A couple of weeks ago, I asked if anyone who’d been reading InsideOut: Poems by L.L. Barkat had any favorites they’d like to talk about. And the answer to that question was – a definite yes.
The poems are organized by season, and Maureen Doallas likes the winter section best. “Within that section, ” she wrote, “are poems I’ve read again and again.” She cites “Senility, ” for example, “which conveys beautifully in just 15 lines the poet’s poignant watching of her self being disappeared as aunt, mother, and grandmother suffer ‘forgetfulness…encroaching:’”
when I existed
in more than just
a scrap of your mind…
you knew my name,
the contour of my face,
my petals and my thorns,
in wild, blushing color.
That was before
to steal away
the me I was
Maureen also likes “In Your Dream” (“wonderful sing-song quality, like a beloved nursery rhyme”); “Disappearance” (“a perfect evocation of loss”); “Hibernate” (“the understanding that we have to go through darkness, the long nights of winter, to emerge into light, into day”); and “Instructions” (“which conveys all the ordinariness of life, which goes on, must go on, even as death pulls you up short and knocks the breath out of you”).
“Throughout InsideOut, ” Maureen says, “it is the sparseness of the poems – the few words used in each – that is so striking when contrasted with the emotional punch you feel when you’ve reached the last lines. There is nothing studied about the poems; they are rich with everyday details of life but the life is not just observed and described; it’s turned over, re-imagined, and re-experienced…and so pulls us in.”
Reading Maureen’s comments are like reading poetry.
Nancy’s comment was short and sweet – she simply wrote her favorite:
touched us lightly
as a pollen on a
blue day, would we not
care again, dream.
Laura Boggess, who earlier this week wrote an article on InsideOut for HighCallingBlogs, said: “So many I am enjoying. I haven’t quite finished caressing my way through. I recognize some, and I greet them like old friends – they, all the more special for their familiarity. These words, from ‘Verse, ” breathe softly in my ear today:
I guess it must
be marks on tender
skin, bearers of sin,
cool cups of rain
and bottles of tears
collected on midnight
trains from the eyes
of old men, old women…
And Lorrie wrote: “I have little torn pieces of paper marking favorites throughout my first read. They are ‘Disappearance’ – pg. 57; ‘The Watching’ – page 73; and untitled on page 83:
‘midst black onion
seeds, brown sauce,
and I taste
And finally, Lorrie says, “and none the least, ” she likes “In Lieu of the New York Times” (pg. 84).
Here are some additional resources and links about InsideOut: Poems:
International Arts Movement also has a page on InsideOut here.
- Poets and Poems: Andrew Benson Brown and “Legends of Liberty” - September 14, 2021
- ‘Spoon River America’: Jason Stacy on the Myth of the Small Town - September 7, 2021
- Poets and Poems: Thomas Colquith and ‘Let Our Memories Escape’ - August 31, 2021