Thursday, June 26, 2008

23. Intimations of Immortality - Michael Hofmann

I’m not certain of what’s going on in Intimations of Immortality, but the images are surprising and the usual ironic humour is present. It’s set in Gainesville, in Florida state.

The images revolve around the theme of time – life and a possible future – so you have the “retirement country” with “cryogenics to follow”, and the narrator drinks orange juice “till it fizzes and after.”

The poem begins and ends with what I presume are local expressions – “Have a nice day and get one free” is the beginning. MH’s vocabulary is, I think, amusingly ironic – old ladies “squinny” and “bimble” – and the absurdities of life are given a bleakly humorous twist in a town:

where they give a man
five death sentences
to run more or less concurrently

I liked this poem, the images operating by suggestion and not easily codified into some overarching ‘message’.

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