from The Paris Review Blog: “The Dadliest Decade.”
You’ll recognize the dadventure if you give it some thought; it’s a subgenre in which the protagonist is a capital-F Father, one whose fatherhood defines both his relationship to the film’s other characters and supplies the film’s central drama. In a dadventure, the stability of the family is threatened—whether by violence or drama, it’s almost always because of some negligence around the dadly duties—and only dad can save the family by coming face to face with his fatherly responsibilities. In the end, he learns just how much fun being a dad can be.
So, I’m writing poetry again. It’s a super secret project that may never see the light of day, because man, I forgot how hard it is to write a poem.
After stories, poems are so hard. I have to be:
- Funnier, and only humor is harder than poetry.
- Less literal. A dinner is not a dinner. A plate is a person is a pig is a philosophical thought, though not too philosophical because a poem all up in the clouds is foam, is froth and dissolving dream.
- Floating, almost unconnected, but grounded grounded grounded through the thinnest wire, the lightest copper strand.
- A smaller camera. But shaky, unfocused. More blurred pictures. More filters.
- An angel on the head of pin, or the bullseye in a period. I need to be a miracle in the tiniest of spaces.
- Righteous and vague, full of blame and accusations, a list of names taken but not so boring as a list of names. A list, perhaps, of maladies, of mental states we’ve given names too: Tiffani for capriciousness, Darniel for stubborn navel-gazing. John for the universal.
- Precise, yet fluid. A flash and burn in the pen, and not, hopefully, in the pan.
- An ear, as much as an eye. A closed up throat. A nightmare on the verge of being spilled.
- A diorama: one of the messy, fucked up kind, with the figures all wrong-sized and their heads too big and the chairs too small and a stiff wind could blow them all over like the hand of a mighty paper god.
- A heart. A big, meaty, balled up, fist in the chest kind of heart, raw red and wrenched out of the chest. A fat bloody wrench in the works of the world.
But I don’t think I’ve read a book that better conveys the sheer ordering power of ideology, any ideology, than Invisible Man, wherein the advent of Communism, christened “The Brotherhood” by Ellison, actually has a perceptible effect on the novel’s form.