Wednesday, March 16, 2016

One-Line Poems: Anthology

Anthology
of
One-Line Poems

Looks like one-line poetry has been around a while, for it's mentioned in a fairly recent issue of The Florida Book Review. In Leslie Taylor's review of The War on Pants, by Kristine Snodgrass, Taylor notes the difficulty posed in writing one-line poems:
The largest concern I have is with the one-line poems. One-line poetry is a delicate art of subtlety and inference. The poem "Robot Social Networking" reads, simply, "You are a moron." The intended effect seems to be along the lines of criticizing the audience and society, but I saw it as a cheap shot. Societal critique can come off as late night comedy. The poem "Sexting" contains the line, "You are defining my sexuality, Anthony Weiner."
Agreed, intentions can go far awry because "[o]ne-line poetry is a delicate art of subtlety and inference." I like that characterization of this poetic genre. But I don't think the poem "Robot Social Networking" is intended as a critique of audience and society. I suggest that the poem is intended to show how socially awkward artificial intelligence can be, for how could a robot successfully network by calling its interlocutor a "moron"? But since it did say, "You are a moron," the robot has already shown itself to be the moron in the interaction, and this justifies the interlocutor in repeating the words right back to the robot, thereby establishing the dual meaning required of one-line poems.

And speaking of having "been around a while," there was an entire book of such poems published over forty years ago, titled But Is It Poetry? Anthology of One-Line Poems, edited by Duane Ackerson (Pocatello, Idaho: Dragonfly, 1972), with poems by Bill Zavatsky, Ray DiPalma, Charles Simic, Michael Benedikt, Albert Goldbarth, William Matthews, Ethel Fortner, D.S. Long, Greg Kuzma, Cathey Ackerson, Peter Cooley, Felix Pollak, Richard Lebovitz.

This book is shown in the image above. I came across this anthology while looking for an article on one-line poetry. I still haven't found any, but if some of my readers know of such an article, then please let me know.

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