Communication

I am talking to you about poetry
and you say
when do we eat.
The worst of it is
I’m hungry too.

~ AliciaPartnoy

This poem is part of the poetry in motion series on the New York subway. You will see it rather frequently, and having had the opportunity to ask people what they felt about this poem, I have realised that it is like a Rorschach test of sensibilities. Different people react differently to this.

Friend J hates the concept of being in a relationship. He has spent the last few years moving in and out of short-term flings that never last more than a month. He thought that the poem showed how domestication kills romance, “the sort of smugness that causes people to become fundamentally disinteresting after they spend too much time with each other”

Another friend, who belongs to that annoying club of people who are madly in love and gush and coo about it thinks of it as an incredibly romantic poem.
“It describes a situation where two people become so much a part of each other that one person’s desires induce similar desires in the other person, the kind of relationship that all of us secretly aspire to”, were her exact words.

I, on the other hand, think that this poem is about the power of the culinary over the poetic. Self-deprecatory because it places food before poetry, it is about the triumph of food over other forms of human expressions. But then I am obsessed with food to the point that I have almost gone to jail for stalking it.

There are, of course, other possible points of view. More general ones, in a manner of speaking. I asked friend W, a beer drinking,’gidday-mate’ wishing buddy from Oz about it while travelling on the subway, the other day.

“That’s gay stuff mate, pomes and what not”, was the only thing he said.

Update: This is what Falstaff has to say:

“Personally, I think it’s about the poem as hunger, the poem as need. Marianne Moore famously said ‘these things are important not because some high-flown interpretation can be put upon them, but because they are useful’. That, I think is the point of the poem – that true poetry isn’t about intellectual discussion, it’s about the immediacy of wanting something, about a need inside us crying out be fulfilled. Denise Levertov describes it well: “living in the garden and being hungry and eating the fruit”.”

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Communication”

  1. Falstaff Says:

    ha! you didn’t really think I wouldn’t comment on this, did you?

    personally, I think it’s about the poem as hunger, the poem as need. Marianne Moore famously said ‘these things are important not because some high-flown interpretation can be put upon them, but because they are useful’. That, I think is the point of the poem – that true poetry isn’t about intellectual discussion, it’s about the immediacy of wanting something, about a need inside us crying out be fulfilled. Denise Levertov describes it well: “living in the garden and being hungry and eating the fruit”.

  2. S Says:

    I am stunningly ignorant of pottery. Usually I dont get the point. In fact I am not sure one can ever get all the nuances the poet intended. That is probably true of all art. Falstaff’s interpretation is interesting but I felt your interpretation is closer to the truth. The poetess was probably hungry and realised that all this pottery business (especially the blank verse kind) is vagyoo at best.
    I present a pome below which I have understood:

    Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
    I’ll draw a sketch of thee,
    What kind of pencil shall I use?
    2B or not 2B?

    -Spike Milligan

    P.S. why the edge of sanity? I fear I may be overly frank but I detect this theme of departure from mental faculties a recurring theme in many blogs. I hope you will fare well and step back from the edge.
    Best.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: