...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

December 06, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Ruth Stone

In an interview, Ruth Stone offered the following opinion on poetry and fiction:

J.F.Battaglia: You have written many short stories, some published in The New Yorker, in Commentary and elsewhere; what are some distinctions between poetry and fiction?

Ruth Stone: Prose and stories are more objective. Poems are emotional opinion.

JB: How did that get to be?

RS: I think poems are closer to your mad reactions to life. Also to the self, the wounded. I think a lot of poetry comes out of wounds...

Seen in that light, I admit I looked at Ms. Stone's poem about a young girl turning into her mother (published when she was in her sixties!) in a whole new fashion.

Second Hand Coat
I feel
in her pockets; she wore nice cotton gloves,
kept a handkerchief box, washed her undies,
ate at the Holiday Inn, had a basement freezer,
belonged to a bridge club.
I think when I wake in the morning
that I have turned into her.
She hangs in the hall downstairs,
a shadow with pulled threads.
I slip her over my arms, skin of a matron.
Where are you? I say to myself, to the orphaned body,
and her coat says,
Get your purse, have you got your keys?

Posted by Victor, Dec. 6, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


I'm reminded when Snoop Dogg "wounded" his mother by throwing a late night ghetto orgy:

Two in the mornin and the partys still jumpin
Cause my momma aint home
I got bitches in the living room gettin it on
And, they aint leavin til six in the mornin (six in the mornin)
So what you wanna do, sheeeit
I got a pocket full of rubbers and my homeboys do too
So turn off the lights and close the doors
But (but what) we dont love them hoes, yeah!
So we gonna smoke a ounce to this
Gs up, hoes down, while you motherfuckers bounce to this

Posted by: Scof on Dec. 6, 2006

"I think a lot of poetry comes out of wounds..." That's especially true since Sylvia and Sexton. But it wasn't always that way, poetry being the oldest form of literature. I think ultimately, good poetry should be about beauty, not confession.

Posted by: annika on Dec. 6, 2006

Its certainly about craft at least, working on your confession can produce something of beauty. I did like the poem, quite mature it is, good stuff.

Posted by: Scof on Dec. 7, 2006

Oh, i forgot to say: I liked the poem too. Thanks Victor!

Posted by: annika on Dec. 7, 2006

As for me, prose is more understandable.

Posted by: Karl on Dec. 12, 2006