Monday, November 4, 2013

Review of "Imaginary June" by C. D. Wright

"Imaginary June" by C. D. Wright was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on November 4, 2013.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23740

C. D. Wright (b. 1949) is the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English at Brown University.  She was the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island from 1994 - 1999 and is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her many volumes of poetry.  A more detailed biography may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/728

"Imaginary June" is a poem of two stanzas: the first, nine lines in length, is labeled "Night," and the second, five lines in length, is labeled "Sequel."  Except for colons after the words "Night" and "Sequel," no punctuation is used; however, there are gaps within the lines throughout the poem.  The total number of lines probably indicates at least a nod to the sonnet form, probably the Italian sonnet which is traditionally arranged as an octet followed by a sestet.

The title implies a kind of dream.  This idea is supported by the use of "Night" in the opening of the first stanza and the words "to a dream" which occur early in the second stanza.  The gaps in the lines indicate jumps from scene to apparently unrelated scene, much as may occur in a dream.  Mid-way through the first stanza appear the words, "the mind sets sail / into its private interval of oblivion," again implying that the reader has been invited into a dream.  Sheep (as in counting sheep) feature prominently toward the end.  I find that I can only appreciate this poem as a series of dreamlike images, and, as with many dreams, can not make much sense of the relationships (if any) between the various images presented.

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