In-Depth Look: Bianca Phipps – “When the Boy Says He Loves My Body”
Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
“I find my body is a locked door. I find I locked myself out.”
This whole series is built around the idea of “sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times” in order to come to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for that poem. That process, however, is so much bigger than poetry. The basic idea of thinking more critically about our language, our actions, our culture– everything– is valuable whether or not you have any interest in writing and performing poems.
This piece captures some of why that is. The entire poem is built around a “catalyst moment:” there is an action (when the boy says he loves my body, but does not say he loves me), and a reaction. That reaction is full of imagery, metaphor, and a deeper analysis of the catalyst, even if nothing really “happens” on a literal level– the poem is a meditation, an opportunity to cultivate within ourselves a fuller understanding of that line that kicks everything off.
Some of my favorite poems are built like this– give us a scenario that does not at all seem special, and then illuminate why it is special. Give us a “simple” image, and then show us its complexity. In this poem’s case, give us a “throwaway” bit of dialogue (as something like this catalyst statement could potentially be interpreted, at least by its speaker), and then explore its layers, its nuance, its impact.