Alice Notley

by on Jun.09, 2011

i am walking somewhere with petty criminals. our ear praises nothing but going on.
what do others praise. what is your poem today. i praise the bombing of children. i praise the assassination of the wicked other side one in his side and gut all over. this is a fine poem. i praise the inside of you spilled. i praise the blood spatter taste on the corner of my mouth or dednes. i praise how many pieces you can come to.
i praise the president who wishes to open the skin of Saddam Hussein.
what can i do with this word.
call praise shit.

[from “Praise,” which is part of ALMA, or THE DEAD WOMEN]

2 comments for this entry:
  1. adam strauss

    These lines feel really flat to me/way too simplistic in their irony–or do the lines go on to make clearish that the “speaker” really does celebrate the guts, the shrapnel ripped flesh, the slop of blood and pips; if this is the case, then I’m interested; but if it isn’t then: snooze.

    Notley, for me, is English poetry’s great patriarch…I have very little interest in male patriarchs, but women who at times embrace heavy-handed authoritativeness interests me (perhaps counterintuitively, I by no means automatically equate maleness to patriarchy; I’ve tried sometiomes to describe this as patriarchal drag, but no-one seemed to make sense of that notion (which surprised me as patrarchy as drag/performance strikes me as potentially less yick from the getgo) so I’ll just go with the unmodified I guess). I like the Alma owl! (There is an owl on the cover, yah?)

    Could patriarchy in its most generic sense–aka its least subtle–be read as kitsch?

  2. adam strauss

    I like the way the logic developed leads to “call praise shit”–this strikes me as an interestingly uncompromising position.

    I hope all’s well with all!