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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Norman Dubie Loves Jim Behrle

AD is having trouble getting into the work of one of my teachers, Norman Dubie. I'm not even going to pretend to be objective. Dubie allowed me to take graduate level workshops while I was an undergraduate at Arizona State. He was the first poet who told me I was a poet. In our first meeting in his office, after I told him I'd bought a copy of one of his books, he gave me copies of all his books that he had on his shelves. Needless to say, I adore Dubie's work.

As a writer of color I responded to his monologues spoken by "slight" figues in history, like peasants. And I responded to the knowledge on display in his work. Science. Religion. History. Art. Philosophy. His poems made me work! But my favorite thing about Dubie is his amazing figurative language. Only Derek Walcott can match him. I'm often stunned into silence by Dubie's metaphors and similes.

"The cancer ate her like horse piss eats deep snow"

"The girl's breasts/are large and moved separately like twins/
handed from one serf to the next/ down to a river for baptism."

"The stars,/violent at their tea,/were the last children to learn the arithmetic/
of memory."

"I wrote much later that the geese/broke from the shadows like handkerchiefs/
out of the sleeves of black dresses/at a burial."

Any poet that can write lines like those is okay in my book.


A. D. said...

"The four terrific agents of movement are earth, air, metaphor, and water."

"Akhmatova thought that perhaps all poetry is a single sustained quotation."

"There is only a moment's hesitation between the disfigured and the transfigured in the late draft of a poem."

Still from his long prose poem of aphorisms—lines like these make me pretty confident that I'll find something in Dubie as I keep reading.

Emily Lloyd said...

Wow, 'duardo. I haven't read Dubie. I will now.

Laura Carter said...

"City of the Olesha Fruit" is a lovely poem.

Artichoke Heart said...

I love his metaphors and similes too. (Admittedly, I'm kind of a slut for a good simile.)

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

hear! hear!

ruth-e said...

yes, as another former student of norman's (who i call the poetry buddha) i can attest to his genius, his generosity, and his love of his students. i felt cared for by him as well as respected and tutored....

it's hard to believe that someone couldn't immediately see the beauty in norman's work. that's so curious to me...