I have been continuing to use Mina Loy’s Lunar Baedeker poems as material for writing my own poems. The first 6 pieces have expanded out, using more of the space of the page, which is new for my writing. I have got round the difficulty in ‘translating’ her titles (and those wonderful lines in between!) by titling each poem as a ‘Map’. This obviously relates to the Baedeker maps and also to the idea of mind maps -- consciousness spreading out and settling on the page.
I have noticed that the arrangement of words in these poems seems to want a different way of reading -- a lingering over the sounds in the words -- not a slowness, rather a full articulation as if to carry the sound until the next sounded space is reached.
It has been useful to have such a sound rich material to work with while I have been exploring my relationship with the space of the page. Thanks to Mina Loy I have been able to concentrate on trying out a new technique without also trawling around for material.
I am currently working with Loy’s poem ‘English Rose’, which runs to several pages. The last lines of the first stanza -- ‘petalling/the prim gilt/penetralia/of a luster-scioned/core-crown’ -- demonstrate the dance of sounds and word play that Loy effects. The use of ‘the prim gilt’ so effectively plays not only with the meanings available in ‘gilt’ but also evokes its homonym ‘guilt’ and the potential meanings brought in by the addition of that word.
I intend to take a different approach in using this poem as material. As well as developing my spatial awareness in writing poetry on the page, I have been looking to experiment with expanding my range of reference and the materials I collect for the composition of a poem. I had intended to try this out from the start of the Loy translations but I got carried away with her sounds. Something in the richness of sound and the language in ‘English Rose’ is telling me that I need to respond to the words of this poem in a different way. Working from the sounds this time will not do -- therefore I am prompted to use the title as a starting point and work out from there...