"Delay in white corn" is a wish I'd wrote it poem from Camille Ralphs, a poet who continually challenges and fascinates me. The poem's from 2017 and it generally comes up at the top of Google when you search for Camille Ralphs poems. You can read the poem by clicking on Camille's picture above.
No way to do more in a blog post than to point out some highlights of the poem. Let's start with the most obvious feature: the "broken" lines and stanza form. Ralphs wants us to feel like we're looking at a relic, like we're reading a stone tablet that's been cracked, yet all the pieces are carefully preserved.
She invites us to imagine this not only as a template for brilliant poetry, but for the universe itself.
Despite the broken lines, the poetry flows and flowers as naturally and beautifully as... well, a field, of course!
Let's look a little closer at a small sample; say, lines 2-4. They read:
flecked thousandly w/ hacked stalks open waves
of scrambled sod one uncut corn tract mills
& grinds itself pale on the eye engraves
Virtually everything here is new. Diction, meter, imagery, punctuation, grammatical construction. The only thing vaguely familiar is the setting, sentiment, and figurative language -- all of which are best described as archetypal. And still it all flows without flaw.
These are the keys, I think, the starting keys anyway, to exploring Camille Ralphs's poetry. She's found a way to reinvent things that's quite exciting and inspired. Underneath the novel surface are deep, abiding rhythms of nature, human love, and the soul.
I'll be blogging about her more in the future. Until then, let me know what you think of "Delay in white corn" by hitting talk above or below. And check out her book: Malkin.
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