Friday, October 01, 2004

Anne Simpson

Researched immigrants coming to Nova Scotia and wrote “Descent”


The Hector brought emigrants to Nova Scotia in the eighteenth century.

Water isn’t treacherous
nor is the descent into it,
made easy by a plank held
at an angle on the ship’s rail
so that a small girl wrapped
in a length of flannel could drop
quickly. In the silence
after her body slid on the wood
and the brief splash
I recalled nothing of her,
not the undulating terrain
of her skin, not the sleeping
animal of her hand
in mine, not even the cleft in her chin
which I used to touch,

Ideas coming out of Anne Simpson:

• Research-based poem
• Research-based short story
• A list poem like “>”
• Poems based on punctuation
• Myth in writing
• Essay on “A head like hers” with Elizabeth’s mom, Camille’s mom

This I also think is amazing.


Aphrodite > Hera and Athena

Paris is only a boy,
choosing between them. What he really wants

is the apple shining in his hand, but they won’t let him
keep it. Anyway, it’s all based on first impressions.

Hera has power and Athena’s got brains. But who sees
these things? Aphrodite has perfect legs,

gilded hair, and blue eyes that open and shut
just like a mortal. He considers, marks each one—

Hera Aphrodite Athena
smiled is all warm smileswill smile
trickedand small tricks, will trick
brought bringing her little myths will bring
gave of love, she gives kisses will give
desired like petals, desiring will desire
tookhim, taking whatever will take
turnedis needed to turn the tables will turn
decidedand decide the outcome will decide

—and declares Aphrodite the winner. She laughs,
disappears. The other two pause, gazing at him.
It begins with an apple: heaven’s usual device.

I love the cheerleader chant: Hera has the power…

Wasn’t there something boys got the muscle, teacher’s got the brains, girls got the sexy legs, we win the game!

Also the lines about gilded hair, and blue eyes that open and shut just like a mortal.

Conjuring images of a perfect little plastic doll whose eyes open and shut as you tilt her this way and that.