On August 27, 1959—or was it September 3?—a fresh and enigmatic cultural movement was supposedly born, according to which the poem might be located “at last between two persons instead of two pages.” But if one may as well make a phone call (or send an email) as compose a poem, does the choice of form—blank verse over Instant Message, for example—reveal the poet as a narcissist, a poseur intellectual fixated on fame?
Category Archives: Word Choice
Word Choice is BOMBlog’s weekly poetry installment selected by staff or interns.
Here Kirk Nesset approaches a halcyon sense of doom, clean couplets side-stepping the gruesome or bathic, rather striking an eschatological perspective rid of outright violence, imbued with the comeliness of impermanence.
At first read Jacob Boyd’s decastitch strikes one as a narrative in miniature with some moral to prove, but by its self-assured pace and fine correlatives “Burning Billboards” invites a second look. Imperatives reveal themselves as questions, and the distance between making a stand and settling slips beyond the horizon of aeons.
Weston Cutter turns his regard to the rare enigma of the quotidian: shunning any suggestion of pretension in favor of an Ammonsian phrasing, “No Science” mulls over clues pulled from their contexts, tapping into questions of exclusion and intrusion, the thin distinction between durability and stability.
Yael Shinar plots the fleeting moment of one life’s unraveling with a plaintive reverence for the often forgotten detail of qualia, the dull madness of life unto death and vice versa. Not exactly elegiac, by its meditative clinic “Midday” nonetheless gives the reader pause.
There’s an argument to be made for poetry speaking spirit in terms of form and form in terms of spirit. With grace and restraint, Joseph Chapman’s “At the Savoy” channels ghosts and taps into a music of longing, offering up a penumbral portrait of human frailty and endurance.
John Randolph Carter’s taut but rangy take on Americana merges familiar subjects and settings to a satisfyingly bizarre effect. His verse strikes a difficult balance between originality and appeal, luring in the audience with its tidy structure, friendly diction, and tasteful embellishment, only in the end to reveal its surprise as omen.
“Though there is an elegiac tone in the poem that cannot be denied, the lyric repetition is less about the futility in the world, than it is about the human spirit’s desire to trump it—to live, to live, to live.”
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