Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tomorrowland 5

The Argument

The second difficulty is the sphere itself
As I plunk on an inclined plane

These are the opening lines (p.11).

They hint at the illustration on the jacket, Camille Martin's "Hieroglyphic Night". At least, that seems to show a figure plunking on an inclined plane, while in the distance we observe the rather troubled sphere of a moon.
Subsequently, the word "sphere" makes a number of what seem like quite important appearances in the poem.

"we need a bluet sphere" (IAG, p. 19)
"You see our love desire laughter whom
I recognize most thoroughly ensphered" (NOM, p. 38)
"as Jack unspheres on Fasti with a tender disregard" (TBC, p. 91)

Reading The Argument as a whole it's apparent that the plane is also an airplane, e.g. "when the four bumps hit the ground" (p.12).

It's notable that the last part of one section often preludes the next, and that's the case here. In this last part the surroundings become recognizably urban, and here we get our first glimpse of Eula:

"With Eula mobilizing narratives in a café" (p.13)

(WhatsApping her friends, maybe)

It's All Good

The first full-length section is distinctly "metropolitan-inflected" (p. 15).

"Thus both about the city we did stroll" (p.15).

This may be the moment to say, what I keep forgetting to say, that there's a great deal of comedy in the early sections of the poem. We're not a million miles from The Ambassadors here.

"Our Eula" (p. 20) matches the first appearance, in the next section, of "our Manda" (p. 24).

By the end of "It's All Good" we've reached a space that may not be quite so uncomplicatedly "all good", and are looking back and out to wilderness, a suitable introduction to the next section.

Treasure Island

It begins with the "island gurney". Sounds like an animal or bird, but the only definition for "gurney" is a stretcher-trolley.

"Treasure Island" begins with the most sustained bit of island paradise in Tomorrowland. (There's also the outbreak of travelling euphoria that I mentioned in an earlier post.)

This nature poetry is, of course, not left unproblematized; to an extent it arrogates what it doesn't own.

While he takes his myth and puts it out there
In the literal sense, over again incorporating oysters
And their total inability to resist. (p.25)
The final part of TI focusses on ants.



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