The Mind-Body Problem: Poems

By Katha Pollitt

Within the Mind-Body challenge, Katha Pollitt takes the normal occasions of life–her personal and others’–and turns them into magnificent, poignant, and infrequently humorous poems which are filled with surprises and originality. Pollitt’s mind's eye is stirred via clash and juxtaposition, by way of the distinction (but additionally the relationship) among good judgment and feeling, among the true and the transcendent, among our outer and internal selves: Jane Austen slides her manuscript below her blotter, bewildered younger moms chat with politeness at the playground, the easy traces of a chinese language bowl in a thrift shop remind the poet of the one obvious simplicities of her adolescence. The identify poem hilariously and ruefully depicts the friction among ardour and repression (“Perhaps / my physique could have cherished to make a few of our dates, / to return domestic at 4 within the morning and resolution my scowl / with ‘None of your business!’ ”). In a chain of 9 poems, Pollitt turns to the Bible for idea, remodeling many of the oldest stories of Western civilization into subversive sleek parables: What if Adam and Eve couldn’t wait to go away Eden? What if God wishes us greater than we'd like him?

With those relocating, shiny, and totally specified poems, Katha Pollitt reminds us that poetry could be either profound and available, and reconfirms her status within the first rank of contemporary American poets.

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The porch swings are peeling, the youngsters have their very own lives. nonetheless, anyone crew-cuts the crab grass that leads to seashore or marsh, places out the plastic garden chairs, launders the white curtains. by which one glimpses bedrooms that glow faded yellow or lilac, like Easter eggs. at the cloth cabinet, Mass playing cards, seashells, photos—Sue and the women and what used to be his identify? The puppy who enjoyed chocolate ice cream? bad the way you put out of your mind, yet by no means brain, it’s one other morning for the Kerrys and Angelinis hoisting their Irish and Italian flags as though it didn’t subject that they’re going, just like the ducks unravelling southward over the ocean grass, a number of much less each year, like “swell” and “swank” or the women’ names at the housefronts: pass over New Britain. Wendy-Ann. Integer Vitae the attractive grey puppy loping around the garden all afternoon for the sheer pleasure of summertime, bees at their balm, the dragonfly asleep on a raspberry leaf— that’s how we’d stay if dwelling have been sufficient: blameless, single-hearted just like the mourning dove who’s known as his mate within the cool sunrise from one pine for 1000 years. those don't wake in tears nor does deception force them all the way down to the blue pond the place the beaver, prince of chaos, who seemed on my own as though from nowhere, is tirelessly developing his darkish palace of many rooms. Lilacs in September surprised to the foundation just like the lilac bush within the vacant lot through the typhoon— whose black department break up via wind or rain has damaged out unseasonably into those scant ash-colored blossoms lifted excessive as though to assert to passersby what's going to unharness itself in you whilst your hurricane comes? Mandarin Oranges I can’t bear in mind if I even cherished them after they have been the certain deal with of our high-school lunchroom. most likely not—they smacked of bribery: for chapel, volleyball, and lima beans, this splash of the Orient in a skinny sugary plasma. And but at the present time on the grocery store I observed that foolish geisha flirt her fan opposed to the flat, insipid turquoise sea and sought after mandarin oranges greater than I’ve ever sought after something, as though they held the complete essence of minor and pleasure. O sweetness, dawn, hibiscus, chinese language lanterns, hearts— we can’t hold religion with the previous, in spite of everything we like it since it is the previous, irrespective of how stubbornly we inform ourselves, “Remember what this used to be like, how bored you have been, how depressing. ” Inscribed in a margin of recent Chemistry and dated March 15, l965. Playground within the hygienic sand of the hot municipal sandbox, youngsters with names from the soaps, Brandon and Samantha, fill and empty, fill and empty their brilliant plastic buckets along childrens with names from vague books of the Bible. we're all moms right here, pleasant and well mannered. we're educating our youngsters to proportion. a guy may well slice his method via us like a pirate! And why now not? Didn’t we open bodies recklessly to any megastar, say, youngster, whoever you're, are available in? however the males are busy in other places. Broad-hipped in stylish sweatpants, we talk about the day—a tabloid homicide, does chilly cream paintings, these scholars in China— and as we speak now not one in all us isn’t considering Mama!

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