Thursday, April 09, 2009

Poetry 9: Carol Lynn Pearson

I imagine I'm not the only born-n-raised Mormon for whom poetry meant only one of two things growing up: oft-quoted instructional poems from Gen. Conference and sac. meeting ("'Twas battered and worn, the old violin . . . ") or Carol Lynn Pearson. At least I had a mother who helped me see that Pearson was the good stuff. We owned, and read, all of her books--and no other books of poetry ever appeared in the house. I'm not complaining because I did (and still do) always enjoy her work.

In college, I had a professor who pointed out how simplistic (and, possibly, unpoetic) her work is, but I don't care. I love it. There's no doubt that it has influenced me as a poet and as a thinker, and for that I'm grateful.

(Also, I think it's only admirable that an LDS poet writing LDS stuff would be well-enough known to merit a full lecture in an English class, whether or not the teacher is saying nice things about it. The fact that she was published enough, and known enough, among our poetry-disliking and poetry-suspicious community is no small thing.)

Here's a poem that I got her personal permission to reprint in its entirety for a blog at Segullah, so I'm obnoxiously assuming that she probably wouldn't mind my posting it here as well.

Drama in Two Acts
by Carol Lynn Pearson

I dim
I dim
I do not doubt
If someone blew–
I would go out.

I did not.
I must be brighter than I thought.

I'm seeing today that it has a little Dickenson flavor to it. ("I'm nobody. Who are you?") Good stuff.

You can check out that link to Segullah to see why I love this poem in particular.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

Yes. I definitely hear Dickinson in it. Love her.