Last Blog at least Until


Last Blog at least Until Evening

This is an example of a catalog poet--as if you couldn't tell from the title. The catalog poem is a very specialized subcategory of the imagist poem. Catalogs formed parts of longer poems, as in Epics and other longer poems. But the poets of the imagist school, following on Japanese and Chinese forbears elaborated the catalog poem into a genre unto itself. Needless to say, one would not want to read an entire book of these at a sitting, but they make for nice variety among other more structured poems.

A Brief Catalog of Farewells Steven Riddle

A perfume fountain
forms on the crest of
warm summer. The whisper
of kelp in sand,
of salt in air. The call of
foam and fire sunsets
dancing the blue-green waves.
Open kitchen windows.
From the pool two jade
divers surface.
Leaves swirl to hide a pond
and mist takes human form.
Notebook pages flutter. Fire
etches a stain on the window. A bat
snags a firefly in the dusk.
Sound of broken glass from
a frog jump. A narrow road crumbles.
Stones ripple
the sky in the pond.

The purpose of the catalog poem is to bring together images that suit the theme or idea. As such they do not withstand close scrutiny, although the juxtaposition of the imagery can lead to some interesting ideas and some sardonic commentary. Imagists were dedicated to recording "Things as they are." But, as Wallace Stevens so kindly informed us in "Man with a Blue Guitar" (which could be read as a commentary on imagist and cubist schools), "Things as they are/are changed upon the blue guitar."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 29, 2002 9:38 AM.

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