Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yeah. Better in Rhyme. But Good Little Interesting Pithy Bits Nonetheless . . .

I have just finished reading The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel. I won’t say I liked it, because I didn’t. But it had its good moments.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Archy, the vers libre poet trapped in the body of a cockroach, is actually at his best poetically when he uses structure and rhyme to build his poems. I may just be displaying a prejudice for tight structure, which I prefer in the poems I write, so take that as you may.
But he does have a few free verse gems, like this:

(From the poem “Archy on the Radio,” in which he responds to fan messages from the planet Mars)


did you know about the archy clubs here


i hope they can t throw them this far
what do they look like


ha dumbbells ha ha ha
but please tell us how you happened
to start your career as a writer


it did not happen it was something
i planned deliberately so I could quit
being what I was

Never a truer statement said by any writer on why he or she writes.

And then there’s this, from the poem “Random Thoughts from Archy”:

i have noticed
that when
chickens quit
quarreling over their
food they often
find that there is
enough for all of them
i wonder if
it might not
be the same way
with the
human race

Lots of fun little bits. But a slog to get to them. Poetry, indeed, has to be read in small doses, and with free verse poetry, the smaller the better.

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