Friday, November 4, 2011

The Jackal at the Door

OK, I am in love now with Eleanor Lerman, who wrote this book of poems, The Sensual World Re-Emerges. It had been on my wish list for a while, and, yes, I judged a book by its jackal-headed cover, and I read it now, end of October, beginning of November, at the end of my first surge of Cleopatra research (for a project next October!) I quoted from Lerman's days-of-the-week poem in yesterday's blog entry.

You can learn about more Eleanor Lerman here, her own web site, which lists her books, and where I was pleased to find her new novel, Janet Planet, from Mayapple Press. I had seen the cover (wolf head floating on crescent moon) visiting Mayapple before, but this time I got smacked in the head with it.

The Egyptian God Anubis wore a jackal head and was associated with mummification and the afterlife. (Thank you, Wikipedia, and thank you, Wikimedia, for the free-use images!) Lerman's poems have death and worry lurking in them and are also hilarious, often, so I am gripped with fear and haunted by...a weird vicious delight while reading them. They speak with an odd floating urgency.

They also give me something to be cranky about in the proofreading department. Just like my mom, I find myself reading with a pencil and making little corrections—adding a "d" here, deleting a "y" there, and shuddering at the use of "lightening" for "lightning." Once again, I ask, "Why, why isn't an editor doing this?" How can a fine book of poems like this get out into the world with errors like that? (And I don't know who to blame, a proofreader or the lack of a proofreader, or a copy editor who introduced the errors instead of correcting them...and why am I so darn persnickety?)

The lack of periods also drives me a little crazy, but that is a clear choice so I tell myself it has something to do with the meaning and the inextricability of form and content of poetry. I choose to think the lack of periods adds to the eerie floating quality in these poems. And sort of suggests immortality or afterlife

**please note lack of period above**


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this reading suggestion, Kathleen. These poems sound really good (but I cringe at editing flubs too).

Collagemama said...

Oh, you hit a nerve! That "lightening" for "lightning" error is worse than nails on a blackboard. I did want to add a black dot at the end of the jackal's nose....Okay, so we create a job stimulus package based on fining or taxing all material that has not been edited and proofread. All sorts of companies would want to hire English majors to avoid the fines.

Kathleen said...

Excellent! Job creators for English majors!