Karen Volkman is a Better Poet than We

Karen Volkman does things with words, I don’t know how. Like lots of people can write about kissing, but how many go:

the clang and strop of it, the undercover wet.

In the bluebit, heartquit leaping I might be binded. But tongue, lip, lap are brim beginning, a prank of yet.

This is one of those times I read something and I think, “I’m not sure exactly what you mean but I am sure exactly what you mean.”

Volkman commands words. That’s the correct verb, command. She takes their usual uses, then reorders them, then marches them into some form of dance or battle. What exactly is a kiss? Good question. It is many things, and poetry seems the way to examine the idea and actuality. You must be able to make things not what they are, off-kilter, both feeling and non-feeling, both press of lips, and the space between the lips, and all more after…

I was trying to tell a student how they need to work their language, bend their syntax (They were doing this–I wanted them to do it more), to make the form and function of the text help each other along. After a while I quit talking and copied some Volkman poems and gave them to the student. I said, “Read.”

Here is an interview if you want an interview.

Another thing I like about Volkman is that so many of her poetry links are broken. I think a poet should have a lot of broken links, or links that just unravel out into the ether…and also so many people dislike her poetry. With just a bit of searching, you can find many writers that HATE her prose poetry. I think if a lot of people don’t like your work, and then they take time and effort to express how horrible you are, then you are probably doing something with your words. I think Volkman is doing something.

*

I did mile repeats today. I am in off-season shape, but they felt good. The mile is mythical to a runner. More than that. Can I bend words now, to let you in, to let you embrace…We measure ourselves in miles. It is the air we breathe, the lung burn and flow. The mile is our mountain, our stethoscope, our sailing boat, our God, in a much more real way than most commune with gods. We are of our god. We let our very bodies become. We thank our god as we are within our god. We breath our god and attack our god and struggle with angels and respect our god and write our god in godly verses in the mileage logs, our hymnals. The mile is Time. Time is the mile. The mile is outside Time, so we are outside mortality when we enter the mile. Runner’s High is spiritual, no different than born again/meditation/rhythmic chant, so why do others doubt its name? We enter a state as we run, then we burn inside afterward, and we think about when it will engulf us again. We pray.

I went 6:00 mile    5:56 mile

5:52 mile        5:49 mile

Not too shabby. A start. Need to pick out a few spring races soon…

“Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, “I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.” It’s more then just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better then anyone else. It’s being creative.”   Pre

Mailbag:

Sean, I now you deer hunt, sew do I. Saturday is like Christmas to me, opning day. Do you have anything special you do before opening day? I lay my cloths out and sometimes dream.

Stan14

One, Mr. 14, I like your internet name, simple, which is key. As for your question: I drink a beer first. I sometimes down a Nyquil. Then maybe a Jager, Jager, shot of calcium-induced orange juice (this will help focus in the a.m.), Nyquil chaser (but never more than 5). Then I watch the movie Caddyshack. I walk off my back porch and empty a Buckmark .22 into the ground, a full magazine. I then put the pistol away, usually in a hall closet. Then I drink-and-Ebay. Ever drank and Ebayed? You would not believe the stuff that will arrive at your doorstep on Wednesday: a brass bottle opener from Peru in the shape of a llama, a framed photo of Audrey Hepburn and her pet deer at the grocery, the bible (often in Braille), a case of Dark Horizon beer from Sweden, a Sherlock Holmes action figure, a tiny pillow (meant for a dollhouse) with the words INGRID BERGMAN stitched across its hide. I do not own a dollhouse. All of this adds a certain wonderment to my life. So, yes, I indeed have rituals. If you have a video game system, I will also bowl a decent game (but only virtually). I then watch deer hunting videos with my uncle. We bond this way. We drink one more beer and swap stories about the 35 bream we caught in one hour, down at the bottom (we call it a holler), the day we were run off a train trestle by a big-ass sudden train, and had to leap into a swamp and shoot ourselves out of a water moccasin nightmare of tangle/taffy/doom. Later, like you, I might also dream of deer. Depends. Deer dreams are crazy. Don’t get me started.

pet

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4 responses to “Karen Volkman is a Better Poet than We

  1. Seems we share a love of Karen Volkman and running. It’s a start … and it doesn’t have to go anywhere, of course.

  2. Gerald T. Thornius III

    i love that picture, is that bergman with the deer?

  3. I see what you mean about the broken links…. Wonderful post though. Thanks!

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