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Thoughts On Realistic Secrets Of Proteus Roofing

This review of Eamon Grennan, Still Life with Falls (Gallery Books, 2001; Graywolf Press, 2002) first
appeared in The Irish Literary Supplement, Volume 22, Number 1 (Spring 2003), p. 14.
Paradoxically, provided the quality of its prose, the "Proteus" episode more details of Ulysses might
provide important backshadowing for the vision informing Eamon Grennan's genuinely luminous-- at
times even numinous-- book of rhymes Still Life with Waterfall. "Ineluctable technique of the
noticeable," Stephen Dedalus muses to himself: "Trademarks of all things I am below to read,
seaspawn as well as seawrack, the nearing trend, that rusty boot." In several aspects "Proteus"
checks out as James Joyce's own musing, using G. E. Lessing's Laocoon, on the connection between
the world apprehended Nebeneinander-- that is, spatially, items alongside-- and also the spoken
artist's essential expression of that world Nacheinander-- that is, temporally, via words offered one
after another: "the ineluctable technique of the audible." Naturally, Joyce himself competitions
Lessing's categorical distinctions in the ensuing episodes of Ulysses, frequently complicating the
viewers's assumption of the direct nature of story.

Much more broadly, nonetheless, "Proteus" includes just what might be the intrinsic venture of verse
poetry: the attempt to acknowledge-- through the attempt to capture in words-- the truly protean
character of human feeling, feeling, intellection. Robert Fitzgerald's making of Eidothea's advice
worrying the sea divine being Proteus that Menelaus shares with Telemachus in Publication IV of
The Odyssey explains this business: "If you might take him by surprise and also hold him,/ he 'd
provide you program as well as distance for your sailing/ homeward across the cold fish-breeding
sea." Tellingly, the opening poem of Still Life with Waterfall opens up with an effective picture from
nature that symbolizes symbolically the endeavor of the lyric writer: "On slow-moving wings the
marsh hawk is patrolling/ opportunity." Labelled "At Job," the poem reads conveniently not equally
as a graphic recording of ruthless beauty however additionally as a symbolic representation of
artistic quest as well as execution-- of a literary capturing as well as reconstituting of (basically)
"that scuttling minutiae of skin and also innards,/ its warm rhythm hammering/ that moved so quick
and silent/ and also sure of itself, just a min ago, in the safeguarding turf.".

Going after such "probability" in poem after rhyme, Grennan also stimulates at times a specifying
stylistic attribute of the "Proteus" episode. In "Grid," for instance, videotaping just how "A deer in
the field of morning, tan layer beaming--/ looks till he views exactly what you are, then a big/
expulsive whufff and he's dolphining environment-friendly waves/ to a more secure range," he could
virtually be invoking Joyce's glossing for his buddy Frank Budgen of his creating the word

"almosting": "That's done in the Protean personality of the important things. Everything alters: land,
water, pet dog, time of day. Parts of speech modification, as well. Adverb comes to be verb."
Observing in "Cold Early morning" exactly how "the eight o'clock light modification [s]/ from
charcoal to a pale gassy blue, developeding things," Grennan-- like Joyce just before him-- seeks both
the language as well as the complementary form whereby to sign up the endless changeability of
outer and internal globes: of sensational experience and of the individual's celebration as well as
handling of that experience.
Grennan discovers-- or invents-- the very kind for consisting of the ever-shifting potency of language:
an unrhymed and rhythmically flexible nonce stanza of thirteen lines that itself confirms "protean" in
his hands. Definitely, the effect of Grennan's twenty-two thirteen-liners (sprinkled among the fiftytwo rhymes in the quantity) stays quite literally between that developed by Paul Muldoon's many
deconstructive restorations of the traditional fourteen-line kind of the sonnet and Seamus Heaney's
forty-eight cutting-edge twelve-liners which constitute "Squarings" in Viewing Things. Sometimes
(like Muldoon) cracking down the official framework right into discrete strophes to strengthen the
ornate structure of the rhyme, Grennan yet regularly attains (like Heaney) that ideogrammatic
compression idealized by Ezra Pound: the discussion of "an intellectual and emotional complex in a
split second of time." A solitary sinuous sentence, the last rhyme of Still Life with Waterfall both
verbalizes and also illustrates the effectiveness of Grennan's newfound form; noting a robin's
bullying of a finch shorten by the deadly assault of a sparrowhawk, Grennan wraps up: "and also I
started to recognize/ how a poem can happen to you: you have your eye on a little/ elusive
information, pursuing its songs, when a dreadful truth/ strikes as well as your heart sobs out, being
lugged off.".

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