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O great maritime bears

May 7, 2012

by Marie Marshall

(an experiment in imitation of “Ye white Antarctic birds” by Lisa Jarnot)

O great maritime bears of Sauchiehall,
you parade of great maritime bears, you paviors
with great maritime bears and drums and great
maritime bears you paviors, oh and you the
paviors and bears I follow behind the parade of
paviors and bears and intolerance, you the bears
maritime of the confrontations and the metal
uprights, you the uprights of intolerance, the intolerance
for the uprights, you the despiser of the metal
and me and bears and others too and
drums, and you the drums, and you the forthright
intolerant bears and me, and you and the
confrontations yet maritime, and lager and
thronging great maritime bears and you the
flutes and accordions and uprights the metal
uprights maritime, and you the uprights and
drums, and him the one I hate, and those who
do not hate me, and all maritime intolerance, and all
the bears and drums and also on the paviors
maritime of this intolerance.

Download the podcast (reading by Dani Adomaitis)


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  1. May 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Jarnot strikee as a poet who might either be extrememly hard or extremely easy to imitate. Or to parody. This interesting piece seems more imitation than parody–kudos on taking up a difficult (in my opinion) task.

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      wow, sorry about the typos.

    • November 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

      Sorry to have left replying so late. It was an attempt at emulation and in no sense parody. It was set as a task for me (actually by the woman who did the reading) a few years ago. It was first necessary to do a close analysis of the original poem – in fact an exhaustive analysis – in order to understand the basic construction of the poem and to try to come to some conclusion about its argument. Having done that, I decided to combine what I had learned about it with me own Scottish ‘voice’ and to write an original poem using precisely the same construction as the original. I think if I had not written ‘as myself’ I would definitely have arrived at parody. I almost headed it ’emulation’ rather than ‘imitation’, but I believe the latter label is more appropriate to my having used the same construction.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • November 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

        Well, you succeeded then! In emulation–and in a very difficult task.

        • November 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

          ‘with my own Scottish ‘voice’’ – typo city here!

          Thank you. You should have seen what I did to Richard Siken!


  1. May 8, 2012 at 12:08 am
  2. May 8, 2012 at 12:21 am
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