In a review in the “New Yorker” titled Entangled; The Poetry of Rae Armantrout, Rae Armantrout was described as the author of “some tantalizingly hard poems”. As discussed in class, language poets can certainly be tricky, sometimes purposefully so. However, Armantrout seems to at least somewhat separate herself from many other language poets. Her poems often seem to offer a more personal approach. The form she uses is often easier to comprehend, and her lines are usually written as full thoughts, which make her poems easier to follow.
In Armantrout’s poem “Hey” she conveys a lot with only a few lines. The first line reads only “Sound”, followed by “May be addressed/ to you”. Armantrout uses only a few words and some white space to convey her message. The first line of “Sound” immediately following the title “Hey” makes me think that the sound that is being referred to is the “hey” in the title. This hey “may be addressed/ to you”. The sound of the “hey” is the only thing that is definite; who it is addressed to is up in the air. The white space adds to the feeling of not knowing. The second stanza continues with the feeling of not knowing. Except this time the trick is based on sight. “A receipt,/Blown crazily’/across the parking lot/was, perhaps,/a moth”. In this stanza Armantrout uses the past tense to describe a receipt blowing across a parking lot, but in the end declares that it “was, perhaps,/ a moth”. The way she writes these lines shows that there is a certain amount of acceptance by the speaker of the poem that her sight is unreliable.
In both of the stanzas of this poem Armantrout takes two physical senses and complicates them. The way in which she does this is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. The lines are simple and easy to read, but there does seem to be some tricky layers to this poem. The second stanza is harder to relate back to the title of the poem. It is also hard to relate this poem to many ideas that language poets typically deal with. Armantrout can be both simple and complex, and there always seems to be some deeper message that she wants the reader to search for.