Poet, teacher & critic
Dublin’s Grafton Street moves from seventh to fifth place, passing London and Tokyo, on the list of most expensive urban shopping districts. Though an obscure trigger for a poem, this “Pursuit” of high honors in the world of shop-to-you-drop glitter yields both a heightened poetic and aggressive polemic in the expert hands of Ms. Etter. Not settling for a trite, short-on-cash shopper’s complaint, which one might expect from a less skillful poet in our current economic circumstance, the poem moves vigorously if obliquely to promote gender-equality, debunk the sexism of globalization, and rail at woman-eradicating tendencies of consumerist society. All this in four short stanzas, eight lines, and 44 words.Key is the strange and strangely described “destroying angel” whose genitals in this poem have the force of weapons of mass destruction. Though full of yearning and pursuit, the poem is not erotic. What the lamenter longs for is a man who stays put (not fickle), a man whose manliness enables female fleetness, a man who is a fair wind, a man who does not overwhelm and absorb all the shoppers (we’re all shoppers in this sense).This speaker is disillusioned with the men who run the globalization agenda, with men who are the heads of multinational companies peddling expensive and not expensive goods at retail. By extension she critiques the men who are petro-automotive automata, ponsi-schemers, bonus extremists, economy-rapists, war-wagers and war-wager wanabes, and the list goes on. It’s a world run by men, in which women erode by grains, like so many sand sculptures on a windy beach. And there on Grafton Street Dublin is the statue of fish monger Molly Malone who would wheel her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o. Yes, Dublin’s in pursuit, and it’s not Molly leading the charge, nor is it Ms. Etter. But as long as strong poems are written on these themes by strong female and male poets, we can keep them both from eroding by grains, for they must remain alive alive-o to keep the world sane.
Ms. Etter, my details follow. We will be discussing your poem and one of mine in our weekly salon this Wed 2/25/09. Would love to share a response from you on what I wrote. Also I would like to send my item.Thank you for your wonderful poem.Kevin O'SullivanDirector of Poetrykevin@dactyl.org Dactyl Foundation64 Grand StreetNew York, NY 10013