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Week 4: Intentions

Hello Poets!

Sometimes poems take us in surprising, unforeseen directions. Sometimes there are variables in poems we can’t entirely make sense of. Mystery, when skillfully deployed, can be an important tool in a poet’s arsenal. However, there’s a danger of losing or confusing your reader if the intention of the poem gets murky. Both of the poems below play with such mystery, make us wonder, whip us back to recognition.

Poem 3: Seeing Whales by Michael Dickman
Where does the poem lead us in unintended directions? Are there curiosities about the poem that are unsolvable?  Rewrite the poem with either a clear intention--like the clean ring of a bell.  Or a messier intention that is united in its details, like Dean Young’s poem, below.

Poem 4: Selected New and Recent Errors by Dean Young
There’s a lot of detail here, and the speed of the poem can add up to poetic whiplash. Recast the poem with your sense of its intention.

Task Discussion