Today I read a poem about a bell that was as cumbersome and laboured as its subject. It used the word “begetting” within the first two lines, something I found distinctly unforgivable. Not to say it wasn’t a good poem, if a student had scribed it I would have given a good mark. It possessed the craftsmanship to pass through any sifter’s pile and win the consideration of a big name. It would have gone down a storm with the workshop tribes. I guess my problems begin with the path many go down in taking a poem as an object, something well wrought enough to stand on its own. Beneath this, of course, is the spectre of objectivity, the poem that is good on its own terms and not because of the idle values of the reader. This year I’ve made a resolution to properly learn how to code and I like this as a metaphor for what a poem could be. A set of instructions that varies in effect from machine to operating system. Something that holds the innocence of purpose that still might just birth a catastrophe.

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