Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bruising Punctures & Soothing Pacifiers

So this morning as my youngest son sat in my lap & I hugged him close
& held his left arm still so the phlebotomist could find a vein &
slide the needle in to draw blood for his lead test (hopefully the
worst present turning 2 ever earns you), I thought of those things
earned by experience...or to paraphrase one of my favorite rock
lyrics, your scars make you who you are, which is from a Tinsel song
(an indie band I used to love to see from my younger days in Chapel
Hill).

These thoughts that ran thru me while restraining & reassuring him led
me to consider the poetics of suffering & happiness, or I suppose,
suffering versus happiness as influence on creativity, &
penultimately, to wonder whether I had any recall of a poet or writer
whose work I was drawn to, who had a happier outlook or slant. & aside
from Seuss and some Taoist dialogues from the T'ang dynasty with wise
& playful monks, I could call to mind no others.

All of which led me to ponder whether great writing could occur amid
happiness. This is not to say that I believe no great work can be born
out of joy, or that only mining the depths of personal sorrow is
required tho some writers have obviously (maybe subconsciously) needed
to manufacture a drama in their life in order to achieve the necessary
mental state for creation. But these few are certainly not the mean or
average. I suspect that in most writers a sort of seasonal
meloncholia, based on the transition from one season to the other or
based on the characteristics found in the heart of one, such as Wolfe
and his October (which if you have ever seen North Carolina in the
fall you would understand as it is a time of true beauty but with an
underlying sadness as winter approaches steadily and more prominently
as October fades).

& then, it was over. The vials filled. A pacifier normally sequestered
to the bedroom soothed him physically, a bag of juice treats in his
hand promised some pleasure down the road, & his daddy letting him
press the elevator buttons assured him that as young as he was, as
powerless as he is now, he will grow into greater things & tho the
world includes a great measure of suffering, it does not lack for
great, if not greater, amounts of happiness.

Sent from my iPod

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dramatic Monologues

While I like Robert Browning fine, I think the genre of dramatic monologues in poetry has never really been the same since poems by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot shook out the dust from the genre, and then of course John Berryman, who happened to create a tripartite monologue in the Dreamsongs (despite having three "speakers", I think we can still consider it a dramatic monologue since each speaker is the same person and I don't mean the poet).