‘the accumulating mirror’


good news: i submitted to SLS Kenya Poetry Contest, and altho i did not win, i was in the top whatever percent, and received a partial scholarship to attend. not only that, my girlfriend received the same scholarship in the Fiction Contest. So if we can cull enough money together, we will be in Kenya from Dec. 14 -28!

SLS is the same program i attended this past summer in St. Petersburg, Russia where i got to work with Ann Lauterbach. Also, i met one of the coolest people i’ve ever met: MEPHIS! i recommend the program to everyone.

So todays earlier blog title was “Self Portrait in a Convex Blog”, a reference to Ashberry, which Mark guessed. He got a bonus point for pointing out that the poem title was a reference to Parmigianino’s painting. I saw the painting when i was in Vienna in 2002, and was quite stunned by its craft, especially since it is so small.

And Ashberry’s poem is impressive too. Here is one of my favorite moments from the poem:

Sidney Freedberg in his
Parmigianino says of it: “Realism in this portrait
No longer produces an objective truth, but a bizarria….
However its distortion does not create
A feeling of disharmony. … The forms retain
A strong measure of ideal beauty,” because
Fed by our dreams, so inconsequential until one day
We notice the hole they left. Now their importance
If not their meaning is plain. They were to nourish
A dream which includes them all, as they are
Finally reversed in the accumulating mirror.


one more thing that comes to mind is Caravaggio’s Medusa, another painting that utilizes a convex surface.


17 thoughts on “‘the accumulating mirror’

  1. Does one have to like one more than the other? I think this is like comparing apples and pomegranites. And thank you, most flattering… I’m off this Friday to NYC to hang, or as we affectionately refer to it “surf the SLS couch”, I’m staying with Tom & Mariya, its Tom’s birthday and Nathan will be in attendance… and there will be mad Uzbeki food in Brighton Beach, and wicked quantities of vodka consumed all weekend, and even Banya with one of my dad’s buddies… wish you were there… hey, if everything goes my way… I may see ya’ll in Kenya, I have evil plans in the making… namely, switching jobs and making a small window of opportunity… more on that one later… anyway… I’m tired… just came back from Dad’s Banya… let me know when you’re ready to go, wednesdays are our regular banya nights.

  2. Hmm. I was thinking of Wallace Steven’s poem titled “Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself”.

    I wonder if we’re both right, twobutterfliez?

  3. I think that you’re right on the author Iseult. I had the right poem but wrong author. That’s what happens when I try to think first thing in the morning!

  4. okay, iseult and kari get a point! one for the title, one for author!

    ozy, ha!

    if you’re interested in ekphrastic poetry, go to the comment stream in the post below!

  5. No ideas but in things is the line I believe… which brings up a good question, how do you write? Do you begin with the logos or the thing? Do you begin with a piece of other writing? Do you begin with the material world?

  6. eek, a tough question mephis…will throw that question out to everyone here…and will respond when i get back from work 🙂 hope some people will respond!

    new title up!

  7. Is it “Deer Head Nation” by K. Silem Mohammad? It’s funny…a good friend just recommended this book to me and I ordered it off of Amazon yesterday! Otherwise I wouldn’t have known that. What do people who have read it think of it???

  8. first of all, i would not hang either of those paintings in my home becuase they both creep me out.

    second, thinking of convex concave concurve concon i begging thinking of mirrors and am reminded of a mirror that hung in my childhood room. on the mirror was painted three owls on a branch. two of the owls were upright on the branch. the third owl was hanging from the branch upside down. on the mirror is said “nobody’s perfect”. i remember it vividly, and i remember on many occasions trying to figure out where the oddly shaped reflections from night lights came from–always from that very odd piece of art.

    and on with the all, the process of writing has come up, i think, am i right? i have actually be talking to a friend (ashraf osman) about inspiration. in fact we had a conversation about it on po’et’ship a little while ago. for me, each poem is born in a different moment. those moments come from things i see on the side of the road, neat phrases i pick up, dreams, fantasies, from every part of life. sometimes i begin with a still frame image in my mind. sometimes it’s a short scene. other times, it’s a word, a color, or a tree and i build off of it until the poem develops a meaning.
    other times altogether, i’ll sit with a pen in my hand with the purpose simply to write, weather it’s awful or not, i’m getting what’s in me out of me and once it’s separate, i can manipulate it.

  9. The two works are both interesting. I find the first to be a bit on the wistful side and saying to me, “I wish I could go outside and play instead of sitting here in front of this mirror, but I do so like my reflection…”, and the second to be a cry for help perhaps, or maybe a siren’s ploy to draw me into the her lair.

    For me I’d have to say the second, Caravaggio’s Medusa, is the one I find most interesting. It is a bit more interactive, so to speak, and my eyes certainly find more pleasure within it.

  10. I would be inclined to agree with PoetryMan. I too find Medusa to be more interesting and thought-provoking even though Parmigianino’s painting is more pleasing in an asthetic sense. I am inclined to go with depth and complexity over asthetics though, even if the results aren’t always “pretty”.

  11. butter, deer head nation is great!

    francois, i’m pulling for you my friend! 😉

    katy, that is the coolest mirror i’ve ever heard of…where did it come from? what happened to it? has it inspired any poems?

    def. agree that my own writing is always determined by what is underhand at that moment. sometimes a thing, sometimes an idea, other times a method…

    yeah, the carravagio is much more dramatic, has much more movement…but the i do like the subtlety of the parmigianino, the almost mona lisa look it has…

    oh, and kari gets the point!

  12. i don’t know where that mirror is any more… it got left behind, i guess, when i moved out of my mom and dad’s. ah, and no poems inspired by it that i can think of. maybe i’ll write one today though.

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