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Response & Bio Martha Ronk

Question #13) Ever Saskya on technique: "The poetic techniques in the prose poem are a combination of decocting and expanding. Poetry attempts to heat apart-(often) break down/disjoint the assimilation into parts-what narrative often infers in expanse. The most instinctive part of the prose poem, for me, is the appearance of wholeness, which is not actual; this instinctive part allows me to disjoint and assimilate the parts into a heterogeneous work, created from fragments, which appears homogeneous; the narrative quality of the prose poem allows this assimilation to have expanse, and the disjointedness to adhere in pieces and present a whole/fixed space of utterance within the swirling."

What intrigues me about this statement is the perception, with which I agree, that these forms that pull together poetic language and the traces of narrative from prose appear whole.

My poems, I think, jump from fragment to fragment, compress images and run out of and outside of time.There is no breathing space in this distilment. But these other pieces I write, like "Her subject/His subject," are artificial in a different way; as they expand into semi-narrative, they create the illusion of wholeness, of a clearer sense of the relatedness of images, different moments in time, different points of view. The artificiality is of another sort, and deludes one into seeing a landscape, a memory, even argument perhaps.


Martha Ronk has published 7 books of poetry, including In a landscape of having to repeat (Omnidawn 2004), Why/Why Not (UC Press 2003), Eyetrouble and Desire in LA (Georgia) and State of Mind, and Displeasures of the Table (Sun&Moon). She is Professor of English at Occidental College in Los Angeles.