078.1: Sara Henning:: Without an Aperture & Girls Like Us
19 September 2011
Not enough is said about music. Last week, as I sat down to write this introduction, I re-encountered Sara Henning’s poems. I found myself impressed by the artful elaboration of ideas from grammatically similar structures and overarching floral conceit in her prose poem “Without an Aperture.” The verse poem “Girls Like Us” engrossed me through its images extending over three lines that suddenly, wonderfully, shift into other associations. But what dazzled me more was Henning’s music. “Without an Aperture” discovers itself by stitching sounds together as fluidly as it does ideas. Immediately following the first clause, we know we’re in for a musical performance: “…your mouth covered mine like soil covers a root but relies on ruse and not the turn from soil to rock and back again”. The frequency of the “r” sound in this passage is more evocative than argumentative, wandering from mouth, to soil, to root, and then to ruse. In the next sentence, wood turns “spongy” and, one clause later, we have the beautiful compound idea ”braincomb” that takes the wood’s transformation, symbolically and phonetically, and moves the wood, the speaker’s body, and the peculiar romance of the poem into an exploration of contact with the world out there.