Editor's Note: Here is some visual poetry: the benches look like rhymes — neat, parallel, along the lines of concrete; the trees like themes, scattered, repeating with different leaves; the three rectangles of grass and the smaller one in the background like the three quatrains and final couplet of a Shakespearean sonnet. This is easy to see, which makes it easy to lose track of its strangeness. Most photographs represent life, not art, let alone abstract relations between the sounds of words — yet the photograph's title gives the park the abstract form of a poem.
But there is also the park: carefully landscaped, vacant, full of the denuded light of the suburbs. It makes for a perplexing letdown. What do the trees mean, and why are the benches so uncompromisingly regular? Hard to say; the park is clear when it stands in for the abstract parts of a poem but is much harder to make sense of as the content of a poem, the words and symbols and images the form can give life to. "Ecologic Sonnet" is most affecting in the tension between these two ways of seeing the photograph, a tension that will be great fun for staunch critics of traditional forms. The empty park is designed elaborately for an experience no one is having — like, one might say, the traditional sonnet. —Adam Plunkett
Log in to post a comment