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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


There is a deft delicacy in many of Aileen Ibardaloza's poems, which shows up in the two hay(na)ku tercets that comprise the text in her mini-book, THE AUCTION.  But also, do check out Aileen's first book, TRAJE DE BODA.  Now, here is the cover to Aileen's 1.75" x 1.75" contribution to "Books on Chairs"!

After admiring the cover -- love the fabric contrasted with the pasted piece of paper -- you open the book to see two blank pages.  Those blank, or white, pages serve to emphasize what will be the poem's opening text.  You turn the blank page to see the first hay(na)ku (a tercet form where the first line is one word, the second line is two words, and the third line is three words):

You turn that page to see the second hay(na)ku tercet:

The poem, in full, then is
The Auction

here, the
white love seat

he slept
for nine years.

That is poetic compression delicately manifested.  An imagined story hearkened by just these two tercets could unfold in a novel with hundreds of pages.  In part, this effect is facilitated by the title.  If, for example, the poem was untitled and yet bore the same text, it wouldn't be as layered as the poem we have with the title of "The Auction."  As a novel, the opening could reveal the colorful, excited rooms in a Christie's auction.  Without the title, the novel could be just a bit more predictable, thus, banal.  So, Aileen's poem, too, highlights the importance of titling a poem adeptly.

Note, too, the reference to "love seat" as where the "he" slept for nine years.  Aileen could have said (with another adjective to preserve the 3-word line count) "couch," "sofa" or even "settee" (if you wish to have the long "e" rhyme with "years" in the next tercet).  Instead, Aileen used "love seat" to pun off a reference to where the couple may have sat sharing the love they once shared.  Thus, the auctioning of this piece of furniture comes to be more poignant or ironic or otherwise deeply-felt. 

Just as the title adds a welcome layer to the poem's narrative, so does the design.  Let's go back to the front and back covers of the mini-book:

The fabric is interesting.  I can easily imagine it as an upholstery pattern.  Perhaps it is the upholstery for the replacement to the "white love seat" referenced in the poem...?  Depending on the story you're fleshing out from the minimalistic poem, I think one can read in this possibility!  And the black lines cutting across the fabric?  A symbol, of course, for lines of a different nature: the lines of a poem!

Now, where shall we "shelve" this deceptively layered book?  Well, why not on one of the enchanting wicker chairs, the one with the dog:

The insertion of the dog is another layer.  One could say, for example, that depending on how the story unfolds the dog's going to pee on the book. Maybe the "he" was a reprobate who deserved dog piss.  Or not.  We have to see how the dog reads the poem!  Yes, dogs can read...but that's a story, or a mini-book, for another day... 

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