Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jen Bervin

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

An excerpt of Bervin's Nets online. Philip Metres has a review of Nets on Jacket

This is an erasure piece in which Bervin notes she "stripped Shakespeare's sonnets bare to the "nets" to make the space of the poems open, porous, possible—a divergent elsewhere. When we write poems, the history of poetry is with us, pre-inscribed in the white of the page; when we read or write poems, we do it with or against this palimpsest."

How does this text operate?  What decisions has Bervin made in terms of how she would erase, and would she unearth, or make visible?

How does Bervin deal with the historical and literary significance of the poems?

How does she make use of the form? Does the fact of their sonnet form matter at all?

What about the "I"? How is that operating here? How does Bervin turn the courtly love nature of the poems around?

How does the reader then engage with these poems? Do they lend themselves, as Shakespeare's sonnets have for a few centuries, to readings and rereadings and interpretations?

Or, can these poems be said to be allegorical? If so, then how are we to read them?

What, or how does Bervin deal with language?

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