Blackbird V

It’s been a little while since I last posted, so I thought I’d make a new entry. I’ve actually been meaning to for a few days now, but I keep forgetting. It’s been a little crazy, but things are calming down a little bit since I finished the Creativity project I was working on and turned in my story, which will be workshopped this Thursday. All the stress aside, I’m actually really enjoying the program so far.

Today, I made an entry in my Creativity journal. It was a response to section V (five) of Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” I’m not a big poetry person, but I made do. I actually kind of like the result! It was fun. I tried to give it the form of an essay, while also offering the kind of creative angle and experimentation that my program generally requires of me. Here it is (and yes, the last line is supposed to say, “What do you think?”):

Journal Response to Section V of “…Blackbird”

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

In this section of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” the narrator seems to be commenting on two specific, very enjoyable things, with the intention of picking a clear winner. The first option is the beautiful inflection that is the blackbird’s whistle/song. The second option is what happens at the end of the blackbird’s song; by that I mean the process of reflecting back on the song, the beautiful, provocative thoughts and “innuendoes” that the song elicits.

In general terms, we can articulate the two options as (1) a particular event and (2) the moment(s) immediately following it. Indeed, the narrator is caught in between said event and its end, appreciating both immensely, as if he/she is in the center of an event horizon, where time and space play tricks, blending the narrator’s two options together until they are nearly inseparable and indistinguishable. At that point, the narrator cannot possibly decide which option is better.

Thus, the narrator’s indecisiveness about which to prefer—the song itself or the thought and innuendo that follow—dangerously takes the reader him/herself toward that event horizon. In such a case, the reader must be careful not to fall victim to the power of the event horizon, must steer clear of its center. The reader is invited to ponder on the song and the innuendo and decide which one is better (whatever “better” means, in this case). The reader must do all this without getting sucked into the event horizon, where the narrator is, where the reader would see everything the same way, at the same speed, losing the details that make one option stand out over the other.

If this were to happen, the reader would indeed be in the same boat as the narrator, and the process would begin again and again, for all of time, until a new reader could succeed where others had failed. Would the process ever stop? Or is the poem simply too interesting and powerful to be solved? At which point it would fade into the center of the event horizon of literature, where everything is the same and nothing is different. What do you think?

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply