“new to you” poetry gong, day 2
Traveling back in the poet laureate time machine (inspired by an anthology I mention here), the poet I am reading now is Kay Ryan (having just finished the selections for W.S. Merwin). I am participating in the “new to you” poetry gong (a poem-a-day for seven days inspired by someone “new to you”) at Big Tent Poetry. Today is Day 2.
I hope no one shoots me for saying this: very few of Kay Ryan’s poems really resonate with me, very few pack the gut-punch I look for in a poem. But — but! — her repetition of sounds in small spaces is brilliant. I am not a big fan of blatant rhyme (and certainly not end rhyme), but I love how much of Kay Ryan’s rhyming is folded in and folded in and folded in, layered and layered and layered. There is much to learn!
Take her poem “Turtle.” It is 15 lines. There are approximately 110 words. In that small space, I find the following rhymes (and I am terrible at picking out the more subtle ones so I may have missed some): four-oared, afford, toward; graceless, places; ditch, which, dish; lottery, pottery, levity; wings, things, something, dragging, everything, serving, imagining, packing, rowing; chances, grasses; track, pack; patience, chastened; eats, defeats; convert, skirts, serve; luck, stuck; turtle, mobile, axle, ill, shell, practical, edible, level, optimal.
We also hear the “L” sound like this: luck-level, lottery, load, levity, truly. And there’s a repeating “V” sound, too: everything, convert, serving, lives, level, levity. And there’s a repeating “O” sound: rowing, almost, slope, load. And, and, and … !
All in 110 words. Give or take. Wow. Wow. Wow.
In addition, there is much to be learned from her about an approach to poetry. She simply delights in it. The play of it. I can see how she and others can live without the gut punch when they have this other stuff.
I don’t stand a chance of being able to honor her use of rhyme and repeating sounds so adeptly, and it is doubtful that I will reform from “gut-punch” to “delight” maybe ever. (Ignore the weak moments of sweetness from Thursday and Friday.) But here’s what I attempted that is inspired by Kay Ryan’s playfulness and sounding-ness (and I also tried to make it narrow on the page like she does).
POEM REMOVED FOR EDITING.
P.S. This was really hard. I’ll never get it to sound “natural,” but I am pleased I managed some rhyme without going all Dr. Seuss. That’s usually what happens to me.