House of Leaves and Patriarchal Poetry

Have you ever stared at a word for so long that it slowly becomes less and less of a word?

Well, I have. My dear pen-pal Sarah sent me another essay to read – at least I thought it was an essay. As it turns out, it was actually a long poem by the renowned Gertrude Stein, called Patriarchal Poetry. Sarah read it for one of her classes at college and she told me, “I kept thinking of House of Leaves as I read this! It’s funny how material from two different classes can be so connected.”

As I read it, my head swam. The word “patriarchal” repeats itself over and over and by the end, it hardly looked like a word. For those who have not yet read this poem, I encourage you to do so! Just like House of Leaves, it has to be experienced to be understood. Labyrinthine in nature, it tangles around itself and turns everything inside out. But, somehow, it makes total sense. A very interesting read, all in all.

P.S. I haven’t yet found out who sent me that mysterious letter. After I finish writing this, I am off to question the mailman!