Poetry Frisson

The poem is “That Other” by Joyce Carol Oates (Poetry*, July/August 2020).

Reading this miniature is like encountering a firm pack of beach after jogging on dry sand.

The poem is accessible while allusive, and wry. It crystallizes for me, in a vernacular spurt, repressed rancor emerging as a stream of concessive-aggressive score settling.

I perceive the poem’s form as free, yet it seems to occupy its skin out of necessity; its structures buttress it unbefuddlingly; its shape on the page and on the tongue has a rightness to it that feels like pacing, not breakage.

Here’s the whole thing:

That Other

They laughed, but no. You
don’t remember that.

What you think you remember —
it wasn’t that.

Yes, you remember
some things. And
some things did
happen. Except not
that way.

And anyway not
to you.

(Joyce Carol Oates)

*The eponymous magazine founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe. Don Share is editor.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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