Moving further in my studies I was attracted to the ultra-modern and the avant-garde. One medium that spoke to me (no pun intended) more than anything was that mainstay of coffeehouses and beatniks everywhere, spoken-word poetry. Andrea Gibson’s optimistic Birthday, exultant Say Yes, and devastating Blue Blanket collided with Alysia Harris’s continuation of the idea behind Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43, the masterful Death Poem. Courses I took with noted professors of poetry and literature at TCU kept me grasping at the modern and postmodern works of ee cummings (i thank you god for most this amazing day, anyone lived in a pretty how town), T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land, Preludes), and Tracy K. Smith (My God, It’s Full of Stars).
I actually want to pursue poetics as a personal academic mainstay in the near future. As a recently accepted Master’s candidate and a current enrollee in a beyond-fascinating Popular Culture course, I can think of nothing more satisfying as a future doctoral dissertation than going back to the beginning of my interest in poetry—song lyrics in rock music—and viewing them as analytic texts; seeing diction and rhyme’s continued power and tracking its impact on modern youth culture’s paradigms would be an incredibly satisfying (and compelling) thesis. Look at La Dispute’s lyrics to their vastly understated ode to adolescence, “Nine,” and tell me that’s not poetry. Tell me that won’t impact youth to live a little differently. Now tell me you wouldn’t read more about that.
Dr. David Colón, in his study of Latino/a-centric texts, avant-garde poetics, and modern literature, has produced a thrilling chronological anthology of Miguel González-Gerth’s work in Between Day and Night, complete with an enlightening introduction into Gerth’s life and times as a poet confronted with a talent in traditional rhyme scheme thrust into a world of increasing disregard for said rhymes. González-Gerth manages to take that world back, with simple-yet-powerful diction (as earlier in his Pregnant Girl with Dogs: “Modestly carrying the secret of the universe/ She walks so casually, a triumph over curse”) and searing questions (as later in his Giovinezza: “Would you set me on fire/ Or would it be the same as when you waver,/ Knowing the inclination of my mind?”). The general reception to González-Gerth’s style in poetics is a haunting metaphor for the practice of poetry itself, a trend that is fast growing to an unacceptable mass.
by Luke Miller, intern
Between Day and Night: New and Selected Poems, 1946-2010 Miguel González-Gerth will be available this summer.