I recently read two books about lost parents - Kristin Prevallet's I, Afterlife, and Susan Schultz' Dementia Blog. The Prevallet is an interesting combination of elegy (for her father, who committed suicide) & reflections on elegy (writ large - as mourning in the strict sense, vs. after-death sequels). The Schultz is, of course, in the form of a blog: backwards narration, dates, offhanded diaristic style (largely about her mother's Alzheimer's). I, Afterlife is much tighter - shorter, more concise, more focused. Dementia Blog is about three times as long, and seems intentionally looser, less wrought - as thought S. is determined to let whatever interactions or misprisions occur, occur. And, of course, it's about dementia, which isn't esp. tidy. The narrative of the loss of memory of her mother is bound up with the narrative of loss of historical memory as evidenced by US foreign policy. Sometimes the latter seems to get more play than the former, in the book; and who can blame her, given recent events in both the nation and her family.
I,A emphasizes spatial distance; DB emphasizes temporal displacement (too simplistic?).
As someone engaged in a similar memorialistic/(anti)memoiristic writing, I find this pairing fascinating for the different models it suggests. But they have different emphases - the one to mourn, the other, to narrate. Both do both. Both seem very aphoristic to me, as well as lyrical and narrative. What I like about both is their refusal to hew to any particular genre or sub-genre; even elegy and blog are subverted, in interesting and productive ways. Which is as much as to say that they refuse to hew to any particular way of reacting to losing a parent (or country, or self).
At the New Orleans Poetry Festival, April, 2017 - Eileen Tabios, Tim Dyke, Lo Mei Wa and myself before the Tinfish Press reading.
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