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!
Don Share became the editor of Poetry in 2013. His books of poetry are Wishbone (2012), Squandermania (2007), and Union (2013, 2002). He is the co-editor of The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (2012), and editor of Bunting's Persia (2012) and a critical edition of Basil Bunting's poems (2016). He...