13 December 2011

Tuesday Poem: The Exquisite Confusion Of The Prose Poem, by P.S. Cottier

Exquisite, as if there's pleasure in my mongrel life. Dog of the boulevards, sniffing this way and that, torn between the mundane and the mellifluous. Hand on my leash pulls this way, towards rhyme and rhythm, then that way, towards common sense, if not the solid brass lamp-post of the best-seller. Trickle of golden adjective runs from me, moderated by the cut of verb. It must end, this torture, this constant orphaning. Father was a Poem of the Proper Sort/His Lines They Echoed as They Ought. Even when I will myself into a sad bad clang of couplets, they won't break the flow of this word after word, the hideous horizontality of being that beset me from the start. I am doomed to lie down, to cover myself with the rags of reason, frayed into flags of a red agonising interest, signalling the daytime nightmare of the metaphor. Cruel matador of the plunging quill, never-ending coup de grâce. Mother's mission, to share recipes and love stories with the masses, has eluded me. In cook-books she was legion; in romance novels legendary. She tied an apron of prosey appropriateness each time she entered the literary kitchen. Hand over honest hand, she ribboned herself in the present tense (or past simple). And her progeny is this half-slipped knot, the dropped stitch, the soufflé which never rises into ether and the crêpe can never be mere honest pancake, stacked into hearty flat use. Creeping creature of the half-light, twin of an invisible doppelgänger, neither one nor not either, I pull my carcass through the cruel streets of non-belonging. At least, at least, release is soon, that delicious sip of easy non-being. Be seeing. Been seen.

Credit note: "The Exquisite Confusion Of The Prose Poem" is from P.S. Cottier's second poetry collection The Cancellation of Clouds, published by Ginninderra Press, and is reproduced by permission of the author. The Cancellation of Clouds can be ordered from Ginninderra Press.

Tim says: I have recently finished reading The Cancellation of Clouds in preparation for my interview with P.S. (Penelope) Cottier, which I will be posting here later this week. I very much enjoy the spikiness, humour and energy of her poetry, which is well represented in this tale of the tormented prose poem, forever pulled this way and that.

P.S. Cottier has just joined the Tuesday Poets, and you can read her first Tuesday Poem post here: http://pscottier.com/2011/12/12/progress-by-p-s-cottier/. I look forward to reading more of her poems - and watch out for our interview later this week.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.


Titus said...

Enjoyed this. Thank you for introducing me to a writer I didn't know.

Scupper said...

Dear Titus,
I belong to the author of that strange poem above which refers to imaginary poem-dogs peeing on 'solid brass lamp-posts'. I too am a border terrier, which is something of a coincidence. I am called Scupper. She should get out more and watch me peeing, instead of wasting her time.

Tim Jones said...

Thank you, Titus and Scupper. I am humbled that my blog has such cross-species appeal.

(Although, to be fair, as there are no human commenters, and no other dog breeds represented, it may simply be the case that my blog appeals to border terriers. And that in itself would be an achievement to treasure.)

kathy sewell said...

Scupper, you should feel honoured that such a talented poet, loves you. By the way, stick to peeing on wooden lamp-posts as they absorb your interesting odour and deter other furry creatures from annoying you. P.S. I think the person you belong too, is very creatively clever.

Kathleen Jones said...

I thought this was absolutely fascinating Tim - particularly when contrasted with the prose poem on the hub this week. I'm really interested in prose poetry - been reading Heaney, but of course he's Irish. The English are a bit inhibited when it comes to letting themselves go like this!!

Novroz said...

I like this a lot. some people in my creative writing ink community often write in this style. i want to try it but still unable to produce any.

Thank you for sharing it Tim

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Kathleen and Novia.

Kathleen, it turns out that Penelope (P.S.) Cottier is herself English by birth - so perhaps the key to "letting oneself go" is to emigrate. (I do not predict, only observe...)

Novia, I find prose poems hard to write myself, though I do have four in my latest poetry collection. I do enjoy them when they come out right.