Ada Limon’s The Carrying is a poetry collection of wanting and possession. Major themes of her childlessness and the desire for absent men, plants, life, carry through every poem. There is deft control here, nature is evoked, but it is gardened, it is wild but not hungry like a wolf, more like the strains of a hungry child.
There’s a sense of healing throughout, that there are normal things to do in life that make times stable and give us time to fully work through our traumas. Yes, there are always things missing, yes, not everything is in place, but just existing with other people is pretty good.
There are dreams too. Dream poetry has a places a little like translation, in that there is something really telling about the way that the author decides to present the underlying messages. You can’t talk about dreams without evoking Freud (I guess he invented dreams?) because even in the talking you’re interpreting. So when Ada writes of a dream about a giant crow’s head poking out from a tree at her, you know the subject has a subtext which she is presenting to you already analysed.
“I am at the mouth of the cave. I am willing to crawl”
And that’s where the magic is in these poems — there’s no howling. There’s no rage at loss and there’s no madness presented in the moment. Instead there is the reflection. Everything passed back to the reader through a mirror, a well lit photograph. In that there stands out powerful lines that will knock you down if you’re not ready for them, which often you’re not.
The poet is in control of what she is presenting here, the feelings and the pain are those that have been processed in some way. Anything left out for you to cut yourself on was meant to be there. This isn’t to suggest sterility, or any kind of detachment, just the full embrace of knowing your own life and then presenting it back fully and nakedly — without shame or guilt.
Kaveh talks about his rejections in the #ShareYourRejections tag — and it’s a good thread that is full of self understanding.
Cathy Ulrich brings us another kind of otherwomaning in this little story about the ballerina that’s fucking your husband.
I like this story for the powerful sympathy and respect for the ballerina in it.
Salo Press has opened up for chapbooks of up to 32 pages, named, saucily, The Flirtations.
This week’s song is… a live set from Floating Points on KEXP. It’s like the electronica you’d expect from floating points with a really jazzy inflection, so I love it. Pretty wicked guitar solos too.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. Hopefully getting through this lovely thing from Longbarrow this week, so consider yourself trailed. I wrote this while waiting for someone and then went for important drinks. This is very on brand for me. The drinks were perfect as was the company — the not unexpected effect of snatching time away from the week.