Monday, October 12, 2015

The Imitating a Good Poem Exercise – October 2015

I have rarely met a poem confirming more consistently that quality poems can be written by imitating a good poem. I do not know if the author of the poem which I will be talking about really knew the poem by Şerban Codrin: apple trees in bloom -/ I have everything before me/ on the empty table, whether she really took after it as a model or whether she simply imitated it without being aware of that*. Either way, she confesses that the meaning of the poem she wrote would ultimately amount to the idea that, in order to be happy, you should not ask for too much, something that any reader can notice after reading both poems.

empty larder -
in the overflowing bucket
the moon

 Argentina Stanciu

Imitation means not only to capture in the poem the same overall impression, but also to use a similar scheme to achieve the intent of the structuring into its parts. There is, in both poems, a fundamental opposition between emptiness (the empty table vs. the empty larder) and the (too) full (apple trees in bloom vs. the moon) which requires urgently of the reader to choose one of the alternatives. A choice which, if well done, can turn him into the chosen one. For the purposes of temporal austere renunciation of certain things (which are otherwise strictly necessary) in favour of others, of a higher level of spiritual order.

The empty table suggests, in an ambiguous way, the possible lack of food, as well as the priviledged place (if, according to the well-known tradition of poet Eminescu the table is made of fir-tree wood) for the practice of writing. The empty larder is closer and more unequivocally linked to the lack of certainty regarding the availability of food. Either way we deal with a possible compensation to the lack of food: apple trees in bloom, as well as the table (the austere, writing desk) in the first poem and the moon in the sky (reflected in a mirror image in the overflowing bucket).

Șerban Codrin relies with declared firmness, expressed in the first person, on the usual poetic vocation used to struggling with necessities. Argentina Stanciu is more reserved, only evoking the (miraculous) presence of the moon in the sky (a promise or grievance, usually impossible to fulfill) in the overflowing bucket (also having the meaning that it does not escape from the eye). Sufficiency occurs in sobre, almost austere conditions, since, paradoxically, the offer is found on the empty table or in the (dim) water.

* Imitating without realizing it means that you do it unaware that a similar poem has been written. Determined only by the chance that you had a similar experience and you have written the poem in the environment of a community where such experiences have been felt previously and were recorded by the poems.

(Comment by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu)

No comments: