LibraryThing’s Spine Poetry Contest 2012

‘Daydreaming Ulysses’

What would you say about making original poetry out of the spines of books, then take a picture of the finished work, together with your inspired text?  Decision, decision.  My first poem, titled Daydreaming Ulysses, follows the logic of using books’ spines as inspiration, by trying to use various intertextual connections (as much as what could be understood by people’s collective consciousness):

On the road,
Down and out in Paris and London,
The Empire writes back –
Things fall apart.

On the wide Sargasso sea,
Ulysses thinks…
“I am the King of the castle”!

The last thing he wanted
Was the other side of Truth:
Can you forgive her?

Here I interconnect the current economical situation with the old idea of the ‘Empire’ (as would probably be discussed at length by Professor Niall Ferguson), but also as one of the many reasons for its downfall, as the Empire struggles to ‘rewrite’ itself.  Here, this is not just one empire (Great Britain/’London’), but also Europe (‘Paris’).

One of the first tale/example of the struggle for legitimate power I have ever heard in my childhood was Odysseus/Ulysses’ Odyssey (rather than Joyce’s work, sorry)!  This tale, like in Milton‘s Paradise Lost, makes our struggles against higher powers (the gods, God/Empire) useless, whilst we still keep the illusion that we are master of our own fates (‘the king of the castle’, back in Ithaca).

But there are always two sides to one story, and who’s to know if Penelope did not wish for a new husband/’king’, with all those suitors?  This is a ‘truth’ that Ulysses probably did not want to perceive.  Like in The Odyssey, would our fate be changed by switching masters?  I wonder.

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