Poetry Friday: “Afternoon Swim”

green and blue water in some kind of reservoir, surrounded by dark sides. the water is lit up by the reflection of trees. The play of grammar has always lured me. I’ve wondered: why do English sentences take the shape they do? So when I reached line 4 of Lance Larsen’s “Afternoon Swim”—with its bold announcement that he was switching from second person to first—I was hooked. Play with grammar is this poem’s medium. I laughed out loud at the course of Larsen’s sentence about another sentence: “a sentence in a Victorian novel fallen against the belly // of a pregnant somebody dozing on shore, turning now / to devour a delicious direct object.” Yet soon—surprise!—the direct object being devoured is the loaves that Christ multiplied, and the poem’s play turns theological as well as grammatical. And metaphysical, too, by the poem’s end, as it moves into pondering why words have the meanings they do—and how our very self is constructed.

—Peggy Rosenthal [Read more…]

Eggs, Milk, and Maternal Instinct

When I saw my eye doctor recently for a potentially serious condition, she recommended that I eat eggs. “Lots of them, especially the yolks.”

I laughed, remembering what an elderly friend, now passed away, once told me. Her husband was a physician, and early in their marriage (which would have been about fifty years ago), whenever she was angry at her husband about something, she would prepare herself an egg for breakfast. Consistent with the medical advice at the time, he was certain that eggs were bad for you. So eating one silently was her way of getting back at him.

I’m intrigued by how medical knowledge goes in and out of fashion. [Read more…]