Saturday, January 12, 2013

Recommending Dorianne Laux, the Poet

Why do I like Dorianne Laux?

I've read two poems by her in my life, (only two? yes, only two) but each gave me pause. (Titles: The Shipfitter's Wife and Dark Charms.) And each tickled something in me. I appreciate another writer's ability to hone in on a subject and reveal something about it that resonates or sheds light or gives it words that inspire awe, a sigh, a giggle. Right? This is true for the people we recommend -  the work they do - they inspire us?

I haven't spent much time with poems lately, but I hear them in my head, and my daughter's speech comes tumbling out of her in a poetic manner at times.
Last night....
2.5 year old: the ocean wants to wear a birthday hat.
Me: The ocean, Mags? What do you mean?
M: The ocean. The big water. It's going to the party and needs a birthday hat.
Back story: We were going to a monthly gathering of my friends, which she thinks of as a party,  which she associates with birthdays, which she associates with party hats, which always means everyone needs to have a birthday hat on.... But the ocean? She was waking from a nap when she said it, snuggling with her blanket. I know this precious bundle of yarn has taken on many identities. --It's often a horsey she rides or a baby who is crying and needs its mommy, and at least once, I've heard her refer to it as "the ocean." And so, of course: the ocean wanted to wear a birthday hat. *sigh* *smile* A poetic line from my daughter. It tickled me.

Anyway. I like this latest poem, "Dark Charms"  though I don't really know what it's all about. I was just struck by how she plays with the idea of the future  -- its advancements manifest and reveal our aging... ultimately, it takes the poet (and us) to her (our) past...?
We continue to speak, if only in whispers,
to something inside us that longs to be named.
For me, this thing whispering, wanting to be named, is my childhood, is my history, is my growing up and fashioning me into Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde. Question: What inside you wants to be named? What inside any of us desires language?
We name it the past and drag it behind us,
bag like a lung filled with shadow and song,
dreams of running, the keys to lost names.
If there was any phrase in this whole poem that made me think it might appeal to you, I guess its the idea of dragging the past around like a bag, like a lung. Whew.

This is a sweet exercise for me this morning. I hope you enjoyed this, or are inspired to pick up a Dorianne Laux poem!

Peace! Happy New Year! Read on!

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