Thursday, May 14, 2015

Poem from Gulf Coast

I bumped into this poem when looking up whether Gulf Coast is accepting submissions, which it isn't--which is a-ok.  I've read Nutter's poems here and there.  I sometimes semi like them.  Starting this one, I thought I wouldn't be jazzed, but I totally am: this poem is so saturated in the work of Elizabeth Bishop--not via direct allusion, but through overall echo and approach to observation.  In Lachrymatory, I do perhaps hear "The Bight" more than her other poems, particularly in the end, whose "Signs are posted to warn against/the consumption of eels by children" reminds me a bit of the "awful but cheerful" "untidy activity" of that poem's concluding lines.  And, in a hazily specific sort of way, I hear the end of Moore's "The Steeple-Jack."   I suppose one could take points off for a poem where its goodness stems from its resemblance to someone else's greatness, but I don't feel this way: it's lovely to feel like I'm reading a rivulet of Bishop, and though I can't conceive of GN being anything like great, this poem makes me far more optimistic about other poems of his


Geoffrey Nutter

Remote controlled substation no. 10,
a utilitarian structure down by the tracksthat run past the ruined marina,was built in 1931, and is now beingrenovated. Scaffolding has been erectedall along its sides. A big coilof damp rope is lying in a pileof broken concrete, brick, and plaster.The topmost row of the chain-link fencethat runs along the riveris twisted into barbs, and shreddedplastic sacks are snagged in the barbsas far as the eye can see: dirty grayand shredded, flapping in the wind.A candy box, once green, has beenbleached out to light blue by the sun.Silent gray boulders are lapped atby waves. What’s thatin the mud where the tide is going out?Buttons; bottle caps; small bitsof styrofoam that look like shells or coral;a few dead crabs; a cracked porcelainvessel from the Victorian erafor containing the tears shed by thosewho have survived the death of loved ones.Signs are posted to warn againstthe consumption of eels by children.

No comments:

Post a Comment