After my rant on literary narcissism, I feel impelled to follow my own dictum: suspect yourself first.
Regarding the defects of my poetry, I have had critics say it was "inhuman" or unapproachable, had it compared to "stainless steal." After my last post a good friend wrote me with some insightful comments I would like to excerpt:
"If you're trafficking in authentic mysteries, truly the sublime,
then the intellect can only pretend a sort of false-mastery. So there is
perhaps a tendency towards smugness that you should perennially be on
"A challenge for you I would think is how to strike a communion with your
audience that is earnest and authentic without lapsing into condescension.
[I'm sure you] grasp.. the perils of cerebral poetry in this subjective age."
I went through some poems trying to find one that exhibited more room for "communion" with the audience, an "open" poem if you will, as opposed to a "closed" or internally completed poem. It took me some time to settle on one I thought would qualify. Here it is:
My grandson’s cry tonight
is a buzz saw on aluminum,
a kickstand scraping concrete—
Reminding me of Beckett’s last play,
where a heap of post-apocalyptic trash appears,
then a baby’s cry, then darkness.
I can’t rid these prickles from my heart,
resentment at his shrieking intransigence—
the fuse of a child abuser?
Holding him is best because
I feel as if I’m doing something.
He is mine and I can’t stand it.
Mood holding, thanks be to God and medications and an understanding wife,