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Analyze Spahr's poem "Dynamic Positioning."

In "Dynamic Positioning," Juliana Spahr describes an explosion on an oil rig, varying her tone from matter-of-fact explanation to chaos and disjunction and finally to a calm litany of the dead and those who merely watched.

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Juliana Spahr's poem "Dynamic Positioning" begins with a technical description of how an oil rig works. The tone is so prosaic that if they were not laid out in couplets, the lines could have come from a textbook or a lecture. The tone changes gradually as the sentences become shorter, breaking up the lines into single words and phrases before the first overtly poetic touch:

Buoyancies. Mixes of cements. Currents. Claims.
Humans. Bow spring. Top plug. Shoe track. Floatshoe.
I could go on and on here calling the
New muses of innovation.
There is poetry and euphony as well in Spahr's description of the abyssal zones and the variety of marine life. She then gives the timeline of the impending disaster before the reader understands what is happening, reeling off dates and breaking up the sentence structure with words now frequently split between lines to signal that something is breaking. This splitting of words between lines escalates to give an impression of chaos, until
First explosion on five seconds aft-
Er. Then explosion again, ten sec-
Onds later. It was not yet ten
O'clock when the mayday call was first made.
From this point on, all the words are whole again. Spahr ends the poem with a litany of the dead, followed by those who only watched, including the poet herself. The casualties are each given their own sentence, separated from any commentary or description, while those who watched and did not die are separated only by commas, since their lives continue, like the sentences which place their names together.

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