I’d have to agree with Liz on this one, Donna Stonecipher’s Cosmopolitan has left a lasting impression on me as a writer since I first picked it up. There are so many things that I find completely intriguing within her poetry, and even envious in the effectiveness of her employing these techniques. I have an extreme appreciation for the way she is able to take a handful of images that seem unrelated to each other, and make them connect so concisely. In each inlay as well, each numbered stanza does not necessarily seem related to one another, unless you truly delve into each inlay and each stanza as a critical reader and reveal where the connections are made. I love how she gives to many possibilities for reading to the reader, yet there’s still this underlying message that holds everything together. It really is brilliant the way she is able to do this.
Obsessions too were a big one for me. I’m enthralled at the way she reveals her personal obsessions and connects them to outside ideas. It sort of gives way to this notion that everything could be interrelated if you really thought about it. I really tried to go into her writing style when we did the exercise in class regarding our obsessions and trying to go into details of it and then connect it to other things.
The biggest technique I probably took from her was her rhetoric questions that are strewn throughout her poems. On page 15 she writes, “Which would you rather your head be full of, facts or ideas?” On page 31 she asks, “If you’ve been to a city’s airport, can you say you have been to that city? And, especially questioning is in Inlay 6 (Mary B. Campbell), Poem 6, on page 30 where she writes:
Does every small town here have a disused castle? Does every small-town disused castle here have a park? Does every small-town disused castle park here have a maze? Does every small-town disused castle park maze here have an issue onto a formal garden where white violets flower in the form of a fleur-de-lys?
She utilizes the question-form, rhetoric and unanswered questions, within her poems throughout the book. I am fascinated with that, and have definitely noticed my own writing taking on a much more question-based form than it ever has before.
Plus, Donna mentions sex and whatnot in her poems, which is always a plus.
I really like the conciseness of her language, combined with obsessions, imagery, repetition, and questions. The Cosmopolitan has so many things to offer, technique-wise, that I would love to emulate as a writer myself. It was quite an enjoyable read, to say the least.
If I had to associate myself with a certain structure we learned this semester, I would have to go with the emblem structure. The use of that structure really helped me to take a second look at objects in my poetry. I am especially fond of starting with this central point and expanding outward from it and vice versa. I like too, in our Structure & Surprise book where it is said that the emblem structure “need not be primarily visual. Any of the senses might animate an emblem poem.” This really speaks to the idea of putting yourself inside the object at hand and writing through the object, which was a suggested exercise to use when we went to the art gallery. I think too, that the emblem structure is so appealing because it’s significantly more organic for me to write through, than something like the retrospective-prospective or the substructure.