I used to hide behind fringes:
the tablecloth fringe that dangled
from grandmother’s dining table,
the one I pulled until scalding
tea splashed on my legs;
the grass and weeds on the fringe
of the field near the railway bridge,
the green-shadowed place
where I buried my pet hamster;
the fringe of hair over my eyes,
my mother’s scissor-straight line,
the blonde fringe that hid my fear
and embarrassment when
the teacher asked questions
I didn’t know how to answer,
or a boy made suggestions
I didn’t understand.
Kim M. Russell, 2nd March 2021
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Edges and Fringes
Lisa is our Poetics host this week with a two-pronged discussion and prompt inspired by Carol’s poem ‘Knife-edge’, which got her thinking about what it would look like to be edgy with poetry.
Lisa mentions Sylvia Plath and an essay by Claire Millikin about Plath’s techniques in ‘Edge’ and other poems, in which she says ‘The edge is where the poem shows everything that is left out of the poem,’ and asks about ‘the word, the line, that cuts, that can show that edge’, which reminds me of the cutting word in haiku. Lisa has shared two ‘edge’ poems by Christopher Logue and Anna Akhmatova.
Lisa goes on to define fringe, comparing an edge, which seems close and sharp, with a fringe, which feels distant and less-defined and easier to ignore.
She asks us to choose to write a poem 1) using the word edge; 2) keeping Millikin’s question about the cutting word in mind; 3) using the word fringe; or 4) from the fringe, however we define it. Whatever we choose, we should indicate and explain our choices.
I thought I’d try writing from the fringe, as there are no examples of poems that do that..