Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stepping on Tender Buttons: “A Red Hat.”


THE BOOK ............       ......-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ..................-           OBJECTS
THE SUBPOEM ..................-           A RED HAT: NUMBER 15
STANZAS.............           .....-           1
WORD COUNT.............   .....-           64
THE LEADER........... .....-           THE STEINY ROAD POET
GENRE.............                ....-           VIRTUAL OPERA
LOCATION............           .....-      USA, England, Australia, Philippines, South Africa, Canada..
TIME...............                    ...-           ALL HOURS OF EARTH’S CLOCK
TONE..............                   ....-           PSYCHICALLY ENGAGED

“Poetry is Head Art, so the RED HAT is TENDER BUTTONS.” Allan Keeton


A dark grey, a very dark grey, a quite dark grey is monstrous ordinarily, it is so monstrous because there is no red in it. If red is in everything it is not necessary. Is that not an argument for any use of it and even so is there any place that is better, is there any place that has so much stretched out. 


The Steiny Road Poet was awed by Peter Treanor’s anagrammatic ability to see “A Red Hat.” rearranged as head art which led to Steiny finding an anagram aid and looking at Gertrude Stein anagrammatically and seeing phrases like this:

Registered Nut
Deserting True
Edgiest Turner
Guttered Siren
Trendiest Urge
Tender Gutsier
Trued Integers
Trued Gentries
Rude Resetting
Rude Retesting
Turgid Entrees
Nudist Greeter
Greened I Trust
Greened I Strut
Greened Sir Tut

This anagrammatic twist of head art made Nicola Quinn ponder, “And what is the strange name for those exotic hat confections? Fascinators?”


One of the best stories though comes from Gertrude Stein herself as offered by Mary Armour followed by Mary’s commentary:

"And so they took the train to California. The only thing Gertrude Stein remembers of this trip was that she and her sister had beautiful big Austrian red felt hats trimmed each with a beautiful ostrich feather and at some stage of the trip her sister leaning out of the window had her hat blown off. Her father rang the emergency bell, stopped the train, got the hat to the awe and astonishment of the passengers and the conductor." The Autobiography of  Alice B Toklas (Chapter 4)

Mary’s commentary:
“Plumy chevalier hats, Austrian hats of red felt. The loss of the red hat, a sibling's loss. The emergency bell ringing, the train stopped and the father  fetches the red hat, a trophy waved at the astonished passengers and conductor. A red hat must not be lost.”


And less showy but inspired nevertheless, Steiny said this subpoem describes the:


“That grey matter of the head with no blood. MARK [Dr. Mark Synder, the head doctor], where are you? Isn't this your territory?

“I mean really is there any place that is better? I mean Is that not an argument for any use of it?  I mean is there any place that has so much stretched out?”

Peter gets the final words here, “Karren [a.k.a. Steiny], now I like the grey as grey matter, the brain, so much, all those convolutions and sulci on the surface of the it, when they are stretched out they would cover a huge area ‘is there any place that is better, is there any place that has so much stretched out.’ Is there any place better than being in the brain, in the mind . And ‘A Red Hat.’ has an anagram of head at its centre - ed ah, that is spilt in two ,there is a gap between ed  Ha, two halves of head, the two hemispheres of the brain. And if you remove the letters of head from "a red hat," you are left with A R T  in that sequence. So maybe it is about  the brain, the mind, which is the place ‘we’ are in the brain, reading, art , the art of reading , and definitely the art of writing.”

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