Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2 Odious Things in Recent Poetry

The poetry one likes is so much a matter of personal taste. But in some recent books highly praised, recommended, etc., I saw some incredibly stupid lines. Example:

Who can see a stranger's wrist/ and not have regrets? (Immediate response: "Me, that's who!")

And You know what else? Caught myself doing this: TOO MANY POEMS today are written addressing "You," but they don't mean the reader. What's going on? I suspect poets have been shamed out of saying "I" -- too egotistical. "You" is a displacement. It may help camouflage the fact that "You" is too often the poet's mom, dad, boyfriend, or somebody else too unimportant to have any identity besides that of a vehicle for, or target of, the poem. I am trying to remind myself to have a very good reason not to use "he" or "she" or "Celia."


  1. In my English fundamentals class, I forbid the second person voice entirely. It's cheap and lazy. It sounds like crap. Very few do it well.

    Just my opinion. ;-)

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