"many a time, I have been half in love...."

10:30 AM Posted by James Owens

I read for about 45 minutes to a small, but attentive and interested, crowd at the public library on Wednesday evening. A very enjoyable event, despite some initial trepidation about the irrelevance of reading poems at the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, making little wind-up birds out of language to release and let them flutter around the room in the face of such monumental horror and stupidity. (But then, I think reading anyway is resistance….)

Afterward, a nice, older lady on crutches came to tell me that some of the poems had really touched her, but she wondered why so many of them were about death (looking at me with just a touch of concern as she asked).

I was surprised and didn’t know what to say. Mumbled something unsatisfying.

Thinking back, I guess she was right. Though I had not been conscious of the fact, a lot of the poems I read were about death (sort of). And I have a lot more that I didn’t read. I can see how that might be disturbing.

But … and I think this is true of a lot of poetry … I don’t mean death when I say death. Not the threat of extinction. Rather the realization of the limits of the self, the place and promise where the self opens out into the infinitude which Blake intuits in the grain of sand.



Sorlil said...

well done on your reading! How interesting when someone else picks up themes in your work like that!

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Congratulations on the reading, James. - "realization of the limits of the self" is as strong a way to put it as possible. I undestand completely.