Saturday, September 15, 2012

appreciation of a poem by Dale Smith

this poem seems perfect to me—

it's by Dale Smith:

Last Scene of Antonioni's The Passenger

The ambient noise
of a quiet suburb
absorbs Locke
and his future's
arrival on a bed
some might call
or desperation
wherein the dull
self finds
a mind alien
to the animal
he pursues
the white stress
of sheets lightly
spread under him
"I don't know this man"
what can be said
of them who die
off screen behind
the light
boys play ball
watching daylight



I adore minimalist verse when it works, and it works in this poem—

the pacing, the placing of the impetus on separate words in the interplay of syntax . . . it's all done extremely well—— I'm impressed by it——it's very effective——brilliant, really——the integration of form and content——it's so difficult to bring off a poem of this kind, but this one achieves it——

And perhaps most amazingly, has Smith come up with/discovered a new mode, a new subject:

poems about the final frame(s) of films—?

after reading his, I looked for others in the two moviepo anthols on my shelf, "Lights, Camera, Poetry" and "The Faber Book of Movie Verse,"

and couldn't find any: could his poem have invented/originated this subgenre? Or are there others I'm not aware of?

Might his be the first poem ever written about a film's final frame(s)?

I hope Smith is doing a series of poems about last scenes in movies——because I'd love to read more like this——

I hadn't thought about it before but maybe this minimalist approach is particularly appropriate in writing about a scene from a film,

because it duplicates the unreeling deliberate narrative juxtapositions of flow and montage, the cuts and courses of cinema . . .

in poetry, that's endstops and enjambements, which Smith here manages with such superb skill. . . .



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