Feed on

Mary Ruefle’s strong suit in her poetry is her use of astonishing imagery. She is comparable to writers of fantastic fiction in the ways in which she makes use of fantastic imagery as a metaphor for something deeper, an experience. “When a Seagull picks up a French fry and becomes human” in “Faster Love Is All There Is,” the poem turns towards the concrete, something we can more readily understand than “There is nothing faster than more faster love.” The image of a seagull picking up a french fry is familiar to us, and the idea that it could make the seagull human is something we can accept. Her poetry makes readers feel like they are being asked to understand some kind of mystery beneath the things they already know. In the same way, “When April has forty-six days after which it can go on floating on the mattress so it rises so we can see the flowers it was once upon and a few strands of brownish hair” makes us wonder about what we already know. April does not have 46 days; it has 30. And so this image is harder to grapple with than a seagull becoming human, but we can recognize the human element in “April.” Even though April is referred to as “It,” it is made into a “She/He” by leaving behind strands of hair and the use of a mattress. The poem continues with more every-day imagery, which is easier to picture. The experience of being a human person is a focus of this poem from early on , and later in the poem Ruefle moves towards something that may explain the need for “faster love.” When we arrive at “When we never went snorkeling but nevertheless sensed people are more capable of floating by than any other creature,” we get the sense that Reufle has been deepening our perception of every-day moments only to tell us that those moments are meaningless in the sense that they are nothing more than “amazing and distressful turns.” Though Ruefle never gives us a sense of what love is in the poem, it is portrayed as the escape from these mundane experiences, a “faster” experience than the rest.

Leave a Reply