Frequently, I find author/artist's statements/explanations of their creations tedious/grandiose/self-serving, obfuscating/misleading and, most devastatingly---boring! This is not the case with Monica Youn's essay which regards her poem "Blackacre" which I read a few months ago while at the Barnes and Noble on US 1 in Fort Lauderdale, FL (I love going there for coffee so I can read magazines while I wake up). I immediately felt/thought the poem terrific: I love thinking of Milton as a poet who makes other major poets look comically minor (in other words, I love thinking of him in rather cartoonish figurations) and "Blackacre" writes not through nor over but rather with Milton's sonnet "On His Blindness," a poem I'm not even an idolater of. And now having just read Youn's exegesis, I know what Blackacre means, and that the poem stems/circles around the fact that she was infertile. This makes amazing sense once she's written to me, but I totally never imagined that subject when I was happily going through/with it at B and N.
I also read #Actual Asian Poets, a collocation of homages up at Literary Hub. I find this to be exciting in terms of the general cultural contours it creates, but not (with a few exceptions) cognitively engaging in any specific way: mostly it reads to me like an anthology of blurbs. Perhaps quite contradictorily, I ADORE blurbs, so don't mean to cast undue aspersion.
Finally, I read Mia You's essay-at the Poetry Foundation blog--regarding her pregnancy and specifically her attempt to establish what constitutes being in labor--what timeline most accurately contours the experience. I love this piece. Most notable, for me, is that it is--though ultimately the work documents markedly difficult realities--quite funny in places, and I sense that I as reader have been led to carry this response due to You's fully intended effort.