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Poets on Poetry #1: Res Mundi

The written, printed word is our bread and butter at the Grackle. But we don’t mind admitting—we will insist on it, in fact—that what makes poetry necessary is something that turns up first of all in a common breathing and beating of hearts. So what we’d really like is to get together with you somewhere, read some poems, and talk.

We hope the video series in which the above is the first entry gives you a hankering for the same.

If you’ve read a poem in Grub Street Grackle that you’d like to see featured in a future installment of “Poets on Poetry,” please leave a comment below to let us know!

Some questions about the poem, for your consideration:

  1. “Closer than a kiss” seems to draw attention to the fact that the two in the poem are not kissing. What do we infer from this about the speaker and the one being addressed?
  2. Res mundi. Things “of the world,” as opposed to what? Things of other worlds? Eternal things? Dream things? Memories?  There’s a turn in the poem at “But then.” Does that turn tell us anything about the nature of the opposition?
  3. The poem is framed as the recollection of a dream after waking, and the dream itself seems to be of something remembered. At what point does this dream memory end? Take the line, “Weight bouldered.” Is this something that happened in the dream? Then where was the weight? Is it “of the world,” or not?
  4. We are used to distinguishing a literal meaning of “heart” from a metaphorical. Does this distinction make sense applied to the last line of this poem?
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2 Responses to “Poets on Poetry #1: Res Mundi”

  1. “And you were facing west” hits me like a sledgehammer. I don’t know why. It also seems to me that, once I knew he (?) was facing west, I already knew that he was facing away from the speaker; but how could that be? Maybe I am just retroremembering because I’ve listened to it three times already.

    Posted by Melanjolly | July 18, 2014, 3:52 pm
  2. This poem feels like a bittersweet, lyric eulogy. don’t all our departed lovers go west? Or, face that way when thinking of something far-off? I personally would like to hear Monica Lavergne read a poem.

    Posted by Sarah Breisch | July 24, 2014, 9:32 pm

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The Grackle is a production of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Imagine Dallas Literary Arts, Inc.