Ed. note: At the editor's request Stephanie Brown has composed a prefatory note with facts and thoughts to keep in mind as you read her poems this week.
Real and Imaginary Husbands
Collage as a visual art became prominent in the early twentieth century, used as a technique by artists such as Picasso, Braque, Schwitters, and Grosz. Scraps and pieces were put together on the canvas. An artisan making a patchwork quilt sews scraps together into a rigid form and creates a beautiful whole. I’ve often thought these techniques were insights into the creative process. I think the poet uses scraps of ideas, words, thoughts, memories, and imaginary notions to create a poem.
My first book includes a poem called “Mommy is a Scary Narcissist.” This mother was a horrible person. When my real mother read it, she said simply, “That’s not me” and indeed it was not. I had pieced this character together out of mothers I observed from various parts and times of my life, from people I had known and people I had observed whom I did not know at all. I note this because these poems that the Best American Poetry blog is so generously posting this week have husbands as defining characters. These husbands are not portraits of my husband, but composite figures of husbands, men, and marriages I’ve seen. They may contain bits of things about the real husband, but in the end they are mostly about the writer’s imagination and are, I hope, a gift of insight for the reader.