Sunday, January 24, 2016

Poetry Monday: PoemTalk does Allen R Grossman’s My Radiant Eye

I’ve said this before and will no doubt say it again, but Jacket2’s PoemTalk is my favourite podcast.  I  try to listen to every show, not just to discover a new poet, but to listen to the way in which poetry - even poetry that seems cryptic and confusing at first, can be explored, unpicked, and opened out towards its full beauty.  In this issue the team, consisting of Kathryn Hellerstein, Peter Cole, Ariel Resnikoff, and of course, Al Filreis, who drives the discussion, looks at Allen R Grossman’s poem “My Radiant Eye”.  The discussion is informative, including ancillary but relevant information (the “inter text”) to both the poem itself, and to Grossman and the book that contains it, Descartes’ Loneliness, as well as an analysis of many aspects of the poem - its resonances, its “way of seeing”, the meta-poetic elements of the piece, the  and the revelations.  I think it was Cole who said:  [This is] “a poem of retrospection...a eulogy for the lone poet.  The theatre of the absurd within the drama of the poem  is what redeems the impossible situation the he finds himself in.”

You can listen to the episode of PoemTalk here:

The full text of My Radiant Eye can be found at Google Books.  Here’s a taste:

Or is it on account of my radiant eye
I have lived so long--I never slept

in the study hall, or called anyone
by an improper name. I never urinated in

a desolate synagogue.  I never ate or drink
in a desolate synagogue or picked my teeth.

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