Monday, September 26, 2011

Poem: "Copy"

According to Writing: The Story of Alphabets and Scripts, by Georges Jean, when medieval scribes overlooked a line of writing, they would write it in the margin or at the bottom of the manuscript, and draw an arrow from it to the place where it should have appeared. The artist would even decorate the arrow with drawings of plants and animals climbing up the line of reparation.

This wonderful detail coalesced with my reading of Susan Howe's That This, a book of poems about her husband's death. The book is made up of three parts. The third part, also the title sequence, "delivers beautiful short squares of verse that might look at home in a hymnal" (back cover). Most of the poems there consist of two couplets separated by stanza break.

I follow that pattern in my poem "Copy" and include a missing line at the bottom of the poem, a line which should be re-inserted into the stanza break, where it belongs, with an arrow. The epigraph is from the first part of Howe's book.


     God is an epigraph

          Susan Howe, “The Disappearance Approach”

Scribe and inscribed
with parched minium

gothic black gold tape
a lumina manuscript

the woman writes in

No comments: