Academic journal article Chicago Review

The Boredom of the Isolated

Academic journal article Chicago Review

The Boredom of the Isolated

Article excerpt

Pattiann Rogers's poetry frequently appeared in the pages of Chicago Review during the 1980s. When "The Boredom of the Isolated" appeared in the 1982 issue, Rogers was anticipating the publication of her first book, The Expectations of Light, from Princeton University Press. ROGERS recently remembered creating this poem:

"The Boredom of the Isolated" is one of several poems I wrote centering around the thoughts, contemplations, antics, irritations and bewilderments of a group of characters - Sonia, Felicia, Albert, Gordon, Cecil, Kioka, Naked Boys on Naked Ponies, Gentlemen of Leisure, and several other friends and relatives.

I remember the writing of these poems as being almost pure pleasure. I felt a freedom when writing them, freedom to think and examine in any way I wished, to propose ridiculous theories, to play with logic, to be as whimsical as I chose to be. These characters not only allowed me to escape my own persona, but they also gave me a form, like a grid, that enabled me to address any subject from their many perspectives and personalities.

Sadly, for me, these poems did not, at the time, receive the attention or interest that my other poems did.

I submitted several of these character poems to the Chicago Review, because the Chicago Review seemed to me to be willing to publish poems that were outside the mainstream of what was being generally published in other journals. The editors at Chicago Review appeared to take risks, to look for experimentation in poetry. I was pleased to have several of my character poems published there.

I remember being somewhat bored myself when I began this poem, bored and impatient with everything, as the first stanza states. My son had two pet doves in a cage outside the window where I generally wrote. So I began to think of the facts and steadiness of their existence, using the terms set down in the first stanza. …

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