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36064 Profile
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Sourceless Ventilation*


A summer day so calm a child’s toy
could not be blown across a lake.

I’m at loose ends
and I’ve seen the last of you.

Your towel drying
on the back of an overstuffed chair,
a dozen artifacts lying on their side
among flatware and a milk jug,
the deaf corners of the house,
the bin where the horse stores his grain.

I regret the slur of similar days,
the slur of wavering night hours.

And now the halogen bloom of summer;
the blond apparition of summer
basking across metal roofs and animals
disemboweled in a marketplace.


*David Foster Wallace


Last edited by 36064, Nov/18/2012, 1:44 pm
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Christine98 Profile
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


hi bernie,

This sent me on a search for the David Foster Wallace quote (I posted a wonderful book review in Discussion I.) Anyhow I feel like this poem could be about DFW and his life long struggle with debilitating depression...or not.

I find this arresting and difficult to understand: "the snobberies and mannerisms/of my foreshadowed story," The atmosphere is made palpable,

Chris
Nov/16/2012, 9:32 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


C---

even more personal than his illness, i wanted to trace the active, the virulent manic depression in his personal and professional life.

"the snobberies and mannerisms/of my foreshadowed story,"

i've rewritten the line, hopefully it communicates more quickly now and provides the reader with additional narrative.

The most common of my mistakes,
the snobberies and feigned mannerisms
I regret. The slur of similar days,
the paucity of the nights.


Tere speaks of writing that is in the head as opposed to the physicality of the body.

i think Wallace's last novel in which nothing changes at the IRS office he portrays, is in the head.

The Gothic, or the Romantic, the mythical painted with broad strokes might qualify for physical writing---

just think of the horror Poe generates in his short stories---the old man, for example, with the clouded eye that the narrator hates for no mental reason.

my poem, is in the head---like Prufrock, syntax and impressionism, details in bewildering cascade---



It ought to remind us of the psychic risk involved in writing at the level he (Wallace) sought...but there remains a sense in which artists do expose themselves to the torrents of their time, in a way that can't help but do damage, and there's nothing wrong with calling it noble, if they've done it in the service of something beautiful. Wallace paid a price for traveling so deep into himself, for keeping his eye unaverted as long as it takes...for finding other people interesting enough to pay attention to them long enough to write scenes like that. It's the reason most of us can't write great or even good fiction. You have to let a lot of other consciousnesses into your own. That's bad for equilibrium...John Sullivan's essay



bernie




Last edited by 36064, Nov/16/2012, 3:54 pm
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vkp Profile
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Interesting as the DFW reference is, I decided to look at this on its own and see if it worked that way, DFW or no DFW.

I think it basically does. I like S3 and the specifics, the artifacts.... The opening lines of the poem also are compelling -- set the scene, the tone.

Not too fond of the word "paucity" here. You say the poem is an "in the head" poem, but it only seems so in these lines:
quote:

I regret the slur of similar days,
the paucity of the nights.


whereas much of the rest of it speaks to the senses, the body.

Actually my favorite part is this, toward the end:
quote:

the blond apparition of summer
basking across metal roofs


and then the punch in the gut at the last:
quote:

and animals
disemboweled in a marketplace.



I like the blond apparition of summer. Color and light captured in the words, as well as the insubstantial nature of a fleeting season, like a fleeting life or part of life, the oh-so-fleeting relationship, and then all the regrets hinted at with that line of thought.

The disemboweled animals speak to the evisceration of the narrator in this moment....

vkp
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


VKP---


i liked very much what you had to say about the poem.

paucity didn't work well for you---or me.


I regret the slur of similar days,
the slur of wavering night hours.



DFW --- i liked the quote, but then my poem must fend for itself.

in the head, or more phsicality; what do we call Prufrock? Or Lowell---


In the grandiloquent lettering on Mother’s coffin,
Lowell had been misspelled LOVEL.
The corpse
was wrapped like panettone in Italian tinfoil.


Robert Lowell



Three times today I drove to your grave.
Sometimes, coming back home
to our circular driveway.
I imagine you’ve returned
before me, bags of groceries upright
in the back of the Saab,
its trunk lid delicately raised
as if proposing an encounter,
dog-fashion,with the Honda.


Donald Hall


you wrote:

I like the blond apparition of summer. Color and light captured in the words, as well as the insubstantial nature of a fleeting season, like a fleeting life or part of life, the oh-so-fleeting relationship, and then all the regrets hinted at with that line of thought.

The disemboweled animals speak to the evisceration of the narrator in this moment....



gee, a poet could not wish for a better summary. thanks so much.


bernie
 

Last edited by 36064, Nov/18/2012, 1:44 pm
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Hi Bernie,

The title, taken from the Wallace quote, is head stuff for sure, but I think your poem, in the revised version I'm reading, goes beyond the mind and into the physical. You mention Prufrock. As with your poem,
the ending of that poem is emotional. In my book anyway. I don't know DFW's work, so I read the poem as being about the loss of a relationship, about transcience and sadness, in general. This is a shapely poem, well controlled throughout, which is why I think the last line has the impact it does.
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Katlin---

i should probably keep that comment of Terre's to myself, about a poem being more physical (Poe or Samuel Taylor Coleridge) than mental, or vice versa---maybe Eliot and Lowell.

certainly this sentiment that you express is very close to my own about this poem:


"...the ending of that poem is emotional.
...I don't know DFW's work, so I read the poem as being about the loss of a relationship, about transcience and sadness, in general."



amen.


and thank you for this wonderful final comment, which i accept on behalf of the poem as a very positive compliment---if not, let me enjoy a false moment of pleasure...LOL.


"This is a shapely poem, well controlled throughout, which is why I think the last line has the impact it does."


bernie

 

Last edited by 36064, Nov/25/2012, 1:53 pm
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Hey Bernie,

Yes, my comment about the ending was meant as a compliment, so no false moment of pleasure. emoticon
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Katlin---


thanks so much.


bernie




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Terreson Profile
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


The poem is working for me. Sometimes a poem is wholly in itself, in its own moment, in its own skin, so to speak. It is a huge accomplishment, one that makes for a certain reckoning. I learned something large from Hopkins and his notions involving inscape and instress. Everything, he said, has its own inscape, even inanimate things. And every thing, in its inscape, is held together through the tension produced by its own instress. When you think on it, the notion is still damn radical. One day it occurred to me that if Hopkins is right about the inscape/instress of things, then the same must be true about a poem, since, being an artifact and so a thing in its own right.

Think on it. Not many poems accomplish to as much, to being a thing in their own right, always needing the referential or an understandable context. Most poems are "about" something. Maybe all poems are "about" something. The rare poem invokes itself, demonstrates a certain perogative.

I honestly can't say I know what the poem is about. But I feel it standing on its own. That moves me.

Maybe Macleish was right after all.

Tere
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Re: Sourceless Ventilation*


Tere---

once again you charm my socks off.

Hopkins was a great influence when i was a journalism major, not lit; but his power was clear to even myself and i was thunderstruck with his poems and ideas.

i like a story.

here, a man notices the artifacts left behind by a departing sweetheart.

in the final, bitter observation---we learn of a glorious summer basking on roofs at the same time we juxtapose ---


animals / disemboweled in a marketplace.


yipes!

even i shiver sometimes at my own heartless comments.


bernie





 


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