This week’s video and poem go all in on magical realism. I found what I think is a good definition of magical realism in a blog post by the author Neil Gaman:
“Within a work of magical realism, the world is still grounded in the real world, but fantastical elements are considered normal in this world.”
The narrator in the poem takes as normal that furniture moves and arranges itself and has some kind of motivation for doing so. So a typical Sunday afternoon early in a marriage is shaded by these fantastic happenings. If the poem had just said the “we” in the poem moved the furniture around on Sundays it loses something compared to the furniture moving itself. The magical realism in this poem functions as representing an external force that is frustrated around Sunday afternoons, that time of the week the busyness of life disappears, and the couple are just observers rather than active with respect to this force.
Some people think of a marriage as its own entity. On the way to Community of Writers for a poetry conference last summer I was lucky enough to stay with Emilie and John Jay Osborne in San Francisco. Emilie being the poet and John being a novelist. John’s shared his latest novel with me, Listen to the Marriage, which I really enjoyed and it also uses this concept of marriage as its own being as part of the story. In the poem the only place marriage is mentioned is in the title, but because it is mentioned there it has a large but invisible presence in the body of the poem.
Another literary term that comes to mind is personification, which Poetry Foundation describes as “the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a nonhuman form as if it were a person”. In this poem personification appears both for the furniture, as if it has agency and motivation, and also somewhat for the squirrels and crows. Another term is anthropomorphism which Poetry Foundation gives us as “A form of personification in which human qualities are attributed to anything inhuman, usually a god, animal, object, or concept.”.
The choice made in the video was to up this idea of magical realism by having the opening and closing use a levitating book which both seems to be enjoying itself and reacts when caught in the act of levitating. It ties into the idea of the furniture with its own agency. I choose the “comic” style for the past furniture moving to also make the past seem less real than the present in the forest. Though the creatures of the forest are also portrayed as something non real. All in the service of the supernatural that imbues the video including the music.
Also after two fairly dark poems I wanted lighten things up a bit. Kind of. Hope you enjoy it.