Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.



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Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Black Locusts" by Cameron Barnett

from The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water(Autumn House Press)
"Black Locusts" is found on Verse Daily [link]
 

First lines:
There are no gardens in my neighborhood,
just three black locust trees

 

after closer reading . . . .

 

— a little text added at the end, Nov. 2, 2017

 

I do occasionally go back to the daily sites to see if there is something interesting to talk about, especially if I have nothing else on the burner (or nothing that I can get finished) as is the case now. This time I found on Verse Daily "Black Locusts" by Cameron Barnett, posted a couple of days ago.

It's an average bit of verse over all. There's nothing spectacular about the versification, but at least he's writing in lines, which is something. I like the general idea being played out, how the verse works two conceits simultaneously: the idea of the three trees as children, and the condensation of a lifetime into the seasons of a single year. But there are problems with the verse. Interesting problems, though, which may be worth pointing out. I'll go through some, one at a time.

 

(1) Begin with the simile that starts on line 4.

All spring, cream-white petals
blooming like baby teeth,

(I'll quickly say that I like the verbless construction of that sentence.) The phrase "blooming like baby teeth" works very well, giving the idea both of the whiteness of the flowers and of their size. But what about the next line?