Paige Lewis offers us this in the Rumpus: It’s Hard To Enjoy The Stars When You Don’t Trust Your Neighbours
The poem takes us from the difficulty of observing something grand — stargazing — to the ease at which we flip ourselves into positions of power.
While she compares the flooding of millipedes — her own godlike act — to the man who invents a bomb in the film, it is suggested that this flip from glancing up to punching down is one in reaction entirely to mistrust. She glances over her shoulder, making herself dizzy in trying to see the stars — a cosmic swirl like that of her ear (where our bones for balance are) — because she doesn’t want to be exposed to any kind of attack.
The dramatic irony continues in her ability to “forget where cold comes from” while judging the scientist for his quick forgiveness of himself. He is wider eyed than the poet, his choice of ignorance making him handsome, ignoring the similarity with the choices the poet has made.
CA Conrad, one of my favourites, talks extensively on the commonplace podcast with Rachel Zucker. Hold this to your ear.
They cover The Book of Frank and how CA’s poetry became a factory, the editing process that is gone through for their Somatic verse, queerness, and most hauntingly — a very frank description of the trauma of CA’s boyfriend, Earth’s, death many years ago.
This last part is interesting particularly because CA used ritual to shock themselves free from a movie that started playing in their head. The movie was a revenge fantasy mixed up with the story of the real events — and the real events are a horror show told very directly.
CA also reads some of their poetry, including some work to be published later this year.
I have been working through Beowulf again this week and comparing the Tolkien version with the Seamus Heaney version. It is how you expect — Tolkien is a bit of a tart with plumped up speech and Heaney trims back with kindness. Heaney’s remains verse while Tolkien makes it prose. Tolkien skips nothing and Heaney skips as much as possible.
This aside, the version of the Tolkien I have has Sellic Spell in it too. This is a completely reworked version of Beowulf, removing much of the politics and speeches, and instead getting down to the bones of heroes doing heroing despite what people expect of them. It’s a playful retelling, likely for children, which renames characters to things like Beewolf, Breaker, and Grinder. Importantly it retains a few of those telling things that make Beowulf — a good (if shorter) boast, the importance of unarmed combat and the sadness at having to leave some treasure behind.
If you enjoy the environmental and generated storytelling of video games as I do, then you may be interested in this Dwarf Fortress documentary/video.
Today’s song is, oddly, Talking Head’s Once In A Lifetime.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, @CJEggett writes these every time and barely glances at them before hitting send. Buy me this for my short fiction. I can’t remember if we’ve made that joke already. A poem. Read my story again. I would like to say that I still appreciate you even if you unsubscribe, of course, if you did that last week then you don’t know that. This is why the men of Portugal are so sad. Long egg. Big egg. Promise egg. I may have found my spirit animal. Fade out. I know you’ve seen this already but it did make me giggle.