189.1: Kathleen Rooney:: Raminabrobis & Le Bain Cristal & l’Empire des Lumières
24 August 2015
This is not a poem. Or so, Lou-Lou the Pomeranian and master René Magritte might posit. More than ekphrasis, this series of prose poems by Kathleen Rooney is a high-concept exercise in voice. If Magritte can put a giraffe in a cut-glass goblet, Rooney can put these surreal poems in the perspective of a precocious Pomeranian. Though these poems are drawn from the surrealist paintings with which they share titles, their content is more than observation or meditation. Rather, this vocal performance slips behind the paintings, looking at them not as beholder or artist, but as companion to the artist; it creates a tender portrait of the master, a real affection between the master and his dog. Moments of rhyme and word play beguile here, but not as reminders of the poet behind the pen; they are logical extensions of the wit and cheekiness with which Rooney imbues Lou-Lou. Rooney herself asks if the perspective of these poems is a little funny. And of course it is! But since when must poems be dead serious? These pieces are a little funny—and fun to read. Sure, the project risks frivolity or silliness, but its reward is a sheer childlike (or pup-like) delight.