Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Constructed, then Deconstructed

The other day I mentioned utilizing pop cultural topics for poetry— specifically sonnets. What I have in mind follows the chain of poems such as David Wojahn created back in 1990, with his book Mystery Train. In this gathering of work, he utilizes a “common” topic of several rock-n-roll cult celebrities from the American landscape: Buddy Holly, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, just to name a few.

Using this topic from everyday reality, Wojahn then motions beyond the casual experience. For the most part, everyone knows of these people; everyone has an opinion on these entertainers. Wojahn’s narration uses an amoral tone, showing the human personality behind the celebrity image, the human wearing the mask of a celebrity singer.

What I have in mind for myself is the wide ranging commercial aspects of “professional” wrestling circuits— from the circus-like entertainment, to the odd, truthful athletic stunts performed, to the surreal characters who sometimes defy logic, defy interpretation or analysis. On one end of the spectrum, such scenes are pure cartoonish violence shown in short films of Tom and Jerry or the obvious Three Stooges. On the other end, these matches exist with a strong theatrical parody of good versus evil played out in operatic costumes and soap opera plot lines. The industry contradicts itself in many ways, just as politics or professional football mocks themselves.

I plan on playing out this project slowly to see what poems can be constructed— then deconstructed into a sense of the meta-modernist approach. I am hoping the restrictions of the sonnet form will prevent a loose presentation of the various scenes. Yet, by upholding the traditional sestet/octave relationship required in the poem a balance will be achieved against the commercial wasteland one can find themselves falling into if not careful.

24/ The commonplace object easily fits into the center of a shaky palm: handful of salt, clipping of rosemary, yesterday’s forgotten bus fare, the gold plated ring purchased in New Orleans as a gift.

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