Follow Harriet on Twitter
Friends Read Friends’ Poems
Check out this new feature at HTLMGIANT in which a friend offers their thoughts on the poems of a friend. In the first installment Ana Bozicevic writes about Amy King’s poem “Men By the Lips of Women.”
Amy doesn’t remember writing this poem. -What about the images, do they strike a chord of any sort? -Um….no not really. This is often the case. Amy has no idea where the poems come from, and even if in the associative moment of genesis they are touched off by “the Real” (as opposed to, like, what?), they spring from her noggin fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’s head, “fully grown and armed, with a shout—and pealing to the broad sky her clarion cry of war.” I’ll often quote her back to her asking, Who wrote this? She has no idea. We laugh.
I really like this about Amy. I like what her brand of tapped-inness does to the notion of authorship. That Amy scats out these casual masterpieces of rhetoric, then promptly forgets where they came from, makes experiments at careful authorlessness seem funny and humorless in comparison. Amy’s poetry is her best poetics. And it’s this lackadaisical generative ease, and her poems’ gift of whipping up a mirage of worlds/relationships then letting them fall where they may, that make Amy a poet fools deem “difficult”: not just because she doesn’t give them a story of the poem to hold on to, but because in its absence, she doesn’t even supply the story of the author or of her absence. Huh? There is no carefully careless cult d’auteur here, no gallery priestess or downtown icon. Amy is not telling how she wrote it and how to read it; Amy is not even showing them a nipple. But it is precisely this form of genesis, nude of me-me-mehood, that harks back to what’s best about the Romantic tradition we’re still somehow laboring within or against: this is creation itself. It’s also as ancient as a cave painting.
For the rest of Ana’s thoughts, the poem itself, and a bonus video, go here!