Scappettone writes through H.D.
For our 36th episode of PoemTalk, released in October 2010, we took the show on the road — to Chicago — where David Pavelich hosted us at the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, a favorite haunt of an archive-obsessed Al Filreis over many years. (The Modern Poetry collection includes, of course, the papers of Poetry magazine up until 1962 or so, among other gems.) These few years later, we at PoemTalk are still thankful to David for hosting us! We were joined by Don Share, then Senior Editor of Poetry and now its editor, and Judith Goldman of the University of Chicago, and we talked about two poems, one written through the other: H.D.’s “Sea Poppies” and Jennifer Scappettone’s “Vase Poppies.” Scappettone wrote through H.D.’s poem, substituting words but always keeping to parts of speech. She echoes the original at certain moments, creating some rhymes and in a few cases what amounts to a homonymic (“husk”/“dusk”) and quasi-synonymic translation (“sought root”/“wrought suit”). The poem is a meta-commentary on imagism, a way of decorating or over-elaborating H.D. whose imagistic lines convey a “piety that veers into preciosity” (the poet’s phrase). [read more]