The old version of myself would’ve called the experiment a big failure. But now, I’m happy to thank that prior self for her service and back away from her slowly… LOL. What I’ve come to is a place solidly situated in self-care.
These notes are part of my “read 100 poetry books in 12-ish months” effort. Far from an official review, they
Based on how Babcock uses it in the poems, Ohio seems like a character, and when it comes to actual characters (people), the poems focus on their mythology/archetype without losing their specificity.
To put it bluntly, one of the ways the patriarchy persists is because women have been trained not to make anyone uncomfortable. As a writer (and this is a writing blog, after all), everything hinges on this idea. The truth often discomforts, and it matters who gets to speak it.
The poems make clear the pain inflicted by a number of atrocities (the slave trade, the assassination of Medgar Evers and Hurricane Katrina, for example) and also the humanity of those lost. Clarke’s work begs the question: if *this* America is the nation experienced by so many, isn’t it the America experienced by all?
Our suffering truly is ordinary, and in treating it as such, Groundspeed mimics for us what life is actually like: one long road trip, hotel overnights and stops at home, all interspersed with encounters we have, dramas large and small, our own and everyone else’s.
As likely as we are to fall down, break up, stumble or choose wrong — or, when the stakes are even higher, to die — we can’t despair about it all the time. Quite simply, these poems exist in a very familiar space: Being Human, Planet Earth.
I have no idea where the capacity to drop down into things went, or why it decided to return, but it *is* returning. The “read 100 poems in 12-ish months” effort is accelerating it, for sure. Coming back to the joyful, careful reading of poetry books — and taking time to make some personal notes about each — is helping me find my voice again.