About the Poems
by Allyssa Wolf
Statement: Who's On First?
"The Doll Number" poems are part of Act One of my manuscript, Wild Game: A Vaudeville in Five Acts. When first composing them, I translated the voices I heard into plain English, and for several months after couldn't figure why while the music and content seemed right, the written characters looked wrong. They seemed dead. Not only dead but impertinently anachronistic.
Once it came to me, I put onto the surface of the first poems what I had actually heard the first time. The second translation was right because it was actually the first. But I needed to see that impertinent deadness before I could proceed.
So it appears there is a confusion of dialects on the surface of the poems: German, Anglo-Saxon, Black English, working class British, Celtic languages. This is to say that these are the actors moving and spelling out the puppets/dolls.
I don't always work from dictation. But for the part of my book called "The Doll Number" I knew I would have to sit and wait for something to speak. Recently I read for the first time Yeats' poem "The Dolls" and realized my piece was heavily influenced by his.