Monday, August 20, 2007
Alice. Louis E. Bourgeois. (Presa Press POBOX 792 Michigan 49341 www.presapress.com) $6.
Louise E. Bourgeois’ poetry seems to want to break with everything: convention, tradition, time, place, etc… The Bush administration would undoubtedly find him a dangerous live wire and tap him, and the rest of us would feel like our collective fly is perpetually down. Good. That’s some of the things a good bard does. Bourgeois wants to shed the old suit of universal authority and live by where his instincts take him. In “The Danger of Telling Someone What to Do”, the poet takes on the teacher or the master and gains purity or freedom from what he views as the tyranny of mind control:
“He couldn’t take orders; he considered them dangerous to his
freedom, his artistic freedom. Out of habit,
the example of others, he had attached himself to a Master
in order to write poetry and philosophy.
But after ten minutes
into his first lesson, the pupil wanted to kill the Master…
Every invective the Master exclaims takes
something away from me—a lesson is really a slaughter of consciousness…
The student stabbed the Master in the back with a switchblade
and the master hit the ground hard and died quickly. The pupil
immediately felt a surge of knowledge that would have taken a
lifetime to achieve had the Master lived.”
In “Mr. Homburg” Bourgeois takes a swipe at obsessive rationalization that can stifle an artist natural inclination:
“He kept a daily chronicle of himself without knowing why. Why
should I write about myself everyday,
not liking my life or even
the lives of others?
Why should I do anything I find to be
annoying and beneath me?
But every day he wrote and wrote, he is still writing, not
knowing why and no longer caring.”
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update