' erased rubble
that otherwise would easily resist
twilight's only willful edged rebuttal
try our waffles early riser
taste our wishes every reason
turn off war's echo restless

The result is a powerful mingling of horror and death with life and domestic care - a mingling that permeates the work and continues to be relevant to a modern reader. You can check out sections 56-66 here:

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book. In the meantime, enjoy the waffles.

No comments:

Post a Comment