When I was little my grandfather would grab the Sears catalogue and disappear in the bathroom forever. In my house, we actually have a little mini bookshelf built into the bathroom wall. This not being big enough, we also have a basket on a shelf filled with Poets & Writers’ Magazines, Guitar Center catalogues, and an assortment of literary magazines.
Among them, the Bellevue Literary Review, Vol. 16, No. 1. Of course, if you are not familiar with this journal, please make haste and go and get yourself a copy. In this edition, poets Molly Peacock and Jeffery Harrison (who I spotted at the Mass Poetry Fest) and…
One particular poem caught my eye the other day–The Interview by Kathryn Starbuck. It caught my attention, in part, because my professional life includes a good amount of time spent interviewing individuals and compressing their thoughts and retelling their stories. Today, I work for a healthcare publishing company but in the not-so-distant past I worked as the editor and reporter for my hometown newspaper The Beverly Citizen.
In Starbuck’s poem, the speaker serves as both the interviewer and the interviewee as the poet attempts to disgorge the inner life of her subject. It doesn’t turn out well. Rather than information, the interviewer gets “cries emanating from the bathtub of a drowning child.” That sounds pretty horrible. This single stanza work turns as the speaker admits that nothing is clear but the fact “that something has happened/and that is has happened to me…” and that the speaker “will have the last word.”
For today’s poem, I took Starbuck’s The Interview and played with the author’s language choices as a form of an exercise (you know how you do that, take the line and make it your own). I’d also like to play around with a poem in which I interviewed myself (I wonder what I questions I would ask me). Finally, I’d like to work on a poem in which I address my former, reporter self and provide that girl some insight in which questions she should ask to get into the heart of an interviewee.
If any of these ideas strikes you and you’d like to take a shot at a poem please share it in the comment section. I’d love to read it!
Poem for day four.
I am my own
particular shade of blue, a confluence
of little rivers running to an unnameable
sea that dreams of reflections of clouds.
There is no fact
of happening here. All science and
faith are foam glistening for a moment,
water trickling from tap to bath not
made for swimming.
I have no insight
for you. Nothing is
clear but then, nothing has ever
happened or will ever happen
to me, all wave after wave, all
cloud after cloud, war after unending
war. All I know is my own inner peace.