Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Poets and Poems: Sinead Morrissey and “On Balance”

I’m reading On Balance, the newest collection by poet Sinead Morrissey, and, for some odd reason, I keep being reminded of Brooklyn Bridge. It’s not that Morrissey’s collection is influenced by other poets who wrote about the bridge – Hart Crane, Jack Kerouac, and Marianne Moore, among them. It’s more that the poem of this collection grapple with technology, the wonders technology brings, and the tradeoffs that technology always demands. I’m reminded, too, of the French Impressionist painters like Renoir who painted pastoral scenes with railway bridges and trains in the background (or foreground).

Morrissey lives in Belfast. Possibly the most famous ship ever constructed in the famous shipyards there was the Titanic, so it’s not a surprise to find the first poem (and the first about technology) in On Balance to be about the doomed ship. Specifically, “The Millihelen” focuses on the moment the ship travels down the slipway into the water. It represents a marvelous feat of human engineering, and one that will eventually cost the lives of more than 1,500 people. Technology has its price.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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