Another note on Experimentation

Click here for the full text of a poem, "Psalm," by Vanessa Place that is full of experimentation: in form, in diction, and in argument, specifically. Normally I would post the poem below, but the form of the poem does not comply with what I can do here.

Hopefully you have read the poem.

But if not, here are some brief thoughts about it. The poem, centered on the page, expands and contracts with each new thought. It can be divided roughly into three parts, with part three giving us what the poem wants us to take; the first two-thirds seem there only to warm the reader up to help make sense of the ending, one which ends "there'd be no need for Americans / for heart would will what it would want / and all of art be / damn'd." This statement providing the ground for the beginning lines to flower from, lines like "(S) Being a good people, if we were wrong, we would change. / (S) We would not change."

Vanessa Place's poem, though disjointed and difficult at first, does provide entertainment and insight without distracting the reader too much from its main point, with obstructive rhythm, that absolute power is laughable and that helpless victims are everywhere ("Were babies born not guilty"). I enjoyed the experience the poem provides, being playful, evasive, and most importantly brave. This poem is out on a limb, for sure, but I am there with it.

Often, I want to turn away from poems like this, because at first glance it seems "too much." Reading the poem reminds me how working through certain poems can be just as rewarding as finally coming to terms with them.

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