A Closer Read of Doug Hester’s poem "Speed Dating by Type" by Kimberly LaForce

    Kimberly La Force is a writer and   a Registered Nurse by profession. She is a 2015 Master’s   degree candidate in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.  Her short story " Emerging Into the Light"  appeared in the Spring 2015 Intima.

Kimberly La Force is a writer and a Registered Nurse by profession. She is a 2015 Master’s degree candidate in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. Her short story "Emerging Into the Light" appeared in the Spring 2015 Intima.

I was immediately drawn to Doug Hester’s poem "Speed Dating by Type" (Spring 2015 Intima). As a registered nurse, the jargon is one I can easily understand and upon a first read, the familiarity of language made me stop and look again.

A drop of blood blushes with

the squeeze of the pipette

I consider here the choice of a beginning.  The drop of tiny cells on a descent and pushed through a narrow opening.  The emphasis on free falls really adds dimension to this journey, making the fall seem higher and the landing more traitorous (darkened “heme clots” below). In the large beaker, the free and the bound are one, the living mixed with the dead. The use of the word “bathing” suggests scale, thus a few free cells lost in a pool of bound ones.

The journey of the drop as it dissipates below is one that is rough and jerky. The rich red living cells are bumped along. The title "Speed Dating" brings the laboratory analogy into the sphere of human interaction and as it may seem, speed dating here can be seen as connected to a sort of social experiment resulting in a few cells that actually bond.

As a student of the Narrative Medicine Program, I was intrigued about what it meant to do a close reading of works of literature. Over my two and a half years of study, I grew knowledgeable in the practice of close reading, a practice that has taught me that any representation of human experience is layered in its presentation. One only needs to slow things down, consider word choice, word order, language, color, tone and mood to name a few, to see that there is a wealth of untapped meaning embedded in individual experience. In essence, individual experience is often connected to a larger and more meaningful collective story.


Kimberly La Force was born on the island of St. Lucia and moved to New York in her early twenties. She has written several poems, plays, and fiction pieces and has been published by The New Tech Times, City Tech Writerand Pulse . Her feature screen play, “A Marriage Proposal” was published in Best American Short Plays 2010-2011 Anthologyand was a finalist for the Lou Rivers Drama Writing Award. This one act play was performed at the Literary Arts Festival in Brooklyn, NY and at the St.Louis Community College Theater. She is a Registered Nurse by profession and is a 2015 Master’s degree candidate in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. Her short story "Emerging Into the Light" appeared in the Spring 2015 Intima.

 

© 2015 Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine

 

Source: www.theintima.org