reading revival: a poetry book blog

reading revival is devoted to promoting australian poetry books and related discussion through reading one book - firstly, duty by geraldine mckenzie. i will choose a new book roughly every 3 months

Sunday, June 04, 2006

‘after ritsos’ p18-24 (to read online try samzidat link on posting for may 29). the title, by claiming inheritance from a major greek poet, makes a move toward tradition. the poem itself is of the tradition of poems in one line sentences (occasionally varied by a line made of 2 or 3 sentences). apparently (cf book group member) this was a form used by yannis ritsos. they make careful, concise images: '25. A small fish. A silver fork. The moon.' '15. A poem using the word salamander.' '23. Evening, we listen.''11. Not far off, currawongs.' '54. I'll eat this mango slowly.' care of the sentence, the tradition of the sentence. they are paratactic, none is subordinate to another as lines; in those lines made up of more than one sentence, most sentences though often seemingly narratively linked are of equal worth, some lines however contain/suggest hypotactic sentences: '49. Cats! The place is full of them.' '31. You want a subject? I'll give you a subject.' yet a line like '17. The final snake has found its space. Let the pipes begin.' challenge a narrative reading. the poem as a whole challenges not just a narrative reading but also a reading the poem as a whole, or consecutively. we may read the poem's lines at random -- we might do this with any poem of course -- but the form of 'after ritsos' offers more encouragement than most. '83. Horde the beaten musntn't grumble polity knackered. Falls due.' challenges the sentence itself - the first sentence alerts us to the precedent of langpo. the poem continues the opening of the book started by adenfrorde/adenfrorde fragments - meanings, tones proliferate - but then we head straight - if straight is how were heading - to the sonnets: 'illuminations'.

(the last line '90. I placed that slice of melon on the wet sand.' corresponds fruitfully with the end of 'counting coup' p62: 'O throw me an orange/anyone'.)


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