Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: “Is that the subject of Elizabeth Bishop?” –Jim Lehrer, News Hour

What is the subject matter of a woman? Or of a man? Might a woman’s subject be a man? Or a woman, if she were a lesbian? Or herself, if she were a narcissist? Or might she have more than one subject, if she were a real person like the rest of us, complex beyond words? Ms. Bishop wrote a mere ninety poems in her life, few for a popular poet in our time, yet to have all ninety be preoccupied with the same words or subject would be redundancy on a level beyond even Gertrude Stein’s tolerance. No, couldn’t a poet, shouldn’t a woman have as many subject matters as her mind and soul could absorb? Could not love and loss cohabitate in her synaptic pathways? In her meager (and mighty) ninety compositions, could not patriotism and prejudice, geology and epistemology, the universe and an acorn all be subject matters a mind might say to matter, to truly matter, beyond a trite explanation that they were all related to the same subject, to some holistic subject matter, like a human condition or an everything? Please don’t tell me a woman was interested in everything just for the sake of a little oversimplification of her mental lifetime. It would sell a woman short, and sell everything far shorter.

1 comment:

  1. Whether intentionally or not, that was very sweet, Johnny.


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