WordsDay: "To Be Continued (Ars Poetica)"

Categories: Arts/Literature

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6 replies »

  1. Excellent. Rarely does one hear such joyful appreciation of life in a poem more or less about the end of things. Or the non-ending things of things. Good length, nicely compact, loved the use of mythic animal voices. I will read/listen to more now that I know what with what pithy exuberance you compose. NIfty little last moment smile, after the fact (ti’s only ellipsis) and good reading voice. Thanks


    • Robert: Thanks for the kind comments. I’m always surprised to learn that somebody paid any attention – that they got it and liked it is almost too much to hope for… 🙂

  2. That’s what poets get for choosing “elliptical” formats with twists and turns and ambiguities. Compared to much modern poetry, making a virtue of obscurity (as if wisdom must be hidden), yours is straightforward without in jokes or private language — and that makes it work. That you combine meditation on a big issue with commentary about the nature of narrative — we may think beginning, middle, and end but that’s an illusion — even a self-flattering delusion, a conspiracy of sorts — is quite elegant. I myself stick to lighthearted stuff and I happen to love rhyme, where sound overlaps meaning. This one may bear reprinting on your site if you like it as much as I do (no modesty here).

    • Your perception of contemporary poetry is fascinating in that you see it almost opposite the way I do. Sorta. I feel like most of what’s out there today is pedestrian and utterly lacking in depth. My work tends to be deeply Symbolist, although some things are more straightforward than others.

      Then again, I may be trying to make your comment fit into my own frame when it doesn’t. I like when my work begins with an accessible level, but has layers underneath that reward deeper reading. So maybe it’s a both/and. Some of my stuff I know is – I hate the word “obscure,” but I think that’s how some see it. Obscure is an effort not to communicate. It’s using words to frustrate and sucker the reader into thinking there’s a way in when there isn’t. I always feel like there’s a way in, even though in some case that path is tougher to navigate.

  3. Well, I don’t claim widespread expertise and my original background covers Shakespeare, Milton, et al, but I am referring to “academic” or professional or literary poetry which I often find needlessly obscure (all resonance, not much engagement). No question you are right — much modern stuff has no resonance, no symbolic or imagistic depth — but one can be obscure and interesting vs. obscure and superficial (to which I was referring). Yes, like Rap and many modern song lyrics (post Paul Simon, Beatles, Dylan, and many more), the language seems thin and manipulative, not looking for depth, just novelty or surface.

    Your poem was both simple and resonant, with clear themes and yet ambiguity, both symbolic and in its way quite narrative. Good exchange. Look at my satire, if you get a chance — like your reaction as a wide-ranging editor-writer.