In Percival Everett’s Logic, found in re:f gesture, I found myself connecting his poems to many things that we have spoken about in class, as well as things in my personal life. Since this English class is almost solely focused on Everett’s works, I’m confident to say that I feel like I understand him, in a way. How he writes and how he describes things in such a way that makes you tear apart each sentence in order to figure out what he really means. Throughout the semester we did this through Frenzy, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, and now the focus is on re:f gesture. This poetry book has been the most challenging in my opinion, moving from the alphabet, to the body and then logic, and one might not think those three separate subjects work well together-but they do. Everett plays off the poetry he writes, connecting subjects in future poems that one might not catch if they read it quickly. We see this in Body when he mentions the conception of a baby, the innocent life being brought into this world; which then switches as the reader makes their way to Logic and reads the last poem entitled, 6. “Seven men can be obliterated, burned or hanged or drowned in a lake and forgotten (Everett 70).” I enjoy this reality check that Everett brings to the table, letting us know that while life is precious, much like a baby being made, its also harsh and eventually you will die.
Logic has everything to do with math, and why something is the way it is-and in my opinion I see Percival Everett using that tool when he’s writing. I have noticed that there’s always a bigger picture when it comes to one of his works, whether that be a poem or one of his novels. There’s a constant need to unpack what his words on the page mean, Professor McCoy often encouraging us to flip through the Bedford or our Reflective Writing book to help that process and I admit that has been a struggle for me-to connect the literary analysis component within my own writing. However, as I sat down to write this blogpost, I began to play with the idea of something being canon. Canon, as defined in the Bedford Glossary states that it is, “A body of written works accepted as authoritative or authentic (41).” When something is canon in fiction, whether that be for a show, movie or a book, it means that it is official. True.
Over this long weekend break for Thanksgiving I was so excited to go home and visit my family, relax and take a much-needed break from school and just let my mind rest. It was great, spending time with my brothers-one who is twenty-three and the other is six, so it takes a good amount of skill to balance my time with them to make it equal. Eventually, my older brother and I sat down and started to watch the new Star Wars show, The Mandalorian, and what started as a good and quiet night-quickly advanced into a full-blown argument about if Baby Yoda was really a baby. It was a typical sibling fight that was incredibly stupid and not worth our time but were both stubborn and insisted that our separate points were correct. He believed that The Child (as it is referred to in the show) was actually a baby-his logic behind that being that it was tiny and made infant noises when toddling around. I countered his argument by rewinding to the part where the Mandalorian states that it is literally fifty years old and that species in the Star Wars universe age differently. “It’s canon!” I had shouted and my brother replied with, “But it’s a baby!” Eventually, our mom got involved and we ended up playing the next episode, too tired to argue anymore but still, we believed that we were both right.
That argument coincidentally reminded me of poem 2 in Logic. “Let us assume X. Even such signs have some place, some language X. Constituent parts compose this reality-molecules, atoms, simple X (Everett 66).” I know I might be reaching with this whole Baby Yoda thing, but it sparked my interest into writing this blogpost, so I had to make mention of it. When reading this I thought of my English class and how we have broken things down to find out what they really mean, whether there was a point to that or not, we’ve participated in these discussions several times. One assumes X when reading something, whatever that might be, but it’s not that simple. There are several different parts that make up the writing, consistent components such as the molecules and atoms that Everett mentions. On the service Everett’s writing seems like it has one solid meaning, a concrete foundation until we, the readers, start to jackhammer into it and place it into different categories. I’ve enjoyed doing this, the practice of reading things more carefully than I ever had giving me skills that I’ll need in the future as I continue my studies as an English major.
The Alphabet, human body parts, logic, a black man’s life being told through significant phases in his life, and a provocative novel about the god Dionysus. It almost sounds like a setup to a bad joke, but instead it’s the layout of what we have read of Percival Everett’s, and like I stated before, they rely on each other to tell each story. It makes sense-the logic of it all and how it sets each writing up for success in ways that only Everett could do. And it only took (not) Baby Yoda to help me figure that out.