roberta allen| blouse

24 10 2007

blouse.jpg

Poetry Dispatch No. 115 | October 30, 2006

Here’s another example of a kind of writing I mentioned before (“Confirmation”, Poetry Dispatch #107, October 6, 2006) which rests on that thin line between poetry/prose. Something critics once called minimalism, or flash fiction, or sudden fiction, instant fiction…etc. A form somebody ‘rediscovered’ in the 90’s and decided the poetry of prose needed a new name.

The interesting thing about “Blouse” is that it stands alone as—a poem, a short story, and (this is the real stretch) a chapter in what some might call an ‘experimental novel’. Though it’s very accessible, very compressed (haiku-like?), very fine indeed. I’ll print another chapter/story/poem from the same book tomorrow. Norbert Blei

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Blouse by Roberta Allen

On impulse she buys a secondhand green silk
blouse. She feels strange wearing something
that belonged to someone else. She wants to
feel strange. She wants to be someone she has
never met. She imagines her mind’s house
stripped – layers of loose paint slide off the surface
wallpaper with worn patterns – whitewashed. Naked,
she lets the green silk blouse take root inside
her – lets the strangeness stay.

from THE TRAVELING WOMAN

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