Sunday, April 21, 2013

Evaluation of My Own Poetry for English 3440

As I look at the collection of poems included in my chapbook, it is obvious to me the changes I’ve undergone as a poet.  That’s right, I said poet.  That in and of itself is a huge change.  But as far as my poetry goes, I feel there’s a definite difference between the poems I wrote last year and the poems I’ve written this year in this class.  While I’m still proud of my earlier work, I think the poems I’m writing now have more subtlety, more attention to language and feel a bit more… I don’t know… sophisticated.  I’m still no poet laureate by any stretch of the imagination, but I am growing and improving and coming into my own.

In one of my earlier poems, “Butterfly,” my writing is for the most part literal:  “His sneakers echo in the empty mall./ Only the theater is open now./ Part of him chickens out.  He thinks to call/ it off, but at this point is not sure how.”  It’s like I’m telling a story—very narrative-driven—and it’s only in the final couplet where a metaphor emerges:  “That first date led to another and soon/ the butterfly emerged from the cocoon.”  And it’s a clichéd metaphor at that.

In a newer poem, “Nothing,” I again explore a gay relationship, but this time it’s less cutesy and less narrative-driven.  I make use of more striking visual metaphors: “You stand, showering./ Naked. A scarecrow/ with no crows to scare,/ no crops to protect.”  Phrases like “your raw skin bleeds… I keep on scrubbing” are less literal and more metaphorical, and I think, more effective.  Comparing “Nothing” to “Butterfly” is like night and day.  Other poems I’m most proud of now included “Wishes” (“girls resembling flamingos/ with long, stiletto legs/ and bright, warm coats above”) and “Helpmeet” (“But then you smiled with/ fruit juice dripping/ from the corner of your/ apple lips, your mouth a/ yawning hollow”)—poems that have definitely benefitted from my professor's stewardship, the workshops with my peers, and my own deepening understanding of poetry.


Austin said...

one of my favorite parts of that class was seeing everyone grow and improve.

I think your poems were always amazing, what I saw grow most from you was confidence.

we need to keep in touch, if not only so I can keep reading your incredible work. :)

Joaquin the Chihuahua said...

Thanks, Austin. We should definitely keep in touch. You're one of my favorite people from the class.


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