Life Arts

"Prologue: A Conversation with Diane Wakoski About 'Bay of Angels' and Crashing Through Mirrors" --with Gary Corseri

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 3 of 6 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Inspiring 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 12/10/13

Become a Fan
  (8 fans)

is the one who can change the balance of power?"

This highlights two contrapuntal themes in your book: expansiveness that keeps testing limits (expansiveness encapsulated in ideas like a "parallel universe," "string theory," "quantum mechanics") and a proclivity for wanting to be held, "enslaved" even, "owned," utterly known and possessed.  Is this a modern female thing or is it your thing?  I don't think anyone would describe this as a "masculine" trait, but we've become so very sensitive about ascribing traits to gender" I confess to being a little perplexed about how to approach this. 

 I like the flow of language here because the words are straightforward, but suggestive of deeper mysteries.  I think the best of your work does that.  And, as I've said, this book can be quite personal--about your childhood diffidence, sense of abandonment by your "sailor-father," loneliness growing up on the edge of a California orange grove, in a shack of a farmhouse dominated by two lonely women; and then some difficult adult relationships, etc.  Coleridge defined poetry as the "reconcilement of opposites."  I wonder to what degree you are consciously working with opposites and striving towards "reconcilement"?  Could one have a "rousing discussion" with oneself" and  bottle the genie of poetry from that?

DW: I am always working with opposites, working towards their reconcilement.

I think if I were you--or any great conversationalist--I could have a "rousing discussion" with myself. However, as Diane, I am usually silent, tongue- tied, or a speaker of platitudes.   I am busy in poetry trying to choose my words so that they include everything.   I think that poetry should be more than just a conversation with oneself, no matter how rousing.   That's probably what our dreams are.  

Art?   Maybe art is that Zen idea of one hand clapping.   I think art is a way of reaching out--to have a dialogue, discussion, conversation with the reader--who, for better or worse, can never be simply a mirror image of the poet.   The reader has to want to respond.    By the moment of transformation at the end of a poem, a reader should grasp that the poet is different from what he first thought.   Therefore, with the genie out of the bottle, there's a new wholeness.   How can the reader not identify with that?   But, it's not a mirror-image of poet-reader.   It is, rather, Cocteau's poet bursting through the mirror--bloodless--to the place of imagination, taking the reader with him.

GC: My favorite poem from the first half of your fairly long collection is "'The Spiral Staircase': Apples vs. Oranges."  Much of Angels is about a gamble, a noir image in shadow; an imagined lover, re-imagined lovers; a merging of celluloid and the scent of gardenias.  This flitting between shadows is actually more effective because in certain poems there is a pause, as herein, and we can catch the real figure--toying, flirting, elusive, allusive, frightened, daring.  Film noir has particular appeal to you, and is used  metaphorically--as in "Some Beauty Needs a Dimness" ("the alchemical chisel of black and white")-- because its stark contrasts actually sharpen, define and clarify.

 The mystery revealed in "The Spiral Staircase"," the unfolding, takes the form of a daily eaten orange plucked from a grove next to your childhood home.  The surprise here is that the mythic world, symbolized by the literary "golden apples of Hesperides" is too vulnerable to smudge-pot soot, harsh rays of California sun", but the real, globed fruit of orange is protected by a sturdy rind, and the fruit "held destiny" for "this little sorceress" poet, this "little witch-child" who learns to conjure from her life experiences.

Many of the poems in Angels are wholly or partly meditations on poetry--the evolution and development of the poet.  You train an unrelenting eye on yourself, mistakes made along the way, while reflecting, with a sense of wonder, on how you got to be 75, with a successful career as a writer and teacher:

 "Had I been less superficial,

I'd have cleaved to the man with the hands

I never found handsome."

*

"While the others tour ancient churches,

improve their minds and sensibilities at

museums and archeological sites, I

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

 

Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Rise of Our Dumbocracy (A Review of Paul Craig Roberts' "How America Was Lost")

"Bring Back Our Girls!"

"17 Camels: Can a Sufi Tale Heal Our Broken World?"

Planetary Consciousness and the Tears of the World: A Review of Carolyn Baker's "Collapsing Consciously"

10 Good Things About the US Government Shutdown

Safe Passage..., with a Big IF: A Review of Paul Craig Roberts' THE FAILURE OF LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALISM

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Accessible, meaningful, informative, insightful an... by Gary Corseri on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 7:16:45 PM
Thanks for this.... by Kevin Tully on Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 9:14:44 AM