Saturday, January 30, 2010

On "Be Your Own Boss," by Larry O. Dean, "Saturday Night Fever" by Sherman Alexie, and "We Shoplifted" by Samantha Arlotta ****

Taking a break from the stories today to highlight three poems I really like. The first, I suppose, would strike a chord with those newly laid out of work who have the opportunity to work for themselves (of course, we never really work for ourselves, since even contractors have clients). In a few deft words, Dean sums up the greatness and drawbacks of self-employment. Read the poem here at Keyhole.

Alexie's poem, on a completely different subject, uses its last line to put forth an idea I'd not heard before, but it has a ring of truth, sparks my mind working, looking at other immigrant fiction. Alexie's on to something here, in just a few words, he states what a literary critic might take three hundred pages to prove. Sometimes, just a thought is enough to make a poem. Read it here at Mudlark.

Arlotta's poem makes memory visceral in a most physical sense. It's a narrative poem, with clear characters, who manage to do some irresponsible things together, things at least one of them remembers with fondness. At least sort of. That memory thing is tricky. Read the poem here at Keyhole.


larryodean said...

Thanks for the nice words on "Be Your Own Boss," which also appears in my chapbook, I Am Spam.

Scott Woodham said...

On your question about the Alexie line, the famine/eucharist thing. In many Northwest Native cultures pre-contact, famine was a springtime side-effect of throwing huge potlatches to gain prestige/status/supernatural clout during the winter. In cultures that had the tradition, going hungry was a mark of socially or spiritually powerful people. Not sure if that tradition is historically part of Alexie's tribe (Coeur d' Alene/Spokane) or not, but the group certainly would have know about the practice.