so much depends upon / by AB Mann

So much depends

upon

 

a full red

pen

 

carving fat

away

 

from useful

words

 

 

 


I used to want poetry to be enormous, euphonic, entities dripping with imagery. Just full of words like Byron or Shakespeare or Eliot.

The way in which I write has changed so much in the last few years that I'm sort of confused, sort of bemused by it. I have become ruthless with editing. It may take an attempt or two to notice a stanza should be deleted or a comma added but I try to pair downeverything as far as possible.

I used to hate stark poetry. Poems like William Carlos Williams' The Red Wheelbarrow drove me batty.

How can something so bare mean so much?

And I find myself trying desperately to emulate this directness in writing more and more.

I think I understand why, maybe a little. Fewer words, less imagery, and simpler sentences offer less room for error in communicating a poem's intent while allowing more room for the reader's interpretation.

Simpler structure begets greater accessibility begets more meaning.