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So Little Depends upon a Little Red Rooster!
Image courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim, www.micro2macro.net
Should poets write poems that describe things (like, say, this silly-looking rooster) … or not?
Poetry contributor Seth Abramson recently remarked on his blog “The Suburban Ecstasies” that
Traditional (i.e. fully-determined, fully-resolved, fully-bordered) narratives have been regarded [...] as being inherently more emotional (let us even say weighty, given Jason Guriel’s adjectival stylings, [in his notorious March 2009 Poetry essay]) than non-traditional narrative. The irony in this–in the continued near-religious belief, in short, in the adjective–is that, whatever Jason may personally feel, many poetry readers are not particularly invested in hearing the sound a rooster makes described in the thousandth way it has ever been described (never the same description twice, mind you). I just can’t attach any great emotion to a general movement I’ve seen over and over again in poetry, whether or not I’ve been specifically told in the past that a rooster’s “dark, corroded croak” is like “a grudging nail tugged out of stubborn wood” (Eric Ormsby). That’s beautiful–but is it truly powerful enough to overwrite all those intimate, hard-won, highly-personalized, highly-experiential associations I already have with the words “rooster” and “nail” and “wood”?
Annie and others have been talking about meter on recent Harriet threads… I thought it’d be a good time to bring up subject matter and raise questions about connotation and denotation in poetry.
Over to you guys!