go with the flow.

September 23, 2010

Since we only had time to ask, “Alright, what the heck is Brooks saying here?” in class, what did everyone think of the poem? Did anyone feel like Brooks tries so hard to disguise the basic plotline that she winds up taking away from the flow of her poem? Does Brooks get too lost in her imagery? The poem felt very forced to me, like she went back over it multiple times to make sure every word was thoughtful enough, and I feel like that kind of labor ruins the beauty and idea of a poem.

When you have to try that hard to get what’s even going on, how can you really feel it?

I thought Bishop’s and Ginsberg’s poems flowed very easily, but reading The Anniad I felt like I was choking over every line. It’s not just the “guessing game” element of the writing style, but I think Brooks tries to take on too many things at once, image-wise, and that all of these images don’t quite go together/add to each other/build the poem up in the right way. Brooks’ poems didn’t leave an impression on me, as Bishop’s poems left impressions image-wise and Ginsberg’s did emotion-wise.

I think of Bishop and I think of unique, colorful descriptions of fishing, of that one fish with flower-patterned scales who had a beard like war medals. I think of the neat comparison of a trip from the country to the city as being like traveling up the leg of a man and into his chaotic, pulsating brain. I think of Ginsberg and I think of anger and despair, and a flow that was so effortless that I can remember individual lines of his poems. I think of Brooks and all I can easily recall is “tan man” and “Fine Prince,” a million food descriptions of black skin and really tangled images. I think of repressed, daydreaming characters hiding behind layers and layers of ambiguity who can’t spit out what they mean, leaving the flow of the poems…blocked.

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