Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Shared Inquiry

Fifikin, you may not know that the SPL plan to trial run a new approach to poetry - a method called Shared Inquiry. The idea is that a group focuses in on one poem, and that discussion is "facilitated" by a leader, who poses questions about the poem for readers to consider, and the readers in turn pose questions to each other. There are two trials at the SPL in August (1st and 15th)- and the two poems below are the ones we have been tasked to absorb. You may not be able to attend - but thought I would keep you in the loop and see if you have any questions you would like posed via skelf?

Lilias directed us to shared Q&A, shared inquiry style, which I have included below as an example too....

One Afternoon
Joanie V Mackowski

A woman stepped outside, crumbled
into a loose particulate, and, as the breeze
blew up from the east, she scattered: her handful
of heart, volcanic ash, spiraled the highway,
and five of her teeth slipped between
her neighbor's breasts; her neighbor
unbuttoned her blouse to scratch
at her suddenly red and luminous skin.
Days passed. Each day the sun distractedly
drifted from chair to chair; each night the stars,
old scatterbrains, they commiserated.
It didn't rain. Strange, the granualar woman
thought to herself: although I encompass
so much, I accomplish so little.
Her car sparkled with her hair and bones;
her garden thrived. She tried to think:
why did this happen? what had I eaten?
why was I bothered?-those old hours,
spotted and exotic lizards, darted
the gravel, flicking through their colors
of skin as one flicks channels on tv.
She couldn't catch a one. Then, as a flock
of sparrows converging for the skull
of an oak, all her twittering dust,
her brain, bone, and the dangerous shreds
of her fingers clawed for the sky;
what an interesting cloud someone said.

Q: It seems that poets are particularly prone to states of inspired disarray like the one you described here. Do you find that to be true of yourself - and can you explain what this character says, if anything, about being a poet or making a poem?

Q: How can a poem that's - to simply things - about "falling apart" be so buoyant?

Q: The dramatic chance that takes place in "One Afternoon" clearly evokes Ovid's Metamorphoses, though with a decidely contemporary twist. Ovie's characters were transformed by the whims of the gods. Who, or what, is the transformative power in this poem?

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