Right now I'm looking at several from the H_NGM_N Chapbook Series #1. I like the title poem of Dorothea Lasky's Art. Let's examine why I might like it.
First three lines:
There is a goodness in the world
Little boy named Bill, birthday June 9th,
Who has a smile like my father's
I read these and think, "ah, this is flarfy, who could ever use the noun 'goodness' without irony?" And then I think, "Bill's birthday is close to mine (June 11)." So far I cannot articulate a concrete reason why I might like this poem, other than the fact that 1) the word "goodness" makes me snicker and 2) it reminds me of my birthday. Specifically, it reminds me of my childhood birthdays, because Bill is a little boy and not a man." The poem continues:
And it is Matt who wants to marry me and there is goodness
Like the sun and the sound of children
Even evil children are good in their voices
So now I think, "oh, yes, this is flarf. More goodness and children. It's too precious not to be flarf. I find the move from goodness to the little boy who reminds the speaker of her father to marriage and then back to children stomach-churning and predictable. But it is ironic. But is it interesting enough? Not sure." The poem continues:
And the thought of beauty is something
That will always bring me back
Because beauty stitches and love regards
"Flarf flarf flarf. What the hell is 'beauty,' anyway, other than something that 'stitches.' And here I think of heart-shaped needlework hanging in a kitchen, maybe near the window that says something like 'bla bla bla love regards.' But is it nice to make fun of people who like to cross stitch little heartwarming (almost wrote "heartworming"), if clichéd phrases on things and hang them in their kitchen? It's smarmy; it makes me think of my own connection to smarmy-ness." The poem continues:
And Justin, age 7, made me a charcoal drawing
Of an ice-cream monster and said "Where's Dottie?"
So he could give it to me and I would hang it up
Needing is good you see
You know needing is good
It is good to need each other
It is good to love and I do
I do love
I have to go back and read this a few times because I misread "needing" for "needling.
“I like the fairly standard lyric/incantatory repetition of "need" and "love" in the last four lines. And yes, I like how it ends in a tone of melancholy hope. I am a sucker for this kind of ending, and it seems rather sincere after all the goodness and children in the first half of the poem. It also makes me think of Lisa Jarnot’s work and Juliana Spahr’s recent work—though only because of the use of repetition (and yes, I know that other people use/have used it, and that it’s not new, etc). So, I like this poem, I suppose, but mostly because of its sound and mood, not because it is saying anything especially interesting.”
I’ve not talked about the title, “Art.” As in, this is some art? Oh, I’m done with my “reading” for now..