24 jun. 2007

Here are some "angles of approach" that I like to use to describe various kinds of pleasure I get from poetry.

Accent, distinctiveness

Could the poem have been written by anyone, someone else? Does it have a distinctive accent or is it more "generic"? Is its distinctiveness such that it is a self-parody? Are there obvious "mannerisms"?

"The tune of a cold trunk is thin
mute cate behind glass
that I write at all is bannered
in the close grains of sight outlasted" (CC)


Does the poem have a definable shape to it? Is it the right length for what it is? Does it go on too long? Is it a poem or is it "passages" of poetry? How is it at beginning, at carrying on, at ending?

(I have a hard time writing poems with this quality. I don't know how to end a poem, or make it go on for very long, though I am very good at begining.)

nioi, scent

Is it suggestive? (It shouldn't tell or show, but suggest something beyond what the words say.) Does something "catch" on the mind. Or does it use explicit "statement" in an interesting way?


Is it cantabile? Does it sing? Does it sing too much?


Does it break its own rules? Does it make all the rules irrelevant? Is it "disobedient"? (Bernadette Mayer is a good one for this quality.)

6 comentarios:

Sorceress dijo...

Can you explain disobedient poem...sounds interesting.

Andrew Shields dijo...

That is a real nice set of points. I think a lot of poets have the problem you identify your own work as having: not knowing how to end.

I sometimes think my poems stop to soon, as if I am good at setting things up but not good at developing their implications as far as they deserve to be developed.

Jonathan dijo...

I am not satisfied with endings that make a little knot at the end in a predictable way...

I can't really explain disobedience, since it might be different for each person. For me it is a kind of fearlessness--not playing it safe.

JforJames dijo...

A good list of attributes. I'll quibble with 'freedom' because it's a bit too bland or too washed-out a term.

And 'poemness' rather than 'poeminess'...the latter sounds like a tag word an ad man might coin.

Jonathan dijo...

I won't concede the word freedom to the admen. "As freedom is a breakfastfood..."

Joannie dijo...

I appreciate especially the point about suggesting instead of telling or showing. Something for me to keep working on.