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An Overview of Lorna Crozier's Poems

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Angelica Johnson

on 25 January 2014

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Transcript of An Overview of Lorna Crozier's Poems

Analyses of Lorna Crozier's Poems
Introduction (cont.)
Fear of Snakes (1995)
The Light in My Mother's Kitchen (2005)
The Light in My Mother's Kitchen (2005)
Three green tomatoes on the windowsill,
offerings the household gods will not refuse.
My mother isn't here, but the bulb glows
in the small house of the oven
where something firm and golden
pushes against the tin walls of a pan.
If my father were alive he'd be asking
What's for supper?
He'd be sitting
at the table with a beer and cigarette,
his hard heels on the rung of a chair,
my mother with her back to him,
as if he'd spoken out of turn,
as if he'd asked too much again.
The smell of yeast, and no one talking.
The sound of the fridge saving everything
that can be saved. As the sun disappears
the oven casts its light on what will feed us.
Cigarette smoke rises, the dark breath
of my father filling my mouth.

Blizzard (2005)
Walking into wind, I lean into my mother's muskrat coat;
around the cuffs her wristbones have worn away the fur.

If we stood still we'd disappear. There's no up or down,
no houses with their windows lit. The only noise is wind

and what's inside us. When we get home my father
will be there or not. No one ever looks for us.

I could lie down and stay right here where snow is all
that happens, and silence isn't loneliness just cold

not talking. My mother tugs at me and won't let go.
Then stops to find her bearings. In our hoods of stars

we don't know if anyone will understand
the tongue we speak, so far we are from home.
Blizzard (2005)
Fear of Snakes (1995)
The snake can separate itself
from its shadow, move on ribbons of light,
taste the air, the morning and the evening,
the darkness at the heart of things. I remember
when my fear of snakes left for good,
it fell behind me like an old skin. In Swift Current
the boys found a huge snake and chased me
down the alleys, Larry Moen carrying it like a green torch,
the others yelling,
Drop it down her back,
my terror
of it sliding in the runnel of my spine (Larry,
the one who touched the inside of my legs on the swing,
an older boy we knew we shouldn't get close to
with our little dresses, our soft skin), my brother
Let her go,
and I crouched behind the caraganas,
watched Larry nail the snake to a telephone pole.
It twisted on twin points of light, unable to crawl
out of its pain, its mouth opening, the red
tongue tasting its own terror, I loved it then,
that snake. The boys standing there with their stupid hands
dangling from their wrists, the beautiful green
mouth opening, a terrible dark
no one could hear.

Conclusion (cont.)
The Light in My Mother's Kitchen (2005)
Blizzard (2005)
Fear of Snakes (1995)
Common themes: family, parental relationships, innocence
Told through voice of a child
Darker undertones
Loss of innocence
Loss of fear of snakes = shedding old skin
Parenthetical comment
Parallels between narrator and snake
Shedding skin
"Runnel of my spine"
Both abused and tormented
Nightmarish tone
Rapid pace from gerands
Blob-like structure (lines running together)
Italics for dialogue
Separation of imagery into parts
"Tongue tastes terror"
"Stupid hands dangling from wrists"
The snake's mouth's
• Prevalent themes of physical and mental isolation
• Snow imagery
• Stylistic/structural choices affect the mood of the poem
Enjambment and very short stanzas to mimic the difficulty of conversation in a winter storm

“The Light In My Mother’s Kitchen”:
• Discontented family in a kitchen
• Light and darkness imagery is used to emphasize different parts of the narrator’s life
Uses darkness to describe an inadequate father
• Kitchen represents a paradigm family

“Fear of Snakes”:
A girl with a fear of snakes overcomes her fright after being chased by boys who are holding a snake
Structural choices emphasize frantic feel of poem
Dialogue, phrases instead of sentences at the end of the poem
Utilization of one large stanza in the poem
• Comparison of narrator to snake to represent a loss of innocence
“Shedding skin”
Torment from others
Lorna Crozier’s Work:
Common theme of family or childhood
Utilization of structural and stylistic choices to underscore mood
Rural imagery
Nature imagery paired with imagery of the home or a town
Present in nearly all of Crozier’s works
Dark and/or isolated tone present in her poems
Dynamic imagery for each character/object:
“With a beer and cigarette”, “hard heels on the rung of the chair”, “dark breath”, cigarette smoke rises”
Hard, tough imagery to describe father that contrasts with the domesticity of kitchen
“her back to him, as if he’d spoken out of turn, as if he’d asked too much again”
Indicative of a hostile relationship
Natural light from the windowsill; the oven; “something firm and golden pushes against the tin walls of a pan”
Light sources described alongside domestic items
Light represents hope—in this case, hope of a happy family
“the sun disappears”; “cigarette smoke rises”; “dark breath”
Seemingly used to describe the narrator’s parents
Description of light in the poem:
Included in the title of poem, appears to be a significant motif in this piece
As the poem goes on, the imagery involving light has a tendency to progressively become darker
Descriptions go from windowsill, to oven, to her father and mother
Mother and father seem to “darken” the demeanor of the home
Only oven light by the end of the poem
Juxtaposition in Description of Kitchen:
“The kitchen is the heart of the home”
Yet, little affection between the members of the household
“The smell of yeast, and no one talking. / The sound of the fridge saving everything / that can be saved.”
Word choice/phrasing
Narrator’s observations of her family vs. an idealistic family
The structure turns the reading experience into a visual representation of the blizzard itself.
Two-line stanzas
The imagery serves to isolate Crozier and her mother from the rest of the world.
“muskrat coat”
“hoods of stars”
The sense of becoming lost is expressed in multiple ways.
The two are not only becoming physically lost in the snow, but they are also becoming lost within themselves.
“If we stood still we’d disappear.”
“There’s no up or down...”
“The only noise is wind and what’s inside of us.”
“No one ever looks for us.”
“...we don’t know if anyone will understand the tongue we speak, so far we are from home."
The underlying theme is the relationship between Crozier and her mother.
“my father will be there or not”
“No one ever looks for us”
“My mother tugs at me and won’t let go”
“we don’t know if anyone will understand the tongue we speak”
Full transcript