The Prestige in Poetry

Around the time I decided to launch Literature&Literacy on, my friend Simon Brown was promoting his blog Written Word as a venue for publishing and discussing his poems. Because of the conversations about poetry we had had when we both attended Ohio Wesleyan University–or, at least, so I like to think–he asked me to read his work.

One of his poems in particular, “Reflections” caught my attention. The imagery was stirring, the voice intriguing. But I did not understand the poem.  I saw a collage of images without a narrative instead of a cohesive whole.

I discussed the parts of it that I did not understand. He explained what the narrative was supposed to be: I reread the poem and, knowing the narrative, the poem opened up and became intelligible. But the narrative he provided was not present in the poem.

I began to think of how a poem functions, how understanding and surprise are built into a poem.

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