Friday, December 2, 2011

Simplistic Verse?

Yesterday I wrote some poems to further my participation in the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge (hosted by Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog). I joined this little competition late into November, so I'm having to work extra hard during December to catch up on writing while editing the poems as well. I sent a few poems over to another English teacher at my incredible new school, Liberty High School. She wrote back the following response:

Okay, I don’t know how to critique poetry except on a personal –taste level, so here’s what I think.  I really like the fact that there’s so much to wonder about on such short, easy-to-read poems. At first glance, a novice reader (like our students) might think that the poems are simple.  Simple and easy-to-read , to me, are two different things.  Your poems are not simple...I can’t say that I totally understand all the references and symbols in them, but isn't that the beauty of poetry?  When I have time, if I were to go back and re-read them, I’d walk away with more understanding, and that is, I’m sure, the standard that all poets aspire to achieve in their poetry.

So that got me to thinking. What is the difference in "simple" and "easy to read"? I tend to write short, concise poems (compared to my loooong, epic prose), but does that mean that I write "simple" poems? After reading the above response, I saw my poems in a new light. There is a difference in simple and easy-to-read poetry.

To me, poems should be like C.S. Lewis's Narnia in The Last Battle. The farther in you go, the bigger it gets. Sure, that's quite the grandiose view of poetry, but why shouldn't we dream? I'd love to write poems that get bigger with each reading, all the while remaining easy-to-read.

But never simple.

Writing Prompt: 

Write an easy-to-read poem about a person who seems at first glance to be quite simple. However, the more you examine him, the deeper and more complex he becomes. Write a poem that is easy-to-read, but one that deeply examines a simple subject. 

Here's my attempt: 

The bag in his hand 
Holds books. 
He is poor, but 
No one knows why. 
Years ago he was a movie star
Now, a beggar. 
He bought me an ice cream
last Sunday
just after 
He asked my mother 
for a five spot. 
Where did all his teeth go? 

No comments:

Post a Comment