Rachel Bunting

new poem

Another new poem up at PoetSpeak:

Poem for My Voice

Interestingly, there’s been a fair amount of conversation in my world about the construction of this title. A few people lately have told me that it’s off-putting to use a title that contains the word “Poem.” Apparently some people won’t even bother reading poems that contain the word “Poem” in the title.


I suppose it can be called any number of things, including pretentious or lazy. But again: really? What about Frank O’Hara, whose poems were often titled “Poem (some line from the poem),” or “Song”?

Personally I think it’s just as pretentious to dismiss a poem simply because of a naming convention.

0 Responses

  1. I agree with you, Rachel. There is an ultra-awareness going on in poetry these days. I think it’s always been there, as Shakespeare even wrote poems that referred to poetry. I suppose it’s akin to the actors on stage making an aside, or the Boston legal characters pointing out that they are actually in a show that airs Tuesday nights.

    Perhaps because this has been criticized as masturbatory, it seems en vogue among some people to turn their noses up at any poetry that they feel is too self-aware. Sigh… I think we need a little self-awareness in order to grow, and I’ve been digging into the topic more deeply. Obviously, we don’t want to become poets solely for other poets, sitting in coffee shops, reading only to each other, however, I think poetry as an art is very aware of itself right now and hence, the criticism.

    But yes, I suppose if the nay-sayers are right we should get rid of the Hebrew poem, “Song of Solomen,” and Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

    Don’t let the pretentious poets stop you from singing the way you must.

  2. I was told recently in a workshop never to put the name of a poetic form in a title (like, “A Sestina Written by the Women of the Daily Show”), but I think it hinges on the rest of the title. If it’s a good title, it’s a good title as far as I’m concerned. Plus I’ve seen dozens of sestinas with “sestina” in the title – I’m not sure I can think of a sestina that *didn’t* have sestina in the title – and also ghazals and villanelles. So clearly there are plenty of people breaking this “convention.” I’m almost inspired to go around calling my poems Poem and my villanelles Villanelle just because some people seem to think I shouldn’t.

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