Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am adding Matt Walker's POTATO to my collection of favorite poems

Poet Matt Walker has a really delightful blog that I like to frequent. Yesterday I was browsing around and came across this poem:


Sitting in the dark
With a potato
Or without a potato
Is scary

If you are afraid
Of the dark
Or potatoes
Or sitting

I enjoy it
As do my relatives
As do my confidants

Once I mistook a
Potato for a bullet
A large bullet
Where'd this bullet

Come from I wondered
I was so glad
And relieved when
The Tooth Fairy

Emerged from her van
And entered my face
And ate the potato
I wish I could say

That all is well
I've lost my potato
The room is scary
More is coming

I love this poem. Walker wins me over when he goes from the line "As do my relatives" to "As do my confidants." That's the twist that separates a poem from just another thing. Because then the potato can become a large bullet. Because then the poem can do anything.

I do not have any better way to explain this separation other than a twist. Or to see it when it happens. I know when poems or other pieces of art do not have this necessary twist. All beautiful things have it. It is when the beauty is so great that it has entered the sublime realm and is likewise capable of hurting you. When something is capable of hurting you, it has twisted.

James Tate has a poem in his Selected which describes this twist perfectly, but unfortunately I can't find that book right now. It would be a shame for me to describe it, so I will just save it for another time and post it when I find the book.

(If you have his Selected, I think the poem is on page 43?)

I wanted also to take this opportunity to mention that Tate's Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee is a great new book. You should buy it when you get a chance.

Also, here is the story of a particular instance of carrot corruption: Aaron's Carrots: Disintegration is Told Best in Images


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Dorothea Lasky said...

Thank you!