31 January 2011

Tuesday Poem: from The Time of Giants, by Anne Kennedy

from Cinema, the sad ending 'o'


Have you seen Psycho? No. Vertigo? No.
Rear Window
No.Rope? Nope. They don't
make them like that any more. No.
In that case have you read
The Inferno? No.
In that case did you see
The Towering Inferno? No.
Have you seen you know? No.
Have you? No.
Okay have you read Plato? No.
Bassho? No.
Sappho? No.
Purgatorio? No.
Paradiso? No.
Umberto Eco? No.
Daniel Defoe? No.
Othello? No.
Orlando? No.
Waiting for Godot? No.
Living in the Maniototo? No.
Crow? No.
Wodwo? No
Alice Munro? No.
Gregory Corso? No.
Edgar Allan Poe? No.
Allen Curnow? No. Wystan Curnow? No. Any Curnow? No.
Black Rainbow? No.
The Rainbow? No.
Whanau? Nau.
The Pisan Canto? No.
Rimbaud? Naud.
Don DeLillo? No.
Alan Sillitoe? Noe.
Joy Harjo? No.
Leslie Marmon Silko? No.
Steven Winduo? No.
Timothy Mo? No.
Henry D. Thoreau? Neau. Paul Theroux? Noux. Any Th...? No.
Robinson Crusoe? Noe.
Ivanhoe? Noe.
Te Kaihau? Nau.
The Kumu Lipo. No.
Under the Volcano? No.
The Aloe? Noe.
The Loss of Eldorado? No.
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow? No.
Barbara Trapido? No.
Henry and Cato? No.
The Wide Window? No.
The Grim Grotto? No.
Oh, the Places You'll Go!? No.
Kate DiCamillo? No.
Go Dog Go? No.
Do you remember Yoko Ono? No.
and the Paycock
? No.
Anthony and Cleo-
? No.
The Canto
? No.
? No.
vid? No.
sip Mandelstam? No.
Flann O'
Brien? No. Greg O'Brien? No. Any O'B…? No.
Baby No
? No.
The Go-
? No.
The po-
em with the women coming and go-
ing? No.
You do know
the coming and go-
ing one? No.
no coming and going then? No.
War And Peace?

I mentioned the other day that I'd recently reread The Time of the Giants by Anne Kennedy. The context of this poem is that Moss, the protagonist, is out on her first date with Paul, her new boyfriend. She is taking pains (literally) to avoid him from finding out that she is a giant. They are about to go into the movie (Shakespeare in Love). From their discussion, you might guess that they are rather different sorts of people. Moss is rather more cultured.

What I love particularly about this poem, or rather section of a poem, is its playfulness, its rhythm and rhyme and cleverness, and all the different ways of saying no. I haven't tried reading it out loud - I'm sure it would be awesome - but it's the kind of poem that reads itself out loud in your head.

Anne Kennedy is a novelist, award-winning poet and short-story writer, editor, literary critic and scriptwriter. She's recently returned to Auckland from Hawai'i, where she was teaching creative writing.

Head on over to the Tuesday Poem blog for more Tuesday Poems: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/


Mary McCallum said...

I love this long poem - one of my favourite ever. We should have talked about that the other day over coffee!!!

Jennifer Compton said...

oh so much fun! just super - ta!

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Fabulous choice! I, too, love the rocking rhythm of the 'no' response. And what a subtle way of referring to Prufrock. Thanks, Helen!

Melissa Green said...

Oh, what an absolute delight! To write the history of literature, decade after decade, sound after sound, with the hilarious tumbling rhyme of the authors/books with the negative 'no'---brilliant and witty and a pleasure!

Helen Lowe said...

I feel like the nay-sayer here, but I found the poem lost me in the 'listing'--it just doesn't work for me! :-(

Anonymous said...

I love the repetition, but I must admit to scanning it a little -- the long list did get a little tiring. I loved the surprise at the end, too.