Sunday, June 17, 2012

Joan Larkin's 'Vagina' Sonnet; Argos Books

Ljubica Denkovic
Last night I stumbled, intentionally this time, into a simultaneously cozy and lush club, well, venue. It calls itself a club--The Oracle Club--but there is no House Music. THANK YOU, GOD!!! The music of the house is played on L.P.s with album covers of Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, jazz from the thirties. Also heard are musical stylings of Pierre and Edith, chirping plainchant from their light-filled birdcage.

I was there to join Argos Books in celebrating its four most recent publications, stylish chapbooks by Joan Larkin, Bianca Stone, Brandon Kreitler, Dorothea Laskey (who wasn't present, so the artist for her chapbook, Matthew Fische, read). I went with a friend. The event was a party, the party was easy, graceful, a gift of art.

The Oracle Club is in Long Island City-ish. Its precise neighborhood designation wasn't clear to me. That's a lie. It was but I can't remember the name, something like Hunter's Point, but not. The first stop on the 7. That works.

Argos' chapbooks are, as is the nature of chapbooks, delicately crafted creatures. And although the following poem was published several years ago, prior to brilliant Joan Larkin's current chapbook, it is most worthy of sharing and resharing, especially in light of the idiots in Michigan who are so afraid of life they are afraid of its vessels. 

‘Vagina’ Sonnet

Is ‘vagina’ suitable for use
in a sonnet? I don’t suppose so.
A famous poet told me, ‘Vagina’s ugly.’
Meaning, of course, the sound of it. In poems.
Meanwhile he inserts his penis frequently
into his verse, calling it seriously, ‘My
Penis.' It is short, I know, and dignified.
I mean of course the sound of it. In poems.
This whole thing is unfortunate, but petty,
like my hangup concerning English Dept memos
headed ‘Mr/Mrs/Miss’ — only a fishbone
In the throat of the revolution —
a waste of brains — to be concerned about
this minor issue of my cunt’s good name.
Joan Larkin. Not printed with permission but with hopes she won't object. From the Ms. Magazine blog.

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