Sunday, April 7, 2013

Of fish and dogs

Hi! Welcome and thanks for stopping by. Last night my wife and I attended the world premier of Nice Fish, inspired by the prose poems of Louis Jenkins. I came away from the performance with the impression that the play involves existentialist angst, the absurdity and surrealism often associated with prose poetry, a Minnesota perspective as frequently captured by Howard Mohr and Garrison Keillor, and about 30 minutes worth of dialogue and dramaturgy some might find in excess. The poet himself was in the audience several rows in front and to the right of us. I think I'd love to know what he thought of the outcome of the collaborative effort and last night's whole performance. I have a concern best described in Robert Frost's comment "Poetry is what gets lost in translation." (This may easily be accounted for by the fact that I'm an aspiring poet, not an aspiring playwright or there may be a large element of truth to its fit with Nice Fish.) Now, after spending this time talking about Louis Jenkins and prose poems, I bet you can guess who wrote today's poem to help us continue our celebration of National Poetry Month. Mr. Jenkins has a number of books of prose poems published. One of my favorite pieces comes from The Winter Road's poem "Three Dogs."
BLACK DOG
I don't own a dog and I don't want one, but every now and then
a black dog accompanies me on my walk out on Winter Road,
which is strange because there are no houses nearby, yet he
seems well fed and content. He usually approaches from behind
silently and walks alongside me. The first time he appeared it
caused me to jump, but I've come to expect him. As company
he is only a little better than my own thoughts, ranging ahead or
lagging behind to sniff at something in the ditch. We walk
along, each without acknowledging the other, and when we part
at the end of my hike neither of us says good-bye.
I'll start you off on the assessment: Nature literate, grounded in place? To my reading, yes. Keep going with Snyder's points. Think about dog, as totem of? Thanks for listening. Come again. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.