Notes on Barbara Guest’s “20”
ModPo citizen John Kamholz recently responded to reading Guest’s poem “20” with the following observation:
When I was in Seville, my son and I went to a flamenco bar. The dancing started at midnight and lasted pretty much all night. Anyway, each dance was ended with a rhythmic flourish-dum dum’(accent on the second dum)…..a click of the castanets and then a stamp of the foot, while the dancer dramatically looked upward like a matador at the end of a bullfight. The ending of the poem reminds me of this ending, as if the entire poem were a flamenco dance improvisation, and the ending, 20 castanets, is the dramatic “dum-dum” of the dance. Just a thought.
To which Al Filreis replied as follows:
The dramatic dum-dum is iambic, but it’s iambic in a way that stresses (as it were) the non-Western mystical, esoteric sources of European culture. Thus it discloses Guest’s (and her New York School colleagues’) search for a renewal of old or alternative versions of the emphatic standard or canonical rationalism of Anglo-American pentameter.
Some Guest links from ModPoPLUS:
PART FIVE: BARBARA GUEST
5.1 read Barbara Guest’s “Roses”: LINK TO TEXT
5.2 listen to Barbara Guest perform “Roses”: LINK TO AUDIO
5.3 listen to 30-minute discussion of Guest’s “Roses”: LINK TO POEMTALK
5.4 read Barbara Guest’s “There Was a Poem”: LINK TO TEXT
5.5 listen to Guest perform “There Was a Poem”: LINK TO AUDIO
5.6 link to a discussion of Guest’s “There Was a Poem”: LINK TO VIDEO [OFFSITE COPY]
5.7 re-read Guest’s “20”: LINK TO TEXT