Bat Dance

Some thoughts on experimental poetry.

13100717_1031067010313350_6454586575174409223_n

Sometimes you want to dress up–top hat,

White tie and tails, a foreign medal, a cape.

The dance would be just as impressive,

A waltz, perhaps, certainly not something

With Cossacks. At least one would think

This would be the dance of formal bats,

Emotive, aristocratic and imperial.

 

One would be wrong. These are bats

Used to hanging upside down, letting blood

Rush to their heads when they are not

Bloodletting right side up. They are wild,

Jazz-inspired, impressionistic, and although

You expected the reverse, they are–in the best

Possible way–way out of your league.

Poetics, Or Oh Yeah, THAT Was the Point of This Blog…

shopping

I just burned through reading C.D. Wright’s new book with the impossible title, The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All. It is made up of short prose-poem style essays largely about how she feels about words, poetry and her favorite poets; in short, her poetics. It made me want to get back to that project myself, as that was one of the goals I had when I started this blog about a year and a half ago.

And since, as they say, talking about music is like dancing about architecture, and since I began this blog considering the poetic architecture of cathedrals, it makes a certain kind of sense (to me at least) to go about examining the music of poetry by talking about dancing.

I took a ballroom dance class once in college. I didn’t much care for always having to follow rather than lead, but I loved the jitterbug, and the circular waltz, with each couple doing small circles inside the larger orbiting circle of the dance, was like being inside one of those spirograph toys. One dance is simply enjoying your partner’s company. The other is about being together one of the small moving parts of a larger communal piece of art.

And maybe that’s true of poetry as well. Sometimes you give your readers a little gem of enjoyment, showing the unique way you see the world in such a way that they want to come back again—also the way friendships begin. Other poetry you write to show off your virtuosity (and yes, poets, unlike English teachers, think about virtuosity; sometimes I have to look in the mirror before I think so I can remember which hat I’m wearing).

In the coming weeks I will write about flamenco, tango, those awkward junior high school dances and anything else I can think of or you can challenge me with—oooh. I like that idea. Gentle Readers, suggest a dance and I will explain how poetry is like it. If I haven’t heard of it, you may need to direct me to a YouTube video to enlighten me. Game on!