I am taken by this poem by Karen Volkman over at Omniverse. I would classify it as an ekphrastic of dance, which, though not unheard of, is probably not as common as poems about paintings, or even film. What I think Volkman does so well here is evoke the experience of watching dancers through a scrim: “the seem-stain of its edging” is a beautiful image–seeing objects diffused by translucent cloth is like looking at a stain of seeming, a not-quite-solid, not-quite shadow form. “Seem-stain” calls attention to the otherworldliness of the diffused silhouettes, exploring the line between precision of image and abstraction.

The legs of the dancers speak, describing their dance: “This is kind of a step, kind of/sideways flying. This likes defying//space and what defines it.”

I often entertain the idea that all poems are an ars poetica–or, that most poems contain at least one moment where it may be said that they comment on their own making. “Defying space and what defines it” seems to be the aim of this poem, which it achieves with great, gravity-defying aplomb.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s