Litany

I’ve got the most wonderful crush on Richard Siken‘s poetry. I discovered him last year, or the year before last, and have completely dipped my heart and soul into his amazing little book Crush (how fitting). His style is so heavy and tragic, but playful and light at the same time; it completely destroys any vision of romanticism one might have, to then build it up again, just with words! To me it encompasses everything that is beautiful about modern poetry, I love the look of his lines on paper, the line breaks, the spaces. There is something of his poetic narrative in his editorials too: he is always telling a story, in a certain way, in his own way. One of my favorite poems of his is called Litany In Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out. Everything in that poem is pure over-the-top tragedy, pushing you into pity, then self-pity, then the realisation that nothing is as it seems, and I could go on and on, because every time I read those lines, something new comes into focus.

 

Hello darling, sorry about that.

                                                       Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we
lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell
                                    and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud.
            Especially that, but I should have known.
You see, I take the parts that I remember and stitch them back together
            to make a creature that will do what I say
or love me back.

 

Today, quite out of the blue, I have found an audio track of him reading the piece. Strangely enough, though poetry is meant to be read out loud – the love of words on paper are just a caprice of mine – the way he reads it is so different from how I imagined it read, or rather, from how I imagined it being read by the person who wrote it! His voice and tone are deep and almost flat – flatter than I would read it, but maybe in my excitement and absolute, terrifying love for that poem, I would put too much emphasis on words. Anyway, read and listen, because Siken’s Litany is too wonderful to be missed.

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