Thursday, November 13, 2014
RAY DI PALMA'S OBEDIENT LAUGHTER (AND UPCOMING READING WITH ELAINE EQUI & JEROME SALA)
Well, I'm getting a little heady myself in trying to characterize this beautifully produced book, the kind I like to own just to hold and look at, let alone read and engage with the original use of language. So, I'll just give some examples from OBEDIENT LAUGHTER:
from the long poem "After Midnight"
"No, I said, it wasn't an unreasonable hour,
you and I could begin again for the last time"
"A man goes into a room, there are no windows, no doors,
how does he get out—the same way he got in"
from the long poem series "Equivoques"
A WHITE SPORT COAT
and a pink potato"
"ON HUMAN BLONDAGE
But do the curtain's match the rug?"
"HOLLYWOOD SPECTACLE [SHORT DOSES]
The ongoing refinement of airbags"
"IF HE EVER SUGGESTS SOMETHING WITH A CILANTRO WINE GLAZE
Take him outside and shoot him immediately"
Than another space station"
"MOST OF THEM FEATURING SHEEP
19th c. rustic paintings and recent poetry anthologies."
It's very expensive, very expensive, very."
There's plenty more in this collection of longish serial poems. The poet's multi-approaches to the shape and length of a line, a phrase, a stanza, etc. along with the exploration of cliches juxtaposed with puns juxtaposed with pompous scholarly (or not) pronouncements deliberately distorted or misinterpreted to evoke new meanings and/or uses etc.
The last long serialish poem in the book, "Would, The Notional Field"—"Don't mind if I would." "Plain as would." etc.—might be my favorite. But these two lines from a poem (or section, depending on how you read it, let alone it was intended) in the title sequence sums up the lyricism inherent even in the most jarring of word play:
"of things with no adequate name
in the impatient singing silence"
If you want to see Ray and two other uniquely distinct poets read together, not a common thing to experience (three such different and original poets), be at Studio 26, 179 E. 3rd Street, NYC, at 6PM this Saturday, November 15th. Maybe I'll see you there.