In-Depth Look: Ariana Brown – “Ode to Thrift Stores”
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.
What can you create when the only thing in front of you is your hands?
My favorite extended metaphors also function on a literal level. I hear this poem as a profound exploration of how wisdom is handed down through generations, how class identity is shaped through family relationships, how necessity is the mother of invention (with “mother” being intentional phrasing)– of course. But I also hear it as a literal ode to thrift stores; the imagery is so specific, the sense of place so well-defined. The fact that the poem works so well on both levels is stunning; the thrift store is not just the tool used to get to the “deep stuff” in the poem; it’s inextricably linked to it.
That fusion of form and content, aside from just being gorgeous on a poetic level, generates an emotional energy that brings the audience into the poem, that gives the poem weight. Related to that, I’d also just point out how powerful the opening and closing lines of the poem are; both are quotes, both could be seen as “small” interpersonal interactions, and both do so much work for the poem.