Friday, August 11, 2006

Some Similes

Have I mentioned that I love Norman Dubie? A year ago I’d never heard of him. Now, for months, the crowd inside me has been going mad. Among his strengths is his similes. I know a lot of critics don’t like similes. It’s cooler to be into metaphors, more sophisticated, etc. But I might love similes more. I even love a bunch of them thrown unrelated into one poem together á la Anne Sexton. Norman Dubie doesn’t do it that way though. Here are some of his, line breaks ignored:

“He approaches them like a man falling through crust in a snow field.” (Elegies For the Ocher Deer)

“It falls stiff like a drunk, like a drunk falling onto a whore.” (After Three Photographs of Brassai - describing a pencil)

“The first Wednesday after the peace with Germany was like a new brook under the rain, which only rain could make.” (Anima Poeta)

“Milk coming like white hairpins from her breast.” (Pastoral)

“Her breasts filled the window like a mouth.” (The Obscure)

“They are all wired out like flowers.” (Trees of Madame Blavatsky)

“The geese broke from the shadows like handkerchiefs out of the sleeves of black dresses at a burial.” (Monologue of Two Moons, Nudes with Crests)

“The gas jets are on: they are like fountains of the best water.” (Monologue of Two Moons)

“Black water ran off her dress like a lowered hem.” (The Dun Cow and the Hag)

“A trickle of blood at the knuckle of the thumb like the single red thread through the lace hood and jesses of the Medici falcons.” (Groom Falconer)

“The earth like a crust of bread absorbed them.” (The Saints of Negativity)

Got any good similes? I’d love to hear them.

9 comments:

lorguru said...

Those are very cool. Thanks for sharing. No, I don't have any good ones for you today. I feel brain dead at the moment.
Anyway, welcome back, a bit late. I missed your blog while you were gone. Now I see I have some catching up to do!
I just also read the post about your hair! It was so funny, and so perfectly desribes my hair situation right now, too. Have you done anything about it yet?

LKD said...

First, thank you for sharing these similes. Certainly, they are stunning examples of Pound's exhortation: MAKE IT NEW!

Secondly, I don't know what you do in your real life, but based on the eloquent descriptions of those wines you wrote, you should be writing for Gourmet magazine. Do you fancy yourself a gourmand? These are some of the best wine descriptions I've read in a long time. Reminds me of Anthony Bourdain describing a robust red he was tasting as being like Brando as Stanely in "Streetcar Named Desire" loud-mouth posessing a barely contained threat, yelling: STELLA!

A dangerous wine.

Finally, your post below about your hair and its need for a cut is seriously some of the most sublime writing I've read on hair or anything else for that matter in a long time. My hair says the same thing to me every day. I cut it myself though when the cutting mood/need strikes. I've walked out of one too many salons shorn and in tears to ever submit myself to that kind of sadism again. (smile)

Gosh, I'm glad I came here today. Thanks for feeding me. I feel sated now.

Mathias Svalina said...

Dubie is, in my opinion, the most cinematic of contemporary writers in that every poem has a distinct setting, time, characters with back story & all that kind of stuff, but he also establishes a sense of motion & lighting in his best poems that relies on the narratives being played out in real time. Have you read his sci-fi, buddhist novel in verse on Blackbird?

SarahJane said...

thanks for reading, folks.
dubie has a wonderfully sure hand. he makes you think he knows everything. "cinematic" IS an apt perspective there, given the settings he creates.

lkd - in my real life i "manage news." quite the task! i also sleep, feed my dog, raise children, burn candles, read poetry, make coffee, tell jokes, despair, hope, sort laundry and drink wine. and you? i know from your wonderful blog photos that you're a cat person.

in other news, thanks for wondering, my hair continues to grow. it has reached "the point of no return." whatever happens next, it's won't be pretty.

Arlene said...

wow!! thanks for sharing these, sarah. the similes rawk. i've added norman dubie to my book list.

and yes, it's been quite a while. it's great to be back (more or less) in blogland.

teehee about the hair. still feeling smug because i just cut mine some months ago and got rid of my points of no return (split ends).

a.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

I like Dubie's poetry. Thanks for the post.

Here's a simile – in keeping with the food category:

                                    In my chair
amid our laughing, slurping dinner guests,
I felt as smug as a new billionaire

from “Asparagus,” by Marilyn Nelson

sara kearns said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm with you - I looove similes, and I love similes a la Anne Sexton. ('Just plain love Anne, but that's one of the many reasons.) Certainly, the similes you share are further evidence of their strength when they're good. I'm not at home right now, and where i"m staying -- can you believe it?! NO POETRY BOOKS! how can people LIVE?! Anyway, when I get home, I'll pull out all my Sharon Olds and post them back here. Dorianne Laux and Kim Addonizio wrote that they think Olds has a simile-making-machine in her basement. *grin* And I suspect they're right.

'Hoping all is well, Sarah! : )

Ash said...

Get Dubie's book Groom Falconer. The first poem, Ars Poetica, is worth the price alone.

Chad said...

this is awesome.

thank you.

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