Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Sardines" -- the poem, the collection

I wanted to draw your attention today to the poetical works of a feller named Stephen Knight. He's obviously OUR SORT; the guy even named his collection Sardines. The poems were published under the auspices of Young Picador Books, copyrighted 2004 to the author. This is NOT the same Stephen Knight who published the solution to the Jack The Ripper case. Totally different guy.

I want you to know right off that no Sardines appear in this book, except on the front cover and down at the corners of the pages. The collection’s lead poem, of the same name, likewise has no Sardines in it. It’s a fine piece, especially because you feel you have to sift through it line by line, thinking, "What does this have to do with Sardines?" For Cod sakes, the man is a genius. If I could get people to think about Sardines while they search through their sock drawers or make pancakes, the Revolution would be much farther along than it is, BELIEVE YOU ME.

Strangely, almost every poem in this book is about the imaginative adventures of small human boys. Can you imagine a duller subject? But the poems are good reading anyway. They almost make you believe that the species is worth preserving. Go figure!

The one I really want you to read, though, has no little boys in it at all. It’s on page 76, called "The Octopus Factory Night-Shift Girls," and it’s a treasure for a number of reasons.


>> The poem piercingly describes one of the main obstacles to our attempts to recruit humans: we gross them out of existence.

>> It dauntingly reminds of of another major obstacle: they think of us as food, not as something they want to be in the future.

>> There’s a heartbreaking image in here of an Octopus making a desperate feint at recruiting the girl who is dissecting him, preparatory to canning. We can never know whether he managed to recruit her or not, but it sure doesn’t look that way; she leaves work wrapped in a dream of living in a palm-shaded desert populated by eager human suitors, no longer smelling of the sea.

>> The poem really highlights why we need to use so much subterfuge and disguise, even after we begin to make the final change to enter the sea at last. They HATE us and they EAT us.

Anyway, I really recommend the book.


Blogger Ur-spo said...

but A book of poems about sardines is not a bad idea.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I see you succesfully installed some linkS!
Thank you for including me in it.

8:12 PM  

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