Thursday, October 28, 2021

The war of interpretation in Jennifer Chang's "Dorothy Wordsworth"

Jennifer Chang's poem "Dorothy Wordsworth" begins with an attack on William Wordsworth's "Daffodils" that also characterizes Chang's speaker: "The daffodils can go fuck themselves." This angry speaker continues with a series of self-descriptions, both mental ("I'm tired of" the daffodils) and physical (characteristics she shares with the daffodils). But then the poem turns to how "the critics" read such lines and what they "know" and "label": "Narcissus nobilis or Jennifer Chang". Such authoritative knowing is also claimed by "ex-boyfriends" who define the speaker in ways she rejects. If, as she concludes, "this is a poem about war", its battlefield is the interpretation of the angry (female) self by classifying (male) others. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 October 2021)


No comments: