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“Portia”

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PORTIA
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Ils — Play to keep. Games & Metal. De-tect. Detector.
Elles — lose the air, a proverb’s rare cause (volley the heart)
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/////////////////////…school…
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Ils — License Danger. Drive the Crew. Kill. Tell? Kill.
Elles — tell the crew, “danger, anger, don’t pare the fish”
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////////////////////…classroom…
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Ils — Hand for a Hand. Shoot! Avoid Lock, Failure.
Elles — avoid,  and  avoid,  and  a  void,  and  a
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/////////////////////…chair…
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Ils — Waste > Proportion > Prop > Por > Pro
Elles — portion = portion = portion = portion
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/////////////////////…child…
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Ils Check the Cost. Confiscate the Check. Cost the Con.
Elles — compare memory, tissue, our bare misuse, us
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/////////////////////…Portia…
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by Therese L. Broderick
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(a writer’s statement appears as the first comment below)

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

12 responses »

  1. poetryaboutart

    ARTIST’S STATEMENT
    .
    This piece was composed in response to prompt *97 on ReadWritePoem: experiment with a cut-up. This piece emerges from the same text from which “safer” (my previous blog poem) emerged; however, this piece results from a different random lottery of words, as well as from a greater application of my shaping intellect. This version benefited from the feedback of local first readers JG and JH.
    .
    SOUND & SENSE —
    Here I use a dramatic strategy — male and female groups alternating voices — as a foil for the collaboration between me (poet) and my husband (author of the original essay text). With the exception of “Portia,” all nouns and verbs — including the centered waist-words — came from my husband’s text. I arranged several words for the sake of sound, and I deliberately created some tension of sense. I played with words appearing in different contexts and segmentations (“compare” and “pare” for ex.). I do not intend the name “Portia” to have any resonance with any dramatic character beyond the fact that this piece also has a dramatic dialogue. Instead, I intend the name to be a play on the cut-up word “proportion.”
    .
    FACT & FICTION —
    This poem is a cut-up from my husband’s essay on the exaggerated risks of normal living, the disproportionate fears that average people, parents, etc., carry with them day-to-day. Paradoxically, the counterpoint I set up in this piece between groups of males and females is an exaggerated dualism: aggressive men, peaceful women. In my family, raising children is a frequent topic of discussion, disagreement, and agreement. I know no real person named “Portia.”

  2. Wow. I don’t recognize last week’s poem in this week’s poem at all. Wow.

    What I enjoyed in this week’s entry is the melodiousness amidst the sparseness.

    (It also makes me want to go back and read last week’s entry more thoroughly again… I remember my comment and our discussion of your husband’s original essay most of all…)

    Thank you.

  3. Certainly a much tighter treatment than before.

  4. Very interesting the way you structure the gendered difference in language use. A very different take on last week’s cut up. I like the way it alternated between Ils and Elles in relation to but seemingly not in conversation with each other.

  5. Hi Therese,

    Very different look, sound and ‘feel’ this week. The male utterings certainly do seem aggressive! All the statements are very definite.

  6. Therese,

    My gut feeling is that this is very good (since you asked for critique), but I feel out of my depth in offering that, as it is sufficiently different from what I write and read that I’m not sure how to approach it. This reminds me of the language poetry of, for instance, Charles Bernstein, or Ron Silliman. There’s great wordplay, in honor of Shakespeare’s, nifty use of punctuation and layout, and a perceptive take on gender.

  7. Therese,
    The different structure was interesting and did give the poem a definite, tight edge. I also agree that although a relationship exists a conversation does not seem to exist. Thank you for this dramatic rewrite.

  8. Love the alternating voices and the precision of the language that makes for such striking contrasts. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your process by sharing your first and second takes on the exercise.

  9. I’m glad to read your artist’s statement, as I immediately associate Portia with Merchant of Venice!

    I found the dramatic structure interesting and the sonics of the poem are wonderful to read aloud and roll around on the tongue.

  10. geez don’t quite know what to say….critique?…I dont know how to do that…but i always get something out of poetry…I will go back to 97 and read this over again…thanks for sharing this

  11. Wow….It took me sometime to understand..Very interesting

  12. I like the way this sounds. The play with words, esp. danger and anger is very nice.

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