Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Back in '05, Allen Sutterfield (a.k.a.Adze, one of my three or four honest friends/readers/critics) sent me a missive absolutely lambasting a poem I wrote in that rarest of persons, Second. After all this time, yes, I admit, I (almost) completely agree -- it's back to the drawing board with that one. Here's is the substance of the criticism:
This one…rubs me wrong at every turn… 2nd Person is a very weak viewpoint - the reader is immediately "double-distanced" from whatever is happening… it's rhetorical, not personal…
He goes on to say,
Second Person is all but impossible. Change your "second person" musings to First Person and feel the difference.

Think about basic honesty: there is only first person, really, for anybody.

Even First Person plural is difficult. It sets up awkward pronouns (We…from our previous life." & noun s/plural difficulties.

It is not that one can't or "should never" - not at all.

But it is good to look quite calmly and objectively at the


involved when making these specific choices rather than just vaguely ascribing the difficulties to Poetry, Psychology, Creativity, etc.

By focussing on specific, concrete language choices and strategies, one can greatly improve the


involved. As for the sensibility, that's a whole other matter. But writing is a controllable, adjustable, learnable discipline.

Only vanity argues this point.

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