Here’s my first NaPoReMo post. The basic idea is to read a poetry collection this month and comment on individual poems through each day of the month. The difficulty, as some have pointed out, is to write something worth reading for readers who don’t have the poem in front of them. That difficulty, of course, is precisely the challenge! Not easy, I know, and I’m sure I will sometimes succeed only in boring the pants off readers. The entries won’t be long though. I’ll try to compile a link-list of those taking part over the next day or two.
I’ve chosen Selected Poems by Michael Hofmann.
The opening poem, White Noise, is a real cracker. The poem’s subject, an unknown “you”, spends every day in his “monochrome room” with only the crackling of a radio, the “pre-war drone” of his vacuum cleaner, and awful music, for company. No surprises ever break into his routine. He still needs his daily vitamin pills though! But for what?
The poem could easily have drifted into maudlin depression, but doesn't, due to wicked black humour and originality of description. And also, a dramatic shift at the end whereby this man who operates his vacuum cleaner becomes the one swept into a corner of the room as “a pile of leaves.” Modern-day life conveyed as hedgehog existence.
To find a favourite line in this one takes some doing, as there are so many great lines, but this appealed to me:
“You hoover twice a week, and in my eyes
that amounts to a passion for cleanliness.”