Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Yusef Komunyakaa Broadside
Unfortunately the image is really small so here's the text of the poem:
from Love in the Time of War
Hand-to-hand: the two hugged each other
into a naked tussle, one riding the other's back,
locked into a double embrace. One
forced the other to kiss the ground,
as he cursed & bit into an earlobe.
They shook beads of dew off the grass.
One worked his fingers into the black soil,
& could feel a wing easing out of his scapula.
That night, the lucky one who gripped
a stone like Mercury weighing the planet
in his palm, who knew windfall
& downfall, he fell against his darling
again & again, as if holding that warrior in his arms,
& couldn't stop himself from lifting off the earth.
I think broadsides are a type of replication, celebration, or renewal of the poem. You stamp each letter onto thick paper and an artist draws or paints an image alongside the poem. The poem, which is often already published elsewhere, is renewed and changed at the same time. It turns the piece of paper into an entirely different kind of art work. The poem, which previously existed simply as language and letters on a page, is now part of a much more visual work, or at least more self-consciously visual.