Sunday, 6 January 2008

Mario Petrucci´s response to critique

Mario Petrucci kindly offered the following response:

"I was worried when you said "...the internet has limitations and a style of its own" - partly because, if that's so, maybe we shouldn't use it for such things, and partly because the old pseudo-socialist in me senses 'well, isn't that precisely why it's being used... to dumb everything down?'... but you subverted both counts with your analysis, which I really enjoyed.

Of course, critiques like this are as much about the reader as the poet/ poem: you could probably see a penguin mating with a giraffe in there if you tried hard enough. But there are some really sharp observations here... I particularly thought the 'beast of two backs' and the Petronius 'recoil' were good.

You also picked up some 'negative' nuances like' suspicion' and 'hybrid gas' and 'warp' (you might have added 'cling' or 'spawn') which - together - prove that a writer is often as surprised by the content of what they've written as their reader: i.e. I was sensing an edginess there when I wrote it, but didn't quite realise it was so strong. And I really didn't see, at all, how the poem's tense shifts…which proves, again, writers need reflective, sensitive readers.

The one thing - perhaps the only thing - I think you could've raised is that this is - at its heart - an Eco-love poem... it uses, like the metaphysical poets, an extended conceit. The extended conceit here is that bacteria etc. from one body get transferred to another (through love-making, kissing, touching) and change the ecology, as it were, of those lovers' skins.

So, you can't ever disentangle from your previous actions: there's your metaphor for environmentalism, right there, in what appears (on its surface, its skin?) to be a straightly-quirky love poem. It's an important point because almost all my poems have some larger picture at their edges. Ecology, environment and the consequences of connection/disconnection are all here.

We can't escape Gaia just as much as we can't escape love. The blanket Gaia provides can also smother us."

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