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by Aaron Schmookler (Age: 40)
copyright 01-23-2003

Age Rating: 10 +

I have noticed, in my months at PnP, that many of the poems posted to the sight are "safe". By "safe", I mean that they don't take the risks that come with really delving deeply into a theme, or a life. They deal in broad, sweeping terms with the ideas and emotions that they try to tackle. (Mind you there are many poems that do take these risks).

My challenge to all of us (myself included) is to attempt to bring greater depth and specificity to our work. Try to bringout the subtle nuances that make your experiences unique to you.

For example:

A poem which says, "I can't wait to see you again" is not as deep, not as unique, not as powerful or interesting as one which says, "I absently scratch, with bitten finger nails, lightly at the threadbare fabric of the sofa, distracted from my book by the anticipation of your return."

What makes this passage more compelling is not the flowery language, or the longer sentence. It's the scratching, the threadbare fabric, the book. A reader will wonder, "is the fabric threadbare from the scratching?" The detail will bring it to life, give the reader handles, separate this poem from the thousands of other love poems in the world.

Broad is trite. Specific hums. I challange us to write the humming poetry that waits in our finger tips.

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        07-26-2004     Heather Jackson        


I'd love to read works that really cry out. Share with us in a way that we can see the world through your eyes.

Tanks for being brave enough to call for it!

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