In reading through Meg Matich’s poetry, I’ve had a consistent sense of dread and discomfort. Most of the poems either chronicle the perspective of someone who is living in torment in their solitary, icy world or speak to the reader of this doomy life with a threatening spirit. With winter around the corner, these words of sorrow took form in stinging tingles along the length of my arms, as if I were walking in a blizzard with only the T-shirt and shorts I wore in my room as I read the poems. True kudos to Meg Matich, because it’s been a while since an unfamiliar author affected me in such a way.
In my entranced state, everything Matich described in these poems sent sensations to my nerves according to the subjects in question. When reading ‘summer waters… push beneath the ice’ in Solarium I would unconsciously feel a pain erupting in my stomach, as if the pain was the water and the walls of my stomach were the ice. Even when reading about the opposite of cold gave me freezing splashes. In Kiln, for example, reading of how an island mysteriously formed from lava gave me the illusion of my skin crusting around my body. I felt weak.
This may be overreaching, even for a class like this, and it could very well be purely suggested from the emotionally vulnerable position I was under, but even the spacing and organization of the text printed on the papers and the gray rectangle to the right of the page contributed as some sort of subconscious gloomy visual. Perhaps the blank space served as a clearing for the visions of miserable blizzards and the ravenous animals that live in frigid spots.
There was one poem that was like an antidote to these bitter sensations, and that was Tibra. Somehow, the visual of a geode cracking open transitioned beautifully to the soothing writings of sleeping and being rocked by the lake. It may have served as a relief from the visual of the water pushing the water from earlier. The ice breaks, the pain is gone, and I’m willing to find motivation again.
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