The concessional poem that I decided to dissect was “Mare Incognito” written by Larissa Szporluk:

The moon makes my son go silent.
It sucks the fight from his mind,
leaving him hollow in my arms,
like a final piece of tunnel
diminished between lights.
I lose him to the brighter world;
the dark one vibrates with alarm,
as if the storm about to come
had sprung upon its axis.
Trees turn blue from drag;
leaves, like minnows, in reverse,
breaking for the shallows.
In human terms, in human terms,
their flesh is being stolen.
Long bone shadows slam into the ground.

His head is cold all over.
Its curves extend forever.
In the high winds, in the high key of heaven,
he is totally filled with God.

I felt that the complexity being addressed here was a very real one: a mother having difficulty accepting the fact that her son has died, leaving her to be with God in heaven. She started by saying that her son was gone and hollow and lingers on this fact, ending it with a turn to her son being full of God.

I felt that this form worked best for this complex idea because it best describes inner torment, at least that is my opinion. When an individual is having difficulty understanding something, they argue it in their heads. I at least, fully state one side of an argument and then debate it with the other one. So, I guess, I really related to this poem because it felt like an argument that I would have.

The only way I’ve personally noticed that a Concessional poem moves beyond a simple strategic tactic is via believability. A speaker has to sound completely sure of everything and gain a reader’s trust before making an outrageous turn. That way, a reader doesn’t finish the poem and think “Why the hell did I just read this?” and instead still believes the speaker.

One Response to “Mare-Concessional-Incognito”

  1. stephroush Says:

    I agree that the complexity addressed in Mare Incognito seems very fitted to the concessional structure and as you explain the movement of acceptance I feel that you can see the concessional structure as a “coming to terms” with an idea, emotion, event, etc. The mental back and forth seems extremely relevant in that interpretation. The believability seems to be a theme in the posts as well. I guess it ties into what Dr. Kelsey quoted about “genuine acknowledgments.” I was rereading Baudelaire’s “The Painter of Modern Life” and how he discusses the self-contradictory nature of man, our duality which also makes the contradictions of the concessional structure believable because I can identify that as the nature of grief or complex ideas.

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