145.1: Virginia Konchan:: Napoleon Contemplates His Mortality from the Perspective of a Fly & Dolores Haze Enters the 10th Grade & Dolores Haze as Schéhérazade
3 June 2013
The first three words of Virginia Konchan's poems today address the basic situation of each of us as individuals: "All alone now." But as an alone individual, Konchan finds herself surrounded by voices, either the Napoleon of the first poem or the the Dolores of the second and third poems. The emanation of these voices Konchan has described as pre-ekphrasitic, questioning both the formation of the visual as well as the envisioning of the "I" itself. Thus, "[t]o the other I am human" but to this, "I" am poem. The "I" becomes something that is not I and is not you, something that is entirely a creation within the poem. These persona poems give us not a door into another's consciousness but rather a disruption of our very notion of self-consciousness in the first place. The great philosopher of the mind Daniel Dennett has stated that "the residual individuality of subjects is treated as a problem, not an opportunity in most experimental subjects." In Konchan's hands, these individualities become opportunities, and the expected rhetorical problems of typical personae poems fall by the wayside. Rather than finding herself caught up in some fictional process causing us readers to suspend our belief, Konchan pushes us to question our own notions of selfhood and relationship to our perceived consciousness: "I will...endeavor / to understand, master, or believe."