N.Pendleton’s Mechanics of Poetics, Lesson #1:

Note to student:  N.Pendleton is a master claypot cooker and dog Furminator.  He occasionally scribbles silly drawings in sketchbooks and records short stories on podcasts so he can sit back and listen to them by himself.  He is not, to our knowledge, an expert in poetry.

If you have terrible grammar and syntax, do not despair.  What would normally never pass muster in the world of prose can be considered profound and artistic in the world of verse.

Take for example N.Pendleton’s Tuesday Twitter Haiku for 9/1/09:

the boy’s picture day

dogs defecate in the yard

the suburban dream

If this were prose, the last two lines would be a disaster.  What is the author trying to tell us?  Are “dogs defecate in the yard” and “the suburban dream” two separate ideas?  Or is the author trying to say that the dogs are defecating the suburban dream in the yard?  And what does the first line have to do with anything?  Did the author not capitalize “the” out of laziness or incompetence?  Or are these the boy’s picture day dogs?

Phrase structure like that above would get anyone thrown bodily from an elementary school English class.  But in the world of poetry, ambiguity and difficulty are artistic and cool.  Why stress over language skills?  Let the reader do the heavy lifting.  They can interpret it any way they want and you can go on about your day, sipping cognac in your smoking jacket in the drawing room, sitting in your leather Normandie chair, a parchment and ink quill resting on the mahogany end table beside you.  And you can rest assured that all the conditions for art and poetry have been met.


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