Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ada and Evan

Before I picked up Grasshopper, I'd been reading Raven's Paradise by Red Hawk. I mention this because, while I found plenty to like in Raven's Paradise, I was getting pretty sick of the fact that all the women in the story were Totems of Femininity. (It makes one feel inadequate, somehow.) I don't mean to single out Red Hawk especially; this is just an exhausting fact about most creation myths.

So I was delighted when, opening my new book to page 4, I found a version of the Garden of Eden myth beginning with the line "Before stereotypes began to harden..." and ending with the poet casually handing God the pronoun "Her" (the only gendered pronoun in the entire poem). Instead of Totems of Masculinity and Femininity, Ada and Evan come off as naughty children: they "Argu[e] maturely "Did!", "Didn't!", "Did"," and then make up flimsy excuses when God catches them with the fruit in their hands. God is not such a great parent, to put it mildly: when She spots "greed and gore and genocide" in the distance, Her response is simply, and I quote: "Screw it." (These aren't spoilers, are they? I mean, you've all heard the story before.)

I've picked an easy one this morning: it's only 20 lines long; it's got rhyme (AABB quatrains) and meter (loose iambic tetrameter); it's funny and tells me something I wanted to hear anyway. My next mission will be to comment on something that's more of a stretch for me.


  1. Sounds like my kind of poem. And my kind of parenting - "Screw it." I think I do this just to get sneak peeks at books for future reference. Discovered Gabrielle Calvocoressi (Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart) and Kevin Young (numerous titles) two years ago this way. Highly recommend them.

  2. I followed the link and read the poem, and I like your take away from it. It's light and also provocative in a way that makes me excited to see what comes next. Your intro coming from Red Hawk is great, as it always helps when I know a little about a person's point of entry as a reader. The more specific and timely, the better.

  3. Laurie, thank you for the recommendations; I'll put them on my list. Come to think of it, there's a lot to be said for the motto "Screw it!" in parenting: it's good for the parent's mental health, and possibly for the kid's mental as well. I do prefer to hold God to higher standards, because of the omnipotence and all.

    Jane, glad the Red Hawk bit made sense. I'm finding Griffiths absolutely wonderful so far. Her poetry is easy to read in the way that really good writing is easy to read.