I ordered The Magnetic Poetry Book of Poetry with an Amazon gift card I received for Christmas. I have enjoyed Magnetic Poetry for as long as I have dabbled in poetry and this book is a great new edition to my collection!
As I read through Robert Pinsky’s introduction to the book, I couldn’t help but think about the words of my professor and mentor at National University, Frank Montesonti. In the week 6 lecture for MCW640B Advanced Workshop in Poetry II, Frank wrote of “associative leaping” and Dean Young.
“What Dean Young does in poems, I call “associative leaping.” After all, his movements through a poem are not random.
Robert Bly describes leaping: “in terms of language, leaping is the ability to associate fast. In a great poem, the considerable distance between the associations, that is, the distance the spark has to leap, gives the lines their bottomless feeling, their space, and the speed (of the association) increases the excitement of poetry.”
Sometimes Young’s associations may feel random, and sometimes he misses his mark, but where the excitement lies is in “the distance the spark has to leap.”
The pleasure in associative leaping is like the pleasure in feeling out the third term of a metaphor. The poem becomes an associative exercise–the poet takes you somewhere unexpected.”
I have found that many times the magic of magnetic poetry is in the associations that arise. The words wait impatiently in a mob on my refrigerator door. They wait for my poetic hand to sculpt them into a meaningful order, or is it further disorder? So often I look over the words and two or three of them catch my eye in an amusing, unexpected, and unique sequence that makes sense in the poetic context.
Currently, my wife and I use the refrigerator to write and rewrite magnetic poems back and forth. It’s a fun and engaging way to send each other modern love notes.
Montesonti, Frank. “Dean Young.” MCW640B Advanced Workshop in Poetry II, 22 June 2016, National University, La Jolla, CA. Lecture.