Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted March 9, 2015


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Why I Should Never Review Poetry

by Spiritual Echo

Reviewers Only! Contest Winner 
As a reviewer, I excel at prose, leaving obtuse grammar areas to the English teachers on site. Technical skills can be learned, provided the writer pays attention to the qualified help of respected writers responding to posts. My strengths come from story construction and character development, exposed through both narrative and dialogue.

When it comes to poetry, I have mixed feelings. I am rarely impressed by the technical accomplishments of some of the formats. Often, reading some, it feels as if the writer is desperately trying to squeeze words into a formula, like shoving a square piece of lumber into a round hole made of silk. It reminds me of my enjoyment of crossword puzzles. Having an extensive vocabulary and an array of trivial facts does not prove that I am a writer, anymore than some become recognized poets by having perfect rhyme or meter.

In all forms of writing, the depth and measure of the words and my emotional reaction, is the yardstick by which I respond to poetry. With that thought in mind, I shall review the three poems as an uneducated poet, just a simple reader, trying to find merit and meaning from the three example poems provided by the contest host.

POEM #1
haiku (naked and exposed)

naked and exposed
limbs bend to endless winter
but women aren't trees

Really? Damn, I wonder which sunny state this writer hails from. Looking outside in the middle of March, every one of my trees is frozen solid. Bend? If anything they'll crack and snap off.  Yup. an image of a woman's legs as a wishbone.

Dear Poet;
Though your poem fulfils the syllable requirements of a haiku, the third line, is difficult to apply to the first line 'naked and exposed.' The image you inadvertently created in my mind is that of naked women with stiff legs. It might have greater meaning to me if the second line was 'limbs endure endless winter,' suggesting with the third line women can't be frozen out or cope with a cold environment, but of course, that may change the writer's intent and distort the image he/she wanted to present.


POEM #2
Morning Glory

Ah yes, my morning glory you arise,
and blossom in your splendor with first light.
You crane to feel the warmth each petal spies,
and leave behind the myst'ries of the night.

You wilt so weakly as the day wears on.
So meekly, does your beauty burden you?
As ev'ning comes, my heart remembers dawn
and how you thrilled me with each joyful hue.

But, hidden deep within your lovely wiles,
an evil poison flows in deadly stream.
My mind's adrift, we share our starstruck smiles.
I cannot tell your nightmare from my dream.

I should have let my eyes draw beauty in;
but I was weak--last night I tasted sin.

What a pretentious load of crap. This is exactly why I don't do well with poetry. All that is missing is trilling bluebirds and velvet rose petals. No wait, the poet's got that covered in the first stanza.

Dear Poet;
With all due respect to your poem, Morning Glory, I believe you got carried away with the metaphor, or perhaps, there was no intent to compare a flower to a lover. That seems unlikely as in your last line you 'tasted sin', in which case I should tell you that while not poisonous, Morning Glories were once revered by the Japanese for their laxative qualities.

This is a very old-fashioned form of poetry, and one that is difficult for readers to appreciate, as rarely in today's literary world do we find examples of 'Ode on a Grecian urn' style writing. There was a concerted effort to evoke sensory details in touch, smell and taste, but this one line threw me.

'You crane to feel the warmth each petal spies'

To me, this is really stretching to the limit, giving the Morning Glory the ability to 'see' warmth.

Using a sonnet for modern themes can add structure, but the content has to relevent, worth the read.  This poem might appeal to those who revere poetic style, but in my humble opinion, in this frantic world, we rarely stop to smell the roses, let alone ponder the Morning Glory.

POEM #3
Tickling the Sky

off the cliff
why would wayward wishes
just drift away?

like an indecisive feather

they aim to plummet
straight into the heart
like a feather
discovering gravity

you see it isn't feathers
like you all thought
it's the ingenuity of using feathers

A bird of many colors walks the land
the forest dwellers dance in delirium
they whisper, "Why does it not fly?"

the shimmering bird catches the soft words
floating by on a slight breeze
the breeze ruffling its feathers

blue ripples
red flashes
purple? oh my!
gilded gold graces the imagination
and grey doesn't matter

the bird whispers, "why don't I fly?"
the wind cannot help but hear
it has been waiting after all
gravity grimaces

I kiss the pretty girl
love enters my life
the most beautiful bird in the world


takes flight

Too bad this poet didn't stop soon enough. Birds? Parrots? 

Dear Poet;
The first portion of your poem is stunning. You created a very strong image of thoughts thrown out to the universe and ultimately landing in a heart, clearly making a point that when love is involved, it is emotion that rules the day. Below is what I consider near perfection.

off the cliff
why would wayward wishes
just drift away?

like an indecisive feather

they aim to plummet
straight into the heart
like a feather
discovering gravity

This condensed version has strong imagery. What follows seems like poetic filler, a self-indulgence by the writer as he/she draws his/her own conclusions, creating a parable effect that isn't needed and weakens the poetry.

And that, folks, is why I rarely review poetry!


Reviewers Only!
Contest Winner

Recognized


Should the example poetry turn out to be that of celebrated poets, oh well. It just goes to show you how inept I am at appreciating the art form.

If it turns out to be members' poetry, see above.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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