Sunday, October 08, 2006

freedom and restraint

Julie over at Carter's Little Pill asks poet-readers to spend a week doing short reviews of poems, in the spirit of her "Weirdness Evaluation Engine." So, listen, I have to fly to America on Friday so I may skip a day or two, but I'll try to get seven down along the way.

Chosen at random: The poem about freedom and restraint

This is the kind of poem that leaves me cold. What does it want to bring me? Attitude? Does it reveal something to me? Is it edifying, is it stirring, is it funny? I am left wondering if it is supposed to be funny – using the word “cause” for “because” for example makes me think the poet is making fun or something/one. Is it intended as a jab at Hallmarkian banality? I think I need an MFA to get this poem. If there is someone out there who gets this poem, please speak up. I mean it sincerely. Perhaps it is just not my thing.

It's interesting because Julie asks if in reviewing you worry about hurting feelings. I do, but what is the point of reading and thinking if you aren't honest? I've written a number of poems that I personally liked but knew wouldn't go over well with readers, or would make little sense. Partipating on poetry boards I can guess in advance when the poem will get 12 crits/responses and when it will get (hopefully) two. But that doesn't stop me from writing what I want to write, and it shouldn't stop anyone, including the poet whose poem I don't like.


Anonymous said...

what drew me/continues to draw me to this poem (& much of Dorothea's work) is the purely open sensibility, child-like in its innocence & desires. The "cause" is meant in two ways, I think: syntactically, to help characterize the speaker as well as rhetorically playing off the double meaning: cause as short for "because" and "cause" as a word in itself - causation, etc.

I think "edifying" is a good term to apply to this poem - edifying because it allows us, temporarily, to fully inhabit a consciousness other than our own, so that we can see the world in a new way.

Still, it's not everyone's cup of tea.

np - h_ngm_n

SarahJane said...

thanks very much for tuning in. i have returned to the poem and tried again, but still feel alien to it... it's very hard for me to buy it. the voice is not credible to me, the rivers and mountains for example are too much a conscious play of the precious. but, nevertheless, we learn through reading, trying. appreciate your perspective.

Agnes said...

Interesting poem. It reminds me of one of mine called "I am a poem." Both speak of human interaction, and people as poems. Where this piece calls for love, mine merely calls for acknowledgment. Though folks and poems may wish for love, sometimes all they receive is a cold shoulder or a nod in passing. Such is life.

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