Friday, July 16, 2021

When Words Speak Out Against Our Will

A friend sent me a book of his poems, and though they were serious poems, I saw that a reader could respond in some other way than serious, so I did, but I later worried that he might have taken my response amiss, so I added a disclaimer:

I hope that was well received. I didn't plan to make humorous reactions; they just came to me. There's more to it, though. Poetry can evoke all sorts of responses. These are some examples. If I recall correctly, these poems in your book are poems of love, human and divine. One would expect the poems to be proper, and the response to be appropriate. But as we see, the response can surprise us. I once wrote a poem ending with the word "wrought," and a friend to whom I showed the poem objected to the word as being too technical. "But it's not really technical!" I objected. And it wasn't . . . for me. Growing up with King James English in my mind as a second language, I could also use "thee" and "thou" if I pleased, and it would be perfectly correct and natural. But she was also correct, and I had to accept her view. Words go out of style. But maybe, just maybe, I can succeed in getting the reader to accept those old words as words afresh.

I'm waiting for his response.


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