Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog 2: Raymond Carver's Photograph of My Father In His Twenty Second Year"

Apparently I am not a poet, nor is it easy for me to appreciate, interpret or otherwise find meaning in certain works of poetry. Because of this, when I see a poem so short, so abstract, and so simple as Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro", I fail to find insight within any part of it. It is for this reason that I chose to write about Raymond Carver's "Photograph of My Father In His Twenty Second Year", which I can relate to a little more simply because it gives me more to work with than something as simple as a couplet. Poets really get famous from writing stuff like that? Two lines that are so vague and generalized that I might as well be reading my monthly horoscope? That blows my mind.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed about this poem was the sad tone in which it was delivered. That along with the way the author (because I assume it was about himself and his father) studied an old picture of his father made me think his father had just died. The author would then be looking at this old photograph to bring back old memories, or perhaps try to form a connection between himself and his father that he never had the opportunity to make before. Since he was sitting in an unfamiliar kitchen, I am assuming the photograph was not his because he would have gotten it from a family member or whoever the kitchen belonged to. And because it was not his photograph, I will assume that the author was not very close to his father, and had perhaps not been around him for a long time. He begins by describing his father in physical detail for a while. Judging by the last line, both the author and his father are alcoholics and the author seems to blame that fact on his father for whatever reason. He is also accusing his father for not being there for him and not teaching him anything. Apparently the author had some serious issues with his father/son relationship, but is upset because he never got to resolve those issues.

I have a hard time relating to this poem because my relationship with my father is nothing like this, but who hasn't seen this scenario before? If all my assumptions are correct, it would be hard to blame the author for the way he felt (although using his father as a scapegoat for his alcoholism is poor judgment if you ask me). My relationship with my father has been, for the most part, a healthy one my entire life, so I think I struggle to see the deeper meaning of this poem. But to me it seems like the author's father just died, and he is looking at an old photograph of him and remembering all the times his father wasn't there for him, while also blaming his problems on the fact that he didn't have the best relationship with his dad.

1 comment:

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