This blog has moved to Please make a note, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mackey's Song of the Andouboulou 27 (entry 2)

[This series of posts reflect on Nathaniel Mackey's Song of the Andoumboulou, a series of poems that Mackey has been working on through three books. His latest book with Andoumboulou poems in them, Splay Anthem, won the National Book Award. I take into consideration, in addition to the poems themselves, his allusions, Mackey's prose, interviews with him, and critical discussions of his work. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. To access all of the posts, click on "Nathaniel Mackey" in the list to the right.]
The next section continues the images of alienation — "dreamt of lone coast" — but in a language more taught and punchy. The lines, filled with one or two syllable words, range between two and five words long (excluding the short one-word lines that frequently end stanzas.)

In the previous stanza we have lines filled with multi-syllabic words, and the lines are often a little bit longer. When we reach the end of the second section, the lines become quite short.

While Mackey's poems never stop dancing, this is as close as he comes to claustrophobia: "cut string caroling / world / relapse." The final section uses very short lines, goes by very quickly, is short, and returns us to worldly imagery and away from dream imagery. The persona in the poem, "the she" who would seem to be the female half of the original twins of the Dogon mythology. Punning, Mackey writes "'mu' more related / to miss than to myth."

A poem that pushes and pulls, formally, thematically, imagistically, and so on. It pushes towards embrace, sometimes violent, sometimes comforting, then pulls toward isolation at "Nudge." The poem is the process of reading it, one that leads us through a thicket of complications, "line blurring truth," emphasis on the adjective "blurring," so that truth itself is like a verb, always blurring, never clearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment