Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Anne Hébert Selected Poems

I am hopelessly lost in Anne Hébert's poems. Most of them make me feel stupid. They seem very clever and laced with symbolism that I should get, but don't. They feel very poety and I'm just not that much of a poet. Too many things need to be intuited. And I don't think it's the translation-- I had my husband read the French and he agreed that the translations were fairly tight. So it's just me.

I need a road map. I need a key. What do hands symbolize? When she talks about planting hands in the garden-- severed hands-- what is that about? Closed rooms? Castles? Algae?

And here's the really sad thing. The poems from Tomb of the Kings were the ones that almost made sense to me. When we get to The Mystery of the Word, the word is so mysterious I haven't a prayer of keeping up.

I am dreading class tonight where I will be swimming in a sea of poety people who understand the brilliance of these words.

Time Article on Anne Hébert