Conor’s Post

In reading Perelman’s Chronic Meanings one is able to grasp this idea of the “new sentence”. Throughout the poem we see Perelman avoiding any consistent narrative. Weather it be ending every line with a period or ending them abruptly with an “a” or “but” we see that Perelman is not allowing for his poem to build a rhythm comfortable for the reader. Especially when one reads a line like “Blown up chain link fence.” and is then followed by “next morning stronger than ever.” The reader however is able to extract some level of meaning from some lines, “On our wedding night I./ The sorrow burned deeper than.”, but with the poem’s narrative constantly being disrupted it is difficult to comprehend what Perelman is trying to convey. This creates ambiguities throughout the poem as it is unclear as to which sentences carry more meaning than others as it is difficult to understand how they build off of each other. However, with the poem coming to an end the poem becomes more clear with “I remember the look in./ It was the first time./ Some gorgeous swelling feeling that.”. It appears as though the poem is an illustration of Perelman wrestling with feelings of love. Yet, to make this connection one would have to cherry pick lines throughout the poem, which is either what is intended or speaks to the lack of narrative in this poem. Perhaps what Perelman is trying to do is challenge weather or not a story needs to be constant in order to illustrate it.

1. Does narrative need to be consistent in order to communicate?

2. Why does Perelman end every sentence with a period?

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5 Responses to Conor’s Post

  1. I agree with those above that this poem does not lend itself to any particular interpretation. The lines all relate back to the 2nd line of the poem, “Five words can say only.” This sentence/line frames the entire poem as perhaps not a poem but a collection of opening lines for a multitude of stories. I think it is interesting that Perelman has chosen the number 5 as this magical number to cut all his lines off at and not another number. The poem itself does not give any hint as to why he has chosen the number 5 but perhaps that is a question that could be asked as well. In either case I agree with Steven that this poem might just be a collection of random lines.

  2. Rahul Roy says:

    For starters, I definitely do not think narrative need be consistent in order to make sense or even to communicate in that matter. This is a rather distant analogy, but even humans who do not speak the same language can still find some common ground in which they can communicate. That instance does not accurately describe the constant breaks the periods cause that Perelman uses but does display that, although ambiguous messages can still be conveyed. After reading the lines over and over I could not identify any real similarity between the words used by Perelman. What I did feel though is that the words in each sentence were connected, maybe not in the specific order we are shown, but if each line is rearranged a message can be found. For example the lines “Rock of ages, a modern./I think I had better.” can be rearranged to say a modern rock of ages I had better I think.

  3. I think the most powerful aspect about the poem is it’s ability to mean nothing, and mean everything at the same time. Steven said that he saw nothing and could not find a deeper connection, and perhaps that is the point. Perelman is able to take a straight forward sentence and end it with propositional phrases, giving this reader a sense of emptiness. It is then followed by a period, implying a completion. Perhaps Perelman is expressing something deeper about the nature of life. Life cannot be summed up in a simple sentence filled with nouns and containing a subject, it cannot be resolved that easily. It cannot find the deeper meanings that easily, instead many times it leaves us with a propositional phrase, unfinished.

  4. Rani says:

    Tackling this work is difficult because the narrator has a tendency to jump from topic to topic. If I am understanding his style correctly, Perelman wants us to analyze the emotions each line evokes rather than the words themselves. Oftentimes, emotion does not always flow consistently. If the narrator is indeed in love, he would experience a wide array of emotions. I think his inconsistency serves to further illustrate his point and demonstrate the effects and conflicts associated with love. It is possible that he uses the periods to further expand on this theory. He mentions that a sentence only gains meaning when placed next to another sentence. It is possible that he adds periods as a means of organization. He uses periods to denote each sentence in the work. Therefore, the reader is meant to view each sentence in relation to another in order to better understand the work.

  5. Steven says:

    This poem may communicate something to the advanced reader, but i see nothing. I tried finding some deeper connection, like the fountain and the girl in the excerpt, but it is hard. I found that the poem flowed a little more read backwards, but still no meaning. This could be what Perelman wanted, for the reader to have to work for a meaning. This could be what the periods are for. They break up ideas so the reader does not become too attached to one line. It makes each part different so the reader must put the pieces together in order to take something from it.

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