Poem of the Week | October 18, 2021
“Self-Portrait Lined by Mina Loy” Simone Muench and Jackie K. White
This week’s Poem of the Week is “Self-Portrait Lined by Mina Loy” by Simone Muench and Jackie K. White!
Simone Muench is the author of several books including Wolf Centos (Sarabande) and Suture (co-written with Dean Rader; BLP). She also edited They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (BLP, 2018). A recipient of an NEA fellowship and a Meier Foundation for the Arts Award, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, poetry editor for Jackleg Press, and founder of the HB Sunday Reading Series.
Jackie K. White’s individual poems have appeared in ACM, Bayou, Folio, Spoon River, Third Coast, and elsewhere, and she is the author of three chapbooks (Bestiary Charming, Petal Tearing, and Come Clearing). Hex & Howl, a collaborative chapbook with Simone Muench, is just out from Black Lawrence Press and their collaborative poems appear in APR, Bennington, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, among others.
Self-Portrait Lined by Mina Loy
Something in the delirium of night hours
confuses: I feel more metal
detector than double French doors,
less constellation than anchor.
Night fires smolder in my hands
like tiny gold umbrellas. On my tongue,
a blaze cleaves my voice into bellow
and witchgrass. My spit falls in silver
spears, delicate as charms. Could
it be that the fragility of dangling
links is a power crushed, then cast
into a weather of wool and honey?
This night forges stars into stones,
makes words pearl every dropped leaf
like glitter on bronze. All the opposites
I’ve bartered braid into quilt and cloak.
Then all those opposites unfold
and I don’t know which turning to take.
Because of our collaborative compositional approach, coupled with the borrowing of another poet’s lines, “Self Portrait Lined by Mina Loy” speaks explicitly and playfully to our interrogation of the supposed single-ness of subjectivity, particularly in the making of poems. Our choice of couplets enhances the “neither this nor that-ness” and/or “both-ness” of the “braided” images of opposites while underscoring the braided nature of our own voices. In a somewhat Picasso-esque cubist approach to portraiture, our “self-portrait” series, from which this poem is taken, examines a quilted “picture” of ourselves with our poetic forbearers. In doing so, we mean to pay homage to the poetic tradition in a way that foregrounds the innate collaborative nature of all art-making.
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