Monday, June 29, 2009

Tangent Intro for Dana Ward, Portland, 6/27/09

Dana Ward’s poetry reminds me of that arcade game where you have to steer a grapple over a pile of soft toys. The object is to get the claw to drop on the prize you want, then carry it off to the chute. In the real game, the toy seems a little sad once it comes down the chute—it never looks as good as it did when it was part of that colorful assortment behind the glass. In Dana’s version, the claw never has to drop; you get to keep moving the grapple over a beckoning surface of feeling and detail and variegated cultural reference that doesn’t force you to choose between Jay-Z and Alice Notley, or Caravaggio and John After a while, the meaning of the poem seems less about grab and capture than the pleasure of motion itself, which is also the beauty of being various and contradictory and alive. “I can see,” Dana writes, “how the words haven’t changed me but my/affectations have changed/like a firefly alters the neighboring particles.” Neighbors and fireflies, let’s get altered together with Dana Ward.

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