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If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember that I’ve mentioned that I’m doing a Modern & Contemporary American on-line course and loving it. We’re probably half-way through the course already and have discussed so many great American poems, but it is this poem which was discussed this week that really stayed with me, perhaps it’s because I feel that this is exactly what’s going on in my life right now.
Bernadette Meyer, the American poet who wrote “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” belongs to or is associated with the Language Poets or The New York School which began in the 50s and through-out the 60s. She’s also known for doing the “experiment list”, and what they also call the “I do this I do that” style which the New York poets are known for.
In this poem, she writes about a domestic scene going on in her head/life. It’s like an inner dialogue with herself. You can almost imagine her looking out the windows and thinking “New moon out and no snow yet… Oh and yes, it’s November now, oh and I have that appointment with the dentist and it’s my husband’s birthday .. ” and the list or dialogue goes on and on, and on. We all have that, don’t we? It is written by a new-mother, but does not talk about the joys of motherhood instead she mentions the time between dinner and Marie’s bedtime is too long. As parents, we all know what that is like.
Actually, you don’t even have to be a mother to know what she’s talking about. It can be about a busy person, someone stressed out from work and has no time to do things that mean so much to them.
She goes on and on about the list of things that has happened or happening in her day, and mentions the movie “Invasion of the Body-snatchers” and how she saw an old seed pod on the floor by her desk and remembers that in the movie, if you see one, it’s time to die. And then she talks about the list of books she wants to read (or read again), a variety of books. What really struck me was the titles of the books and you can guess from the subjects, it’s almost like an escape from her ordinary day-to-day-life of inanities. Almost as if to say, okay, I’m of now.
I like the ordinariness of the poem, but filled with such huge ideas, heavy meanings and the way it reads like a list, or as I’ve mentioned, an inner daily conversation we have with ourselves. On one of the live-lectures, one mentioned that Meyer is a good example of a poet who used “consciousness as a dialogue”. I like that.
Can you relate to the poem?
I hope you like it as much as I do.
It’s only apt then that my word of the weeks is : Poetry as my days/weeks have been filled with so much inspiring/great works by American Poets! I’m hoping OpenLearn would do their own on British Contemporary Poetry, wouldn’t that be great?
Now excuse me as I make my own “list”.